As an eager backer of the super-cool Story Forge Kickstarter project, I was thrilled when project mastermind B.J. West threw in a free and unexpected benny. Seems that way back in 1936, an anachronistic RPG supplement... er, writer's brainstorming tool was produced by the publishers of a magazine for writers called "The Author and Journalist" and originally sold for $1.00. It consisted of a deck of 36 cards packed with story elements that could be randomized by cutting the cards and opening them like a book. The number on the top of one half the deck would serve as an index into the chosen element of the revealed card on the bottom of the other. Not only is the list of elements itself super cool (and very handy to modern GMs), but the randomization method appears to be unique and loaded with potential for similar home-brewed projects.
Mr. West was good enough to digitize the exceedingly rare Deal-A-Plot, including the original instructions and examples of use. The link can be found on the last Story Forge project update: Update #23.
Risus Game Masters will note that this a great tool for coming up with politically incorrect but perfectly pulp cliches. Just combine an adjective with an item from the character list.
8 hours ago