Storium Theory: Address the Challenge

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 5th, 2016. One occasional thing I’ve seen crop up in Storium games is an odd little thing that can happen with challenges and card plays, particularly in the case of more complex challenges. Players will sometimes end up playing cards as their characters suggest things that the group could do to resolve the challenge, chipping away at the challenge’s points, and leaving whoever plays the last card to somehow summarize everything that actually ended up happening in resolving the challenge, as well as the actual challenge ending. I’d like to encourage Storium players to alter their thinking a bit on situations like this. If you are not involving yourself in the situation covered by a...

Storium Theory: Setting Up a Challenge, Part 4–Narration

Happy New Year! This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on 12/15/2015. Today is the final post of my series on setting up a challenge in Storium. Previously, we’ve covered the Name and Description, the Rating, and the Results. Today, we’ll be talking about Narration. Challenges aren’t all about the game mechanics. They need to be supported by your actual narration, making them part of the game world. Storium is a blend of storytelling and system, and in order to work properly, your challenges need to be set up not just mechanically, but in the story text as well. There is more to this than just describing the basic start of an event, or giving a dry statement of the objective. Your narration is where you set the tone, the mood of the...

Storium Theory: Setting up a Challenge, Part 3–Results

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on 12/10/2015. Welcome back to my series on setting up challenges. We’ve been through the Name and Description in one prior post, and the Rating in another. Now, it’s time to talk about the Results. Each challenge has a Strong result and a Weak result. The basic purpose of these is to guide the writing of the player who completes the challenge if it comes out Strong or Weak – to tell the player what events or information need to be included in his writeup. (The narrator writes the challenge conclusion in the case of an Uncertain result.) There are a wide variety of ways to write the results statements. Some narrators like to spell things out in detail, while others like to leave a lot up to the...

Storium Theory: Setting Up a Challenge, Part 2–Rating

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on 12/8/2015. In the first part of my series on setting up a challenge, I talked about naming the challenge and writing its description, two important elements that help set the challenge’s focus. See Setting Up a Challenge, Part 1 if you’d like to read up on those. Next up is playing the challenge card. The first thing to set up on the card is the number of points on the challenge, which directly corresponds to the number of cards the characters will be required to play to complete it. I usually call this the challenge rating. How do you decide how many points to set on a challenge? The first instinct of any RPG GM will be to set it based on the difficulty of the situation–to set things at 1 or...

Storium Theory: Setting Up a Challenge, Part 1–Name and Description

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on 12/3/2015. Reposting a day early here due to tomorrow being Christmas and all. For those who celebrate it, Merry Christmas! 🙂 I’ve talked a bit on this blog about the player side of dealing with challenges, but I haven’t really gone into the very basics of challenges yet. So today, we’ll start off a series of posts on challenge design. A lot of it is pretty easy to understand: challenges essentially represent “things that stand in the way” in a story. Maybe it is a situation, or an item, or a character…whatever the case, a challenge is something that the player characters need to deal with as the story progresses. As narrator, your job is to identify the things that become...