With dice and a bit of imagination, you can generate unlimited plots. This is a fun game you can play to challenge yourself and your writing. Not even you know what will happen next.

I recommend a twenty-sided die as this gives an even chance for a lot of possible outcomes.

The dice in this picture are ones tabletop gamers call d20s (because they have twenty sides). They are fairly cheap and available from all decent games shops and many online retailers.

How to play

First, you need a die (or a few dice) and a couple of tables. The first table is for characters and the second is for plot twists. You can also add tables for locations and other elements.

Roll a die to find out who the antagonist (hero) is and a second time to find out who the antagonist is (villain). You may wish to flip a coin or use some other method to select the gender of each.

Then move on to working out and writing down the conflict between the two. What that is will depend largely on what sort of character each one is.

Example character selector

1Someone from a small-town farming community
2An inventor
4Police officer
5A soldier on leave
6A commercial fisherman
7An artist about to open their first exhibition
8A charismatic preacher
10Someone on the run
11Identical twins
12A private detective
13Someone who was adopted and is searching for their birth parents
14A ghost hunter
15Confidence trickster
16UFO enthusiast
17A hitchhiker
18Wedding photographer
19A retired stage magician
20Newspaper reporter

Now you have two characters (antagonist and protagonist). Assuming binary genders you have 1,600 possible starting configurations. If you want to include gender non-binary, transgender, etc. that number spikes up exponentially.

Example setting table

The settings table lets you pick a starting location for your story but also allows you to pick a new location when and if you see fit to move the action somewhere else.

1An art gallery
2Hotel in a remote location – are the characters are unable to leave?
3Caravan park
4A flower shop
5A business conference in the city
6The local theatre
7The highstreet
8A space station
9An antique store – roll on the character table for the owner
10A hidden underground bunker
11An internet cafe
12Inside a police station (the cells perhaps)
13An AA meeting
14A travelling funfair
15An old spooky castle
16A popular nightclub
17The beach
18A jumble sale
19The protagonist’s home
20A church

Depending on your choices, you now have in excess of 64,000 possible plots.

Example plot twists

Roll on this table every few pages to keep things interesting.

D20Plot Twists
1The protagonist’s mentor has been lying about something
2A potential love interest (roll on the character table)
3The needed item is locked in a safe
4A flat tire disrupts plans
5An old flame returns
6Supprising revelations about the protagonists past
7Confusion arises from miscommunication
8A friend turns out to be an enemy
9Early assumptions are proven wrong
10Someone lets slip a secret
11The antagonist may have good intentions
12The protagonist must choose between two terrible options
13An old photograph reveals the past
14A fallen candle starts a fire
15Help comes from a surprising source
16The protagonist is falsely accused
17A disagreement becomes a heated argument
18Something is stolen
19A discovery casts new light on the past
20A chance encounter changes everything

Assuming just five plot twists, you now have well over 5,776,153,220,000 (5 trillion) possible plots. Which should be enough to keep you going for a while.

You could also create tables for central conflicts, support characters, subplots, and pretty much anything else you can brainstorm a list of 20 possibilities for.

You can find more themed and alternate tables in our Roll For Plot archive.