Do they ever.
RPGs (Role-Playing Games) have seized the common story and twisted it in every possible direction. With all the wringing, they’ve managed to squeeze out a slew of useful plot types. Let’s explore those now.
Each short plot description starts with the title (in bold) of the plot pattern. After a hyphen the main characters to be found in the plot are given, separated by commas.
- Supplication - Persecutor, Suppliant, a Power in Authority
- Deliverance - Unfortunates, Threatener, Rescuer
- Revenge - Avenger, Criminal
- Vengeance by Family upon Family - Avenging Kinsman, Guilty Kinsman, Relative
- Pursuit - Fugitive from Punishment, Pursuer
- Victim of Cruelty or Misfortune - Unfortunates, Master or Unlucky Person
- Disaster - Vanquished Power, Victorious Power or Messenger
- Revolt - Tyrant, Conspirator(s)
- Daring Enterprise - Bold Leader, Goal, Adversary
- Abduction - Abductor, Abducted, Guardian
- Enigma - Interrogator, Seeker, Problem
- Obtaining - Two or more Opposing Parties, Object, maybe an Arbitrator
- Familial Hatred - Two Family Members who hate each other
- Familial Rivalry - Preferred Kinsman, Rejected Kinsman, Object
- Murderous Adultery - Two Adulterers, the Betrayed
- Madness - Madman, Victim
- Fatal Imprudence - Imprudent person, Victim or lost object
- Involuntary Crimes of Love - Lover, Beloved, Revealer
- Kinsman Kills Unrecognised Kinsman - Killer, Unrecognised Victim, Revealer
- Self Sacrifice for an Ideal - Hero, Ideal, Person or Thing Sacrificed
- Self Sacrifice for Kindred - Hero, Kinsman, Person or Thing Sacrificed
- All Sacrificed for Passion - Lover, Object of Passion, Person or Thing Sacrificed
- Sacrifice of Loved Ones - Hero, Beloved Victim, Need for Sacrifice
- Rivalry Between Superior and Inferior - Superior, Inferior, Object
- Adultery - Deceived Spouse, Two Adulterers
- Crimes of Love - Lover, Beloved, theme of Dissolution
- Discovery of Dishonor of a Loved One - Discoverer, Guilty One
- Obstacles to Love - Two Lovers, Obstacle
- An Enemy Loved - Beloved Enemy, Lover, Hater
- Ambition - An Ambitious Person, Coveted Thing, Adversary
- Conflict with a God - Mortal, Immortal
- Mistaken Jealousy - Jealous One, Object of Jealousy, Supposed Accomplice, Author of Mistake
- Faulty Judgment - Mistaken One, Victim of Mistake, Author of Mistake, Guilty Person
- Remorse - Culprit, Victim, Interrogator
- Recovery of a Lost One - Seeker, One Found
- Loss of Loved Ones - Kinsman Slain, Kinsman Witness, Executioner (x)
What did we tell you? Awesome, right? Each of these plot types conjure a very clear idea in your head of the action in the narrative, and each represents a time-tested yet very flexible plot. Combine a few by making one into the main plot and some others into minor plots, and you’ve got yourself a pretty sweet story.
For examples of each type of plot, visit this site and look for the heading Sample Plots.