Add more heroic struggle and vicarious thrills to your underdog adventures!
Story Design Volume 9 – In a dark horse story, the protagonist and antagonist are not evenly matched. The odds are stacked heavily in favor of the antagonist. Initially no one takes the protagonist seriously, but over the course of the story they shake off their underdog status to become successful and respected.
Examples of the dark horse plot include Cinderella, Forrest Gump, The Hunger Games, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Rocky.
Story Design: The Dark Horse covers all of the elements you need to prepare in order to tell an underdog story. It’s based on concepts explored in Story Structure and the Lighthouse System games, also published by Dancing Light Press. It’s a big book that goes into greater detail on how to get the most out of the three-act structure, as well as developing a three-phase series (campaign, if you prefer) with a clear beginning, middle, and end. If you want to use your favorite roleplaying game system to tell stories with more depth than kill monster, get treasure, repeat (not that there’s anything wrong with that), it is worth looking into.