Plot Gimmicks

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.


Sometimes a game will get into a rut, with characters doing basically the same thing week in and week out. Plot gimmicks can be used to break up the monotony and sometimes even help the game shift gears.

  1. Holiday Special: The plot of the episode is themed to some game-world holiday: Midsummer’s Night, Halloween, Gurnenthar’s Ascendance, whatever.
  2. A Very Special Episode: The PCs have to deal with some emotional issue: Planning an intervention for a GMC (or PC) with a drug problem, dealing with the death of a beloved supporting character, etc.
  3. Special Guest Star: A character who has previously been referenced but has never appeared “on screen” is central to the session.
  4. Dream Sequence: The entire session is a dream or hallucination.
  5. Flashback: The session takes place in the past. It may focus on the entire group or a single character (with other players taking on the roles of supporting characters). If the flashback reveals something pertinent to the current plotline, even better.
  6. Genre Switch: The session borrows tropes from another genre. For example, a group of fantasy characters must solve a noir-style mystery or space travelers find themselves on a planet that resembles the Wild West.
  7. Zeppo Spotlight: The episode focuses on the adventures of a minor character. This can be a sub-plot revolving around a PC who isn’t often in the spotlight or can focus on a GMC. Players may play their own characters or supporting GMCs.
  8. Mistaken Identity: A character (or the whole group) is mistaken for someone else. This could be good or bad.
  9. Abnormal Behavior: A character or GMC begins acting strangely. The question is, why?
  10. Paranormal Activity: The players encounter evidence of ghosts, cryptids, UFOs, or some other strange phenomenon. Maybe they just have overactive imaginations, but maybe not.
  11. Amnesiac Attack: The players wake up in a strange place with no idea how they got there.
  12. Golden Apple Corps: Something is introduced to make the PCs work against one another.
  13. The Man Behind The Curtain: The players learn something unexpected about a GMC. 
  14. Bottle Episode: The entire session takes place in a single location that the PCs cannot leave.
  15. Film Break: The game picks up at some point in the future, possibly with some existing plots and subplots already resolved.
  16. Plot Archaeology: Some forgotten plot thread from the past shows back up.
  17. Smoke Me A Kipper: An incredibly competent GMC shows up and makes the characters look bad. He may have feet of clay or a hidden agenda, but maybe he’s just that awesome.
  18. Talent Show: The PCs must compete in some kind of contest.
  19. Change of Scenery: The session takes place in an exotic location.
  20. Plot Twist: Something happens that has major repercussions on the storyline.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *