The kinds of stories that are told are usually classified into a few general groupings for role-playing.

Campaign storylines are the big stories, the kinds of things that become visible only very late in the whole or at the very end looking back.

Adventure storylines are the primary elements most know of and think of the larger portions of the campaign that when strung together form a whole picture.

Imbroglios are the interpersonal storylines of PCs, embarrassing or slightly off.

Subplots are the more involved backstory storylines of the PCs.

Implots are improvisational subplots that arise during play, sparked by reactions and consequences of PC actions and interactions.

All of these are things that move in and out of each other, reacting with each other, and creating a complexity that ensures that every time someone runs an adventure or a campaign, they will be different, above and beyond the results of the dice and the Sister’s Wills.

As a DM, you should never have plans for Player Characters.

You can have plans for the Antagonist(s), but never for the group of hardy folks who are the Protagonists. Your plans should be about what is happening, whose plan it is, how they are going to make their plan work, who all will be doing the work for them, how long it will take, what effect will be seen from outside it, what can happen to draw people from outside the plot into it, what the antagonist(s) will do if things change about their plot, and ultimately what the story changes about the world if they should succeed.

This is not your story. It is the story of the Player Characters. More specifically, it is the story of the PCs messing up whatever plans your antagonist(s) have. Because that is what heroes do – they mess up the plans and change outcomes of the bad guys.

Wyrlde is intended to enable and promote Player Agency, the ability of players to determine what it is they will do and how they will do it and when they will do it and why they will do it. The limiting factors on this are the world itself and the tools (spells, equipment, abilities) of the game as it applies to them.

The characters have Agency, the ability to be self-directed, to make mistakes and have successes, to grow and learn and change; to act independently and make free choices. Wyrlde is described as a Player Driven Sandbox – this means that they are responsible for the actions of their characters, and they are responsible for the speed of and engagement with any storyline or effort.

Remember, character advancement on Wyrlde is a function of Milestone Points. It takes 348 Milestones to reach 20th level. They do get one Milestone for each full session they attend (start to finish), but other than that, they have to get milestones in order to advance in level. Milestone points are gained by following parts of the Storyline. So, while they can advance by simply attending the session, they will do so very slowly. They have that power, however: it is their story, and they control the speed at which it moves.

Milestone Points

The Wyrlde Milestone Point system is a peculiar hybrid of the traditional Experience Point and the traditional Milestone system, that simplifies the process and acts as a means by which PCs are encouraged to follow a storyline that is presented to them in order to improve and level up their characters, becoming more potent and powerful.

There is a challenge to this, system, however, in that it requires the DM to design campaigns in such a way that there are set points where a Milestone point can be obtained, and that there needs to be a great many of them, varying according to the current level of the PCs and projected level that is desired for them to reach. Some story points may be worth more than one milestone, or a DM could choose to just say that if they complete a given adventure, they earn x number of milestone points. All are valid approaches, but the underlying idea remains that they are tied to story progression and each story should have a more involved structure and more links to uncover as they PCs increase in level – facing ever greater dangers and ever more involved and complex stories.

For example, an adventure that is meant to take a character from 1st to 2nd level has to have 3 milestone points within it. The goal is to tie each one to a story point, but there is an additional factor involved: attending and participating in a session gains a single milestone point.

So, if a single session for a 1st level character has two milestones within it, and the play proceeds for an entire session, the PC will have earned 3 milestone points.

On the other hand, to go from 17th level to 18th level means the adventure must have 32 milestone points within it. This means that the adventure will necessarily be more complex and involved story-wise in order to justify all those many story points.


For folks new to Wyrlde, it is suggested doing Campaigns by Tier: Novice, Yeoman, Adept, Master, and Grand Master, with one to three Adventures in each Tier. There will be more about how each Adventure is a part of the larger story in a moment.

Campaign Milestone Points by Tier and Story part






Grand Master

























The figures above represent the general Milestone Points for each stage in a full campaign and are generally inclusive of an estimated number of sessions involved for each stage. Because Wyrlde is a player driven sandbox, there may be side quests and other elements that also add to milestone points, ensuring that in between and around the adventures there is an assortment of points available that allow someone to reach a given goal.

Connections are the points in one stage of Adventure that lead to the storyline for the next Adventure. These can be simple (a piece of paper with a clue) to complex (an involved conversation with a former minion).

