200% FUNDED! Stretch goals have been reached!
Thank you to all the backers who have pushed this campaign so high.
Plotbuilder is designed to help you create story arcs for any purpose, whether you're a role player, a writer, into theatre sports, or something else entirely. Setting agnostic, the cards are able to quickly generate plot frameworks regardless of period, style or background specifics.
Each deck has 72 cards, comprising six categories of twelve options each. Along with your pledges you will receive a high quality PDF of the cards to do what you want with. Get a 12-sided die and you can generate plots that way too.
Usable at any stage of story telling, from a blank page to on-the-fly development, the Plotbuilder deck can be targeted as required. Need the primary driving force for a character? Draw a Motive card. What about a victim for the antagonist to pick on? Draw a Character card. How about a plot bubbling in the background that the protagonist might bump into? Go the whole hog and do an entire Plotbuilder story!
Millions of plot combinations can be made with the Plotbuilder deck by drawing just one card from each deck, but many cards instruct you to draw more. You won't have the same story twice!
Find out more at the MN-Games website.
As an added "feel good" bonus, once the project has been successfully funded I'll be donating decks to local schools to encourage kids to create their own adventures. Initially for the Brisbane region, the ultimate goal is to get multiple sets of cards across all Queensland schools.
Story creation: Using the whole deck (or even just parts of it) you can build entire story arcs, whether they be the primary plot or secondary ones. Pick and choose cards if you want - let the cards be an inspiration for your imagination.
Quick character development: I can't speak for everyone's RPG groups, but ours tends to derail even the best thought out campaigns. Part of this is the way the players end up focusing their attention on an NPC who was not meant to be anything more than a passing encounter. In this instance, grab a Motive and Method card and the basic outline of the character is done.
Creative workshops: These cards can be used within a group environment such as writing workshops or improvisation classes. Bring out a quick plot and have the attendees come up with a way to bring the story to life.
Writing classes: You think Shakespeare was good at penning an ode? He was just following a series of story attributes. Using these cards will help guide a class through the process of defining a plot.
Sort and shuffle each card type into their respective piles. You'll end up with a deck each for Characters, Organisations, Motives, Methods, Results and Twists.
1. Draw a Character card
This is the main protagonist for the whole plot; the one who instigates the proceedings and who guides it's path. A character may be anyone from the ruler of the land to a lowly individual acting on their own. The Character cards give suggestions based on each setting style (fantasy, modern and future).
2. Draw an Organisation card
Some Characters belong to, and have access to the resources of an Organisation. If this is the case, the Character card will direct you to draw one of these cards to determine who they operate for. Like the Character cards, these too list some ideas based on each setting style.
3. Draw a Motive card
Why is the protagonist doing what they are doing? Are they obsessed with revenge, acting out of ambition or just plain mad? Whilst it might not have a direct impact on the plot, many motivations offer opportunities for diversions and additional story arcs.
Some ideas and hooks are given to suggest possible ways to flesh out the Motive. For instance, Revenge doesn't always mean something direct for an obvious slight. Perhaps it could be embarrassing the target in front of their peers for snagging a job out from the Character?
4. Draw a Method card
This is the primary mode used to progress a Character's cause. Do they simply threaten violence to get their way? Perhaps they prey on the faith of their targets. They may even bribe their way to glory. Whatever method drawn though, remember that it's not the only one...
5. Draw a Result card
This is the desired end goal of the protagonist. Some indicate that a deeper story arc is at play, and gives you the chance to build an in depth world (use these cards again if required).
A few Result cards are targeted at specific individuals. Where instructed, draw more Characters to find out who is the beneficiary (for better or for worse) of the plot.
5. Draw a Twist card
It's very probable that all is not what is seems. This provides the "sting in the tail" of the plot, and enables further world building opportunities. Again, further card draws may be used to extrapolate a Twist.
Here's an example of how the Plotbuilder cards can be used to generate a protagonist for a role playing group which is coming together for a gaming session soon. I need to put together my own dastardly villain. I could use the GM advice in the back of a resource book, or a ready-made NPC, but then I have to read a whole backstory and figure out how it relates to my group. I reach for my Plotbuilder deck to manufacture a character that fits into our Historical Crime adventure.
