Storium Theory: Finishing a Challenge – Uncertain Results (Narrator Role)

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on May 19th, 2016. Concluding my series on finishing a challenge, I want to talk about the narrator’s role in writing Uncertain results. Uncertain results intimidate narrators. It’s true! We plan out great Strong and Weak outcomes, and we burn up our brainpower on those, and then our players go and hand us that dreaded grey result. Our first instinct is sometimes to scream “Argh! What did I ever do to them?” But it shouldn’t be. Here’s my philosophy on writing Uncertain outcomes as a narrator. First: Replace “Argh!” with “Yay!” Uncertain outcomes are fun, if you allow them to be fun. It’s easy to let them stress you out…so it’s...

Storium Theory: Finishing a Challenge – Uncertain Results (Player Role)

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on May 17th, 2016. Well, here we are–part three of my series on finishing a challenge. I’ve discussed Strong and Weak outcomes during the previous articles in this series…but now, it’s time to discuss Uncertain outcomes. Uncertain outcomes are different than Strong and Weak outcomes. Uncertain outcomes are where the narrator has the narrative power, rather than the players…but there’s still a role for the players here, and that’s what I’m going to discuss today. I want to preface this by saying that this is about the default Storium system. Some narrators handle Uncertain outcomes differently–some, for instance, will provide an Uncertain outcome text like the...

Storium Theory: Finishing a Challenge – Weak Results

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on May 12th, 2016. Continuing my series on finishing a challenge, today I’d like to talk about what to do if you are making the final move on a challenge that is going to end Weak. In some ways, there’s not a lot of difference, philosophically, between this and ending with a Strong result. But the application of the philosophy can be a bit different. So, let’s start out with: What is a Weak result? A Weak result is when you get the worse of the results provided by the narrator as options. A Weak result doesn’t necessarily mean failure–in fact, depending on the game, it might mean failure pretty rarely, if at all. Oftentimes, characters still overcome the situation–they still...

Storium Theory: Finishing a Challenge – Strong Results

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on May 10th, 2016. Today, I’d like to start a series of posts on finishing a challenge–what do you do, as a player, when you are playing the final card on a challenge? How should you write a Strong result, a Weak result, or an Uncertain result? After I cover the player side of things, we’ll finish up with some thoughts for narrators on writing for Uncertain outcomes. I’ve covered a bit about writing outcomes before, but totally from the narrator side of things. I wrote a bit about how to think through writing the outcome text to properly guide players, and I’ve written at length about how to write Weak outcome text in particular to make it something players might choose because it is...

Storium Theory: Thoughts on PVP (Player-vs-Player) Conflict

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on April 19th, 2016. A bit of an impromptu post here–normally I’m working from a list of ideas that popped into my brain previously, and I take the time to really let them stew for a while, but this one popped into my brain, well, just now, so it may be somewhat undercooked. As indicated by tortured metaphors. Anyway…I’m sure that no one would be surprised to hear me say that I think Storium is a great system. Simple, but very effective for the vast majority of stories. But there are places that I’ve found it to be…perhaps a bit difficult to use, in ways that I’m honestly not sure I would call problems so much as things in need of creative solutions. The biggest one...

Storium Theory: Weak Outcomes are Not Punishments

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 31st, 2016. This is a topic I’ve mentioned sometimes in the past, but I wanted to go into it a little more, and make more of a definitive statement on it. Weak Outcomes in Storium games are not intended to be punishments for some kind of failure. Storium is different from many tabletop RPGs in this. In tabletop RPGs, oftentimes, the game is structured so that if the players don’t play well enough, or if the dice just go against them, they receive a bad outcome–the enemies win the battle, they can’t get through the door, they fall from the cliff, or some such. The bad outcome may in fact even stop the story cold–the party might be slain, or lose their only lead. There are...