Tiers can also increase Honor, Renown, and Piety through a bonus on completing each tier:






Grand Master




















Every storyline has a genre. Wyrlde, in particular, is intended to draw from several different genres, each one providing a slightly different mood or feeling.

A Genre is exactly what it sounds like. Here is a list of genres drawn from Film and Television more than books, because it makes for quicker building and greater ease of engagement.





Coming of Age





Epic Fantasy




Heroic Fantasy


Life Fantasy










Sword and sorcery





When creating a Campaign, it is always wise to follow a few simple rules for selecting what genre to make an Adventure.

  • Never repeat the same genre twice in a row.
  • Never follow Horror with Drama.
  • Never follow Coming of Age with Disaster.

The purpose of a genre is to help frame and guide the plot in a certain way to achieve a certain kind of atmosphere, mood, feeling, and style of storyline. It feeds into the structure of how to set up the plot of a given storyline.


A diagram of a movie

Description automatically generated A Plot is the sequence of events in which each event affects the next one through the principle of cause-and-effect.

A Plot is the structure of a storyline, but not necessarily the order of a storyline, and Plots can be small and brief or long and complex.

A Plot sets up what could happen, what will happen without involvement from the PCs, and what might happen if they do become involved.

If one is familiar with writing, it is somewhat key to understand that there are several parts of the traditional plot that are already determined by the nature of the game, and so do not need to be included.

When creating a Plot for Wyrlde, they are usually built through a concept of Episodes. The term is used because the approach that fills most Wyrlde adventures is based in part of films, plays, and television shows, drawing out their plots and then adapting them to the setting.

This allows for a way to make a structured Plot that does not rely on a linear narrative, but instead can support wholly the actions oof the PCs.

Plots include things such as Theme, Symbolism, and Foreshadowing, giving the overall storyline a bit more depth and providing ways to link each of the episodes together. These are all elements that are often thought of before one is even into the plot and can help shape and direct it in tandem with other things, such as the Villain type or the Stock Characters, or even previous or later adventures.

A Plot has several features to it, each of which contributes to the whole of the structure.


An Episode is: a series of connected events that tell a story in and of themselves, with a beginning, middle, and end, while also only telling a part of the larger story. An episode is a contained portion, a single unit of an overall story. Each Episode has elements that combined create a single unit and may or may not be used in a given adventure but will need to be prepared anyway.

The benefit to an episodic structure is that an episode or part of episode that is skipped by the PCs in one adventure or campaign can always be re-used in a later one, giving you, as the DM, greater flexibility and adaptability to the unending surprises of PCs.

Early in a plot, Episodes build upon one another. The first episode might be calm. The second episode will ratchet up the tension or be a little more difficult to deal with. The third episode will have even more challenges and be more difficult or more tense and with greater stakes. Each of these things leads up initially to the Episode known as the Climax. Episodes after the Climax will slowly be less tense, in the same way, such that over time you get a series of Episodes that create a kind of roller coaster ride in regards the stakes, emotions, effort, and information provided.


Episodes, like Plots as a whole, often have a Theme. Themes are somewhat like a genre, through more detailed. A Theme sets up the atmosphere, mood, and idea of the Episode. Is it spooky, busy and bustling, haunting, dangerous, mystical, eldritch, arcane, natural, off, or ordinary? Theme colors the way the place is described, unveiled, and narrated, and can even influence the consequences that may occur. Theme is the adjective to the other parts of an Episode.


An Episode has a place that it happens, a location where it takes place. This is the place where battle maps and location shots come into play, the description of the place giving the PCs the layout, contents, and notable features. A dungeon room, a marketplace, a forest. Add in the theme and you have a dingy dungeon room, a bustling, loud, and boisterous marketplace, and a creepy, unnerving forest.

Some locales are visited frequently in some campaigns, used over and over again. A Political intrigue may have locales that are the room of a noble, a western may have a ranch or a general store, a horror show may have a creepy crawlspace that has to be visited several times.

Other locales are one shot and done.


Locales are the most common place where one will find the symbolism of the Episode. Episodes usually, but not always, have some sort of symbolism within them. It may be a physical object – everywhere you go within this episode, you see carvings of birds or figures of mice. It may be an actual creature – there are strange worms everywhere, in everything. It may be artistic, a pattern or design that shows up often and marks some elements.

