Ask A Gm – 004: Campaign Story Ideas

Hello friends, I’m Cam Wiens. GM, Chef and lover of things geeky. Im a Gryffindor, Chaotic Good, and my favorite ninja turtle is Leonardo.


Our protagonist comes from a rustic or tough or impoverished background wherein they long for a change and doesn’t know anything about the world. Little do they know they are about to be thrust into a whole new world, with many dangers and known and unknown enemies. They make new friends and allies along the way, and invariably find out they are some kind of chosen one.

What story am I referencing here? Lots. Harry, Luke, Anakin, Neo, and Katniss. Make a few small tweaks, what if they aren’t longing for a change? Bilbo Baggins. What if they aren’t the chosen one? Arthur Dent. My point is this: To write a story arc for your players is incredibly easy. Getting them to follow the story is another problem all together.

But I digress. Some of the greatest role-playing games I’ve ever played have been a completely borrowed tale from pop culture.Little tweaks will automatically happen with 4 or 5 co-writers at the table role-playing the story along with you.

Another example I’ve decided to try out. A wizard creates a golem, but this golem is special. He imparted it with a piece of his soul perhaps. Or created a neural link. The golem lashes out and runs away. It begins to create more golems with the neural link and now it has an army of golems that our players have to defeat.

The golem has a side project to create a new body for itself. Something goes wrong and the players steal the body away from the golem. Congratulations you now can introduce a war forged player character mid campaign with an integrated backstop.

I likely explained that poorly,  but its a cheap rip off of Age of Ultron.  It also doesn’t of course have to be the chosen one trope. I have a genuine problem reading and watching media and dissecting it in my brain into an RPG game.

Read comics, read books, watch TV and movies and you can find inspiration anywhere. So long as it isn’t for commercial purposes and you are playing with your friends it doesn’t particularly matter if you blatantly take your story ideas. Just make sure you credit the source when all is said and done.

Until then, happy dice rolling.

– CAM

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