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Friday, September 11, 2015

Stolen Movie Plots, Ready for Use

So, on one of my favorite RPG blogs (DMing with Charisma), there is an article about designing a game session in 60 minutes. As part of the article's advice for planning a session in an hour, it contains a segment for determining the plot arc for the evening.

Go to your bookshelf, DVD case, video game collection, whatever place you have that stores creative media. Look over what you have and grab a few items with which you’re familiar.[...]Given what you’ve grabbed, consider each and boil it down to its most basic conflict. This is the plot you’ll use for your session [...] For these purposes the heroes and most of the setting are irrelevant. We only want a conflict and perhaps an antagonist, so ignore everything else.
When we look at [The Avengers film] very, very broadly, looking at the villain and conflict gives us “a magician appears to herald and lead invaders”. That’s the sort of thing you want because it gives you a lot of wiggle room.
This is my favorite part of the article, and I come back and read the article in its entirety every few months (or so it seems to me).

In fact, I like the idea so much, that I have spent some time going through a number of the movies on my own shelf and breaking them down in the same way. These villainous plots are suitable for adaptation into an array of settings, and I encourage you to go read the article yourself and then take a look over your own favorite pieces of fiction.

What can you see beneath the surface? What great plot awaits adaptation? I've provided a list of my own (which contains some psuedo-spoilers), but I'd love to hear from you about how you were able to break down your favorites.

Villainous Plots

  1. Invincible warriors search for a magical item. (The Fellowship of the Ring)
  2. A traitor unleashes an army. (The Two Towers)
  3. A hermit tries to steal a magical item. (The Return of the King)
  4. An assassin appears in an unfamiliar land to kill an important woman. (Terminator)
  5. A warrior seeks a power source hidden in a person. (Thor: The Dark World)
  6. A councilor plots to kill everyone who might ever oppose him. (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
  7. A war priest seeks information about a powerful weapon. (Star Wars IV: A New Hope)
  8. A merchant army invades a peaceful community. (Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace)
  9. A corrupt politician fabricates a massive war. (Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones)
  10. A prodigious warrior betrays his order. (Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith)
  11. A prince plans to wed an unwilling woman. (The Princess Bride)
  12. A skilled assassin seeks fugitives at any cost. (Serenity)
  13. A politician gains the unthinking obedience of the military and seizes absolute power. (Divergent)
  14. A ruthless politician tries to unlock an ancient secret. (Insurgent)
  15. Militant cultists follow a globe-trotting trail to an ancient artifact. (Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

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