Storium Theory: Have an Ending from the Start

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 21st, 2016. Today, I’d like to give another little piece of advice about making it more likely that you can run games to completion. This one’s largely focused on narrators. I touched on this a bit in my article on story scope, but I’d like to expand here. Have an ending in mind before you even start the game. “What?” you say. “But Storium is so player-driven! Wouldn’t that be railroading?” Well, yes and no. I want you to have an ending in mind. It doesn’t matter if you actually end up using that ending. The story can go in a massively different direction, if that’s how things work out. I just want you to have an idea of where things could go....

Storium Theory: Over-Commitment

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 19th, 2016. So…last time, I wanted to just write a bit to encourage people to finish games, to play them through even if things got tough. That was something of a philosophy article, I suppose. I believe that Storium games are a commitment, and that when you start something, you should push very hard to finish it. Today, though, I want to offer some advice, a bit more along my normal lines. Today, I’d like to talk about one of the causes of retirements/suspensions, over-commitment. Over-commitment is, quite simply, when a player joins / narrates too many games at the same time. The player isn’t able to keep up with all the games, starts falling behind in them, and ends up retiring...

Storium Theory: Finish What You Start

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 14th, 2016. Today is less of an advice article and more of a request. It’s time to talk about something near and dear to my heart, and one of the things that I think is ultimately going to hold Storium back from true success if it remains a concern. Storium has a lot of potential. It has a nice base system that supports stories with a good line of success and trouble for each individual character, along with the group as a whole. It is a lot of fun to go back after completing a game and reread it–honestly, it’s far more fun to do that with a Storium game than with a game from any other system I’ve played, because Storium supports stories that are fun to read. The problem is that...

Storium Theory: Finding Your Voice

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 12th, 2016. I’d like to talk a bit today about a more general topic, though still one that’s very important to Storium games…a character’s “voice.” Portraying a character is a complex endeavor, requiring you to learn to think in a different manner than you usually would. Unless you are actually playing yourself, your character will do different things in a situation than you might. Few of us, for instance, would charge headlong at a rampaging dragon even if we did have a +5 Sword of Dragon Smashing. But it goes beyond actions…not only should our characters act differently from us, but they should also, oftentimes, speak differently as well. This is something...

Storium Theory: “Planning” Scenes

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 7th, 2016. It happens in any game that is trying to take a more open approach: eventually, the narrator will reach a point where it really isn’t that clear how, exactly, the players might want to proceed. Sometimes, the narrator himself wants to know which way the story should go. Other times, the narrator sets up a more open challenge that could be resolved in a variety of ways, and the players start thinking it over in detail. Either way, the result tends to be a planning scene. And planning scenes, quite often, slow the game to a crawl. I’m…not a fan of planning scenes, in general. There are ways to potentially do them well, and I’ll get to one that I’ve found works to...