Inspiration – one word, 30 minute challenge

Hi all and welcome to a, albeit late, weekend post after a rather pleasant night spent eating good food (that our children refuse to eat) and watching movies that we hadn’t gotten around to until today.

Tonight I wanted to touch on my thought process on plot, to be specific how I approach plot and why I think that I have been able to maintain years of adventures (campaign, one shot or hypothetical adventures like what I post on Brazen Wolfe Tabletop) with, to be frank, ease.

For me coming up with these things are easy and seem to get easier the more I work with plots, story hooks and the like. I even challenged my daughter to give me a single word and I would make up a bedtime story for her each week using that one word – which she seemed to enjoy and I must say trying to come up with a adventure or story from a single word can be quite the challenge.

But I want to explore that a bit tonight, I will use to generate a single word and I will endeavour to create a plot from it, no tomfoolery or deception worthy of a worshipper of the mask, just one click and I will see how far I can go with it and write out my thought process below on how I came up with the plot. I will also try and limit myself to 30 minutes of writing to make sure that I don’t stay up too late tonight.

Rules of the challenge for me

  • Single word randomly generated
  • 30 minute timer
  • Must be a playable adventure
  • Must have at least one driver (Antagonist/protagonist)
  • Must be D&D centric and attempt to be of the fantasy variety.

So let’s crack on with it.

Time started: 11:00pm.


Fling for me means two things – either a short lived romance or to throw something. Now not being one for going about the easy path let’s go for both.

This gives us a person, probably the person driving the plot for our players – I will say its young man, lets go with a dwarf (bushy eye-brows are a theme for tonight).

Now to make it challenging this young man has flung something related to his short lived romance, so why not make it the same thing so immediately I think of a Ring, a ring can be a symbol of a promise but its too cliché to throw a promise ring or engagement ring so for me this ring is the size of a dinner plate.

Now why would a dinner plate sized ring be the source of a fling and the be flung – well the easiest way is to have it be a “precious” – yes the one and the same as LOTR, but lets make it a portable window that allows the wielder to gaze through a hole in their plane to another place through a matching pair like the magic items “sending stone” allows words to be transmitted these pair of large rings allow the wielders to gaze from one location to another.

So, so far we have a dwarf, a pair of “Sight rings”(name pending) that has created a love interest and the young dwarf flinging the ring away.

We need a cause now – what would a dwarf who has come into the possession of a magical ring that allows the wielders (a pair of rings creating a window – makes sense that either owner of the ring could turn it on – like a video call) drive them to throw it away – perhaps he had cold feet or maybe he saw something he shouldn’t have. Perhaps a bit of both.

So, going down that track – the dwarf’s ring is connected to another – to one belonging to a fey creature who happens to have come across the shiny electrum ring (you know its the real deal when it’s made from electrum) one day when the ring is sitting amongst her hoard of shiny treasures it turns on and a busy eyebrowed young dwarf appears in the middle of it. Startled at first both parties hastily try and sever the connection and in the following days the rings connect again and this time both parties are curious and start to interact with one another.

One thing leads to another and the fey and dwarf exchange names – the dwarf giving his short name “Thani” however the fey, Jessamine Willowhint, gives up her true name and after realising that she had given her true name she began to stress the importance to him. Being a bit bewildered (and not understanding all the communication as there is only so much you can write or communicate through charades) Thanisten Hornbreaker used her true name and formed a magical connection between the two. A few days passed and Jessamine began to become obsessed and possessive of Thani which spooked him.

Not knowing what to do, and not being too long into his beard he flung the ring away, down a well in the city central square, trying to distance himself from the obsessed Fey. However, the rings still remained active and soon dwarves and people in his city began to witness mysterious occurrences that was ruled to be the work of the Fey – and one searching or looking for something around the city’s central square.

Being spooked and not wanting to be found out the young Thani posted a job offering for a body guard to protect him as he had received letters from stalkers, 100% forged by his own hand, who were looking for a family secret that he could not slip into the wrong hands, in this case its a toe-wart cure…

The party would then either work out that the note is a forgery by comparing it to the young dwarves own handwriting, which we would say would be on…. maps – he is a cartographer – or they would run into the Fey who says she is looking for Thani when questioned.

