How To Create Your Own Plot Factory – Part III

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0836

With 5 Room Dungeons as our core short-adventure building technique, we can introduce and intertwine multiple plots running at once in our campaigns.

We do this so we put the odds in our favour that every session a climax or major milestone will trigger. This keeps our players engaged. And it gives you more control without having to stress over steering gameplay one way or another.

That takes care of the first item in our recipe for Plot Factories:

  • A fast way to create short adventures
  • A way to keep all your plots and details well-sorted
  • Robust hooks for those plots so characters get involved

Let’s now dig into the solution for item number two.

Loopy Planning

Long-time readers will be familiar with this technique. Loopy Planning is a fast and simple way to track multiple, concurrent plots.

It’s also a fantastic tool to keep your campaign brimming with short adventures.

For example, imagine each Next Step is a 5 Room Dungeon. The fifth room hooks the PCs into the Next Step.

All kinds of crazy possibilities happen now. What if one 5RD hooks the PCs into the Next Step of another Loopy Plot thread?

Now you have a baked-in, internally consistent, and milieu cohesive way to keep progress going along multiple Loopy Plots at once.

For example, the Werewolf plot leads to a lair where prisoners are held for food. That lair 5RD ends in one of the prisoners telling the characters about a Sphere of Annihilation being sold on the black market to the villain of the Mage PC plot. And the black market 5RD reveals the identity of one of the Werewolf lieutenants.

Add in a couple more short adventure plot threads, and the nine hells breaks loose.

Tracking Multiple Plot Threads

I produced Campaign Logger with Jochen Linnemann specifically for this type of gameplay.

It works well for linear adventures, sandboxes, hexcrawls, one-offs, and adventure paths too.

You also don’t need Campaign Logger to run Loopy Planning and track multiple short adventure style campaigning. You can use Index Cards, Google Docs, Evernote, wikis, OneNote, etc.

However, we’ve added rapid logging, auto-linking, and quick searching/filtering to Campaign Logger so you can keep all your Loopy Plans straight while GMing or prepping.

Create A Central List Of Plots

Regardless of your choice of tool, you should create a Loopy Plan entry that:

  • Lists each Loopy Plot (5RD short adventure)
  • Links to where you have full details of each Loopy Plot
  • Lists the Next Action beside each Loopy Plot
  • Links to the details of each Next Action

This gives you one, quick, easy, and succinct place to track progress on every short adventure you’re running. It’s like a table of contents, hub, dashboard, or “root node” for your campaign. It’s your Loopy Plan.

Keep this Loopy Plan handy while GMing and prepping so you can navigate to any plot thread fast without having to hunt through pages, documents, or cards.

In the next and final part of How to Create a Plot Factory, we’ll look at ways to come up with a ton of plot hooks. You’ll need lots of hooks if you run lots of short adventures.

‘Till then, have a great week!