Tag Archives: Players

Posts and pages specifically about Players.

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?


Time Commitment

You agree that play does not have to be super fast, but it does need to be consistent and timely to hold our collective interest and keep the story moving, therefore…

You agree to check in on this Storium story at least once a day to be aware of the status of the story, take note of whether it is ‘your turn’ to make a move, to read comments and what other players have written. You are encouraged to leave positive feedback, ask questions, mention when you will move next, and update players on your available status in the comments during these daily check-ins so we know you visited. (Narrators like to know if they are doing a good job too!)

You commit that you are available to play cards against challenges and write a move every 2 to 3 days minimum.

If you will not be available, you agree to pro-actively communicate about your expected absence on the comments section of the Storium scene. (AFK = away from keyboard) The Narrator doesn’t want to keep track of your calender, so just shortly before you will be absent, post a comment about your upcoming unavailability.

If you state that you will not be available for more than 3 days the Narrator has tacit permission to close scenes and challenges without your contribution and also to write for your character as necessary in order for the story to go forward.

The Narrator commits to smoothly facilitating and continuing to include players who communicate about their absence. Everybody gets to go on vacation or have a hard week now and then, including the Narrator.

Lack of Participation

Players who are frequently or persistently unavailable to the point that it affects the story’s progress will be asked to retire. Please understand now, this is highly detrimental to the group and the story so please carefully consider your available time and energy before submitting a Character to this Story. If you are in doubt about your level of interest or ability to keep up, please pass.

This is the process that this Esteemed Narrator will follow for non-participating / non-responsive Players who have not pro-actively notified the story participants about their availability. After three days…

  1. The Narrator may write for the absent Player’s character in the current scene.
  2. The Player’s character will be excluded from the next scene.
  3. The Character will be retired upon the second scene they are out of. Retirement is permanent and unrecoverable.
  4. Renewed communication and participation resets these requirements twice. Upon falling behind a third time the Character will be retired.

We feel that this is the only way to be fair to the other Players and ourselves as Narrators.

How Much Time Does it Take to Play?

This is a tricky question to answer because there are a lot of variables. As with all interesting and complex things, it can become really consuming and you can choose to spend a lot of time on it. On the other hand, most people who are really into Storium play in multiple stories at the same time because no one story really consumes all that much time.

Here are some of the variables to consider:

  1. Each game has a ‘speed’ setting which indicates how fast the Narrator intends the play to go. This is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule, but it will give you some idea how many scenes will be posted each week.
  2. You will write at least one move per scene, and could easily write multiple moves per scene.
  3. Each story has a word limit per move. The default is 400 words per move for players, 3000 words per move for narrators. Narrators may increase the limit, but of course you also aren’t obligated to use all the words on any / every move.  It is OK for some of your moves to be full of inspiring prose, long and informative and others to be shorter and more to the point given your time constraints and level of inspiration at that moment.
  4. There will probably be some think time, or maybe even research time that goes into moves depending on the kind of story you are participating in.
  5. You need to read all the other writing that is being done. Do you read fast or slow?

So if there is one scene a week, you write 3 moves per scene (say one per challenge card), and each move is a max of 400 words (you can make do with less), how long will that take you?

If there are three other players plus the Narrator and they each write three moves of 400 words each that you need to read and digest each week, how long does that take you?

Don’t you love word problems?

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.

Honored Players

These are Storium Players who we like to play with and who requested to be listed here because they like to play the way we do. If you are looking for players who have absorbed and exemplify our philosophy and agreements in their play, then these are good folks.  We link directly to their Storium profiles so that you can learn more about them and their activity on Storium.
You need a login to Storium.com in order to access the links to the Players


Storium provides us with an uneditable, unretractable comment chain in the right bar of the story.  There are things that this comment area is good for, and things that it isn’t.  It is valuable to consider what channel will be most effective to communicate in. We have many options.

The comment sidebar is good for…

  • Brief positive statements of a few words.
  • Complements to other Player or Narrator – appreciation is important!
  • A brief note about your availability.
  • Quick questions about the scene to the Narrator.
  • Notes about your available cards on the scene- how many left, all used up, etc.
  • Coordinating move order or how you plan to address challenges with other Players.
  • Things it is ok for story readers to see (in public stories)

The comment sidebar is not good for…

  • More than a couple of sentences of text at a time. – it does not observe hard returns or spacing so you end up with walls’o’text.
  • Discussions.
  • Complaints or concerns.

Off Storium Communications

Until Storium offers us some more robust functionality, we’ll utilize off storium communications to supplement the comments.
Typically the Esteemed Narrator will provide an additional offline forum private to the group of Players such as an FB group or Google Group where we can undertake discussions. Other resources that may be needed by a particular game such as maps will also appear in these offline groups.
Direct contact with the Narrator or other Players via email, skype, FB or what have you are encouraged for the purpose of conspiring to create, coordinating efforts, and networking and making friends.
Any complaint or concern should be addressed to the Narrator directly offline via email.

Agreement Letter

We as Esteemed Narrators of stories on Storium.com are committed players and story-tellers.  We offer our time and energy to be the Game Master for the benefit of all players. 
By submitting a Character to the story you as a Player understand and agree to these things:
We agree to study and come to understand through experience the mechanics of Storium’s card driven play. While this system is a beta test environment we can only give meaningful feedback to the developers once we have attempted, through extensive play, to work with the rules as designed.
We understand that we are playing a storytelling game, not a table top RPG, nor producing a polished edited novel for publication. Things will get messy. We agree that such stumbling blocks can and will be resolved by the Narrator
We agree that we are participating together for the enjoyment of all, that we will strive to always act in a collaborative manner, with maturity, patience, and courtesy. Particularly when things get difficult.
We agree that we are here to cooperate and collaborate, not to compete.
We understand that this is a commitment of time and agree to check in on Storium at least once a day to help maintain the necessary situational awareness of the story and further agree to move at least once every two or three days. Please also read the Time Commitment page which is considered incorporated into this understanding and agreement. 
We understand that the rule of this house is, “Say Yes and”. In improvisational writing, like theater improv, everything is better and more interesting if we Say Yes to whatever happens before and consider it causal to our own writing.
You understand and agree that you are the primary author for your character and that the other players are secondary authors for your character. Similarly you are a secondary author for their characters. As long as a move which includes writing for another Character is respectful and an attempt is made to remain consistent with the Primary author’s style and intention we agree to work with it as grist for our own creative mills.
So say we all.
Still with us? You might like to read the long version of this on our Philosophy page and explore the rest of the site.