Reality Layers

Storium is a game. We take our games seriously, but it is still a game. One of the cool things about this game is that there are multiple and subtle layers of knowledge and reality to be parsed, respected and observed.
Each Player must cultivate awareness of what they as a Writer knows, as opposed to what their Character knows. This is commonly referred to as Player Knowledge vs. Character Knowledge. In writing, all suspenseful, ironic, humorous and dramatic moments stem from withholding information from one of more characters whilst the players as authors create the situational cicumstances that make it humorous, suspenseful, etc. For instance, if you read something in the player’s character description on game setup, but they have not revealed it to your character in their storytelling moves, then the Player knows, but the Character does not.
Another set of overlapping layers to be mindful of are the In Character and Out of Character voices. When writing in a Character’s voice or describing their experienced circumstances you are using the In-Character voice. This is normally confined to the moves section of the Storium layout. When writing on meta game subjects and about your thoughts as a Player you are using the Out-of-Character voice and this is normally relegated to the sidebar in the Storium layout.

Definitions and Disambiguation

Player – a Human being. The human being knows everything they have read in the Character descriptions, Narrator writings and Character moves. They may know things communicated to them by the Narrator through back-channels. The Player is responsible to keep their layers of reality appropriately sequestered when writing. Players get to make up new stuff and by writing it make it true as long as it is consistent and cohesive with other things that have already been written.

Character – a fictional construct of a ‘person’ who starts with a bio sketch and develops within the story. The Character only knows what they have seen, heard or experienced in the writing. If something was whispered to another Character or said in a room they weren’t present in, they do not know it. If there is a fact or secret written up in another Character’s bio which has not been revealed in the story, they do not know it. They do not know everything the Player knows. They may be endowed with knowledge through history or relationship with other characters written for them by the Player, but this should be explicitly brought out in the character bio or move narrative. Characters cannot act upon things they do not know. New information about Characters can and should be invented by the Player in the course of the story as long as it makes sense and is cohesive with other facts and behavior already established about the character.

Narrator – a Human being. A leading player who has a specific role in the game. The Narrator knows everything that has been written by themselves and all the players. They may also know things the Player has communicated to them through back-channels. They will also make new things up. The Narrator is responsible to create opportunities for things known by Players but not Characters to be brought forward in the story.

NPC – A non-player-character written by the Narrator. Like a Character, an NPC only knows what they have seen, heard, or experienced. Interaction with an NPC can be written by Players or the Narrator. Players may at times take some control of the story by writing for an NPC. The Narrator may reserve some NPC for their writing only. (Read the ‘Person’ card for clarity on the Narrator’s intent to reserve an NPC’s reactions to their own writing.)

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