One great way to get player-generated ideas for adventures and campaigns is to ask the Fantastic Four questions.
Hand out four cards to each of your players. Each card should have one to three sentences describing a person or objective.
The first card is a Friend NPC who can be anything from a drinking buddy to a contact in the local royal court. These NPCs can be patrons, plot hooks, or just for fun roleplaying.
The second card is a Family member, an NPC related to the PC. The GM can imperil a family member to create tension and motivation for an adventure.
The third card is a Foe, an NPC that is directly opposing the PC either directly or indirectly. Foes are particularly useful for GMs. Need a quick adventure or side-quest? Have the Foe make an appearance and make the PCs’ lives miserable. The players will quickly seek to deal with the Foe. Make sure the Foe is not easily defeated — surround them with retainers or followers so Foes can live for multiple adventures.
The last card is for a Flame. The Flame is something the PC desires and can be an NPC they are in love with, a need to seek justice against an evil empire, or an object (perhaps a magic relic or powerful weapon) that the PC desires.
Make the Fantastic Four questions a collaborative discussion where people muse out loud about what they are thinking of writing down. The group can build off each other’s ideas and help inspire you if you get stuck.
After the brainstorming session, have the players pass in their cards. Use a few cards to form the framework of the current adventure. Shuffle through the cards between games and make sure each players gets the spotlight from time to time by pulling a PC’s Friend, Family, Foe, or Flame into the next game!
In my next post we’ll talk about the Triggered Heist technique.