Symbols are extremely useful as subtle ways to create new hooks and are excellent bait for existing hooks.

Symbolism can also be something less tangible. An apparition, a feeling, a but the key to symbolism is that they are used over and over again, they are repetitive, showing up in spots both likely and unlikely, and connecting the Episode to itself or to other episodes.


A motif is a form of symbolism that is much more subtle and far less overt. Motifs rely on things close to themes – colors, shapes, smells, materials — that repeat and also link things. When describing a series of rooms within an episode, each room may make note of the materials used, or the shapes involved, or the colors of things in that room. These elements are repeated in each space and become a motif.


Foreshadowing is a thing that happens, a thing that is encountered, a moment of something – a few words, a bad feeling, a song or melody, that hints at something to come in a way that may not be obvious at the time it is first encountered but becomes obvious once the event it foretells comes to pass. Foreshadowing is a fine art, a tricky skill, and when creating an episode, sometimes it can be used – like symbolism and motifs, to create a linkage or connection to a different episode, to a different scene, and even to a different campaign altogether.

Foreshadowing is much like the results of divinations spells, and is a pure narrative device.


A Scene is a staging space, an entry into or exit from an Incident, that carries the Plot forward and connects different threads. A scene is the action, the stuff that happens or hopefully will happen, when an episode is entered. Scenes are multiples, but usually (though not always) found in threes, with one scene leading to the next, and that one leading to a third.

Scenes are how an Episode gets a beginning, a middle, and an End, with each Scene being a portion of the whole and developing out the Episode.

Scenes take place in Locales, and one scene can blend into another scene seamlessly. An example of this is the exploration of a room. The beginning is the entry into it, discovering it. The next scene is the exploration of the room, discovery of the things within it, examination and triggering or disarming traps. The final scene would be the leaving, possibly interrupted by a visitor or a group of residents.

Scenes are great for how you incorporate a milestone point into the whole – one milestone for one scene. This also allows you to control the flow of the adventure as a whole, because if they skip a scene, they can always come back to it if they want.


An Incident is: an engagement with something that presents an interaction for the characters. Encounters are not just combat; they can be a rumor or a bit of lore or an NPC interaction, or a task that needs to be done.

In our example above, an incident would be the finding of a trap, or the locating of a key piece of information, or the encounter with a creature. A single scene can have a great many incidents in it.


A Climax is a special kind of Episode where the key thing happens, the most important part of the whole Episode. Maybe they fight a monster, or perhaps they discover a secret or a clue; perhaps they stumble into a puzzle or complex trap that requires extraordinary effort and teamwork to overcome.

A climax is only set aside because it is the tensest, most troublesome episode – the episodes that lead up to it increase in difficulty, challenge, danger, or whatever, but the next few episodes will become less risky, less dangerous, until they reach the resolution.


A Resolution is the final Episode in a Plot, where things are wrapped up and the state of the Heroes has been returned to roughly where it was before they started – but now they have new information and new things to deal with. In many cases, a resolution leads into downtime or a session of figuring out what it all means, and may even offer an opportunity to use a hook or find some bait, or even hare off into an interlude.


A Prologue is: the lore and set up for a campaign; it is a point where exposition sets the stage for the larger conflict. Prologues are uncommon, but happen outside the storyline, and essentially describe the storyline. They can be useful for foreshadowing and introducing a new idea.

Prologues happen before the first Episode in a Plot. They may even set the theme of a Plot or give clues as to how to follow through with it.

Prologues are optional.


An Intro is: the events and circumstances that lead to the start of a story. Where a Prologue happens outside the storyline, an introduction happens inside the story. It is the case of the Innkeeper who tells the story of the wizard and their mighty tower out in the wilderness who succumbed to mistakes in their dreadful experiments and died while unleashing a local horror.

Introductions are optional but are often quite useful.


A Beginning is: a sequence of rising action that reveals something that motivates or pushes the protagonist forward.

In tier one, a beginning might have 3 Episodes, while in tier 5 a beginning might have ten Episodes. Each builds on the one before it in tension, drama, and theme.


A Hook is: a thing done to attract the interest of the PCs in following the story. The best Hooks play on the Reason for venturing, or the backstory of the character, though the old reliable is still “go get some money”.

