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Monday, May 26, 2014

Storium

 

For the first time, I backed something in Kickstarter -- Storium. It's kinda like playing Dungeons & Dragons without the math and battles and dice. I heard about it from Wil Wheaton, and signed up for its e-mail list. But I didn't hear anything until their Kickstarter started. And I decided, for the first time, "Yes, I will contribute to this. I think it's a good idea, and should exist." And I NEVER donate to charity. Never. I don't even like to tip.

To my surprise, by the time I went to their Kickstarter page, a day after it started, they were already funded. It was only $25,000, but I still donated at the $20 level so I could get a year of access once it goes live, and that I could get into the beta.

I've been in two stories so far, one I've dropped out of, and one I'm trying to narrate. There are flaws, but it's kind of like "Ficly" nee "Ficlets". You play a character, and the narrator/game master sets a scene. Each character gets some cards they can play on obstacles or characters. Some are strengths and weaknesses. Some are related to character's goals and roles. It's up to the characters to run the scene within the bounds of what the narrator provides.

But here's the problem, the players need input from the narrator to continue. And if the narrator doesn't respond fast enough, the story lingers. Also, this happens if the story doesn't have enough direction. And the same thing can happen the other way too. A narrator might want to get the story moving forward, but no one is doing anything, no one makes a post. You can poke laggards, but a narrator should add more characters than you need, because some will drop out.

And more characters keep the story moving forward. But I suggest to any narrators: have a rough plan of where the story's going to go, at least on a per act basis. Otherwise you end up with too linear a plot (go to obstacle, defeat obstacle, rinse, repeat), which makes a boring story.

There are lots of predefined cards to use, but they're so diverse, it's hard to see how to bind them into a story. The cyberpunk game includes obstacles like "dirty crime scene", "crazed mob", "hostile highway", "hot security systems", "night club brawl" and characters like former CEOs, Zaibatsu assassins, big German cyborg dude.  It spreads across the whole map. I wish there was a little more guidance on how to use the cards to make a good game. But it is still in beta, so maybe that's forthcoming.

So if you're on Storium, leave a comment. Maybe we can hook up games. If anyone wants it, I'll post my Storium info up here.
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