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...

Storium Theory: Using Another Character

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on 12/24/2015. It has been edited to remove the corresponding Christmas greeting. 🙂 So, I wrote a bit a couple days ago about allowing other people to use your character, and setting up rules in a game to allow for that as a narrator. This time, I’d like to put a little bit in on the other side…when you do use another person’s character, how do you use it well? First and foremost, make sure that you understand your game’s atmosphere on this. As I said last time, different games allow this at different levels. If your narrator and player group haven’t clarified this, it’s good to ask. Clarify what’s okay to do in general, and what folks feel you should ask for. (Side note...

Storium Theory: Giving Up Control

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on 12/22/2015. When last we met, I said I’d write a little on using other player characters in Storium. Now’s the time! Storium is an unusual system–a play-by-post system that’s much more about collaborative writing than anything else. A lot of its players, though, come from tabletop RPGs, MUXes, or other backgrounds where who controls what is pretty strict. This can hurt a Storium game. Storium works best, I’ve found, when players all have a little control over everything, without having to ask. Players can control NPCs, narrators can control PCs, and players can control other player characters–to an extent. How great an extent varies by game and group dynamics, but there...