Storium Theory: The Excitement of Exceptions

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 9th, 2017. If you’ve been reading my “Getting Personal” articles, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a bit of a theme with them – a common thread in how I like to think about using personality types in stories. I’ve said that the most powerful moment for a character in a story is when his personality “breaks” – when he is forced to confront the events of the story in such a way that he behaves contrary to his personality thus far. The relentlessly positive character falls into despair. The driven character sacrifices his mission for another. The coward rises as a hero. Those sorts of scenes can be some of the most interesting moments in a...

Storium Theory: Narration Styles: Rattannah

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 2nd, 2017. Today on the ol’ blog, we’ve got something special: the first of a few interviews that I’ll be doing with some narrators from Storium games who I’ve found to have styles that are somewhat different from mine in various ways, but who have run some excellent games. I’ve written quite a bit on narration techniques on this blog, but I can really only discuss those from my perspective – and I’m well aware that my style is not the only style of narration. So, in an effort to provide some more models for people to have a look at, I’m going to be speaking with some other Storium narrators to let them talk about their personal narration styles. First...

Storium Theory: Maintaining the Pace

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 26th, 2017. If you’ve narrated (or played, for that matter) on Storium before, you know there’s a pretty large tendency for games to slow down as they go on. If you haven’t narrated or played on Storium before, well…you’ve just been clued in. It’s simply a fact of playing on Storium, and it happens for a variety of reasons, from games just being more “exciting” for players and narrators when they’re new to life sometimes getting in the way. It’s important to accept the fact that your game will encounter slowdown at some point during its run. But there’s a difference between accepting that fact and encouraging the slowdown to happen in...

Storium Theory: Feel the Fight

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 19th, 2017. Forgot to post it here that week – sorry about that! I’ve done a few posts in the past on specific types of characters, but today, I’d like to write a bit on a specific type of scene – the fight scene. Now, I’ve used combat for examples before in articles on this site, but what I’d like to do today is explore fight scenes from a narrative angle – not the mechanical aspects of those scenes, and not how they can be used to encourage interplay between the player characters, but how one actually writes combat. I’m going to look at this from the standpoint of writing combat focused on one main character (presumably your own), but these concepts can...

Storium Theory: Getting Personal: The Loner

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 12th, 2017. This week, we’re coming back to “Getting Personal” to talk about a character type I think might be harder to do well in a Storium game than nearly any other: The Loner. Loners are pretty popular characters in fiction – the lone wolf, the dark hero who works alone, the agent whose last partner got killed and who isn’t willing to accept another, the guy with a problem with authority. You can probably think of popular fictional heroes for each of those “loner” types, right? But while they’re popular in fiction, loners are tough to write in the context of a Storium game. (Heck, they can be tough to do in tabletop, too.) Storium games are often...

Storium Theory: The Spice of Life

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 5th, 2017. I hope everyone had a great holiday season – we’re back for 2017! Today, I’d like to take a little time to talk about variety in the context of a Storium tale – specifically, from the standpoint of the narrator. Variety is important. I’ve written before about avoiding repetitive writing as a player by making sure to read over your prior posts to ensure you aren’t repeating the same themes over and over again in too short a time span, but variety is important for a narrator as well…perhaps even more so than for a player. As a narrator, it is important to give your players varied situations to work with. Yes, you might be writing an action story, but...