"Find the Widget
, Save the World
" is the ultimate cliche fantasy RPG
plot, employed by uninspired game master
s and CRPG
designers the world around. In this plot
, there is something or someone (usually some incarnation of the Ultimate Evil that Plagues the Land
) that, if not stopped, will bring about some form of apocalypse
Of course, there happens to be one and only one thing that can prevent this disaster. Such widgets include the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom, the Sword of Shannara, and countless other items, usually following the format of "The ________ of _______".
The protagonist, usually a commoner, declared to be the Chosen One in accordance with some ancient prophecy, must seek out this object with his group of intrepid adventurers. Along the way, the villian sends his vile minions to destroy the heroes, either one at a time, or in small groups. These attempts are, of course, unsuccessful, whereas a concerted attack would have wiped out the good guys once and for all.
Find the Widget, Save the World plots are fine for hack-and-slash oriented games. Highly non-linear plots are hard to pull off successfully in CRPGs, so this story type provides a convenient progression for such games, with a clear goal. It's also a good plot to introduce newbies to pencil and paper RPGs; the story is one that everyone is familiar with, so the new players can get used to the idea of roleplaying and familiarize themselves with the game mechanics. Aside from this sort of situation, however, it's probably best to exercise a little imagination and come up with a more original plot for one's games, stories, etc.