Hooks may work well enough by themselves, but sometimes you need to bait a hook.


Bait is the temptation, the benefit, the gain that makes a PC want to grab the hook. In a real sense, milestones points are a built-in form of bait, but they don’t always give a good reason. Sometimes a hook doesn’t catch the attention of PCs, and so you need to bait it.

Good bait often comes from the background of the PCs, or from some role playing encounter. There are, of course, the old standards, such as the person who dies in their arms with a packet containing vital secrets or some strange McGuffin.


A Thread is: the manner of connection between encounters that forms an episode, adventure, and campaign. Threads are tiny bits of story woven around the encounters to tie them together, give them reason and basis, and provide for the “sense of story”.


A Middle is: a setback in the rising action that causes the protagonists to have to regroup and find a new path forward along the rising action, culminating in the first half of the climax. It is this that is a key point – a good middle always ends as the Climax begins, or shortly after it starts.

As with beginnings, a middle may have only a few Episodes at lower levels, and many more at higher levels.


A Connection is a linkage, an element that can appear anywhere in anything. It can be a symbol, a motif, a bit of evidence, a thread of storyline, but the deeper and important part of a connection is that it links outside the current Episode to another one, or outside a current Plot to another one, or links and adventure to a previous one or a Campaign to a new or old one.

Connections are best used before either the middle of a Plot or before the End of a Plot. Connections are ways of keeping the story together, even if it isn’t an obvious thing, and also make outstanding foreshadowing.


An End is: The second half of the climax and the falling action into the resolution. This is when the players actually face off with the antagonist of that story or experience the fallout from not having done so. Ends usually have fewer Episodes than Beginnings or Middles, and they always stop with the resolution of the larger story as a whole.


An Epilogue is: The What Happens After that follows the final events of an Adventure or Campaign. Epilogues happen within the storyline and are optional.


A Coda is: a reminder of a previous story or thread, presented at the close of one story. Cods happen outside the storyline, are narrative and optional.


In the end, the goal of course is to create stories, sometimes simple, sometimes complex, always the stories of the intrepid band of heroes who faced what the story offered as a core conflict.

Stories do not always have to arise from conflicts with monsters or other people, however. There are more forms of conflict than that.

A story may be about survival in a brutal winter storm or struggling across a deadly sea of sand. These are stories where the environment is the Problem, and the weather is usually the villain.

A story may be about a conflict with an entity that is beyond the capability of the party to be rid of. In some places, this is akin to facing off with a god, while on Wyrlde that would likely be some form of spirit being, a Power in the world, like a Nymph or Demon.

A story can take many different forms, all of them centering on a core and basic conflict between the party and something that is ultimately greater than they are.

There is one kind of story that is very difficult to pull off on an RPG basis: the story of inner conflict. This kind of story is entirely upon the player, and the DM cannot do much regarding such because inherently an inner conflict story about a PC is wholly the province of that PC.

That said, there are certain basic kinds of stories that can be told: interludes, Adventures, and Campaigns.


An Interlude is: an Encounter or series of encounters that is outside the primary storyline, and could exist for character development, side stories, or just as a break in the action. They happen in between the Beginning and the Middle, and the Middle and the End.


Diversions are all the assorted back story things that PCs have going for them, or something that pops up during play and often wholly improvisational. They are diversions, distractions, little things that keep the game from feeling like a one-way ticket to the end of the storyline.

Side Quests

There are always Side Quests to go on. They may choose, for example, to go get a Roc feather, or maybe start a tavern, or any of too many different things to anticipate. So, a story should always describe what happens if they do nothing.

Fetch Quests

A Fetch Quest is often the most common kind of side quest, and usually deserves special mention because there is little as easy to create as a fetch quest. In a Fetch, the PCs have to go and get something and bring it back. That’s the quest, that’s the whole of it, but the devil is in the details – why is it wanted, what will it mean, what happens there and what happens on the way back, as well as the age old why don’t you go get it yourself?

Fetch quests can often be a point of entry and meeting between the villain and the Heroes, simply by having the Villain hire them to do something for them.


An Adventure is: a series of interconnected episodes that tell a story. Adventures are made up of at least three episodes, telling the beginning, middle, and end of a story. This may sound very familiar after having learned what an Episode is.

