Page 797 - Be Careful What You Plot For

30th Aug 2016, 6:00 AM in Intermission 8
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Be Careful What You Plot For
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 30th Aug 2016, 6:00 AM edit delete
Author: Winged Cat

Guest Author's Note: "Not infrequently, I have helped the DM come up with plot (when the DM did not object to such assistance) - anything from minor details in a session to campaign-bending arcs. And then there are systems such as Fate and Dungeon World, which encourage the DM to offload work to the players. But as NS pointed out while I was preparing the script, this is not the norm.

"Tell us of a time (other than when the system explicitly recommended it) where one or more players came up with plot that the DM ran, and it went well."

Newbiespud's Note: This is a five-page series to round out the guest pages. Enjoy!

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



Digo Dragon 30th Aug 2016, 6:06 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Yay, Winged Cat! Fun stuff. :3

My players always had small ideas and tidbits for me to color the framework of my campaign plots with, but I can't recall a fully developed adventure out of all that. I remember once where one PC said "Can you run the old Castle Ravenloft adventure?" and I went out to get the book to do just that.

Don't think a pre-made adventure counts though...
Dusk Raven 30th Aug 2016, 12:40 PM edit delete reply
During my first-ever in-person DM session, one player, the healer, was looking around looking for civilian NPCs in need of medical attention. And, since they were in a town about to have a barracuda-fishing competition, the healer then asked the oddly-specific, "Do I see anyone looking worried, for like their family or something?"

My reaction was basically, "...You know what, you actually do." And thus the players find their way to the daughter of a one-legged but still confident pearl diver and spear fisher...
Digo Dragon 30th Aug 2016, 1:10 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Huh! As the party healer in a Fallout Equestria game, I wonder if I can get something similar. I'll try that. :3
albedoequals1 30th Aug 2016, 6:26 AM edit delete reply
I haven't yet run an adventure that a player came up with completely, but I have made things out of their ideas. In fact, I sometimes go fishing for their ideas to try and make the campaign more personal.

On one occasion, the way forward was through a teleporting circle that was activated by confessing your 'darkest secret'. The cleric spontaneously added to her backstory and confessed to being a former highway robber.

I used that tidbit to make an adventure where the leader of the bandit gang she used to be in tried to blackmail her by threatening her parents. Then everyone found out and we had a courtroom scene where the other PCs had to prove that she'd changed.

The circle netted me some ideas from the others too, but I got the most mileage out of that one. The poor cleric's player kept building up the story too, revealing that she was using a fake name, explaining why she ran away from home, etc. Good stuff.
Nondescript Reindeer 30th Aug 2016, 6:30 AM edit delete reply
Now there's a Story Time I can contribute to.

So, early into the Shadowrun campaign I'm in, we only had a single motorcycle for transportation - I was apparently the only one who thought to get a vehicle. Our hacker decided we should rectify this by conning some vehicle dealerships out of more motorcycles (and about half a dozen more to sell to a contact). The GM said okay, and that became our next run. We got ourselves prepared, skill points and plans and whatnot all set up just right, sat down the next Saturday to put it all into motion... and we realized that it was not going to go well - we didn't even have a real Face just then. So we decided to steal the bikes from go-gangers instead. So our GM, who had been talked into this run by us in the first place, suddenly had to throw his plans out because of us and improvise a new run on the spot.

It turned out to be a well and truly excellent run, though, everyone had a lot of fun, GM included. So all's well that ends well. Then again, my teammates demolished their bikes which we did all this for a few runs down the line, though, so maybe it didn't end all that well after all!
Platonix 30th Aug 2016, 8:39 AM edit delete reply
Anyone here enough of an old fogey to have read Kevin Pease's webcomic "Absurd Notions" while it was updating? The characters in that sometimes played RPGs, and one time the DM was frustrated with a narrative dead end. The group paused for supper, and wound up getting Chinese, and the DM asked everyone else to read aloud the fortunes from their fortune cookies. When play resumed he made each player's fortune come true for their character.
Digo Dragon 30th Aug 2016, 10:38 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
If I ever hit a narrative brick wall, I'm going to try that. :D

There's a place at the corner here were I can just buy a huge bag of fortune cookies.
AnnikaBell 30th Aug 2016, 9:25 AM edit delete reply
In one long-term DnD game I was in, the players encountered a small forest that was home to a dryad and a nymph. This forest was a transplant of a much larger, probably sentient forest, which had sent previously sent caretakers to this smaller forest. Well, the PCs were on the run and needed to get out of the country so we decided to go to this larger forest: we could help the smaller one and hide at the same time. That larger forest became the setting for most of the rest of the campaign, and saving it from an evil dragon became the main plot of the whole story.
SkyStream 30th Aug 2016, 9:28 AM edit delete reply
Plot that someone proposed that the DM ran and it went well....

let's see.... our DM accepts a LOT of ideas from us, but probably the best idea he allowed one of us to run was a "Lasertag" PvP match. Twas' fun and everyone liked it.
Manga Shoggoth 30th Aug 2016, 9:31 AM edit delete reply
Our old DM used to adapt stories for game sessions - I passed him an old Ellery Queen plot that was based about a father building two houses for each of his twins. The houses were exact duplicates but on the opposite sides of the valley.

