Storium Theory: Reading Ahead – Outcomes as Inspiration

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on April 20th, 2017. I’ve written a bit before about how challenge outcomes provide guidelines for writing during a challenge…how they provide the effective limits of what can happen during a challenge, and how they reveal what the players should be writing towards when playing Strengths and Weaknesses. Today, I’d just like to take a little time to look at that from a slightly different angle: Outcomes as inspiration. This falls along similar lines to what I said above: Challenge outcomes reveal what players should be writing towards when playing their cards. Because of this…challenge outcomes provide ideas. If you have trouble writing on a challenge, one of the first things you should do...

Storium Theory: Inaction in Action

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on April 13th, 2017. Sometimes, I see players make comments in a game, explaining why they haven’t made a move in a challenge so far: “I don’t think this is something my character knows how to deal with.” “I’m not sure she cares about this.” “I think he’s just kind of stunned right now. “She doesn’t know what to do.” Sometimes these are indications of a problem in the story – if all of a narrator’s players are telling him their characters don’t care about the current situation, it is probably time to revise the situation and figure out how to better relate it to the story at hand. But…more often, they’re a...

Storium Theory: Questions and Answers

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on April 6th, 2017. A while back, I wrote a post on making trouble: The technique by which players could elaborate on the dangers or problems their characters encounter as they wrote the story of a challenge, rather than just leaving the troubles to what the narrator initially established. When you’re writing on a challenge, you’re writing not just your own character’s story but the story of the challenge itself. I’ve already written a great deal on the need to write not just your character’s actions, but the results of those actions, and how those results impact the challenge going forward. I’ve also written on the need to leave things open for other players to use. Today,...

Storium Theory: Limiting Your Limitations

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 30th, 2017. Today, I’d like to write a bit about something that I think we all do as narrators from time to time: Limiting the options that players have for writing about a situation. Limits are good. Limits, at their base, are a way of ensuring that the scene has focus. When we set up a challenge at all, we are putting limits on the scene in general – limits of saying “the scene is now about this problem, and it needs to be addressed.” We’re defining what the actual problem is, and to some extent unavoidably defining the sort of things that can be done to address the problem. But it’s important to recognize when we take these definitions too far. I’ve been...

Storium Theory: Narration Styles: mforrester

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 23rd, 2017. This blog highlights a lot of my narration philosophy, but my way is hardly the only way to narrate a Storium game. I’ve been interested in bringing in some other narrators to have a chat and explore their narration styles. This week, I’ve had the chance to speak with mforrester (Maurice Forrester), the narrator of some very, very good games that use quite an open narrating style. With games like One Night in Hooverville, Jake Tuttle’s Funeral, and A Midsummer Hippie Wedding, Maurice has taken players through some interesting and unusual settings…while giving players a high degree of control over the game’s direction, plot, and secrets. I’ve always been...

Storium Theory: Postmortem: Changing Days

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 16th, 2017…and I once again forgot to post it over here. Sorry! It’s been a little while since it finished, but today, it’s time to talk about Changing Days. I let this go a bit longer than I meant to again–didn’t really have time to think this through and give the game a look over until now. Changing Days ran from February 28th, 2016 until February 21st, 2017, a little shy of one year. As a reminder, I write these articles as a review largely of my own role in the game as a narrator, trying to draw on my experiences and figure out what went well and what went poorly due to my actions. I may mention player input at times, but that isn’t the primary purpose of these...