This approach nests many stories together in a sequence, with the general Plot applying to an Episode, and Adventure, or even a Campaign – and the scale is what determines how it applies.

Adventures are the bread and butter of role playing. You can have a thousand adventures and never be in a campaign, but you can have a campaign that isn’t made up of connected adventures as easily as you can have one that is.

A single Adventure can have one Plot or several and can have only a few Episodes or many. The key to an adventure, though, is that it builds upon everything and connects it all, so that one can sit there and say that the PCs did this and so they had to that and so they then did this and so…

An Adventure, then, takes everything noted so far and puts it together.

Adventure Inspiration

One of the things a lot of folks will wonder about after a while is where to get ideas for a new adventure. Wyrlde is built around a host of ideas and concepts pulled from books, movies, and television shows, and those are outstanding examples of a resource for good ideas.

To pull a storyline out of a film or show, do not look at the characters, which is often where most people first turn. They see an anime show and say I want to do that and try to make that villain exist or get their Players to play those characters, but not.

Instead, look at what happens, and use that to fill in the parts above.

An example for this is the film The Magnificent Seven. People will look at it and see the genre and say western, they will see the bandits attack the village, the villagers head out in search of heroes, the heroes showing off their stuff, then collecting the assorted members of the seven and finally head to the town where they train the villagers. After an initial encounter with the bandits which they win, They will take out a group of bandit spies, and they will be betrayed by a villager to the bandits who force them to leave, but they will turn around and go back and wipe the bandits out, with several of them dying in the process.

It is a good story. So good, it is also the story of the film Bugs.

Note where that description of it is wrong for this kind of game. Remember how we talked about you cannot have plans for the PCs. So instead, let’s break that up into what we can do:

  1. A Bandit leader wants to feed his horde of bandits and find a way to live an easy life and become an important person in the region.
  2. He subdues and takes over several villages, demanding they feed him and his men, taking what they want, including all the valuables.
  3. Villagers go out and find an adventurer’s Guild and post a rather sad little bounty and request, that many adventurers dismiss.
  4. If the players take the job, they will travel to the village, likely having random encounters. If they do not, a hook can be used – perhaps there is a cousin of a shop owner who was getting married and they are worried, or maybe it is a small town one of the Heroes came from in their backstory, or perhaps the PCs stumble across a group of toughs beating up the poor villagers who beg and plead as innocents.
  5. If the PCs arrive at the town, they will meet an old man, a blend of Conscience, Mentor, and Ruler who gives them the lay of the land.
  6. Shortly after arriving, the bandits return, and a huge fight erupts. With luck, the PCs are victorious, but if they are, they have now upset the bandit leader.
  7. The bandit leader sends in spies to watch them, possibly to try and kill them.
  8. The villagers will betray the party, leading to the next encounter, only this time there are more bandits. IF the PCs lose, they are captured, and then run out of town.
  9. If the PCs do not return to finish off the bandits, the local villages are ultimately burned, the people forced to move into a single village, and there is much sadness as a new warlord rises and begins to get more ambitious.
  10. If they do return and finish off the bandits, the PCs are hailed as heroes and gain renown at least, if not great wealth.

That’s a general layout for the adventure. Note how most of it deals with the actions and behaviors of NPCs. It is built around the consequences of actions or inactions, and the plans that the villain has for the towns. It also increase the stakes – there are several villages, not just one.

That simple set up gives the Players have immense agency in their actions and decisions – and there is an effect they will see if they don’t do anything (warlord rising, burned villages).

From that general outline we can add in all the elements ad bits and pieces to a plot, and we can have it become anything from a low-level adventure to a high level one.

That storyline can be expanded or contracted to be anything from a side quest, to an adventure, to a whole campaign.


A Campaign is a series of interconnected Adventures that tell a large-scale story. Campaigns are generally best made up of at least three adventures, each of them telling the beginning, middle, and end of a larger story than each of them tell alone.

While an adventure can short and sweet to long and drawn out, a Campaign is always a larger scale issue, and can be somewhat difficult to plan out if it contains many Adventures. Campaigns often need an additional thing to help them become more solid and well thought out, especially if planned from the beginning.

The thing that is most often helpful here is known as a Framework, or a Cycle, or a Journey.

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