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...

Storium Theory: Narration Styles: mforrester

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 23rd, 2017. This blog highlights a lot of my narration philosophy, but my way is hardly the only way to narrate a Storium game. I’ve been interested in bringing in some other narrators to have a chat and explore their narration styles. This week, I’ve had the chance to speak with mforrester (Maurice Forrester), the narrator of some very, very good games that use quite an open narrating style. With games like One Night in Hooverville, Jake Tuttle’s Funeral, and A Midsummer Hippie Wedding, Maurice has taken players through some interesting and unusual settings…while giving players a high degree of control over the game’s direction, plot, and secrets. I’ve always been...

Storium Theory: Component Challenges

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 23rd, 2017. Today, I’d like to take a look at another interesting thing that you can do with Storium‘s challenge system – something that I’d call “component” challenges. Component challenges are something that I’ve found very useful when you’re dealing with an overall situation that might be too large or amorphous to handle by means of a larger challenge. For example: Let’s say that you want to do a challenge about a journey through an underground cave, with the heroes finding their way through to the room that holds a sacred artifact. You could, of course, do this as one big challenge titled “Through the Caves” or something of that...

Storium Theory: Narration Styles: Rattannah

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 2nd, 2017. Today on the ol’ blog, we’ve got something special: the first of a few interviews that I’ll be doing with some narrators from Storium games who I’ve found to have styles that are somewhat different from mine in various ways, but who have run some excellent games. I’ve written quite a bit on narration techniques on this blog, but I can really only discuss those from my perspective – and I’m well aware that my style is not the only style of narration. So, in an effort to provide some more models for people to have a look at, I’m going to be speaking with some other Storium narrators to let them talk about their personal narration styles. First...

Storium Starters: Village Assault

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on December 22nd, 2016. For today’s article, I’d like to try something a little different. Rather than my thoughts on Storium┬áconcepts or general roleplaying or narration, I’d like to give a bit of a gift (’tis the season, after all): a starting scene for a game, with challenges and outcomes, and with thoughts on where the story could go from there. Hopefully, this might be something you could find useful in narrating for Storium – either as something to use directly, or just as a means of seeing how you might start thinking about the game’s direction from the get-go. I’m going to call this (and any future articles of this type) a Storium Starter. As a formal statement:...

Storium Theory: Player-Driven Outcomes

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on September 29th, 2016. Way back when I was writing my initial coverage of creating Challenges, I mentioned that there were a few types of outcomes: Player-Driven, Narrator-Driven, and Mixed. Since then, I’ve written a fair bit about how to set up Narrator-Driven outcomes–how to clearly describe what will happen on a given outcome (while not completely stifling creativity, mind). And I’ve written about my personal version of “Mixed” outcomes, the “Choice” outcome. But I haven’t really written much about the Player-Driven sort of outcome. A Player-Driven outcome, to recap, is an outcome where the narrator leaves as much as possible open to the player’s...