%% Image source ''Plot Device'': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKZfAQ7L_WM
[[quoteright:349:[[Website/RedGiantDotCom http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Plot-Device-Red-Giant-Viral-Video_1727.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:349:Use with Caution.]]

A plot device is an object or character in the story whose purpose is purely to drive the {{Plot}} or resolve situations. It could be something everybody wants to obtain, a device that must be destroyed, or an annoying teenager who [[ThePresidentsDaughter must be protected at all costs]].

It may also be an object or gadget introduced early in the story for the sole purpose of [[ChekhovsGun solving a sticky situation later on]].

The term is commonly used in a derisory manner, on the grounds that the best stories are character driven, and using an object to make things happen is thus seen as a sign of bad writing. However, there are [[TropesAreTools plenty of good stories]] which do indeed revolve around a plot device; equally, a plot device can very easily be used to generate conflict and thus spark a character-driven story.

Whenever someone uses the term derisively they often mean that something is being used as a [[TheGimmick gimmick]] (or worse, an AssPull) to HandWave resolutions to PlotHoles in a way that breaks the WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief

Subtropes:
[[index]]
* AmplifierArtifact
* ArtifactOfAttraction: An item which magically causes everybody to {{lust}} after it, generating conflict.
* ArtifactOfDeath
* ArtifactOfDoom: A powerful item that causes corruption in all who use it.
* ChekhovsGun: A plot device that the heroes have been carrying around since the first five minutes finally gets used.
* ConvenientEclipse
* DeathTrap
* DeusExMachina: A plot device that gets the heroes out of danger.
* DiabolusExMachina: A plot device that gets the heroes into danger.
* EverythingSensor: A plot device that tells the heroes what and where the danger is.
* FakinMacGuffin: A decoy that's not the object wanted by someone.
* GottaCatchThemAll: A set of items which the characters all want to collect.
* {{MacGuffin}}: A plot device which nobody actually uses, and whose nature and identity are basically irrelevant.
* MagneticPlotDevice: A plot device whose very presence causes things to happen.
* PlotCoupon: An object necessary to continue or resolve the plot.
** PlotCouponThatDoesSomething: A plot coupon that has uses beyond clearing a particular obstacle.
*** SwordOfPlotAdvancement: A plot device that can kill stuff.
* SuspiciouslySpecificSermon
* TranslatorMicrobes: A plot device that lets everybody communicate clearly.
[[/index]]
----
!!{{Lampshade Hanging}}s and Other References:
''Almost by definition, stories have plot devices. Examples should be limited to lampshade hangings and references to the term.''
* There is a character in ''SheepInTheBigCity'', literally called The Plot Device, which is a robot that can cause nearly anything to happen to advance the plot.
* Dr. Bill Ernoehazy, an ''OrionsArm'' contributor'', wrote another story with a FasterThanLightTravel system called the [[http://www.kheper.net/topics/scifi/grading.html#note Plott-deVice drive]].
* One of the various {{Mac Guffin}}s that ''CityOfHeroes'' radio missions will ocassionally ask you to retrieve is a "P.L.O.T. Device." Its description:
-->The [[FunWithAcronyms Phased Linear Oscillation Transducer]] is a miraculous device, capable of producing such a variety of effects that many find it simply unbelievable. However, overusing a P.L.O.T. device can have serious consequences, and the more {{egregious}} uses can strain the very fabric of reality. P.L.O.T devices have fallen out of favor overall, but many a young and reckless pioneer has picked up a well-used P.L.O.T. device and run with it.
* Mr. Mighty of ''EverydayHeroes'' realizes that he can subject Matt O'Morph to a bit of HarmlessFreezing with a [[http://www.webcomicsnation.com/eddurd/everydayheroes/series.php?view=single&ID=92146 carbon-dioxide fire extinguisher]] ... which has a label on the side that reads, "Warning, Plot Device!"
* A literal plot device can be seen here in [[http://www.explosm.net/comics/1295/ this]] ''Webcomic/CyanideAndHappiness'' strip.
* In ''NipAndTuck'', when [[http://www.rhjunior.com/NT/00620.html a character complains of an obvious plot device]] in the ShowWithinAShow, someone else informs him it was RealLife.
* [[http://vimeo.com/24320919 This]] short by Seth Worley features a device called [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Plot Device]], which is a yellow box with large friendly letters reading "Plot Device" with a BigRedButton on its top and enables the user to turn his life in a movie and travel between different film genres.
* One ''CaptainMarVell'' comic, starring Genis-Vell, featured a very clever Kree fellow named "Plaht," whose "device" cleared away several plot inconveniences.
* In ''TabletopGame/TheDresdenFiles'' RPG, certain characters are noted as being "plot device level" characters. Most of them are considered {{Plot Device}}s because they're so ridiculously powerful that no PlayerParty would ever reasonably be able to take them on directly, making stats meaningless, and thus would have to outmanuever, work around, or run away from them; these include the [[TheFairFolk Faerie Queens]], [[OurAngelsAreDifferent Angels]], and [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Dragons]]. A handful, however, are noted as being a PlotDevice because they're so far down on the other side of the scale that they can only really provide one specific and specialized purpose, such as Elidee, a tiny pixie--even by pixie standards--who shows up briefly in one book to serve as a guide/flashlight for Dresden.
* This is one of the functions of Secrets ''[[TabletopGame/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy Mistborn Adventure Game]]''. For example, the secret formula for a new Allomantic metal, which gives the heroes bizzare new powers at the cost of drawing the attention of the Canton Of Inquistion.
----