Storium Theory: “Choice” Outcomes

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on July 5th, 2016. I’ve written about this a bit before, but I wanted to take a little time today to delve into one interesting way that I’ve found to write outcomes–a way that seems to me to strike a nice balance of allowing player choice while not making the amount of options paralyzing. I’ve taken to using this method quite a bit in my own games, particularly for weak outcomes. I’ve shown some examples of it before, but I don’t think I’ve ever written about it much at length. For lack of a better name, I’ll call this method Choice Outcomes. To write a Choice Outcome, instead of providing a single option for a given Outcome (Strong or Weak), you give two or more....

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: 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: The Three-Act Structure

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on June 14th, 2016. Welcome back to Storium Theory. Today, I’m writing about another reader-submitted topic–one of my readers wrote in and asked me to put together some thoughts on Storium‘s three-act structure story format, and what might be some pluses and minuses of using that format versus going without a format. The three-act structure was something I was actually pretty skeptical of when I first heard that Storium was adding it. I wondered if it would actually add much of anything to the game. After all, couldn’t we already structure stories however we want? Well…yes, we can. But I’ve found that I wasn’t. You see, Storium as a system is effectively set up to guide...

Storium Theory: It Isn’t Always Gold

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on June 9th, 2016. Philosophy time again. I wrote a while back about “The Draft Principle,” which states that Storium games should be looked at as first (or perhaps second) drafts of a story rather than final versions. There will be some things that end up included in a story–things that cause some plot holes, characterization changes, or the like–that happen because we’re writing things as they come to us. If we were writing final stories, we’d go back and clean them up, but looking at Storium writing as “draft” writing allows us to let things slide a bit for ourselves and not get hung up on things. Today, I’d like to extend that a little bit, with another...