The party have the choice to protect their client and get paid or help the fey find the person she is obsessed with at which point he would have either a vengeful fey creature (I’m picturing winged dryad? Like a tall sprite of pixie?) or one that would express the connection she feels and vows to help him in his endeavours as a cartographer – for me I think the latter is a nicer ending at which point she would grant them one item from her shiny horde each (which she can summon forth through a gem on her bracelet).

Now… that can’t be all – for me there needs to be stages to the adventure, perhaps a escort – he asks the party to escort him to the library to dig up some books on map making – however the only books he is caught (or not) reading are about fey creatures. If probed he lie and say that the books contain maps to the fey wilds and he wanted to doublecheck his own maps, which he would hastily close the book and walk off. The page he was reading would fold and be revealed to be him reading on on breaking a pact with the fey.

And that’s time. 11:30pm

Didn’t quite get through the 30 minutes but from the single random word I think I did ok in 30 minutes.

Let’s reflect on what we have.

  • A city with a central square containing a well, a house/shop and a library. Probably a tavern or job noticeboard where the party could find work.
    • A rumour about a fey like creature causing trouble near the central square in the city.
  • A dwarf name Thanisten ‘Thani’ Hornbreaker, a young cartographer dwarf lad with notable bushy eyebrows
    • Has posted a job request for bodyguards due to fear of being stalked, potentially his families hidden secret technique is at risk (yet its only toe-wart cure..)
    • Has a knack for maps, not a knack for lying and is trying to look into how to undo a pact with the fey
  • A woodland sprite like fey called Jessamine Willowhint who accidently revealed her true name to a dwarf and as he used it on conversation a connection (pact) was drawn between them.
    • Only wants to be with Thani since he used her true name, she would rather be with him than anywhere else and is prone to bursts of temper – despite not being aggressive or dangerous her magical abilities are used to sleep, trick and confuse people.
    • She has a magical bracelet that allows her to access her horde of shiny things of interest from any where
  • A set of enchanted “window rings” that allow people to see what’s on the other side of the ring

What was left to work out

  • Place where Jessa meets/sees Thani
  • Place where Party meet Jessa
  • The situation in which they do so (probably Thani freaking out about a hearing noises outside and asking the party to investigate. Jessa spooks and flies off but the party follow.
  • A name for the city
    • General landscape? are there canals, many roads, bridges, tunnels?
    • What type of city is it? Mercantile, military, one of study and education, religious (what religion)?
    • General population, mixed, primarily humans with some other races, humans are scarce – its a dwarf town and some outsiders are welcome
    • what’s the parties welcome like – any racism towards certain races (Dwarves vs elves, dragonborn are hated due to a war many centuries ago – dwarves love grudges)
  • what other buildings are there? Blacksmiths, tailors, bakeries – useful to jot down a general idea than just saying “what ever you want there is a shop for it” – not having alchemical supplies for example could make it hard for wizards or spell casters to get the required gods they want.

For me, despite stopping for a few minutes to get another coffee, this was a relatively easy process and it seemed to just flow. I tried to stay clear of the typical stereotypes (ring of power, having an affair, forbidden love etc.) and create something that would drive the parties fancy – get them hooked into something new and different.

If you have a word you want to challenge me with leave a comment below – I wouldn’t mind using my “free weekend night” to do this again, feel free to set up reasonable restrictions or conditions (as long as they are achievable of course..) if you do give up a word and I will do my best to complete it in a timeframe. I probably had the framework worked out in my head after about 10 minutes but typing takes its time and the first few paragraphs I tried to type as I thought – or just behind as I thought in this case – so that a glimpse into my thought process could be seen.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see the final conclusion for this weeks adventure and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

2 thoughts on “Inspiration – one word, 30 minute challenge

    • thebrazenwolfe February 20, 2022 / 7:12 am

      Ooh, a good word. May even have to attempt to write on this one today instead of next week!