A McGuffin is an object, place or even event which has the primary purpose of helping the plot of a story move along (a "plot device"). For instance, it may be the target of a hunt, a message or a chance encounter, but once it plays its role, it is of no significance to the world. In fact, its exact nature is irrelevant as it is the plot around it that is more important.
A good example may be any Birthright adventure that involves hunting down a heirloom or artifact, where the adventure ends up less being about the hunting and more about larger conspiracies, with the artifact effectively being insignificant.
See Also: McGuffin
- wikipedia's explanation

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