Storium Theory: Inverting the Trope

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on May 18th, 2017. We’ve seen it before. A young hero has an older mentor, who taught the hero everything the hero knows. The mentor takes on a mission, and is captured, or killed, or goes missing, or what-have-you. Now the hero has to step up and save the day. It’s a trope. It’s a trope for a reason. It’s a pretty powerful story. There’s a personal connection between the hero and the mission – a need to carry on after a person the hero respects, perhaps, or redeem the person’s reputation, or even rescue the person. It ties the hero more deeply to the tale than if the hero had simply taken the mission himself in the first place. There’s nothing particularly wrong...

Storium Theory: A Shadow in the Light

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on May 11th, 2017. I’ve written a bit about this before, but today I’d like to discuss one of the most fun things that I’ve found to do on Storium – ending a challenge with a Strong ending by playing a Weakness card. Sometimes, you find yourself with a really fascinating opportunity on Storium. You’re writing the final move on a challenge, and it is definitely going Strong – there’s only one card slot left, for instance, and at least 2 more Strong cards have been played than Weakness cards, so even if you play a Weakness card, it’s still going to be 1 up on Strong. These are amazingly fun writing opportunities, and I encourage you to make the most of them. Play a...

Storium Theory: Don’t Count Yourself Out

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on May 4th, 2017. Today, I’d like to spend a bit of time on something that I’ve seen here and there on Storium – cases where a person perhaps goes a bit too Weak with a Weakness play…and takes themselves out of a scene. It feels right – it feels better than right, doesn’t it? Isn’t it a great expression of a Weakness to not just suffer a setback, not just suffer some kind of injury, but actually get knocked out or otherwise removed from play for a bit? Well…it is, and it isn’t. Let’s start off with the good: This is, undoubtedly, an example of a player being very willing to show his character suffering for his Weakness. That’s great, and...

Storium Theory: Only Natural

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on April 27th, 2017. I’ve spent quite a lot of time on this blog on Strength cards, Weakness cards, and Subplot cards. I haven’t spent all that much time, though…if any…on the other card type that players pick out at character creation: Nature. So, let’s talk Natures. Specifically, I want to focus on writing your own Nature card during character creation. What is a Nature card all about? What should you do if you’re creating your own for your own character? A Nature card is your “at a glance” statement of just what, exactly, the character is. It’s the broad strokes of the character, the central concept that defines them. In many ways, it is the single most...

Storium Theory: Reading Ahead – Outcomes as Inspiration

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on April 20th, 2017. I’ve written a bit before about how challenge outcomes provide guidelines for writing during a challenge…how they provide the effective limits of what can happen during a challenge, and how they reveal what the players should be writing towards when playing Strengths and Weaknesses. Today, I’d just like to take a little time to look at that from a slightly different angle: Outcomes as inspiration. This falls along similar lines to what I said above: Challenge outcomes reveal what players should be writing towards when playing their cards. Because of this…challenge outcomes provide ideas. If you have trouble writing on a challenge, one of the first things you should do...

Storium Theory: Inaction in Action

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on April 13th, 2017. Sometimes, I see players make comments in a game, explaining why they haven’t made a move in a challenge so far: “I don’t think this is something my character knows how to deal with.” “I’m not sure she cares about this.” “I think he’s just kind of stunned right now. “She doesn’t know what to do.” Sometimes these are indications of a problem in the story – if all of a narrator’s players are telling him their characters don’t care about the current situation, it is probably time to revise the situation and figure out how to better relate it to the story at hand. But…more often, they’re a...