Plot Concepts

Below are some overarching plot ideas for your storytelling. These are the powerful words that turn the mundane into the epic. These ideas can help you to answer the question: What is your story about?

A plot concept drives a story through a series of events that nudge the characters along. In other words, something has to get done. This page has ideas for thinking about plot in your story or adventure.

Missions, Objectives, Goals:

In this story, the characters will…
  • rescue, free, liberate, save, loose, release,
  • defeat, conquer, vanquish, win, destroy
  • overcome, endure, outlast, outlive, survive,
  • prove, justify, validate, atone, right, correct, fix, pay back,
  • run, escape, get away, free oneself,
  • help, aid, assist, support, save,
  • cleanse, purify, neutralize, stabilize, heal, sanctify,
  • begin, stimulate, renew, refresh, establish, reestablish, restore
  • enrich, improve,
  • despoil, corrupt, putrefy,
  • ostracize, discredit, bully,
  • punish, torture,
  • save, protect, insulate,
  • divert, deflect,
  • destroy, annihilate, eradicate, exterminate
  • steal, take, remove,
  • ship, export, deport, move out, move, transport,
  • oust, unseat, overthrow, dethrone, rebel, dislodge,
  • exile, expel, expatriate, exorcise, drive away, force out,
  • break up, shatter, disperse, split, cleave,
  • dispel, undo, disenchant, reverse, flip, turn, restore,
  • explore, study, find out, delve into, spelunk, hunt
  • settle, colonize, populate, overrun,
  • assimilate, absorb, conform,
  • sway, convince, influence,
  • infiltrate, penetrate, invade,
  • collect, gather, find, locate,
  • prove, confirm, expose, disprove, show, reveal, authenticate, substantiate, justify, corroborate,
  • sever ties, break away, go out on one’s own, resettle, start over,
  • form an alliance, establish good will, join forces, overcome a common enemy,
  • overcome persecution, defy the overlords, undermine a ruler, sabotage the empire, scuttle the ship,
  • demoralize, terrorize civilians, take hostages for money, take hostages for political reasons, abduct, kidnap, steal, abscond,
  • impress, gain notoriety, take center stage, stand out, embellish, triumph,
  • rise, grow, expand, blossom, envelop, develop, spring,
  • cover up, hide, bury, silence, sever, crush,


Be sure to check out Character Motivations, the reasons why characters would take on crazy missions or try to obtain insane objectives! From love to wrath to a sense of duty, you’ll find lots of justification for your characters!
Try some of these:
  • love, passion, lust, desire, longing,
  • honour, duty, fealty,
  • anger, wrath, vengeance, hatred, spite,
  • a promise made, fulfillment, a missing piece of self that must be found,
  • power, fame, fortune, reward, adoration, vanity,
  • visited by spirit, ancestral voices, psychic experience, divine inspiration,
  • madness, insanity,
  • truth, justification, righteousness,
  • curiosity, wonder,
  • right of passage, graduation, passage, tradition, ritual,
  • fear of change, fear of truth, fear of embarassment, fear of failure,

Notes and ideas about Plot Concepts

  • Rescue an old wizard’s pet lap-dragon (a tiny version that only breathes a little fire) in exchange for a look in the wizard’s ancient spell book… and maybe a little training in the art of the “Old Ways.”
  • Improve the lives of your people, their farmlands ravaged by drought and disease, by travelling to a far off island where a great druid, a steward of nature, is believed to reside.
  • A terrible creature has been set loose by careless tourists who did not heed warnings. Now the city is under siege and your character must use their superpower (or skills, magic, etc.) to bring the beast to submission. (more tension if there is some reason you can invent where you can’t just kill it)
  • Your character(s) must collect the four pieces of a map that had been long sent to the corners of the Earth (or other world) to prevent anyone finding the valuable artifact hidden there… except now, you need that artifact. Go figure.
  • A task has been assigned to you, the world’s greatest assassin, but you just can’t follow through this time (love, debt, honour?). How can you get out of this without being banished from your order? (This is actually a good internal CONFLICT kind of concept, where the task contradicts the characters inner feelings)
  • You are part of a great journey through the star systems to find a new home for your people (classic story line, eh?). Now people aboard the ship are dying and the only substance that can save them is on a hostile planet known as _______________. You, and a small band of haphazard volunteers are to complete this mission. Good luck…. you’re going to need it.
  • The last request of an elder in your clan is to spread their ashes to five key locations. You, for whatever traditional reason, have been selected to complete this task. Well… get on with it!
  • map can serve as a good catalyst for plot-based adventure. Your characters could find a map, be given a map, buy a map, get an incomplete map, half a map, dubious map,

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