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...

Storium Theory: Ending Challenges Early

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 24th, 2016. If you’ve listened to the Storium Arc podcast lately (and if you haven’t, why haven’t you?), you know that Justin and I had a debate about ending challenges early and the effect that could have on a game. I mentioned during that debate that I wasn’t necessarily totally against the concept, I just felt it was a technique to be used with caution. I’d like to go into that a bit more today…but I’d also like to go into how I think you should go about ending a challenge early if you have to do it. Reasons for Ending a Challenge Early Let’s first talk about why someone might decide to end a challenge early. When I’ve seen it, it primarily comes...

Storium Theory: Challenges That Matter

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 10th, 2016. I’ve written quite a bit here on challenges in Storium. I’ve written about the mechanics of a challenge, the way to play cards on one, the way to set up a challenge with narration, and even a possible house rule about playing single cards at a time. Plenty more will come on the mechanics in the future, I’m sure. But right now, I want to discuss another part of challenges, something just as important…actually, probably quite a bit more important than the mechanical side of things, the setup of a challenge, or anything else involved in them. That’s…making challenges matter. It’s important to remember that what you’re doing when...

Storium Theory: Setting up a Challenge, Part 3–Results

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on 12/10/2015. Welcome back to my series on setting up challenges. We’ve been through the Name and Description in one prior post, and the Rating in another. Now, it’s time to talk about the Results. Each challenge has a Strong result and a Weak result. The basic purpose of these is to guide the writing of the player who completes the challenge if it comes out Strong or Weak – to tell the player what events or information need to be included in his writeup. (The narrator writes the challenge conclusion in the case of an Uncertain result.) There are a wide variety of ways to write the results statements. Some narrators like to spell things out in detail, while others like to leave a lot up to the...