Story incubator


What seeds of stories do you have that need a little more fleshing out? Character back stories, setting, histories, monster? What kernel of an idea have you had floating around that you'd like to polish and put into a campaign? Every GM and player has half of something. Maybe we can help add the flavor you're looking for to finally put it out there for a group!


  • Kallak
    Posts: 860

    Ooh, awesome thread. I love this concept. I really hope folks fill this thing up with a ton of ideas (partial or otherwise), contributions and the like. I'm excited at where this thing could go (I hope it does).

    If I can toss something out to start the ball rolling, I've had this sort of half an idea for a sandbox campaign that is wholly random. Names and maps from online generators, plots from random tables out of the DMG/GameMastery style books, etc.

    My problem is that the random theme is very meta, and I'm not sure how to carry some of that theme over into the campaign without things being too wonky and feeling disconnected or mish mash.

    All the best,
    - Kallak

    Inner Council Member
    CotM Selection Committee
    Writer/Editor - Words In The Dark
    Obsidian Portal Community and Content Manager
    GameMaster - Crucible of the Blacksoul (CotM for Jan. 2013)

  • gastoff
    Posts: 18

    @Kallak, Maybe the randomness is part of the overarching plot. Some great cosmic force is causing the natural order of things to be jumbled up and it is the PCs mission to set things right: Limbo is bleeding over into the other planes, or The Maelstrom is growing larger and no one knows why, etc. At higher levels, it could take them to some strange extraplanar locales.


  • Conan_Lybarian
    Posts: 120

    I like that @Gastoff- puts a good bow on an otherwise kind of random package. That being said @Kallak, the campaign could play like a series of one shots, or like a TV show. Think kind of like Rick and Morty. Wacky and random, but still an over arching back story. An overall theme of trying to stop "The Entropy" or some other force of chaos, with lots of room for the random. I'd say lay in some common elements, like a home base that each "episode" starts from, or send your party off with missions like Charlie's Angels,  but it doesn't take much to ground an otherwise fantastical game.

  • JaymesBolton
    Posts: 267

    @Kallak I second the notion of making it episodic withing the randomness. That way you can have a "theme" per "episode" of things that kinda correlate but the next "episode" is a whole new batch of random things. 

    For mine I have had an idea for a medieval fantasy urban adventure inspired by books like "Mistborn" or "Nightangel". I have been working on the metropolis for a while now (close to a decade) but now that the city parts are "mostly" finished I have realized that I only have a half idea of a corrupt government and different factions fighting shadow wars for power when it comes to the actual story. 


  • Conan_Lybarian
    Posts: 120

    I'm running a shadow war/secret faction game now- and it's defenitly tricky. I've kind of layed it out with three elements. 1- the obvious/public factions. 2- Their secret enemies. 3- the end game and ultimate goals of each. It's easy to want to add a bunch of fluff, but create 1 major goal for each and why they're fighting each other. I know that sounds simple, but it is. Write them in red pen and stick with it. Not trying to sound condescending, I'm just saying that even though it seems like a big job to tackle, you can always fall back on the the bones of the story when you start introducing new elements and characters.

  • Jynx001
    Posts: 21

    Idea Seed: Forest World - the entire world is covered in different kinds of forests and the inhabitants have adapted to their particular region, incorporating their kind of forest into their lives.

    Examples that need further work:

    The Amberi - In the cool regions of the northern maple, the Amberi people have mastered the alchemy of sap, resin, and tar. They harden their leaf armor with resins that calcify over hundreds of years, and their glue traps are deadly deterrants to invaders.

    The Bamabo - Master builders and artisans of the East, their sprawling civilization is tied to the cultivation and craftsmanship of bamboo. Fast growing and highly versatile, they have expanded to the limits of their well-cultivated empire and now face a crisis - invade and spread their way of life to other regions or ring their world with walls and isolate themselves?

    The Greenbeards - The mountain clans are known on sight for their straight backs, thick beards, mighty clubs, and great cloaks fashioned of pine needles. Survivalist nomads, they traverse the frozen forests, following the ancient ways and the old gods. Some claim they have hidden cities, secreted away inside rings of mighty evergreens.

    The Red Giants - On the Edge of the West, giants still roam. Their trees are tall as the sky, but they grow slowly and cannot compete with the faster smallfolk. The stoic peace that has endured for ten thousand years is at an end, for the nearby tribes have broken the ancient taboo and cut down the mighty monuments. The red wood is of great value and conflict is innevitable.

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