Storium Theory: Getting Personal: The Loner

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on January 12th, 2017. This week, we’re coming back to “Getting Personal” to talk about a character type I think might be harder to do well in a Storium game than nearly any other: The Loner. Loners are pretty popular characters in fiction – the lone wolf, the dark hero who works alone, the agent whose last partner got killed and who isn’t willing to accept another, the guy with a problem with authority. You can probably think of popular fictional heroes for each of those “loner” types, right? But while they’re popular in fiction, loners are tough to write in the context of a Storium game. (Heck, they can be tough to do in tabletop, too.) Storium games are often...

Storium Theory: Build Towards Something

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on December 15th, 2016. Storium games are quite heavily about revealing new things about your characters, and moving their issues forward – developing their personal tales alongside the game’s tale. Two rules, Wild Cards and Subplots, strongly support this element of Storium and help bring focus to the characters. We learn major new things about characters through Wild Cards, and we delve heavily into their personal issues or conflicts with Subplots. But characters in stories, which Storium is designed to help represent, don’t just develop at random. From the start of a character’s tale, the tale is building towards something. The young, inexperienced hero’s tale builds towards the...

Storium Theory: Getting Personal: Arrogant

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on December 1st, 2016. Hey, everybody. I hope that all who celebrate it had a good Thanksgiving! This week, I’d like to revisit my “Getting Personal” series, my discussion of central personality traits for characters and how those traits can benefit – and harm – a story. This week, we’re going to look at a personality type I’ll call Arrogant. An “Arrogant” personality is one that emphasizes his own personal status in some major fashion. A central element of his character is how he believes he is better than something else – usually, that’s both the challenges he’s facing, and the other heroes. He believes that he is overqualified for the...

Storium Theory: Young at Heart

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on November 17th, 2016. Today, I’d like to take us back to a discussion on writing particular character types–and this one, like my “Getting Personal” articles, is about personality…but it’s also about another trait: Age. Specifically, the lack of it. I’ve written a lot of child characters in my time on MUXes and on Storium, and I’ve found them very fun to play…but also very challenging. It’s a type of character I’ve been told that I write well, but it’s also one that can be tough to get right, and tough to make sure you’re working properly into a story. I want to take a moment aside to note that this article is specifically about kid...

Storium Theory: Match the Mood

I’ve written a bit before on this blog about the need to create characters that fit the story, and the need to use your actions and your characters to support the story. I’d like to go into that a bit more today, but specifically focused on the concept of “mood.” Mood is how a story’s tone is set. A horror story’s mood may be oppressive, fear-filled, dark, frightening, or disturbing. A high fantasy story might be adventurous, uplifting, exciting, bright, desperate, struggling, or other moods depending on the scene. Mood is one of the most important things for a story to get right. With a solid sense of mood, the story’s events feel more impactful, more powerful. When mood breaks, the story breaks as well. And in a collaborative writing experience, mood is...

Storium Theory: Repetition is Repetitive

Today, I’d like to just briefly discuss something I find myself having to fight against in my own writing for online, play-by-post games like Storium: Repetition of themes in moves. Storium games take place at a fairly slow pace for the most part. You’ll write a move, and oftentimes it will be a day or two, or even a few days, before you’re writing another move for the same character. I’ve found that, for me at least, this puts me somewhat at risk of repetitive writing. Because my last move isn’t fresh in my head, I’ll sometimes start writing a move only to find that my character is effectively repeating some of the themes from a prior move that scene–maybe he takes off his glasses or puts them on, maybe he uses one of...