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: Support the Story

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on July 7th, 2016. I’ve written before about the need to create characters that fit within the world of a story–the need to support the game’s tone, themes, and such. Put simply, the idea that if the story is like The Lord of the Rings, you probably shouldn’t play someone like Superman, right? But it’s about more than that. The player’s responsibility to the story, and the way that should impact their character concept, goes beyond the character’s level of power, tone, and themes. Characters also need to be able to directly support the story. What does that mean? It means, simply, to act in accordance with the needs of the story. Not to fit the character in a neat little...

Storium Theory: Uniqueness of Cards

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on June 30th, 2016. Moving on from the previous article’s discussion of character ability concepts and why it is best to make them fairly unique…I’d like to talk about character card choices. While character concepts provide some ability differences, it’s also important to think about your cards. To put it simply, character abilities describe the tools you use to solve problems, but your cards describe how you use those tools…or how you don’t. How does a character tend to succeed? How does he tend to fail? What bolsters him? What makes him struggle? Those are the sorts of things Strengths and Weaknesses talk about. Those are the sort of things that you’re actually writing...

Storium Theory: Uniqueness of Ability

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on June 28th, 2016. I apologize for the delay getting it here–I forgot to put it in the schedule over here! Storium is not a tactical roleplaying game. It doesn’t use maps and minis. It doesn’t use skill rolls. So you might be inclined to think that it isn’t really that important to get a mix of different ability types in the cast for the game. If you’re thinking it isn’t as important, you’re probably right. There’s no point over the course of a Storium game where the group will have tactical trouble because they didn’t bring a wizard. But if you’re thinking it isn’t important at all, I have to disagree. Stories are simply more interesting to...

Storium Theory: Hey, Remember When We…

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on June 7th, 2016. I’ve written a little on this blog before about methods for a narrator to use to help players establish some relationships between their characters in the case of a group that needs to have some history–mainly, I focused on the idea of a few questions narrators can ask before the game begins to draw some information out of their players regarding those relationships. I’ve been asked to write a little more on the topic–to cover some ways that the narrator might continue to draw out information on the past relationships between characters as the game goes on. I’m going to…but first, I want to concentrate on what players can do. Quick note that by...

Storium Theory: People, People Who Need People

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on June 2nd, 2016. In discussing what a narrator can do to encourage the development of bonds between the player characters, I found myself thinking a bit about what players themselves could do to tie their characters to other player characters. How can you, the player, bond your character to others and help establish the dynamics of the group? I think it begins with the concept of need. Let’s back up from storytelling for a second, and look at real life. Why do we–me, you, everybody else, the actual people playing Storium or writing blogs or reading blogs right now–forge relationships? Need. We need connections. We need people to fill holes in our lives. Maybe we need someone who can encourage...