Storium Theory: Take Charge!

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on 12/1/2015.

Storium, as mentioned in prior articles, is kind of an unusual system in that it by its very nature gives players quite a bit of control over the game’s events. I’ve already written on the move-by-move need to show the impact of your moves within the bounds laid out by challenges, but I’d like to write a bit now on what to do when you complete a challenge.

To put it simply: do what the card says.

Each challenge bears Strong and Weak results. If you get a Strong or Weak result, it is your right–and responsibility–to write the end of the challenge, guided by that result.

Do it!

I’ve seen a number of cases where a nervous player, worried that he is taking the Narrator’s authority, refrains from actually writing what happens on that final move. I’m here to tell you that’s not how Storium works.

In a Storium game, you are empowered–and expected–to write out what happens. If the result at the end of the challenge says that you win the battle, show the victory. If the result says that you lost it, show the loss. If the result says that you get a piece of information, get the information. If the result says that you’re discovered by guards, get discovered by guards.

Narrators will vary in how much they leave up to players in their challenge results. Some give players the authority to invent whole new story elements, others give players things to choose from or give them a generic “something goes wrong, what is it?” to play off of, and others spell out in detail what happens on the results. But all Narrators are expecting you to write what happens, based on the guidelines they gave.

(Note that “based on the guidelines they gave” is, generally, also important. You have a lot of power when you resolve a challenge, but make sure that you’re showing something like the results guidance–not something that comes completely from outer space. A lot of narrators will accept variants, though–it does no harm to ask!)

They’re giving you the power–and as Uncle Ben said, “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility.” Use the power you’ve been granted and drive the story forward.

What about an Uncertain result–equal Strengths and Weaknesses? Well, that’s when the power and responsibility fall on the Narrator. Leave things nice and open for them in that case. Still follow the guidelines established in my earlier article on Making an Impact, but don’t resolve the challenge.

But for a Strong result or Weak result–take charge!