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...

Storium Theory: Component Challenges

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 23rd, 2017. Today, I’d like to take a look at another interesting thing that you can do with Storium‘s challenge system – something that I’d call “component” challenges. Component challenges are something that I’ve found very useful when you’re dealing with an overall situation that might be too large or amorphous to handle by means of a larger challenge. For example: Let’s say that you want to do a challenge about a journey through an underground cave, with the heroes finding their way through to the room that holds a sacred artifact. You could, of course, do this as one big challenge titled “Through the Caves” or something of that...

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...