Tag Archives: Characters

Pages and posts related to Characters

Exit Stage Left

Most every story or game eventually comes to an end, for us this is usually after a long time and only so that we can pick up and read, write, or play a new one. Still, things end.

Player & Character Exits

Sometimes Players need an exit for any or many reasons.
We just ask that you exit gracefully.

Story Endings

A Narrator might need to end a story just as players sometimes need to leave.
Can we set expectations or limits on longevity of a story at the outset?
How do we recognize that a Storium story has come to it’s natural end?


Character Creation

These are tips about creating a new Character for submission to play a Storium game Narrated by one of us:

Getting Started

Read the story description carefully. If the story is public, read the story so far. This will help inform your character creation and may include specific instructions from the Narrator.

Read other characters that have already been accepted and look for opportunities to add variety, be different, and/or to build relationships with other characters. They will also give you an idea of the level of completeness and detail that the Narrator is looking for.

Write a character you will enjoy playing. You are going to be in their shoes a lot.

Write a character that is not you. Fiction is an opportunity to step out and be someone or something different.

Selecting Cards

The cards selected are an important part of your character creation. Remember you will have to PLAY these cards out in moves during the story so be thoughtful. Leave yourself some room and open ends to negotiate.

Avoid choosing contradictory strength and weakness cards (e.g. the Character can’t be both poor for a weakness and rich as a strength.

Choose a real weakness, not a strength stated another way. Choose an unexpected or unusual weakness. Character’s flaws make them interesting. They provide fodder for drama and conflict or comedy in the story.

You can edit the Narrator’s example cards or create new cards as part of your character development within what ever boundaries are specified in the game description and on the cards themselves.

You can add images to cards provided by the Narrator or to cards you create to make them your own.

Character Sketch

The character sketch should address any specific directions, requirements, or instructions in the game write up. Please read carefully.

Your Character sketch must address all the cards you chose.

Your bio should also include something about how the character looks, their age, background, etc. There should be enough, but not too much here. Leave room for development in the course of the story line.

If your character has a secret or things about them the other characters won’t know, but the Narrator needs to know, please do include it in the sketch! Players will observe separation of information in Player and Character realities.

Character Review

The Narrator will review your cards and character sketch and may request revisions to them if…

  • They feel there is an imbalance.
  • Some aspect of the character won’t work in the story.
  • They feel you could push further and take more risks creating a more interesting character.

Not all Characters submitted will be accepted. Each Storium game will accommodate a limited number of players and sometimes a story is looking for a particular character assortment to play well.

Writing for Other Characters

This is where you will find some of the biggest differences in Narrator approach and Player comfort levels in the universe of possible ways to play Storium. 

We fall pretty far out to one end of the spectrum when it comes to whether or not it is ok to write for other players.
We not only believe that it is ok, but encourage writing for other Characters (and non-player characters too).
We believe that they keys to conscientious secondary authoring are:
  • Give and Gain Consent
  • Write with Respect
  • Create Open Ended Situations
We invite you, nay entreat you, to explicitly Grant Permission to the Narrator and other Players to write for your character.
This doesn’t mean that they can’t do it without your permission. They will. We will. Be ready to be ok with that.
If you can step out on a limb and actually give permission, wow, what a ride!
Writing for other characters is some of the deeper play. It won’t happen on the first move. It may take a few of scenes to get into the swing of it. You have to get to know the Characters, understand their temperment and style. Be able to put yourself in their shoes.

It is also important to build relationship with the other Player in order to write for their character.

Start small and build trust – write small reactions and totally reasonable interactions like ‘he pulls out the chair for her’, ‘she nods in assent’ and so forth. Remember you are the secondary author so always leave the big actions and life changing determinations for the Character to their primary author.
Secondary authors add color, build interactive relationships between primary & secondary characters being written, and including the other character more fully in their move helps with continuity and integration of all the writing.
Secondary authors write harmony to the primary authors melody.
Be subtle, be gentle. Writing for someone else’s character is pretty intimate. Remember that when you write.
Check-in. Ask yourself how would you feel if someone wrote this way for your character?
We know.
It’s risky.
It’s scary.
The rewards can be rich and surprising.
We invite you to join us on our quest for truly, fully, collaborative story telling based in a place of trust in your fellow players and the power of the creative process.
How can you justify someone else writing for my character?
Here is one way to think about it. We all struggle with hard to control urges, flashes of insight and unintentional actions for good and ill. Part of the human condition is dealing with the fact that we are not in perfect control of our thoughts, intentions or even our actions 100% of the time and often act out of character with who we like to think we are. This can be the source of both profound inspiration and profound embarrassment. Our characters are no different. When somebody writes for your character and you find yourself in disagreement with the content please consider this as a possible reason and try to run with it before asking for a revision.
On another hand, we fall into habits and patterns. Ways of speaking and acting that are both uniquely ours and predictable to people who know us well. So do our characters. Once these things can be identified they can be written by anyone and the character is still intact and believable.

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.)