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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Are There Any OSR Settings / Systems that use the "Plot Point" Format?

I was looking at the Savage Worlds site, and it seems to me that I really haven't seen the "Plot Point" format used elsewhere - or maybe I'm spending too much time reading the format and not the results.

From the PEG / Savage Worlds site:
In general, Plot Point books follow a certain format: 
1) Introduction: Geared for both players and GMs. This section tells you what the world is all about, what the big backstory is, and who the adventurers typically are. Maybe a quick overview of the world goes here as well. 
2) Characters: Any special rules for making characters, gear, or new Edges and Hindrances. 
3) Setting Rules: Any new rules the particular setting needs, like rules for Superheroes in Necessary Evil, or ship-to-ship combat in 50 Fathoms. GM’s Section – The rest of the book is purely for the Game Master. 
4) Gazetteer: A list of locations the group will travel to and the things they’ll see there. Locations should be keyed to Savage Tales to help the GM run adventures on the fly. 
5) Savage Tales: Dozens of adventures ranging form fully-fleshed out tales to short encounters. The first few Savage Tales should be your “Plot Point” adventures. These occur intermittently through the campaign as the timeline advances and the backstory progresses. It should be very clear to the GM when these are to be run, such as “When the first hero in the group reaches Heroic Rank.” 
6) Bestiary: A complete list of all the creatures and common NPCs (such as guards or bandits) the players will encounter.
It's kinda like a sandbox with set pieces.

I'm not a Savage Worlds player, so maybe I'm seeing these from a totally wrong perspective... heh

Ant thoughts?


  1. I am a big Savage Worlds fan.

    Plot points can be run as sandbox. Basically, what you are getting is a campaign in pieces. Think of it as sandbox with some small adventures / encounters. From what I understand, many people just play it as a normal campaign - I personally played it more sandboxy


    Most plot point campaigns focus on Savage Tales - those little encounters/adventures. The gazetteer is usually vague and covers a large area.

    Also, the newer products, and licensees seem to abandon the plot point forumla and focus on more traditional setting.

    For a good (imho) take on plot point check out Evernight and 50 Fathoms. I have run successful (amazingly successful in Evernight) sandbox campaigns using those.

    Anyway - I am in the midst of designing a sandbox/hexcrawl plot point campaign for Savage Worlds. So far, I am sharing only the rules for hexcrawling, but more info on the campaign will surface in the future. Feel free to check it out: http://level27geek.blogspot.com/

  2. In agreement with Fred, with a comment about Evernight-- it's a railroad from start to finish.

    Most Plot Point Campaigns are very sandboxy, and include an adventure generator (some better than others) that allow you add more material to the campaign.

    In some cases, all you really need for a sandbox without a major plotline running through are some of the generic plot point adventures and the adventure generator.

    50 Fathoms has an additional feature in its trade system-- PC groups that have a boat and a Super can take on cargo and move it to places that need it, making a profit in the process. Something similar can be done with pirates, have a list of pirates and the towns where they're wanted. When the party asks around, there'll be a few bounties they can go after. Stuff like that.

    A well written OSR Plot Point campaign would be a great thing to have. especially if it has a robust (and possibly reskinnable) adventure generator.

    1. True. Evernight as written is super railroady, but after the Big Campaign Changing Event I let players do what they want, and the campaign world allows for it.

      This post makes me think more about OSR style sandbox in Savage Worlds... What you - as OSR gamers - think about a sanboxes with a big overarching plot?

    2. "What you - as OSR gamers - think about a sandboxes with a big overarching plot?"

      As someone who usually runs a sandbox-type game, I have no problem with big overarching events that may (or may not) involve the PCs - providing I create those events. If the overarching events are something a game company creates to sell more books, they can shove them.

  3. I have played Savage Worlds for a number of years. While I think the Plot Point campaign is an interesting idea, it doesn't fit the type of campaigns I like to run. My campaigns aren't created with an overarching story in mind; at the start of the campaign there is no end goal. If such a story does develop, it tends to result from player actions and could not have been foreseen ahead of time.

    For me, Plot Point campaigns in the OSR do not represent products I would purchase, except perhaps as a curiosity to see how it was done. That's why I purchased the Savage Worlds 50 Fathoms book. It is a very well done product but I would probably never use it.

  4. Current form of writing adventures is just not fit for the modern age. It needs to evolve, I've been playing with that idea a lot. And I've found it's not a good format, if I can't read it in less than an hour and start playing with it.
    And by playing, I really mean playing with it. E.g. plot doesn't need to be chronological.

  5. Essentially every Pathfinder Adventure Path is a Plot Point. You have 6 adventures that are the main plot that railroads the players from an exciting beginning to a grand finale. The Path books also include some side adventures and setting background that can be used if the GM wants to.

    Basically the Plot Point format is nothing but a series of adventures that follow a plotline. Any fairly linear plotline of adventures fits into this style. Heck, the old Giant series from TSR (G1-3 + D1-3 + Q1) would be considered a Plot Point format. Savage Tales on the other hand are adventures/encounters that a GM can throw in anywhere.

    Personally I like them. If I am being lazy I can follow the Plot Point. If I am feeling ambitious I can use the setting material to make up my own stuff or alter the Plot Point to my own likes.

    I ran the Necessary Evil (superhero) Plot Point fairly close to what was written. I had in mind to run a short-ish campaign instead of an open-world campaign. The game had a start, middle and end. I ran some side adventures as well and some adventures that I wrote myself based off of the PCs actions, but mostly I followed the Plot Point. Too many open-world campaigns linger around until they eventually die out. While I like open campaigns (and actually prefer them), sometimes it is nice to run a "complete" campaign as a change of pace.