Tag Archives: Narrator

Posts and pages related to narration and Narrators

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.)


This is the extended play version of the Player Agreement Letter which further elucidates the agreement and reflects our philosophy as players and Narrators…

We understand and rejoice in the fact that writing for Storium is a group collaborative effort. We are stretching ourselves creatively, taking risks, and investing time and energy to create something together. We recognize that we may have different goals and purposes for participating, but we are richer, learn more, and enjoy more by doing this together.

We are here to challenge and inspire each other to reach the best level of excellence in writing and playing that each of us can achieve and to enjoy and learn form reading each other’s creative efforts.

We agree to participate for the enjoyment of all and will always strive to act in a collaborative manner, with maturity, patience, and courtesy, especially when things get hard. We are here to have fun. Sometimes the opportunity to have sophisticated deeper levels of fun requires the investment of some time, thought, and heart and we agree that we are willing to go through this evolution together.

The rule of the house is, “Say Yes and”. In improvisational writing, like theater improv, everything is better and more interesting if we Say Yes to whatever happens, then flex and roll with what was written by someone else. The heart of collaboration is in interpretation and then letting go. Accept what the next creator has added to the narrative. Be inspired by it to react creatively. We will be challenged. We will be surprised. It will not go the way we think it will.

We agree to be fearless and embrace weak and uncertain challenge outcomes. We agree that fiction is the place to take risks. Characters are more interesting when they are not perfect. A good story has setbacks for the characters and failures in their efforts in it that we figure out how to overcome creatively later.

(Further reading forum post: Don’t be Afraid of Weak Outcomes)

We agree that we are playing Storium to collaborate and create, not to compete.

Further, we are playing a storytelling game, not producing a polished edited novel for publication. Contradiction, explanation, dissection, editing and negotiation is not interesting. It is not fun. We agree not to do those things.

We agree not to sweat the small stuff. We agree to just Say YES, and keep writing.

The Esteemed Narrator shall be responsible to resolve all lingering issues that are worthy of attention and reconciliation during or at the conclusion of the scene. The rest shall float away without remark.

We agree to do your utmost to be fully informed, to read and understand and follow instructions provided. This includes but is not limited to…

  • Reading and understanding the Storium provided help files.
  • Opening and reading the cards posted by the Narrator and the Players.
  • Reading and reacting to comments and moves written by other players.
  • Reading informational links and topical forum posts as the Narrator may point you to including links in this document.
  • Sharing tips and knowledge about game mechanics with each other.

Issue Resolution

If you have an issue or concern of a critical or negative nature about the Narrator’s play, another Player, or anything else, you agree to contact the Narrator offline.
The Narrator will serve as referee for any disputes or issues.
You agree now that the Narrator’s decision is final.
The Esteemed Narrator of this story welcomes players who are high maintenance because they participate often, takes risks with their characters and in their writing, who ask questions, request cards and challenges, and contribute ideas.
If you are high maintenance because you are requiring the Narrator to serve as referee frequently, either because you request intervention, or other players are requesting interventions about you, most likely you are not the right Player for this Story and you will politely be asked to retire.

Our Storiums

We want you to know a little bit about each of us so you know who you are playing with. We believe in developing long term relationships with co-creators. We invite you to ‘Favorite’ us on Storium if you like what you are reading on this site or enjoy playing with us. We invite you to get to know us better by reading our bios on Storium and also read how we actually Narrate and Play in publicly available games.
The various links on this page will only work if you already have a login to Storium.com. Want to know a little more about Storium?

@avalon – Storium Profile

 Game Role        Status Lillith’s Notes
Quest on Temple Isle – a D&D style fantasy game  Narrator  Ended / Private This was my 1st experimental story as a Narrator designed to allow us to understand game mechanics. There was a lot of learning from this game. Some of us fell in love with Storium in the process. A lot of the material and information on this ourstorium web site came out of this learning experience. Gratitude to all the players who participated in the experiment.
Quest on Temple Isle  Narrator  Rebooting / Public  Some of the original players want to continue the story so I am in the process of rebooting this including summarizing and gently re-writing the story to date. This will be open to new character submissions in the not too far distant future. (LRA 7/20/14)
 Traveller: Misjump!  Osiror  Ongoing / Public  Really enjoying playing an alien creature in the Traveller Universe. Good examples between Osiror & Doc Gore of the early stages of writing for other characters.
 Traveller: Beltstrike!  Captain Cassidy Rydell Ongoing / Public Writing for others is all the way to the edge of the envelope here!
Writing the story and adding new characters as we go.
 Masquerade  Eleanor LaRue Ongoing / Public I feel like I have taken some real risks in how I play this character. I find this story very interesting. There are good examples of ‘writing for others’ happening in some my moves here. Update 8/24/2014: This story is progressing and developing in very interesting ways. Some erotic writing content in this story.

Loup-de-Lou Valentine @valloup – Storium Profile

 Game Role   Status Loup’s Notes
Traveller: Beltstrike!  Narrator Ongoing / Public This is my first Storium Narration. I’ve introduced a couple of experimental card types. The first is a goal card that specifically allows the player to write for another character. I broke this idea into two sub types flash backs for past tense writing that ties the bonds of a ships crew and a present tense card focusing on writing another character as coming to the aid of the card player’s character. So far so good with those.  Another experiment I’ve started playing with is an asset card that plays like a subplot. Once you’ve played the stack out and thoroughly integrated your quest for the asset into the narrative you receive the asset. I’ll report later on how this last experiment plays out.
Traveller: Misjump!  Doc Gore  Ongoing  This is my attempt to play a stodgy old aristocrat down on his luck and forced to work with the riffraff at the edge of the known galaxy.
Quest on Temple Isle  Jengwei Rebooting  Jengwei is a throw back to the days when the only games I played were high fantasy and the only characters Rangers. Lots of fun.
You probably noticed that we like to play together! We also like to play with others, and our respective band widths for play on Storium (and elsewhere) vary.

First Time Narration

If you are starting up a story with a new people, your friends, or just players new to Storium, you may want to read over the materials we’ve accumulated on this site because we’ve been down that road a few times already and had some learning from it.
  • Storium is not RPG and that is the gaming experience a lot of people will come into it with.
  • Storium has some interesting game mechanics not quite like anything you’ve played before.
  • The Narrator and Players have to really love the act and practice of Writing and be excited about story telling for stories to succeed.
  • Frequency of play can really affect enjoyment level for everyone in a story. This is something you are going to have to coach and manage as a Narrator.
You may decide to handle things differently than we did, but this stuff is all really worth thinking about and being aware of.
Be ready for your first story Narrator attempt to flop and for some players to exit, possibly ungracefully. I recommend treating your first story out as an experiment rather than choose a topic or world you are really super attached to. Be prepared to re-boot it and try again.
You may want to try playing, read the forums, and read some of the public stories before getting going as a Narrator. You can learn a lot and potentially avoid some pain that way.
Past that, dig in! Give it a try.  We did.  It has been a very interesting ride with some real enjoyment and rewards. Lots more evolution to come as we build networks of committed talented players and the game mechanics capabilities shift to incorporate things players have suggested.