The players were drugged and moved from one house to the other. They woke up with the sun rising on the wrong side of the house, and one of the NPCs missing (having been murdered).
Digo Dragon 30th Aug 2016, 1:11 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Hee, that's a neat concept. Gotta remember it.
Specter 30th Aug 2016, 11:08 AM edit delete reply
We have a DM who is a stickler for running the game based on how the books suggest it to be run. Sadly the books never help him when we, the players, make really bad decisions.

Dm: The place is coming down, but you believe you will have enough time to get to the boat and escape.
Players: *all roll very well*
Me: ... *face slap* The boats not there, X took it when they left.
Everyone: ...
Dm: ... I forgot about that.

Thankfully they do ask us for everything we have and try to figure out how we can not die.

Y: ... does anyone know we're here?
Dm: ... *rolls* you know what, yeah. You see a boat coming towards the island. The driver looks familiar to you.
8komma2 30th Aug 2016, 11:16 AM edit delete reply
I'm happy to say that I provided the spark for the campaign our DM is currently running.
I made an off-hand comment about how the Mediterranean was turned into a desert when the street of Gibraltar closed, and from that he came up with an entire setting. It's mostly desert, of course, but it also includes multiple cities, semi-fleshed out warring tribes, and an entire creation myth. He's also come up with multiple continents that we will probably never visit.
He's also using me and another friend to bounce ideas off off for future story arcs and npcs. It's his first time DMing, so a lot of this is just him wanting a second and third pair of eyes, just to be sure, but it's nice that we basically get a background pass to the show.
Akouma 30th Aug 2016, 8:24 PM edit delete reply
I have a few stories for this one.

My GM for Iron Kingdoms does this ALL the time. Basically whenever an NPC is introduced that he hasn't planned extensively for (read: whenever an NPC is introduced, period), he round tables their personality by asking each player for a small fact about that NPC. He also often then hands those NPC roles to players not in the running scene. This once got extra ridiculous when we were all NPCs backing up one PC. We got turbo-generic grunt stats, and after a couple rounds of not all dying our GM goes "okay, so these guys are clearly more plot relevant than they initially appeared. Everyone tell me one thing about your character." So we did, and he then provided us with minor stat buffs or equipment that reflected our "characters."

That same GM also is designing his own game with a superhero theme that uses something very similar as a core mechanic. Along with every skill check, the player rolls a fudge die (which for those unfamiliar is a d6 with two blanks, two minus symbols, and two plus symbols), and at any given time one player is the "caller." The caller has to come up with small positives or negatives in accordance with what you rolled on your fudge die. He says it's to help keep player engagement when it's not that player's turn, but it also happens to offload a substantial amount of GMing to the players.

And then there was the nautical Pathfinder game I was in. We came upon a flotilla village of primarily elves, and our DM said they were having a celebration of some kind. We asked what they were celebrating, and she kind of stumbled so I just say "clearly, it's the festival of silly hats!" And then she just runs with it. So there were hat-themed party games and other such shenanigans. One of our players spent his entire session trying to pick up girls and then convince them to let him keep their silly hat as a trophy. And my character won like, so many hats at the various festival games. I still have that sheet, and on that sheet I still have in my inventory a "towering pile of hat." Good times.
Aname 31st Aug 2016, 2:55 AM Whitebeard edit delete reply
In a pathfinder game a new GM was running, the group playing (I only joined later) was in a tavern. That particular tavern was a rebel hideout and it got raided by the evil city guard. Instead of fleeing with the rebels they stayed, were tortured by the guard for information about the rebels, then let free. Later they went to the exact tavern and bought it because the rebels left it abandoned. The GM ended up making a system to deal with the money the tavern was earning and we later used it to sponsor ourselves in gladiator-esk death games.
Aname 31st Aug 2016, 2:55 AM Whitebeard edit delete reply
In a pathfinder game a new GM was running, the group playing (I only joined later) was in a tavern. That particular tavern was a rebel hideout and it got raided by the evil city guard. Instead of fleeing with the rebels they stayed, were tortured by the guard for information about the rebels, then let free. Later they went to the exact tavern and bought it because the rebels left it abandoned. The GM ended up making a system to deal with the money the tavern was earning and we later used it to sponsor ourselves in gladiator-esk death games.
DrVillainous 31st Aug 2016, 6:47 AM edit delete reply
When my group first decided to play Mutants and Masterminds, given my lack of familiarity with the system I decided that I'd try to run a more episodic game rather than a huge overarching campaign, figuring it would be easier to plan for and I'd have more time to devote to familiarizing myself with the rules. However, one of my players proceeded to create a time-traveling space marine from a future where the Soviet Union and the USA were in the middle of World War III (although perhaps Solar System War I would have been more accurate). This prompted me to create an entire supervillain organization dedicated to reestablishing the Soviet Union in order to explain his backstory, who then were responsible for a number of the threats the players faced, and eventually turned out to be the pawns of an evil AI. Because of that one player's backstory, what was going to be a villain-of-the-week game ended up having a considerably more integrated plot.
Someone 31st Aug 2016, 4:06 PM edit delete reply
So it turned out to be the typical format for a TV Series? Self-contained episodes with a bigger overarching plot?