Storium Theory: Establishing Character Arcs

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 26th, 2016. I’ve touched on this a little before, but Storium games are about more than just the overall game story…they’re also about your character’s individual story. As the group is going through the events of the tale, suffering setbacks and achieving success as a unit, each individual character also has their highs and lows, their issues to explore. Over the course of a good tale, each major character within that tale will have its own character arc. This arc may or may not align with the flow of the main story arc–and that’s fine. I’ll get into the details of character arcs versus story arcs, and strategies to support your character arc with card plays,...

Storium Theory: Over-Commitment

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 19th, 2016. So…last time, I wanted to just write a bit to encourage people to finish games, to play them through even if things got tough. That was something of a philosophy article, I suppose. I believe that Storium games are a commitment, and that when you start something, you should push very hard to finish it. Today, though, I want to offer some advice, a bit more along my normal lines. Today, I’d like to talk about one of the causes of retirements/suspensions, over-commitment. Over-commitment is, quite simply, when a player joins / narrates too many games at the same time. The player isn’t able to keep up with all the games, starts falling behind in them, and ends up retiring...

Storium Theory: Finish What You Start

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 14th, 2016. Today is less of an advice article and more of a request. It’s time to talk about something near and dear to my heart, and one of the things that I think is ultimately going to hold Storium back from true success if it remains a concern. Storium has a lot of potential. It has a nice base system that supports stories with a good line of success and trouble for each individual character, along with the group as a whole. It is a lot of fun to go back after completing a game and reread it–honestly, it’s far more fun to do that with a Storium game than with a game from any other system I’ve played, because Storium supports stories that are fun to read. The problem is that...

Storium Theory: Finding Your Voice

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 12th, 2016. I’d like to talk a bit today about a more general topic, though still one that’s very important to Storium games…a character’s “voice.” Portraying a character is a complex endeavor, requiring you to learn to think in a different manner than you usually would. Unless you are actually playing yourself, your character will do different things in a situation than you might. Few of us, for instance, would charge headlong at a rampaging dragon even if we did have a +5 Sword of Dragon Smashing. But it goes beyond actions…not only should our characters act differently from us, but they should also, oftentimes, speak differently as well. This is something...

Storium Theory: “Planning” Scenes

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 7th, 2016. It happens in any game that is trying to take a more open approach: eventually, the narrator will reach a point where it really isn’t that clear how, exactly, the players might want to proceed. Sometimes, the narrator himself wants to know which way the story should go. Other times, the narrator sets up a more open challenge that could be resolved in a variety of ways, and the players start thinking it over in detail. Either way, the result tends to be a planning scene. And planning scenes, quite often, slow the game to a crawl. I’m…not a fan of planning scenes, in general. There are ways to potentially do them well, and I’ll get to one that I’ve found works to...

Storium Theory: Address the Challenge

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 5th, 2016. One occasional thing I’ve seen crop up in Storium games is an odd little thing that can happen with challenges and card plays, particularly in the case of more complex challenges. Players will sometimes end up playing cards as their characters suggest things that the group could do to resolve the challenge, chipping away at the challenge’s points, and leaving whoever plays the last card to somehow summarize everything that actually ended up happening in resolving the challenge, as well as the actual challenge ending. I’d like to encourage Storium players to alter their thinking a bit on situations like this. If you are not involving yourself in the situation covered by a...