This is my first piece for the RPG Blog carnival, I love twists and subplots. In my 20 years of playing and game mastering, i have found that my mind seeks out connections and relations between events, players and story.
So i thought i’d use this oppertunity to browse through my old GM library and see what twists was uncovered throughout the years.
The black sheep – playercharacter based twist
Here’s a story of an adventuring party that set out to investigate a villain who was terrorizing people, there were strong indicators that he might be a vampire. He seemed to take a personal interrest in the adventurers, sometimes showing up unexpectedly but not engaging in physical confrontation. He was creating vampire henchmen and he seemed to be able to defy the conventional believed restrictions of vampires. It appeared that among other things he could survive sunlight and silver, but nobody knew how he did it. After hunting and being hunted the adventurers discovered that the vampire lord was actually the uncle of a wizard in the party. Could the adventuring wizard resist taking up the family mantle of undeath? After all his uncle had found a way to beat the downside of the deal.
Reality and dreams – playercharacter based twist/subplot
There was this young wizard, full of promise and power but also lots of double standards. He wanted his cake and eat it too and always defended his position with righteous belief that he was not taking a double standard. This became the fuel of a dangerous adventure which he had no choice but to undertake. He was carrying a fragment of a once powerful artifact, this particular piece was infused with a good amount of Chaos Essence. The ambition, power and duality of the wizard became the fuel for the artifact and it created a dreamworld where this duality took form. At random nights when he went to sleep, the artifact would pull him and his nearby companions into this dreamworld to face his duality. At the end of it all awaited the twist… the entire dreamworld and the “endboss” in it was ‘half-wing’ a manifistation of the wizards own double standards, half-angel half-demon forever changing its mind and opinion. Through this dreamworld the wizard might face his own fears and overcome his own duality.
Timechangers – story/npc based twist
In an underground dark elf city, a high priestess of undeath had overtaken and pillaged the city. The adventurers found themselves in the midst of the city after having escaped imprisonment in a nearby outpost of the city. An oppertunity to travel back in time presented itself, unbeknownst to the players/characters they would embark upon an adventure to prevent the high priestess goddess from becoming and thus end the high priestess reign in the city for there would be no goddess of undeath if they succeeded. When they came back, the High priestess was suddenly an ally of which they would need help to continue the campaign.
Assassin savior – playercharacter based twist/choice
A lost elven woman, formerly an adventuring rogue/fighter, roaming the multiverse in endless unwilling servitude of a devil, was presented the oppertunity for redemption and freedom. She took a chance to trust this offer and through hard trials she broke free of her shackles and found her heritage. It turned out that her mother had been a druid-sworddancer in service of good. But before she could recover all of her heritage and assume her mothers mantle she was yet again at a crossroads. She could sacrfice her own soul and save thousands of souls trapped in a necromantic prison or she could leave them be and seek out her mothers artifacts and assume her place as a chosen of the goddess.
Who are you? – playercharacter based twist
a party of adventurers had formerly worked as a special ops group for the black network “Zentharim” but had faked their own deaths to strike out on their own as a group for hire equally among the criminal scene as the goodietooshoes scene. Along their travels they would encounter strange things:
one character had a vision of handing a scroll to a Githzerai, but her arm was not her own it was covered in fur and had sharp claws for nails. This vision occurred just as a the same Githzerai appeared out of thin air to kneel before her and hand her the same scroll.
they were rescued from captivity by an old man who stepped out of a portal and took them to Sigil and acted as if he knew them, yet they had never met him before.
During their trip to Sigil one of the adventurers came into contact with a sense stone which felt strangely familiar to her, as if she had experienced it herself before.
All of these strange seeds were leading up to them discovering they where reincarnations and they had led many lives. But the major one they had lived was one where they had all been the right hands of individual gods, but they had been cast down and forced to live a loop of reincarnations as mortals with no memory of their former life as immortal right hands of gods.
Identity theft – npc based twist
What is a twist & surprise collection without a shapeshifter?
it was a classic case of npc looking for help, is really a shapeshifter who assumed the npc’s identity to get adventurers to fetch him something that was difficult for himself to aquire.
An old hermit possessed an old signet ring that could prove important to another important npc, the adventurers was looking for this. The old man had smelled trouble a while ago and gave the ring to some strange friends of his for safekeeping. His friends were little blue humanoid creatures (no, not smurfs) and the shapeshifter thought he could use the old mans shape to befriend them and get the ring. Unfortunately the little blue people could somehow sense or see through his disguise. Seeing as the adventurers came by looking for the ring as well, why not get them to do the heavy lifting.
Those were some of my more memorable uses of twists and surprises as a GM.
What twists and surprises do you remember best from your RP history?