View Full Version : Hook Help

2012-05-20, 02:19 AM
Hey, everyone. I know threads asking for help on hooks have been done to death, and I'm sure on some forums, the first three pages would be telling me to go use the search function. I've done so, but it appears to be broken (I keep getting 500 before any results show up). In any case, I think I may have a somewhat unique request. I want to run a game in a modern setting, but I'm having a lot of trouble coming up with a story for modern settings that *doesn't* involve magic, psionics, the supernatural, or anything like that. Almost all of the hooks I see made for D20 Modern have urban arcana type things in them, and I'm specifically trying to avoid that. I'm looking more for a conspiracy type thing, or a heist or something like that, but I'm having a lot of trouble coming up with ideas. Shocking how it's easy to come up with a world-spanning, fantastical adventure centered around magic items, but writing for a world you live in on a daily basis is incredibly difficult. Thanks for any help you guys can offer.

2012-05-20, 04:58 AM
What are the backgrounds of your PCs? What approximately is the year and location you want to play? Do you want an epic story? A mundane every day hook that can be resolved in two sessions?

A bit more input as to want you want will be helpful.

2012-05-20, 05:01 AM
Newspaper headlines would be a good source of plot hooks, if the story is set in our world. :smallwink:

But yes, seconding the suggestion to tailor it to your players.

2012-05-20, 06:16 AM
What are the backgrounds of your PCs? What approximately is the year and location you want to play? Do you want an epic story? A mundane every day hook that can be resolved in two sessions?

A bit more input as to want you want will be helpful.

At this point, I only know two of the players that will be coming in (hoping to find two more), but I do know what they tend to enjoy in a game.

Here's more detail on what I'm kind of looking for:

Globe-trotting, or at least country-trotting scale.
Set either now (2012) or in the not-so-distant future (max, probably 10 years in the future)
Large corporations and governments are welcome for conspiracies, as are secret societies.
No magic. None. Not even flavored as advanced tech.
Similarly, no aliens, monsters, elves or anything of that nature.
Anything else people here have found interesting. Even if the idea as presented doesn't work, it might spark something that I can use and share with the next guy who comes along.

My goal isn't to have an exact story planned out, just a premise that I can work with to start laying out the most important plot points, and maybe start fleshing out/rolling up NPCs. Think of those prompts that are in the 3.5 DMG. "Beneath the Tree of the World lies the Master Clock of Time" or something like that...

I'm also having that awkward moment where I just finished playing Deus Ex for the 5th time, so I'm trying really hard not to make my game turn out just like that, but every time I come up with something on my own, VersaLife ends up making an appearance somehow.

2012-05-20, 10:00 AM
Do yourself a favour, get a hold of Millennium's End RPG. (this may be hard as it is out of print).

Make it a Techo-thriller (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Techno-thriller) genre.
Industrial espionage, assassination, parra-military/mercenary organisations. There is so much potential for a modern day game, it really saddens me that everyone has to resort to making it a modern day fantasy game.

There is so much material for this style of game out there.
TV shows such as 24
Books/Movies based on the works of Crichton, Clancy etc
Computer Games such as Splinter Cell, Syphon Filter etc.
James Bond.

It is everywhere, and people still don't see the potential inspiration there. :smallsigh:

2012-05-21, 03:58 AM
The PCs are professional commercial middlemen. They've successfully made a business out of hooking up foreign and local investors, making large finder fees in the process.

Recently, the influence of their Asian contacts has faded (high ranking government officials that have left office) so they're looking to secure contacts in new territory. They've received an invitation from an old friend currently doing business in Africa. They take the offer and travel there.

Based on this premise, here are some ideas:

* En route to meet their friend, the PCs get kidnapped by a gang that demands a ransom they cannot pay.

* They manage to escape, either on their own or with some assistance of the friend that invited them. They get smuggled into a neighboring country, thinking their troubles are over and they can start making some contacts, instead...

* The PCs enter the country just as the government falls apart under pressure from opposition groups and the country falls into chaos that they have to survive.

* The PCs become the target of attacks one too many times for it to be a coincidence. They eventually find out that they aren't being paranoid and in fact are being targeted specifically.

* They finally figure out that the friend that invited them is working for an old colleague with whom they had made business in the past. This old colleague is about to make a move in which he'd make a huge amount of money (illegally) from the Asian businessmen the PCs hooked him up with. It turns out that he was the one responsible for discrediting their old Asian contacts. The only people that can blow the whistle on what he's doing are the PCs, so he arranged for them to go to Africa, a place he plans they're not going to leave alive.

Hope you can get something from that. Good luck!

2012-05-21, 06:38 AM
<Amazing work>

I'd say I'm speechless, but I'm about to gush a little bit.

That really is the kind of kick start I needed to get my gears turning. Shuffling some of that around (geographically), adding a government and a few other interested parties, and it's really a framework I can take as far as I need to.

Thank you.