Maybe generate something based on plots and literature. Someone once said (in a reeeely long book) that there's only ever been seven plots. Seems like NPCs often provide #3 "The Quest" and that's pretty much it.
- Overcoming the Monster: Hero learns of a great evil threatening the land, and sets out to destroy it.
- Rags to Riches: Surrounded by dark forces who suppress and ridicule him, the Hero slowly blossoms into a mature figure who ultimately gets riches, a kingdom, and the perfect mate.
- The Quest: Hero learns of a great MacGuffin that he desperately wants to find, and sets out to find it, often with companions.
- Voyage and Return: Hero heads off into a magic land with crazy rules, ultimately triumphs over the madness and returns home far more mature than when he set out.
- Comedy: Hero and Heroine are destined to get together, but a dark force is preventing them from doing so; the story conspires to make the dark force repent, and suddenly the Hero and Heroine are free to get together. This is part of a cascade of effects that shows everyone for who they really are, and allows two or more other relationships to correctly form.
- Tragedy: The flip side of the Overcoming the Monster plot. Our protagonist character is the Villain, but we get to watch him slowly spiral down into darkness before he's finally defeated, freeing the land from his evil influence.
- Rebirth: As with the Tragedy plot, but our protagonist manages to realize his error before it's too late, and does a Heel Face Turn to avoid inevitable defea
defined by conflict and opposition
man vs man
man vs nature/environment
man vs society
man vs himself
man vs fate /god(supernatural)
also they often are synthesis of multipl plot types in the same story
you could probably templatize and add sequential progression (compound quest) for the story the player has to play thru
making sure the different substuituted elements are related to each other and the proper props are placed and act correctly , overall themes etc....
Ive been thinking about how this would be done (for years) and have come to the conclusion that you still have alot of hand crafting, but now it would be of hierarchical templates (and a fairly irregular tree of options you chose from/thru). Again liklely some kind of matching code would be required to check if a candidate was applicable to the players situation and then fitting logic to select a valid set of substitution elements.
So alot of filtering and if-this-then-that code and classifications of useable elements/props/behaviors/etc.. but at least now it could be reused instead of precanned crafting of largely unique scripting for a particular even in a particular game.
Reuse across multiple games (generic patterns with game specific elements reapplied) to amortize the cost of the complex (expensive) system
My 'big' idea is for (in MMORPGs or modding Solo games) Player Creation to supply ALOT more templates and elements to substiture (a whole horrendous system in itself because of the huge number of near idiot proof tiools required)).