Storium Theory: Character-Specific Challenges

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 29th, 2016. In most cases in Storium games, narrators set up challenges that can pretty much be fulfilled by any of the characters. They set up a situation and leave it to the players to decide who resolves it and how. But every now and then in a story, you feel the need to get more specific–to actually set up a challenge for a particular person. Now…I’m not talking about challenges where you name one, or a few specific people because the group is currently split–though those can take some of the same advice below. What I mean here is challenges that speak to a certain character’s plot or issues, and therefore should generally only be fulfilled by that character. Let’s...

Storium Theory: Ending Challenges Early

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 24th, 2016. If you’ve listened to the Storium Arc podcast lately (and if you haven’t, why haven’t you?), you know that Justin and I had a debate about ending challenges early and the effect that could have on a game. I mentioned during that debate that I wasn’t necessarily totally against the concept, I just felt it was a technique to be used with caution. I’d like to go into that a bit more today…but I’d also like to go into how I think you should go about ending a challenge early if you have to do it. Reasons for Ending a Challenge Early Let’s first talk about why someone might decide to end a challenge early. When I’ve seen it, it primarily comes...

Storium Theory: Build a Community

This post first appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 22nd, 2016. So, today’s Storium Theory article is a bit unusual for me, as it’s about something that I have to call out as a good idea for running a game…but also something that I consider myself very bad at. A lot of Storium games slow down. There’s no question about that. But some live through the slowdown, and others don’t. I’ve been thinking a lot about that recently. What causes a game to survive where others fail? What helps it keep going? I think possibly the biggest single thing that can keep a game going is a sense of community. Community. The sense that we’re all working together on something. The feeling that we’re all…friends, having a good...

Happy Birthday, Storium Arc!

One year ago today, the Storium Arc podcast’s first episode released here on the site…so, today, let me wish my pals on the podcast side of things a happy birthday! I credit Storium Arc with the revival of Gaming Creatively as a Storium-focused blog. It was through listening to their show that I really realized just how much there was to talk about with Storium. More than just my personal narration style and playing style…concepts behind how the game worked, ideas for improving yourself as a player or narrator…heck, it could be fun to even just share neat things that happened in the games we played! I didn’t want them to have all the fun. And make no mistake–they have a lot of fun, and so do we, when we listen to their work....

Storium Theory: Challenges: Simultaneous or Sequential?

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 17th, 2016. I’ve written a fair amount about setting up a challenge in Storium, but thus far, I’ve only really discussed challenges from the standpoint of a single challenge–the intricacies of setting up one challenge, narrating about it, setting its points and outcomes, and so on. Today, I’d like to bring up the idea of multiple¬†challenges in the same scene–a common element of Storium¬†games, but one I haven’t much discussed so far. Using multiple challenges in the same scene is a good way to portray more complex or lengthy situations. A challenge can only use up to 9 points on its own, but if multiple challenges are used to address the same general situation, then...

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: Challenges That Matter

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 10th, 2016. I’ve written quite a bit here on challenges in Storium. I’ve written about the mechanics of a challenge, the way to play cards on one, the way to set up a challenge with narration, and even a possible house rule about playing single cards at a time. Plenty more will come on the mechanics in the future, I’m sure. But right now, I want to discuss another part of challenges, something just as important…actually, probably quite a bit more important than the mechanical side of things, the setup of a challenge, or anything else involved in them. That’s…making challenges matter. It’s important to remember that what you’re doing when...