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Written by Kate Manchester

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Character involvement
Insist that your players create backgrounds for their characters. Then look for possible scenarios. Is the character being pursued by an old enemy? Have the enemy periodically show up and taunt the character.

Or look for common threads in the characters. In one campaign I ran, all the female characters had fairly high appearance levels, so I created a story of a "beauty pageant by gunpoint," with the "winner" becoming the bad guy's girlfriend for a year.

Check out the Locale
If you are setting your game in a more modern setting or one based on specific fiction works, research the locale for places of interest that can serve as a springboard for scenarios. For example, if your campaign is set in the world of Star Wars, you could have your characters visit the Mos Eisley Cantina, get caught up in a bar fight, and then have the losing Imperial officer send stormtroopers to arrest them.

Go to the source material
Read those pre-made adventures and if they provide you with smaller scenarios, use those as a stepping stone to your own story. For example, one scenario may involve a reporter who decides to investigate the character. In my scenario, this reporter works for the bad guys, and asks the characters to help him write an "expose" of a local figure, who he accuses of embezzlement.

There are websites that can provide you with inspiration for plots. One need only look for them. Just make sure that you let the website's creator know what you're doing if they specify that all the material is copyrighted and NOT to be used without their permission. Hit search engines tailored to RPGs and if possible, the specific game and you should be able to come up with some useful web sites.

Use your imagination
If you can recall your dreams in detail, by all means use them if you can. If your friends talk about dreams they have, try to use them. For example, if you have a dream of being chased, try to analyze it. If you dream about a monster that scares you, try to remember what it looks like, what it does, and then spring the creature on your unsuspecting players.

If you notice a particular locale or NPC that the players enjoy, by all means, continue using it. Maybe that annoying thief that made off with the party's treasure while they were sleeping bumps into the party while trying to elude the local authorities. Will the party attempt to detain him and turn him over to them? Or will they use this opportunity to get even?

Inspiration for scenarios can be found just about anywhere. The only limit is your own imagination.

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