Storium Theory: Tell the Story of the Characters

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on May 25th, 2017. I’ve written in the past about the responsibility of the narrator to use the details provided by player characters, and to set up challenges for the player characters chosen for the game. Today, I’d like to delve into that same general idea, but from a slightly different angle. As narrator, you’re responsible for setting up the story. You’re responsible for figuring out possibilities for the game arc – the way the game will start, how it will progress, what variations could come up along the way, how open things are to being altered by the player characters and by how much, and where the story is likely to go. I’ve written about these concepts quite a bit, as...

Storium Theory: Inverting the Trope

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on May 18th, 2017. We’ve seen it before. A young hero has an older mentor, who taught the hero everything the hero knows. The mentor takes on a mission, and is captured, or killed, or goes missing, or what-have-you. Now the hero has to step up and save the day. It’s a trope. It’s a trope for a reason. It’s a pretty powerful story. There’s a personal connection between the hero and the mission – a need to carry on after a person the hero respects, perhaps, or redeem the person’s reputation, or even rescue the person. It ties the hero more deeply to the tale than if the hero had simply taken the mission himself in the first place. There’s nothing particularly wrong...

Storium Theory: A Shadow in the Light

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on May 11th, 2017. I’ve written a bit about this before, but today I’d like to discuss one of the most fun things that I’ve found to do on Storium – ending a challenge with a Strong ending by playing a Weakness card. Sometimes, you find yourself with a really fascinating opportunity on Storium. You’re writing the final move on a challenge, and it is definitely going Strong – there’s only one card slot left, for instance, and at least 2 more Strong cards have been played than Weakness cards, so even if you play a Weakness card, it’s still going to be 1 up on Strong. These are amazingly fun writing opportunities, and I encourage you to make the most of them. Play a...

Episode 45! The Many Faces of Evil

In this episode, we discuss creating and using villains – how do you involve a villain in the story, how can a villain drive the story, and what sorts of villains can you write? 00:53 Intro 01:17 Story Types: Stories with Villains Villain-Driven Stories Stories without Villains 25:30 Designing a Good Villain 32:48 Getting Player Characters┬áto Engage the Villain 40:27 Types of Villains Sympathetic Scoundrel Vindictive / Hate-Filled Monsters Human Monsters Tempters Brutes Fanatics Everyday Villain Not So Bad After All 01:11:13 Appeal for Other Villain Types 01:14:54 Wrap-Up 01:15:08 Outro Links: Storium Game Links: Hunters of the Damned: https://storium.com/game/hunters-of-the-damned–2 Stitching Space and...

Storium Theory: Don’t Count Yourself Out

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on May 4th, 2017. Today, I’d like to spend a bit of time on something that I’ve seen here and there on Storium – cases where a person perhaps goes a bit too Weak with a Weakness play…and takes themselves out of a scene. It feels right – it feels better than right, doesn’t it? Isn’t it a great expression of a Weakness to not just suffer a setback, not just suffer some kind of injury, but actually get knocked out or otherwise removed from play for a bit? Well…it is, and it isn’t. Let’s start off with the good: This is, undoubtedly, an example of a player being very willing to show his character suffering for his Weakness. That’s great, and...

Storium Theory: Only Natural

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on April 27th, 2017. I’ve spent quite a lot of time on this blog on Strength cards, Weakness cards, and Subplot cards. I haven’t spent all that much time, though…if any…on the other card type that players pick out at character creation: Nature. So, let’s talk Natures. Specifically, I want to focus on writing your own Nature card during character creation. What is a Nature card all about? What should you do if you’re creating your own for your own character? A Nature card is your “at a glance” statement of just what, exactly, the character is. It’s the broad strokes of the character, the central concept that defines them. In many ways, it is the single most...

Storium Theory: Reading Ahead – Outcomes as Inspiration

This post originally appeared at Gaming Creatively on April 20th, 2017. I’ve written a bit before about how challenge outcomes provide guidelines for writing during a challenge…how they provide the effective limits of what can happen during a challenge, and how they reveal what the players should be writing towards when playing Strengths and Weaknesses. Today, I’d just like to take a little time to look at that from a slightly different angle: Outcomes as inspiration. This falls along similar lines to what I said above: Challenge outcomes reveal what players should be writing towards when playing their cards. Because of this…challenge outcomes provide ideas. If you have trouble writing on a challenge, one of the first things you should do...