First up, I draw a Character card: LEADER, it explains, may head a team or department but must explain decisions if things turn sour. Historical examples include: Bishop, Foreman, or Slaving Overseer. At the bottom of the card I’m instructed to draw an Organisation card. This turns out to be a COOPERATIVE and the examples include a Guild, a Club, or a Lodge.
Putting these two together I get a Foreman within a Guild. The examples give me inspiration, so I come up with a Treasurer of the local chapter of the Bakers Guild - an organisation my group saved from the Menacing Mold Merchant in a previous adventure, so long ago it could be stuck in the 80's. That’s got merit. Being historical, I’ll go ahead and make the antagonist an enterprising Female - just to stir the pot. So what is this bad woman cooking up?
Well, for that we sift in a Result. She wants to PROMOTE SELF. A high achiever wanting to rise up in society; that stands to reason. What is the drive behind achieving her goals?
We need a Motive: FAME. Our bakers delight wants to walk down streets glazed in chocolate topping. She wants to bake in the glory of her rise. Fame is the icing on her wonderfully flavoured cake.
How is she going to achieve this? By a Method: BRIBERY. The card goes on, but for now that should stand on its own.
So there we have background to our story. The Guild of Bakers has achieved a previously unattainable position of head guild in our fictional historical realm of Beaudesert Shire. This can be attributed to the diligent and fastidious work of one of the Guild’s office-bearers, Mrs Jam Decorator. Underpinning the guild's levels of acclaim is the fact that she is bribing state officials with delicacies – sticky buns with mouth-watering glaze and melt in your mouth pastries. By baking... ahem... making the guild look good, she is achieving her aim of promoting herself and getting into a position to make a move for the position of Baking Guild Grand Pastry. This would see her achieve her aim of being the Beaudessert Shire Head Guild Master (or Mistress), and thus as famous as Lamingtons (a fictional dessert, made from stale cake dressed up with desiccated coconut and chocolate). There we have the plot for the Bribing Baker of Beaudessert!
In a surprising sugar Twist, the search for fame is Deceptive. This requires a redraw on the Motive and Result cards. Her actual Motive comes up as Revenge, and with such a succulent morsel to work with I choose to ignore the new Result as that will come naturally to the story.
Let’s work this in. The Builders guild, in which her husband worked, overlooked a critical safety aspect, and Mr H. Decorator was unfortunately killed. No more donuts for him. To get back at them, Mrs Decorator is looking to use power and influence as Beaudessert's Head Guild Master to demolish the Builders guild. This would also make her the most famous lady in the land, so it still achieves her original motive, but gives her an even stronger moral standpoint.
How will the adventurers react when they confront Mrs Jam Decorator for her bribery to become a famous person, only to find that she is seeking justice for the “accidental” death of her husband, Mr Homer Decorator? It definitely mixed up the ingredients and baked a sound plot there: Jam's Justice Jaunt is brought to life! Hot crossed puns and all! Bonus points if you figured out Jam's maiden name!
[All credit goes to Ian Wright for the magnificent example!]
Are you looking for ideas to describe how to impart (or receive) pain? Try the Combat Description Cards produced by Conflict Games.
If you're having writers block, or can't figure out how to resolve part of your plot, try the Writer Emergency Pack.
Need a character quickly? Try the Who is in the Tavern deck by Catloaf Games.
The music in the video is "Super Hero" by Tabletop Audio. Check them out for some awesome tracks!
A light hearted look at how famous authors, screenwriters and other writers may use the Plotbuilder decks.
... George RR Martin
Go for 200 decks. Remove all but two Twist cards in each set, scratch out the titles and instead write "Lives" and "Dies" in their place.
Use each deck for a different character. If you draw a "Lives" Twist for a character, after each chapter written redraw the Twist.
... Quentin Tarantino
Get one deck. Remove all of the Method cards except for "Violence". Add buckets of blood punctuated by casual conversation.
... Stephenie Meyer
One deck but this time only ever use the "Individual" Character and "Love" Motive. There are no Twists. Add supernatural elements as desired.
Risks and challenges
The card producer has already been engaged and is ready to take the order. The deck has already been designed and is awaiting the completion of the KS project.
The biggest risk we have are delays in the printing and delivery of the cards. The expected delivery date has been over-estimated to (hopefully!) account for any delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (20 days)