1. IronMyrs

    IronMyrs New Member

    May 15, 2015
    Likes Received:

    What Should My MacGuffin Do?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by IronMyrs, May 15, 2015.

    Ok, so this is the absolutely most bare-bones version of the story that I can possibly think imagine. I’ll spare you the world building side of things. However, the sort version is Fantasy/Victorian setting, but with science exploring an alternate physics system rather than anything truly magical.

    Obviously placeholder names, and fairly major events are omitted.

    1. Professor remotely determines location of MacGuffin
    2. Inquisitor interrogates/kills Professor
    3. Heavy is tasked with the Professor’s research notes
    4. Heavy must find Curie to interpret notes
    5. Heavy gets stuck with Rogue now in group
    6. Heavy finds Curie, now in group.
    7. Group finds MacGuffin
    8. MacGuffin is actually secret project attached to original MacGuffin
    9. Group returns home to attempt to avert war
    10. Showdown with Mastermind & Inquisitor

    Basically, here’s the issue: I need a role that the MacGuffin could play that would be effective at driving the plot from a logical perspective. I would greatly prefer a conclusion to the plot that presents a more political and complex problem than “dragon-slaying”. With at least three major world powers, there could easily any number of political moves to be made. I know I'm being vague, but I would like to try and focus on conceptually interesting conclusions rather than getting too gritty into the details.

    Functionally, I can deal with the technological side of things, and since the phlebotinum at the heart of this world is so fundamentally tied to the physics of the universe, something that manipulates it would be able to accomplish just about anything. Just to get you a sense of what I’ve thought about and the plot concerns they bring:

    1. A Bomb (simple enough, but if the protagonists get it, how could it be useful? Possibly need to employ the cliché of the villain getting there first and stealing it out from under them. Problem then is that it’s not really a political threat as much as it’s a terrorist one.)

    2. Artificial Sentience (opens up a bunch of ethical questions and would be fun to explore, but doesn’t seem to inherently drive the plot forward or lead to a conclusion on its own.)

    3. Cloaking Tech (Certainly powerful, but I have a hard time imagining this at an appropriate power level. Either this can be replicated and it’s inevitably just the next stage of military development, or it’s special, and you end up with 1 superweapon that you don’t dare risk in the field)

    4. Mechsuit/Tank (Similar devices are possible in this world, so a nicer or better one isn’t much of a plot-driver.)
  2. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Massachusetts, USA
    It's a MacGuffin. By its nature, it's not important, it only seems like it is. So why not go all the way? Everyone is after it, will do anything and everything to acquire it, but no one really knows what it really is or does.

    It is mystery, incarnate.
    GuardianWynn and jannert like this.
  3. ManOrAstroMan

    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

    May 8, 2012
    Likes Received:
    An energy source/energy converter.
    Gravity manipulator.
    Telepathic interface.
    Programmable virus.
    Entropy manipulator
    Matter converter.

    Just running though my list of mysterious and powerful Things.
    plothog and jannert like this.
  4. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

    Mar 7, 2013
    Likes Received:
    A battery that lasts more than 10 days. :)
  5. plothog

    plothog Contributor Contributor

    Jul 24, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Super surveillance system/person tracker.
    Super long distance sniper weapon.
    DNA modifier
    Communications jammer
    Technology jammer
    Robot Octopus
  6. ToeKneeBlack

    ToeKneeBlack Banned

    Jun 4, 2014
    Likes Received:
    A McGuffin that can prevent or avert a war? What are wars fought over? Land, resources and revenge come to mind.

    The presence of a "Mastermind" and an "Inquisitor" tell me that the war could be based on revenge.

    The McGuffin could be a source of great truth, such as a holographic recording, a stone tablet, or an ancient scroll.
    The bad guys are not convinced by this truth, as their minds are set on revenge - to them, the McGuffin is to be destroyed to prevent the truth from being revealed to their misled army.

    It could also be that the identified McGuffin is merely a disguise, such as a worthless plastic dinosaur which holds the true object of power somewhere inside itself.
  7. IronMyrs

    IronMyrs New Member

    May 15, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Thanks for the advice! Lots of ideas to chew on here. I think ToeKneeBlack nailed a key aspect of information being perhaps more important than whatever the device actually is capable of doing. Just the fact that the protagonists "know too much" is a bigger deal than anything else. I'm thinking there's also some conspiratorial aspects to the antagonists, and of course that means secrets they don't want others knowing.

    Lots of other great ideas for devices though. I'm especially a fan of the tech/comm jammer suggested by Plothog, since it would work quite well with the internal rules for the world's physics. It's maybe not as flashy as some others, but in a world where abusing physics is the basis of most weaponry, it would be game-changing. There is also a fun interaction with Cuire, who is somewhat poisoned from such long term/close contact with the tech, so jamming around her would make her violently ill at best.
    ToeKneeBlack likes this.

Share This Page