Storium Theory: Hey, Remember When We…

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on June 7th, 2016. I’ve written a little on this blog before about methods for a narrator to use to help players establish some relationships between their characters in the case of a group that needs to have some history–mainly, I focused on the idea of a few questions narrators can ask before the game begins to draw some information out of their players regarding those relationships. I’ve been asked to write a little more on the topic–to cover some ways that the narrator might continue to draw out information on the past relationships between characters as the game goes on. I’m going to…but first, I want to concentrate on what players can do. Quick note that by...

Storium Theory: People, People Who Need People

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on June 2nd, 2016. In discussing what a narrator can do to encourage the development of bonds between the player characters, I found myself thinking a bit about what players themselves could do to tie their characters to other player characters. How can you, the player, bond your character to others and help establish the dynamics of the group? I think it begins with the concept of need. Let’s back up from storytelling for a second, and look at real life. Why do we–me, you, everybody else, the actual people playing Storium or writing blogs or reading blogs right now–forge relationships? Need. We need connections. We need people to fill holes in our lives. Maybe we need someone who can encourage...

Storium Theory: Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on May 31st, 2016. I’ve written a little bit on the topic of establishing character bonds before, focusing on a concept of how one might use a few simple questions to sketch a picture of a group history for a group of player characters who are all supposed to know each other well at the start of the game. Since then, I’ve received a request to delve a bit more into the idea of establishing character relationships, but from a different tack. When player characters do not know each other well at the start of the game, what should you do to get those relationships growing? Is it best to start out with a challenge that’s about establishing the relationships, or should you just get straight to the...

Storium Theory: Cast Size

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on May 26th, 2016. When you’re setting up a new game on Storium, one of the major considerations is cast size–that is, how many characters are you going to accept for the game? 3? 5? 8? 10? 12? The size of the cast influences quite a bit about the way the game will run, and where your focus as narrator is going to reside. Storium‘s official documentation states that it “plays best with 3-5 players (including the narrator), although you can have as many as you like.” I’ve been in very successful games with 3-5 players, but I’ve also been in very successful games with up to 10 players. Ultimately, your choice of cast size alone won’t guarantee success or doom your...

Storium Theory: The Best Way to Play Storium

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on May 24th, 2016. I write a lot of articles on this site about…methods, and concepts, and ways to accomplish things with the Storium system. But this article isn’t about the nitty-gritty details, like how to write a challenge or what to do when you play a certain card type. This is about something bigger: the question of: what is the best way to play Storium? Some people play Storium with a strong adherence to the system. Others treat it loosely. Some weave in rules from tabletop RPGs they like. Others use the site as a meeting place and play pretty much systemless. Some interpret cards widely, others tightly. Some play every challenge to completion, others feel like if something big changes you...

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...