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...

Storium Theory: Character Development Through Wild Cards

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 9th, 2016. Over the course of the last few posts, I’ve talked quite a bit about character arcs and the way that they can develop. Now, I’d like to focus a bit on the actual character itself again. In a Storium game, characters start with named Strength and Weakness cards, each highlighting a trait that’s important about the character at the beginning of the game. They also start with wild Strength and Weakness cards, though, and those are the subject of today’s post. I touched on this a bit in earlier articles, but I’d like to go more in depth here on how wild cards can help you define your character. Wild cards are a powerful element of the Storium system, and aside from...

Storium Theory: Subplots and Character Arcs

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 4th, 2016. Back in “Develop Those Subplots!” I wrote about how subplots can, and should, change over the course of a game. As we go over character arcs, I’d like to revisit that somewhat. Subplots are possibly my favorite card type in Storium. Above all the others, I feel that they show where your character is at the moment in his personal story. By the same token, they’re the card type that shows where the character is in his character arc. You can toss down all the Strengths and Weaknesses you like, refresh them a billion times, but the Subplot card is where you get to codify the change your character has undergone–to spell out the next act of his story, the next focal...