These are specific plots that I have either used successfully in the past, or would like to try.
Even though they are somewhat specific, there is still plenty of room for customization, so you can always add your own flavour. Ultimately, it should be our
plot... not just my
Honour among the starsDesire:
When a starship transporting frozen criminals and political prisoners to a slave colony stumbles across a mysterious, abandoned alien spacecraft, and loses a half-dozen of their crew to booby traps while trying to claim it, they come up with a clever scheme: unthaw some of the frozen “passengers”, strap them with explosives to ensure their cooperation, and send them over as expendable drones to clear the booby traps. The plan backfires when the victims not only manage to secure the ship, but also find a way to disable the explosives, leaving them free and in command of the most advanced starship in the universe.
But escape is only the first step. With as much power as they have available, the rag-tag crew of criminals and political prisoners aren’t satisfied with merely running, or even simple looting and piracy. No, they’re going to take the whole damn corrupt Federation down, and free all of the worlds from its ruthless, totalitarian grasp.
That is, of course, if they don’t kill each other first. The most advanced starship in the universe and all the power it promises is a tempting prize; more than enough to stab your fellows in the back for, and claim for yourself. You know what they say about honour among thieves....
Inspired by: Blake’s 7, Farscape, Andromeda, and Starship Operators.
The core of this idea is that a bunch of people who don’t trust each other are all stuck together on this super-advanced craft, grudgingly cooperating. In theory, if they work together, they can overthrow the vicious totalitarian Federation that is trying to unite the galaxy by force, and bring freedom to humanity. In reality, just about any one of them might betray everyone else and claim the ship for themselves, given half a chance. It’s a game where every character has their own agenda, and their own secrets, and everyone is left wondering who’s really on their side, and who’s just biding their time and waiting for the chance to sieze it all for themselves.
When I’ve played this idea before, my partner’s character was always someone from our own universe, and our present time, who was thrust into this warped universe without a clue of how they got there or what was going on. They were just innocents – nice guys, really – who ended up prisoner of a corrupt regime, then captain of a super-advanced ship, leading a haphazard revolution... with me playing multiple scheming women (and the ship’s two-faced AI) all trying to trick, seduce, or control him (and by extension, the ship) for their own purposes. That’s not how we’d have to do it, though.
Job opening: Defender of Earth. Benefits included.Desire:
action and comedy.
Two ordinary people who are down on their luck and in desperate need of work apply for a job that is short on details and seems too good to be true, but the outstanding reputation of the company lures them in. After a truly bizarre and gruelling “interview” process, they are told that they have been selected to join an ultra-secret, elite team of soldiers, whose job is defend the Earth from extra-dimensional invasions.
Now their lives are punching in for a 9-to-5 that has them slipping into advanced combat armour and battling hordes of alien robots in other dimensions, then going to home to their apartments and everyday lives after work, all the while keeping their incredible jobs and world-saving heroism secret from their friends, their families, and the world at large.
Inspired by: Persona 3, Full Metal Panic!, Gatchaman Crowds, and Zegapain.
I envision this as a somewhat lighter game, with tongue-in-cheek humour coming from the characters’ befuddlement with the ridiculously over-the-top, science-fictional, secret agency and their chaotic jobs, and their efforts to live a “normal” life when off the job. Also, there is plenty of comic potential from having to hide what they do from meddling family, curious friends, and the world in general, and from the frustration at having everyone else think of them as mere dull office drones shuffling paper while they’re bursting from holding back the truth.
And of course there's plenty of fun to be had going overboard in the battles, such as ridiculous or ginormous enemies perhaps with humilating attacks (“I've been slimed”, or perhaps gropy, clothes-ripping tentacles), insanely overpowered weapons that cause massive destruction, or silliness like calling out attacks.
The power to shape destinyDesire:
When it comes to getting ahead, it doesn’t matter that you’re smart, capable, or even that you do all the “right” things. All that matters is that you’ve got the right family, the right connections, or enough cash that neither of those things are necessary. But sometimes, luck can change the game dramatically.
By a surprising twist of fate, a guy who was destined to a lifetime at the bottom of the ladder, kowtowing to those who’d been born more privileged – but not more capable – than him, found himself with a most amazing partner. (The following are two examples I’ve used in the past for how they met.)
- He was just going about his business late one night, when he happened to look up. There seemed to be an awfully bright star in the sky... and it was getting brighter. He watched in shock and horror as the light turned into a fiery streak across the sky, tearing overhead through the darkness, and smashing into a remote area only a few kilometres away, raising a mushroom cloud on impact. Driven by curiosity as the only person around, he made his way over to the impact site at the end of a long crater burned into the ground, still cooling down from temperatures that had turned the soil to glass. He could hardly believe his eyes when a nude woman walked out of the steam and smoke at the core of the impact crater, and stood before him, waiting for instructions.
- He was just a junior scientist (or janitor, or even just a thief who had broken in), and he wasn’t supposed to be in that top secret, restricted area. But somehow security screwed up and there he was, and before him was a strange, sealed sarcophagus, surrounded by a mass of wires and tubes. No one else was around... what harm could there be in taking a quick peek? But on opening the metal sheilding over the sarcophagus, he was astonished to see a nude woman, floating in fluid. He was even more astonished when she opened her eyes and looked at him. Terrified, he quickly resealed the sarcophagus and ran before he could be found out by the guards. But the damage was done; she had imprinted, and now would obey only him. And when she tore the facility apart a few weeks later to escape, it was him she ran to.
Though she has the power of a god, she is a blank slate... and she obeys only him. He can choose to train her to be the greatest force for good the world has ever known. Or the greatest force for evil.
Inspired by: Sekirei, Steel Angel Kurumi, and All-Purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku Nuku.
This idea is a bit of a “what if” scenario we can explore. What if an ordinary person – someone at the bottom of the social ladder – suddenly had the power to save, control, conquer, or destroy the world. What would he do?
And the corollary is... what would she become? If he turned her into a hero, would she stay by his side or leave him to save the world? If he turned her into a monster, would she turn on him?
How this all unfolds is up to you! Do you want to train a superhero? Or do you want to create a supervillain? Do you want to use her to make your character rich and powerful? Or do you want to take this supremely powerful being, and keep her as a house pet for your pleasure? The choice is yours! (And if you like, we can always play multiple characters, so you can try out different possibilities at the same time.)
Put on a good show, as if your life depends on itDesire:
action, horror, and drama.
An ordinary man wakes up (possibly after dying) naked in a bizarre, futuristic, fluid-filled tube, and is promptly flushed into a strange, spartan room. The only other occupant: a woman who informs him that he has been pulled into a sick game, where the participants are given twisted “tasks”, and forced to hunt down and kill monstrous creatures. The survival rate is alarmingly low.
Every aspect of their lives, in and out of battle, is being controlled, monitored and streamed for the entertainment of a secret cabal of the rich and powerful. They are forced to wear revealing and humiliating outfits, to perform degrading and disgusting tasks, and to engage in dangerous and bloody combat, all at the sadistic whims of the viewers. If they refuse to cooperate, they are tortured, and if that doesn’t work... well, their gruesome and torturous execution can always be broadcast as a special. Their only hope is to play the game, and survive long enough or earn enough “points” to be set free.
Inspired by: Gantz, Series 7: The Contender, and Saw.
Gratuitous sex and violence is what this is all about. We can tune the level and the tone to taste.
We can even use multiple characters to have a revolving door of participants, any of whom can die and be replaced at any time.