Storium Theory: Finishing a Challenge – Strong Results

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on May 10th, 2016. Today, I’d like to start a series of posts on finishing a challenge–what do you do, as a player, when you are playing the final card on a challenge? How should you write a Strong result, a Weak result, or an Uncertain result? After I cover the player side of things, we’ll finish up with some thoughts for narrators on writing for Uncertain outcomes. I’ve covered a bit about writing outcomes before, but totally from the narrator side of things. I wrote a bit about how to think through writing the outcome text to properly guide players, and I’ve written at length about how to write Weak outcome text in particular to make it something players might choose because it is...

Storium Theory: Thoughts on PVP (Player-vs-Player) Conflict

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on April 19th, 2016. A bit of an impromptu post here–normally I’m working from a list of ideas that popped into my brain previously, and I take the time to really let them stew for a while, but this one popped into my brain, well, just now, so it may be somewhat undercooked. As indicated by tortured metaphors. Anyway…I’m sure that no one would be surprised to hear me say that I think Storium is a great system. Simple, but very effective for the vast majority of stories. But there are places that I’ve found it to be…perhaps a bit difficult to use, in ways that I’m honestly not sure I would call problems so much as things in need of creative solutions. The biggest one...

Storium Theory: Weak Outcomes are Not Punishments

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 31st, 2016. This is a topic I’ve mentioned sometimes in the past, but I wanted to go into it a little more, and make more of a definitive statement on it. Weak Outcomes in Storium games are not intended to be punishments for some kind of failure. Storium is different from many tabletop RPGs in this. In tabletop RPGs, oftentimes, the game is structured so that if the players don’t play well enough, or if the dice just go against them, they receive a bad outcome–the enemies win the battle, they can’t get through the door, they fall from the cliff, or some such. The bad outcome may in fact even stop the story cold–the party might be slain, or lose their only lead. There are...

Storium Theory: Character-Specific Challenges

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 29th, 2016. In most cases in Storium games, narrators set up challenges that can pretty much be fulfilled by any of the characters. They set up a situation and leave it to the players to decide who resolves it and how. But every now and then in a story, you feel the need to get more specific–to actually set up a challenge for a particular person. Now…I’m not talking about challenges where you name one, or a few specific people because the group is currently split–though those can take some of the same advice below. What I mean here is challenges that speak to a certain character’s plot or issues, and therefore should generally only be fulfilled by that character. Let’s...

Storium Theory: Ending Challenges Early

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 24th, 2016. If you’ve listened to the Storium Arc podcast lately (and if you haven’t, why haven’t you?), you know that Justin and I had a debate about ending challenges early and the effect that could have on a game. I mentioned during that debate that I wasn’t necessarily totally against the concept, I just felt it was a technique to be used with caution. I’d like to go into that a bit more today…but I’d also like to go into how I think you should go about ending a challenge early if you have to do it. Reasons for Ending a Challenge Early Let’s first talk about why someone might decide to end a challenge early. When I’ve seen it, it primarily comes...

Storium Theory: Challenges: Simultaneous or Sequential?

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 17th, 2016. I’ve written a fair amount about setting up a challenge in Storium, but thus far, I’ve only really discussed challenges from the standpoint of a single challenge–the intricacies of setting up one challenge, narrating about it, setting its points and outcomes, and so on. Today, I’d like to bring up the idea of multiple¬†challenges in the same scene–a common element of Storium¬†games, but one I haven’t much discussed so far. Using multiple challenges in the same scene is a good way to portray more complex or lengthy situations. A challenge can only use up to 9 points on its own, but if multiple challenges are used to address the same general situation, then...