Whenever I am developing a plot-line, location or an NPC, there are two primary factors I take into account:
- Realism - Locations should be believable (no redundant corridors,
randomunfitting monsters, traps in commonly used places, myriads of repeating rooms), plot-lines sensible (no strangers asking PCs to do a quest for him, villages aren't plundered by suddenly appeared army of orcs/goblins/ogres/angry maids) and NPCs reasonable (No, he didn't come from the pits of hell to help beggars have a better life only because his dad is against it, he is just a priest who believes in good). Strange things don't happen everyday, not even once a month!
- Uniqueness - It can be understood as not repeating anything! If one monster appeared somewhere, it won't appear anywhere else (only one wolves raid on traveling group). There was an NPC who was an elf, so no more elves!
Some of these things might sound like a blessing, but when they are your primary driving force it starts to be a problem. I am literally unable to create casual encounters, random elements. When I come up with a plotline, I make it epic, unprecedented and unpredictable, it ends up as a main plotline of the whole campaign. I even am able to leave some loose ends here and there to later pick up, but, aside of the main idea, the campaigns are kind of short on side plot-lines.
Did anyone have similar problems and managed to overcome them?