One thing I believe strongly in, is that you can get a game plot from just about anywhere. Rip off a couple of films or TV series and mix them together. Take a couple of books and rip the bits you like out of them. Listen to an album and look at the song titles and see what comes to mind.
In working on MotSP and looking at the inspiration – LotFP – me and Raggi don’t agree on everything, but one thing we definitely do agree on is ‘Because it’s awesome, so fuck you’. Unfettered, unrestricted, anything goes, rough-and-tumble gaming. Because it’s fun. Sometimes you want plausibility, sometimes you want giant, stone, radioactive heads firing laser-beams out of their eyes while reciting prophecy. Cool, fab, whatever.
MotSP is more of an ‘anything goes’ sort of game but one thing I do want to include, to mirror LotFP is a lot of GM and player advice and ‘How I play’. Tools and ideas that I’ve found useful to help out when you’re running a game.
Part of that is coming up with plots.
Yesterday I did an experiment. I asked my friends on Twitter, Facebook and G+ to name ‘five awesome things’ without telling them what it was for or about. It’s my contention that you can use even this to come up with plots. So I collated everything they suggested into The Table of Awesome below. Not only does this give you an insight into the psychological nature of my followers (!) but it can also be used for gaming inspiration.
The Table of Awesome
53-55 Martial Arts
62-63 Natural Disasters
84-85 Solar Storms
96 Time travel
Here’s an example:
Machines, Children, Pets
Space Family Robertson: A family spaceship AI has decided that the parents are utterly irresponsible and has marooned the mother, father, the camp professor and the jock space-marine on a planet. It has then absconded with the older sexy daughter, the younger weirder daughter and the precocious genius son as well as the family robot and their pet space-monkey. The family wants to hire the ‘venturers to take them to regain their family. To do so they’ll have to track them down, invade the ship, overcome the defences and the robot and even – perhaps – convince the kids that they DO need saving.
To show that’s not a fluke…
Megafauna, Universe, Humour
Whalin’ on ‘em: Voidwhales tack between universes, feasting on planckton. Adult whales have absorbed enough of the ‘stuff of reality’ that the can be harvested for enough raw ‘quintessence’ to create your own, small, pocket universes. Rumour has it that a ripe, fat whale has just entered this parallel and the worth of a whole custom universe cannot be underestimated! Killing the whale isn’t enough, it must be harvested and when it’s the size of a moon that ain’t easy. Matters are further complicated by an obsessed whaler, a shanty-town of starships on the creature’s skin and a race of intelligent parasites living inside it.
You don’t need to go to the lengths I have, but ‘three things’ seems to work well for inspiration. You could have a ‘hat’ into which your players can put plot suggestions, things they think are awesome, things they want to see in the game and then pluck things out, each session, looking for inspiration.
All you really need is that spark to get your brain going.