Storium Theory: Only Natural

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on April 27th, 2017. I’ve spent quite a lot of time on this blog on Strength cards, Weakness cards, and Subplot cards. I haven’t spent all that much time, though…if any…on the other card type that players pick out at character creation: Nature. So, let’s talk Natures. Specifically, I want to focus on writing your own Nature card during character creation. What is a Nature card all about? What should you do if you’re creating your own for your own character? A Nature card is your “at a glance” statement of just what, exactly, the character is. It’s the broad strokes of the character, the central concept that defines them. In many ways, it is the single most...

Storium Theory: The Excitement of Exceptions

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 9th, 2017. If you’ve been reading my “Getting Personal” articles, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a bit of a theme with them – a common thread in how I like to think about using personality types in stories. I’ve said that the most powerful moment for a character in a story is when his personality “breaks” – when he is forced to confront the events of the story in such a way that he behaves contrary to his personality thus far. The relentlessly positive character falls into despair. The driven character sacrifices his mission for another. The coward rises as a hero. Those sorts of scenes can be some of the most interesting moments in a...

Storium Theory: Getting Personal: The Loner

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 12th, 2017. This week, we’re coming back to “Getting Personal” to talk about a character type I think might be harder to do well in a Storium game than nearly any other: The Loner. Loners are pretty popular characters in fiction – the lone wolf, the dark hero who works alone, the agent whose last partner got killed and who isn’t willing to accept another, the guy with a problem with authority. You can probably think of popular fictional heroes for each of those “loner” types, right? But while they’re popular in fiction, loners are tough to write in the context of a Storium game. (Heck, they can be tough to do in tabletop, too.) Storium games are often...

Storium Theory: Build Towards Something

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on December 15th, 2016. Storium games are quite heavily about revealing new things about your characters, and moving their issues forward – developing their personal tales alongside the game’s tale. Two rules, Wild Cards and Subplots, strongly support this element of Storium and help bring focus to the characters. We learn major new things about characters through Wild Cards, and we delve heavily into their personal issues or conflicts with Subplots. But characters in stories, which Storium is designed to help represent, don’t just develop at random. From the start of a character’s tale, the tale is building towards something. The young, inexperienced hero’s tale builds towards the...

Storium Theory: Getting Personal: Arrogant

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on December 1st, 2016. Hey, everybody. I hope that all who celebrate it had a good Thanksgiving! This week, I’d like to revisit my “Getting Personal” series, my discussion of central personality traits for characters and how those traits can benefit – and harm – a story. This week, we’re going to look at a personality type I’ll call Arrogant. An “Arrogant” personality is one that emphasizes his own personal status in some major fashion. A central element of his character is how he believes he is better than something else – usually, that’s both the challenges he’s facing, and the other heroes. He believes that he is overqualified for the...

Storium Theory: Young at Heart

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on November 17th, 2016. Today, I’d like to take us back to a discussion on writing particular character types–and this one, like my “Getting Personal” articles, is about personality…but it’s also about another trait: Age. Specifically, the lack of it. I’ve written a lot of child characters in my time on MUXes and on Storium, and I’ve found them very fun to play…but also very challenging. It’s a type of character I’ve been told that I write well, but it’s also one that can be tough to get right, and tough to make sure you’re working properly into a story. I want to take a moment aside to note that this article is specifically about kid...