Storium Theory: Optional Challenges

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on June 8th, 2017. Most of the time, when we put down a challenge, it’s definite – a note that the story will be focusing on a particular point. But is it possible to use challenges differently? To lay down a challenge for something the players might want to focus on, but are not required to focus on? I believe it is a tool for the toolbox…but one I would show great caution in using. I’ve only pulled out an optional challenge once or twice in my own games, and I am wary of using them often, if at all, in my own narration generally. Storium’s rules are set up more for completion of challenges and requiring of challenges, and I think there’s a good reason for that. In setup, an...

Storium Starters: Crash Landing

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on June 1st, 2017. Storium Starters are starting scene ideas for the generic Storium worlds available to everyone. They contain introductory narration, challenge text, outcomes, and some location or world information that may be necessary to understand the first scene, though I attempt to keep them generic enough that they can easily be slotted in regardless of other world details you might have designed. Along with the initial scene idea, they will also contain ideas for where the story could go from the starting point. Storium Starters are released to public domain and may be used without attribution for your own games. This Storium Starter is meant for the Space Adventure world. It is possible you may find...

Storium Theory: A Shadow in the Light

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on May 11th, 2017. I’ve written a bit about this before, but today I’d like to discuss one of the most fun things that I’ve found to do on Storium – ending a challenge with a Strong ending by playing a Weakness card. Sometimes, you find yourself with a really fascinating opportunity on Storium. You’re writing the final move on a challenge, and it is definitely going Strong – there’s only one card slot left, for instance, and at least 2 more Strong cards have been played than Weakness cards, so even if you play a Weakness card, it’s still going to be 1 up on Strong. These are amazingly fun writing opportunities, and I encourage you to make the most of them. Play a...

Storium Theory: Don’t Count Yourself Out

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on May 4th, 2017. Today, I’d like to spend a bit of time on something that I’ve seen here and there on Storium – cases where a person perhaps goes a bit too Weak with a Weakness play…and takes themselves out of a scene. It feels right – it feels better than right, doesn’t it? Isn’t it a great expression of a Weakness to not just suffer a setback, not just suffer some kind of injury, but actually get knocked out or otherwise removed from play for a bit? Well…it is, and it isn’t. Let’s start off with the good: This is, undoubtedly, an example of a player being very willing to show his character suffering for his Weakness. That’s great, and...

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: 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,...