Quest Generation Algorithm

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We'd like to generate the plot and quests as much as possible, with world designer input on a high level.


Quests are small tasks that players can sign up for. They should be relatively clearly defined (they could be contracts). They provide direction, something to do, and a way to participate in the world for players.


  • Transport X from A to B
  • Obtain X
  • Kill X
  • Build X
  • Scout / find out W
  • Find x
  • Save x


Plot is how the quests connect together to a larger whole.

In fiction writing, it is usually recommended to have a protagonist and antagonist with opposing goals. With two people / organizations working towards opposing goals, there is interesting interaction, a game.

This could be implemented so that we have several organizations with opposing goals, that create quests that would promote their own goals and/or hinder opposing goals. The organizations can be automatically generated, but can also be generated by GM:s and world designers, especially the larger and more important organizations. They can reward players for carrying out quests (of course, they have some finite amount of money, and have to obtain more to be able to continue paying for quests/contracts).

Quest generation algorithms

Plot generation algorithms

To generate quests, we need some entity with some goals. The quests are then basically steps necessary to meet the goal.

This is maybe something that world designers would initially set up.

Some examples:

  • A human village has a culture of proving ones worth by killing orcs and taking their teeth. They also use plunder from the orcs as a way to get items and valuables. The orc settlement nearby has a very negative attitude towards humans, and wants to wipe them out as a pre-emptive defence.
  • A group of rebels have formed to overthrow a dictator who is placing a heavy tax and few freedoms on the citizens. The dictator wants to find out the rebels and destroy them before they undermine his grip on the power (treasury, military, media, secret police).
  • The Red Hot Dwarfs is a racing team, with a rivalry with the Winged Elves racing team. Both teams want to win the upcoming racing tournament, by building the fastest racing cars, and they are not afraid of using some sabotage, track altering, and social engineering also to meet their goals (in addition to tuning their cars and training/finding good drivers). After all, there is a lot of fortune and fame in play, as well as a chance to beat those pesky elves/dwarfs.

As the last example demonstrates, a plot doesn't have to focus on killing things to be interesting. We could have trading companies competing, engineers, artists, interior designers, social networkers, and so on, whatever the game engine makes possible.

The quests seem to flow relatively naturally from the above examples. The entity (organization) makes a plan of how to get to their goal state, and generate the quests for the first steps, and try to find some doers for them. Then they regularly re-plan and generate new quests, to adapt to changing circumstances.

Other ideas: Murder investigation, spying, counter espionage, secret agents, etc.


See also: