View Full Version : Ganking story ideas?

2007-01-03, 05:00 PM
I'm in the perhaps unenviable position of having to come up with a game for a group of potentialy 8 people before next Tuesday. Not liking the idea of relying on a module, I am tempted to take story elements from an existing source instead of creating my own plot from scratch. I'm curious as to wether or not other DMs see this as part and parcel of the whole DMing experience, or if I am committing some kind of unpardonable sin.

2007-01-03, 05:06 PM
Personally, I have no problem with it. I mean, it would get kind of tiresome if you always ran published material and never came up with your own plots, but once or twice is fine.

It would be a lot more fun for the players, though, if they haven't already read whatever source you're pulling plot elements from.

2007-01-03, 05:22 PM
I get plots from everywhere. I don't usually use them as is from modules but I use them for inspiration. When I first DMed I used them a little more by the book but now I usually come up with my own.

2007-01-03, 05:25 PM
I sometimes get inspired by premade stuff. I have a lot of villains who are homages to my favorite Movies. I have a whole group of rival adventurers based on teh Princess Bride!

2007-01-03, 05:35 PM
"There are no original ideas" - Unknown

Fits for this thread to a degree. Simply put, you can ALWAYS lend an idea from some other source, just don't name it the same name.

On another note; If you're new to DMing, why not run a module? It would help you get your feet wet and save you the hassle of puting together enough material for one night of DMing. WotC just published Scourge of teh Howling Hordes and it looks pretty decent. OR, you could find an older 2e or 3.0e module and just update it (I did this for Temple of Elemental Evil and it's great!).

2007-01-03, 05:38 PM
"There are no original ideas" - Unknown

"Hey! I said that!"

"No I did!"

"No Plato did!"


2007-01-03, 05:40 PM
The DM always* does all the work. As long as everyone's having fun I don't see any reason why the DM shouldn't be able to take it easy when he needs to.

*Yeah, I know there are exceptions. So sue me.

Lord Iames Osari
2007-01-03, 05:54 PM
I personally have never shied away from stealing borrowing story ideas from other sources. In keeping with "There are no original ideas" I focus my efforts on trying to make something fun.

2007-01-03, 06:30 PM
While not exactly sure what 'Ganking' is, most DM's use their own ideas to a greater or lesser extent. I usually start with something published to get things rolling and because the PCs don't really know what they want to do yet - but eventually they'll say, "no, we don't want to go to the Dungeon of Gorrokon, we'd prefer to track down Mad Dog Noogims who killed Ventril's horse a few months ago and stole the Ibrum of Trall."

As your PCs grow in the world, they will want to do more of their own thing and you as the DM will have to move with it.

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-01-03, 07:23 PM
I like to include entire portions of games borrowed from sources my PC's will know. I never run the whole game like that, but they run into some of their fan favorites like Drizzt, Legolas, and Jaime Lannister every now and then when I feel like it. The trick is to make them work within the confines of the rest of the plot, as well as using them in ways that are nifty tributes instead of extremely cheesy additions. That last one can be hard.

2007-01-03, 08:06 PM
There's no such thing as an entirely new idea, so if you have to borrow something don't sweat it. The key is just to twist it in a way that hasn't been done before. Then watch the PCs and draw your inspiration from how they react to what you've given them.

2007-01-03, 09:21 PM
I do it all the time. Really all the time.

There's no such thing as an original idea anymore, so just make sure you steal the good ones, and - very importantly! - make sure your players don't recognize it. I've used everything from Star Wars to Wheel of Time to the Cattle-Raid of Cooley, and more.

2007-01-03, 10:31 PM
I use other people's idea's constantly. From using a character I particularly likes, to an adventure idea, to (in one case) an entire campaign. My goal is to give my player's the best experience possible. To think that I could do that using only my own idea's would be the height of hubris.
Do whatever makes the game more fun for everybody, don't worry about where the idea's come from.

2007-01-03, 10:43 PM
My favorite source for ganking ideas is good ol' human history. Heck, my next campaign will have countries/territories/people based on the following: Egypt (though dead), the Phoenicians, Celts, Han China, classic Greece, the Mongols (seriously, you can't have "Chinese" without "Mongols"), the Mahajanapadas of India, Mitanni, the Roman Republic, Persia (also dead), Vikings, and Tibet.

Man, Wikipedia rocks for whipping up DM ideas and campaigns. Screw historical accuracy!

2007-01-03, 10:56 PM
I have a reasonable collection of old modules from previous D&D editions. What I tend to do when I feel the need to 'gank', is dive into my collection and pull out two or three modules with similar settings. I then run them 'simultaneously', borrowing NPCs and plot points from them when appropriate. I have such fun watching the players get confused between the different plots going on at the same time.

The best is when a player laughs maniacly, exclaims 'I finally know what's going on!', and then one of the other plots dances by and that player screams 'WHAT HAS THAT GOT TO DO WITH ANYTHING?!?!?!'


2007-01-04, 01:15 AM
I love to take existing ideas and build off of them, or just take simple ideas and do the same. Its the way I world build as a DM.

2007-01-04, 02:39 AM
By all means gank ideas :smallbiggrin: I especially like Fhaolan's idea as its simlar to how I've made adventures.

Sit in front of the TV and skip through your favorite channels stopping to watch a scene of whatever show is on. Jot down notes translating that scen into a D&D setting. Get as many scenes as the number of encounters you want in your adventure. Take your favorite encounter, add a combat set up to it if needed and form a plot hook that would lead them to this scene.

When the game starts drop the plot hook and let them decide how to get to the last scene. Along the way run the other encounters in whatever order fits their path/decisions, then run the last big encounter when your out of scenes or just before you want the game to end.

If they dont take the plot hook, make whatever encounter that matches their goals the big one saved for last. Put your climax combat set up in it.

BTW: Cool use of 'gank', havent heard that in a while. Just dont let the players gaffle you up over railroading. :smallwink:

2007-01-04, 07:45 AM
I had an original adventure idea once! If somebody can identify this plot hook I will rescind the statement.
The 1st level PC's find a posting for a small bounty of 500gp for the capture of a teenage boy that has "deflowered" :smalleek: the Duke's teenage daughter. After meeting with the Duke, the daughter pulls the PC's aside and informs them that her father is full of crap. :smallbiggrin: The problem was not the "deflowering" it was that he was just plain BAD at it and needs to be punished. The Duke's daughter gets what she wants, and he did not "perform" as she expected. She lied to her father claiming rape, knowing that would cause his rage. :smallfurious:

2007-01-04, 08:38 AM
"Good artists imitate. Great artists steal." - Pablo Picasso.

Everything you can possibly think of has been done, most likely done better by someone more talented. The real art is not so much stealing stuff you like, but filing off the serial numbers and making it uniquely your own.

S. John Ross has already done a lot of the work of stripping everything down and distilling the essentials of every RPG plot in existence: