Favorite Simple GM Plots


I really enjoy getting the players together in a town and then find a location to get to know each other, and then usually have a over arching story plot point drop in on them in the middle of the meet and greet, to see how they're going to organize. I know it's a trope, but it seems to get the game going quicker for me.

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First Post
I don't know if I'd call it a "simple" plot, but it sure is easy when done decently and gets the group working together:

"Everyone starts neck deep in the trouble and you have to work together to survive as the only people you might be able to count on right now are in this room."

I do not recommend using these without player acceptance, of course, but I have used this method several times successfully. These have included:

* You are all from the same island and while you are on a trade expedition, everyone back home was turned into crystal statues. It's just you and your shipmates.

* You were all convicted of the same crime falsely. You have all escaped prison together, after something really horrible happened at the prison (which will come back to haunt you, I guarantee).

* You all wake up on a sailing ship. You have no idea how you got there or who anyone else is. That last thing you remember is starting your adventuring careers. Did I mention the undead in the cargo hold? (Turns out, they're an established adventuring group who had all lost about 5 years of memory. Had to figure out why.)

* You were put in stasis until medical science could come up with a cure for your terminal condition. You've all woken up together, seem to be cured, but you no longer recognize this post apocalyptic world.

As for adventure plots, my all time favorite is to create an interesting situation or scene, then leave it up to the players to pick avenues to explore, clues to run down, and answers to find.


I'm a traditionalist. I like the "you have all arrived in a new town, ready to begin your adventuring careers" and then something happens that makes things exciting...

once, I had black-cloak goblins break out of the sewers in a market square and attack, grabbing small children and fleeing.

another time, the city they were in was isolated because of a plague that had arrived on another ship just a couple days before the PCs entered. The PCs were all on the last ship allowed into port before it was shut down.

A really good campaign was one where the PCs were all from the surrounding villages, and had each arrived to petition the Baron for something. He offered all of them the same deal - go into the local mines to fix a problem and he'd grant their petition.

Hand of Evil

Don't know if I have a favorite but those I have used to get the game going:

Little girl comes up to the characters and ask if they are adventures, IF they answer yes, she tells them her puppy has gone missing and if they could find it? If they answer no, she starts crying.

Party wakes up in front of a judge (after a tavern fight) that tells them 60 days in the salt mine or other service.


This is one of my favorites, which I used for my last campaign:

The river has become tainted and the village priest asks the most capable men and women to travel up to the spring to find the cause.
This works with pretty much any random group of PCs regardless of background and relationship.

(I followed it up with sending them to a small monastery where the monks grow rare fungi with medicinal uses, which was the setup for Meenlock Prison. ^^)


First Post
If there is an organized military, religion, kingdom, that the group belongs to, they can simply be hired based upon their reputation. This requires the perception of the campaign that level 1 PCs are already relatively prominent in local areas, or start higher than level 1.

I typically prefer to do things organically, bringing in the character's own motivations and trying to weave them together. This is most definitely not simple, but it has the best payoff if you're patient for it.

Probably the "easiest" way is to just tell the players that they need to be an established group. This can force players to work together before they even create their characters, or try to figure out a way to get each other connected. Some systems encourage this, using "Bonds" or "Connections" or "Associations" to make it easier.

I usually start my campaign in a relatively large city or populace center, which makes it easier for multiple contexts/desires/goals to meet up in the same place. I can generally get the entire group together and pretty connected in one session.

For example, my last campaign (Star Wars Saga) I let everyone create whatever kind of character they wanted as long as they were aligned neurally or better, had no extreme political views, and that they were on Coruscant. They were all notable in their own way, one was a decorated war hero, one a well known smuggler during the last war, one a Jedi looking to prove himself after a failed mission, one a junior senator, and one the son of the ambassador of newly recognized planet in the senate.

They were all invited by an individual who believed they could be of use, along with around 150 others. Of course, the man who invited them to the party had some people looking to kill him, one thing lead to another, and bam the party turned in to a firefight. Instant friends and colleagues.

The Red King

First Post
My favorite "simple" plot is the unknown doppelganger enemy within the ranks.

I absolutely love The Thing.

The Thing is an awesome movie!

I like to have an NPC group already assembled. This works best with low level players. The established group is looking to take on some new blood to suppliment their numbers. The PC's are to keep back and learn.

First thing they learn is that the guys in front take the most damage. Soon they are whats left of the group fighting for their lives!


You are all requested individually to meet someone in Tavern X at table Y. You are getting to know the others at the table (the other PCs), when someone important looking heads in your direction. Just as s/he's about to greet you the lights go out and you hear *thwack, thawck, thwack*. Then the lights come back on and the would-be Patron is laying face down on the table with three arrows/crossbow bolts in his/her back, quite dead. What do you do?

Hardly novel, but if the players are there to actually play Adventurers, nothing more should be needed. (Well, other than the ton of prep work you did to make the adventure memorable, anyway. ;))

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