Story structure



I’ve been doing a fair amount of research into story and narrative structure as of late and I stumbled onto “Harmon’s Story Circle.”

I’ve used it in a couple of mock-up quest outlines that I may or may not flesh out. I’ve found that it works awesome!

Firstly, it helps you to develop a simple, easy to follow flow to your adventure.

Secondly, if you you have only an idea for a single element you want your adventure to be based around, the story circle helps to flesh out and tie together the other needed parts to make a cohesive story.

Thirdly, you can apply it to everything! Build your next campaign around it. Then all the adventures within the campaign. Then the stories behind the motivations of your NPC’s, your locations, your character backgrounds. Then just keep going.

Anyways, I made a little cheat sheet for your GM Binders… hope you have as much fun with it as I am.


This is really cool. Can we get a pdf or if a form fillable pdf?


Here is a pdf version I whipped up.


The guy who developed this story structure is the writer/director who created rick and Morty. And nearly every episode fit the outline.

Also, here is the video this where I initially discovered the circle

As well as a video where it is applied to D&D.


I’m a big fan of The Hero’s Journey, been using that mythic structure for ever. Plus it’s a great book to just read. :blush:


Are you talking about the Joseph Campbell bio? Or something else?

Those videos are awesome.


Yup, Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell. It’s a brilliant book. I read it at least once a year. One of my favorites.


I am going to have to read it.

I live his work about Trickster Gods.


That’s just like Joseph Campbell’s hero journey. I came up with a story structure based on that, but I added a lot more to it by adding specific points where the character slowly changes, plot twists can happen, and relationships change. I also created a cyclic scene structure which is this: Work on a small goal tied to the story goal>come across an obstacle in the way of the goal>puzzle out a way to deal with the obstacle (shows character change)>try it>success or failure as an outcome>reaction to the outcome(shows character personality)>come up with the consequent goal, and repeat.