Storium Basics: Narration Basics

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on August 31st, 2017. One last article of “Storium Basics,” here – this series has been focused on the player side, but I would be remiss in not addressing narration at least somewhat. It’s hard to spell out absolute basics for narration, and hard to really learn it without diving in and doing some narration. Unfortunately, there haven’t really been good ways to get a beginner narrator game going the way we can for beginner players. But here, I’m going to try to give at least a general overview, and link to some articles that can develop things further. I highly encourage going through at least some of the articles I link to below, as there’s just no way to adequately...

Storium Theory: Optional Challenges

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on June 8th, 2017. Most of the time, when we put down a challenge, it’s definite – a note that the story will be focusing on a particular point. But is it possible to use challenges differently? To lay down a challenge for something the players might want to focus on, but are not required to focus on? I believe it is a tool for the toolbox…but one I would show great caution in using. I’ve only pulled out an optional challenge once or twice in my own games, and I am wary of using them often, if at all, in my own narration generally. Storium’s rules are set up more for completion of challenges and requiring of challenges, and I think there’s a good reason for that. In setup, an...

Storium Starters: Crash Landing

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on June 1st, 2017. Storium Starters are starting scene ideas for the generic Storium worlds available to everyone. They contain introductory narration, challenge text, outcomes, and some location or world information that may be necessary to understand the first scene, though I attempt to keep them generic enough that they can easily be slotted in regardless of other world details you might have designed. Along with the initial scene idea, they will also contain ideas for where the story could go from the starting point. Storium Starters are released to public domain and may be used without attribution for your own games. This Storium Starter is meant for the Space Adventure world. It is possible you may find...

Storium Theory: Tell the Story of the Characters

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on May 25th, 2017. I’ve written in the past about the responsibility of the narrator to use the details provided by player characters, and to set up challenges for the player characters chosen for the game. Today, I’d like to delve into that same general idea, but from a slightly different angle. As narrator, you’re responsible for setting up the story. You’re responsible for figuring out possibilities for the game arc – the way the game will start, how it will progress, what variations could come up along the way, how open things are to being altered by the player characters and by how much, and where the story is likely to go. I’ve written about these concepts quite a bit, as...

Storium Theory: Inverting the Trope

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on May 18th, 2017. We’ve seen it before. A young hero has an older mentor, who taught the hero everything the hero knows. The mentor takes on a mission, and is captured, or killed, or goes missing, or what-have-you. Now the hero has to step up and save the day. It’s a trope. It’s a trope for a reason. It’s a pretty powerful story. There’s a personal connection between the hero and the mission – a need to carry on after a person the hero respects, perhaps, or redeem the person’s reputation, or even rescue the person. It ties the hero more deeply to the tale than if the hero had simply taken the mission himself in the first place. There’s nothing particularly wrong...

Storium Theory: Limiting Your Limitations

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 30th, 2017. Today, I’d like to write a bit about something that I think we all do as narrators from time to time: Limiting the options that players have for writing about a situation. Limits are good. Limits, at their base, are a way of ensuring that the scene has focus. When we set up a challenge at all, we are putting limits on the scene in general – limits of saying “the scene is now about this problem, and it needs to be addressed.” We’re defining what the actual problem is, and to some extent unavoidably defining the sort of things that can be done to address the problem. But it’s important to recognize when we take these definitions too far. I’ve been...