Storium Theory: Writing a Move – Neutral Cards

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on August 11th, 2016. Last week, I discussed the thought process for writing a move using a Strength or a Weakness card, and I promised to come back this week to discuss writing a move with Neutral cards. There are three types of Neutral cards in Storium: Subplots, Assets, and Goals. Playing to them will feel a little different, but functionally, as far as their effect on a challenge, they’re similar. Let’s talk about that first, and then we can get into a bit about how you might play to each card type. Impact On a Challenge When you play a Neutral card, the current “trend” of a challenge doesn’t change. A challenge that is trending Strong is still trending Strong, with the same...

Storium Theory: Writing a Move – Strength and Weakness Cards

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on August 4th, 2016. A long, long time ago (in internet terms), on a blog…well, on a blog pretty much right here, I wrote about the need to make an impact with your card plays. Today, I’d like to go into that a bit more–to give some more analysis on each part of what “making an impact” means, and what I think about. When I wrote the article back then (and followed it up with “Play to Your Cards” later), I identified a few things that I think about when I play a card–things that affect how I write my move: The type of card I’ve played: Strength, Weakness, or Neutral? The name and description of the card. The Strong and Weak Outcomes of the challenge. The...

Storium Theory: The Past in the Present

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on July 14th, 2016. I’ve written before on the manner in which players can bring out past relationships between their characters, and the way in which the narrator can encourage those relationships to develop during the opening portions of the game. Today, I’d like to answer a reader request by writing some more thoughts on what narrators can do to help call out existing relationships between player characters–relationships that predate the events of the game–and develop them and make them an important part of the story. I’m going to note that this is another highly theoretical post. Some of these are methods that I’ve used in some way, shape, or form, but others are...

Storium Theory: Brainstorming

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on June 23rd, 2016. For today’s article, I’d like to write a bit about one of the techniques I’ve seen used (and used myself) to help keep games moving and keep players involved: brainstorming. Specifically, I’m talking about brainstorming when players are struggling with ideas for how to proceed during a challenge. This post is primarily directed at narrators, but players can help with brainstorming too–and these concepts may help you when writing your own moves, as well. Players sometimes struggle with writing moves on challenges–everyone, at some time or another, has faced the dreaded “writer’s block.” (I really wish there were a “writer’s...

Storium Theory: Finishing a Challenge – Uncertain Results (Narrator Role)

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on May 19th, 2016. Concluding my series on finishing a challenge, I want to talk about the narrator’s role in writing Uncertain results. Uncertain results intimidate narrators. It’s true! We plan out great Strong and Weak outcomes, and we burn up our brainpower on those, and then our players go and hand us that dreaded grey result. Our first instinct is sometimes to scream “Argh! What did I ever do to them?” But it shouldn’t be. Here’s my philosophy on writing Uncertain outcomes as a narrator. First: Replace “Argh!” with “Yay!” Uncertain outcomes are fun, if you allow them to be fun. It’s easy to let them stress you out…so it’s...

Storium Theory: Finishing a Challenge – Uncertain Results (Player Role)

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on May 17th, 2016. Well, here we are–part three of my series on finishing a challenge. I’ve discussed Strong and Weak outcomes during the previous articles in this series…but now, it’s time to discuss Uncertain outcomes. Uncertain outcomes are different than Strong and Weak outcomes. Uncertain outcomes are where the narrator has the narrative power, rather than the players…but there’s still a role for the players here, and that’s what I’m going to discuss today. I want to preface this by saying that this is about the default Storium system. Some narrators handle Uncertain outcomes differently–some, for instance, will provide an Uncertain outcome text like the...