Storium Theory: And I’m All Out of Bubblegum

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 15th, 2016. Heroes need hero moments. There’s a tendency, when narrating in Storium (or when GMing, for that matter), to forget that–to make every challenge that the heroes face a serious danger to them and their cause–something that could not only go wrong, but go seriously wrong. For some genres, this actually works just fine. If you’re writing a story about normal people caught in a highly dangerous situation that they’re totally unprepared for, it’s appropriate for there to be severe danger at every turn. If the tone of your story is despair and dread, if things are supposed to look bleak from the get-go, or if the characters are pretty normal folks and don’t...

Storium Theory: Multi-Card Moves

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 3rd, 2016. I’ve spent the last couple of posts discussing cardless moves…now, it’s time to dive back in to the cards. In Storium, you can play up to three cards in a single move (and, incidentally, up to three cards in a scene as a whole, which is used to limit the total narrative impact any one character can have in a scene). Sometimes, you might decide to play only one at a time, while at other times you might choose to play two or even three in a single move. This is actually a pretty major decision. In game system terms, the more cards you play on a single move, the less card-based moves you’re making in a scene, but the more that single move pushes the challenge forward in...

Storium Theory: Add Some Color with Cardless Moves

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 25th, 2016. I spend a lot of time on this blog writing about how you can use Storium‘s system to support a good story. I write about setting up challenges, playing cards, choosing your cards, and all sorts of ways to use the system to guide your storytelling. But there’s something I’d like to discuss today that, in a way, is the inverse of that…an element of Storium‘s system that I haven’t much mentioned on the blog yet. Cardless moves. Storium does not require a card to be played when you make a move, so moves outside of the “challenge” structure are clearly possible. But…when should you make a move outside the challenge structure, and what should...

Storium Theory: Collaboration – Narrator and Players as a Team

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 23rd, 2016. Storium is a collaborative storytelling game. This puts it in a field similar to, but distinct from, many tabletop roleplaying games. I’ve been over this a bit in the past in more specific areas, but today I’d like to discuss the overall concept of collaboration…the art of looking at narrator and players as a team in the service of telling a good story. Many tabletop roleplaying games these days encourage GMs to work with rather than against their players–to build challenges, but always be rooting for the players to succeed (a distinction from the “kill ’em all” playstyle encouraged by some other games closer to the tradition’s wargaming...

Storium Theory: Play Within the World – Making Characters “Fit In”

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 16th, 2016. I mentioned in my posts on game and character arcs that the duty of the players is to develop their character arcs while supporting the game arc. In order for players to accomplish that, one major thing that they need to do is establish characters that seem like a real part of the game world. Characters need to fit in. It’s easier in some games than others–some games have a very well-defined world, while others have more of an open concept. The former means players have more to work off (but also have firmer boundaries to work within), while the latter means players have more freedom (but also less to use to spur ideas). Either way, though, the player needs to make an effort to...

Storium Theory: Refreshing Cards – “What’s Important Now?”

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 11th, 2016. “Great Ideas” is a category of posts on Gaming Creatively in which I cover some ideas I’ve found, mostly in gaming, which seem particularly noteworthy for one reason or another. Storium’s card refresh mechanic rated a post in that category. Based on my latest Great Ideas post, you’d obviously know that I’m rather fond of Storium‘s card refresh mechanic–but the mechanical benefits of the approach aren’t the only reason. No, the refresh is also another great way that Storium allows you to show changes that have come over your character over the course of the game’s story. When you get the chance to refresh your cards, you’re...