Premise: Fantasy – 100 Plot Ideas

More than simple plot hooks or adventure seeds!

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A premise is the heart of a story summed up in a single sentence. It should provide a general overview of what happens, without spoiling anything. A good premise contains, explicitly or by implication, four key elements of the story: who the protagonists are, what the goal of the story is, the sorts of obstacles that need to be overcome in order to achieve the story goal, and who the antagonist is.

Each premise provided in this book is more than just a story hook or adventure seed. It is the beginning of a story, your story, that you can flesh out and develop to suit your specific needs. These can be used again and again by varying the details, changing the four key elements, and altering details like locations, themes, and the rewards and complications that stem from whether or not the protagonists can achieve the story goal.


The assumption is that you already have player characters created, if not fully established. For that reason, elements of the premise should be tweaked to suit the abilities and personalities of the protagonists and not the other way around. Suggested character capabilities that could useful in completing the story goal may be listed, but if no protagonist possesses these traits then a supporting character should be inserted to compensate. Likewise, ties to background elements can either be retconned into a protagonist’s history, or given to a supporting character who can either ask for the protagonists’ help, or hire them to pursue the story goal on their behalf, as appropriate.

Story Goals

The story goal is the objective that the protagonists must achieve in order to successfully complete the adventure. It’s how your audience, whether they are readers, viewers, or players, knows that the story is over. The purpose of the story goal in a tabletop roleplaying game is to keep the players focused and their protagonists on the right track. In a simplified 3-act structure, Act 1 will have the protagonists learning about the story goal and deciding to pursue it. Act 2 will present a series of obstacles that need to be overcome in order to accomplish the story goal. Act 3 will have the protagonists facing the final obstacle, defeating the antagonist, achieving the story goal, and earning their rewards.


Achieving the story goal shouldn’t be easy. The protagonists will need to overcome an escalating series of obstacles. These might be linked thematically, or somehow related to the nature of the goal that needs to be achieved. Start with a simple obstacle early in the story, something that plays to the protagonists’ strengths and will be relatively easy to defeat. Then think of the hardest thing possible, pushing the limits of the protagonists’ capabilities, and make that the final obstacle. Flesh out the middle with obstacles that are increasingly more difficult, bridging the journey from beginning to end.


Each antagonist should have a personal goal that they are trying to achieve, as well as a motivation for pursuing that goal. This might place them in opposition to, on into competition with, the protagonists. If the premise fits with an established antagonist that you have used in previous stories, you should use them. Tweak other elements of the premise to fit their personalities and abilities. Otherwise, you can create a new antagonist that suits the particulars of your desired story and overall campaign or series needs.

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Story Structure

Use time-tested story structures to create better adventures!

All great stories need a beginning, a middle, and an end. On that basic structure writers and storytellers throughout the ages have woven variations and created masterpieces. We keep coming back to the same foundations today for one very good reason: those structures are versatile and continue to work. This book helps you leverage basic story structure and use it to your advantage. Tell the story you want to tell while keeping your audience engaged. You’ll have new tools in your storytelling toolbox, along with the knowledge of how and when to use them in your own creative works.

Designed for creative writers and tabletop roleplayers, with clear step-by-step instructions you can:

  • Utilize the traditional three-act structure
  • Learn what belongs in the beginning, middle, and end of your story
  • Cut down prep work by focusing on essential elements
  • Create a coherent, interconnected campaign or series of stories

Story Structure was designed to work with ReadWriteRoll, but is system-agnostic and can be used alone.

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Setting Design

Design dynamic settings that support telling great stories!

Setting Design helps you to assemble the critical details that you will need in order to tell a story. More than mere worldbuilding, this book shows you how to save prep time by focusing on just the elements you’ll need and use.

With clear step-by-step instructions, you can:

  • Create a clear premise for your setting
  • Establish the genre, place, and time
  • Determine a theme to runs through your stories
  • Develop unique and useful locations
  • Populate the setting with people and organizations
  • Develop a setting bible

Setting Design was designed to work with ReadWriteRoll, but is system-agnostic and can be used alone.

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Building Characters

Create memorable characters with great story potential!

At the heart of all great stories are strong characters. It doesn’t matter whether you’re reading a short story, writing a novel, or watching a play. The characters found in TV series, comic books, and games are more alike on a creative level than they are different. The symbiotic relationship between character and story is universal across media.

Building Characters explores what goes into crafting memorable and enjoyable characters. While the focus is on tabletop roleplaying games, writing terms rather than RPG jargon are used. It’s not going about crunching numbers or picking abilities; it’s about writing your character, rather than just playing them. Because even though there are other hats that we wear around the table, it’s the writer’s craft that we’re dabbling in.

With clear step-by-step instructions, you can:

  • Identify the types of character personalities
  • Develop a compelling and useful character history
  • Explore the character’s motivations, aptitudes, and experiences

Building Characters was designed to work with ReadWriteRoll, but is system-agnostic and can be used alone.

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