Pip Decks

Three Great Conflicts

From Episode 5 of the weekly Storyteller Tactics episodes

Each week we release a new story and two Storyteller Tactics cards from the deck, launching on Kickstarter later this year.

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What is the Three Great Conflicts story tactic?

Conflict gets our attention and drives your story forward. Any hero may face three Great Conflicts:

Against Nature: fighting disease, ageing, weather, accidents, animals or Acts of God. Eg: Jaws

Against Society: a struggle with other people, over goals, values or resources. Eg: Black Panther

Against Self: we are our own worst enemy, and struggle to do what we know is right. Eg: Trainspotting.


ℹ️ Remember: story is everywhere.

When you tell stories, people pay attention, and most importantly - stories are never forgotten. 

The opportunities for using Storyteller Tactics in your work are endless. From emails, pitches, job interviews, or show and tells.

There's no right or wrong way to use them. Experiment and play. You'll find what works best for you.

How to use the Three Great Conflicts story tactic

How will your product or service help users with one of these three great conflicts?

1) Map your project.

Use three spheres of potential conflict.

Three Spheres of Conflict

Each sphere has a positive and negative aspect:


  • Positive: potential, resources, new life
  • Negative: threats, decay, death


  • Positive: collaboration, stability, protection
  • Negative: conflict, rigidity, exploitation


  • Positive: ambition, altruism, discipline
  • Negative: limitation, selfishness, laziness 

2) Where are the battles?

Look for conflict within each sphere and between the spheres. 


3) Which is the greatest battle that you are helping your user to fight?

This should be at the heart of your story. See if you can use this conflict to create a Compelling Hook for your story.

      🤔 Confused? Enlightened?

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      - Charles & Steve.

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