In this post, I will talk about Story Driven Plots. I will share my experience adapting stories from many sources as plots for my games.
Story Driven plots are not hinged on a person, like the Personality Driven plots, but instead they require an interesting plot that allows the GM freedom to share control of the protagonists and of the events in the story. Many sources can be used as an inspiration for Story Driven Plots, but most of them need to be adapted before use.
In RPG's, the GM shares control with the players and with the dice. While the players control every aspect of the main protagonists, the dice determines a large portion of the game, by providing the random element to all the encounters in the story. That contrasts strongly with the plots from books or movies, where everything is controlled by the writer. That control is used to ensure the plot progresses in a predetermined direction, while in a RPG that direction is often times changed depending on the actions of the characters and the random number generated by the dice.
By relinquishing the control of these elements, the GM must be ready to deal with radical changes, sometimes irrational, by the players that could potentially modify major plot events. There are many different options available to deal with those changes.
The first option is to force the players in a certain direction also known as railroading. This option is the least liked by players but the easiest in the part of the GM. With this option the players lose a lot of control over their characters and subsequently of the story by allowing the GM to dictate a large portion of their actions. Most players do not like this option for they feel constrained by their loss of control. The GM, on the other hand, can plan very detailed encounters and weave a more interesting and coherent story than otherwise.
The second option is to negotiate with the players a compromise in key plot events. While that restricts the player's control over their characters, the players would not have any decision forced upon them, but would instead find an agreeable middle ground in which they could continue the adventure.
The third option is to allow the players complete control over what happens in the story without any interference from the GM. That is one of the most liked option by most playing groups and one of the hardest for the GMs that seeks to move the game towards a more specific direction.
The fourth and last option is a mixture of the previous three, with most GMs leaning towards allowing the players as much control as possible over the events in the story.
The last option is the one that I currently use in my campaigns. I see that option as a bit of give and take between the players and the GM, and for the most part, the players seems to enjoy this kind of interaction.
That is one of two methods that I use when weaving plots in my campaigns. For more information on the second method, please read my post on Personality Driven Plots.