Explaining Storium

Posted on : 24-04-2014 | By : Brian | In : Reviews, Role-Playing Games



Storium is like the Matrix: nobody can be told what it is, you have to see it for yourself. If you’re aware of the Kickstarter but on the fence about backing because you have no worldly idea what it is, I’d like to help you.

What follows are a series of screen grabs that comprise the first scene of my Venture City Stories Storium game. I used screen grabs because I want you to be able to see Storium; the UI, the way it presents information, and so forth.

First, these are the characters in my game:

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A Storium scene starts with a move from the narrator. In that move, the narrator can play obstacles, goals, assets, people, or places in any combination. Here’s the first move:

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Those cards under Challenges are obstacle cards. The little pips are challenge points; each challenge (obstacle or person) has a number of challenge points assigned by the narrator.

Once the scene has started, the players can start posting their own moves to respond to the narrator and to each other.

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In this move, you’ll see that Ghalib has played three cards: two strengths and a subplot. Each card a player plays to a challenge marks off one of that challenges points; when all the points are marked off, the challenge is considered resolved. Which cards you play matter though. Strengths push a challenge toward a strong outcome, while weaknesses point a challenge toward a weak outcome. Other cards mark off points, but don’t push the challenge in either direction; they maintain the current status quo in that challenge.

Players are limited in the number of cards they can play in a scene: three per scene. You can still make moves without playing cards, but you won’t be affecting the direction of the fiction in any mechanical way. So, on Ghalib’s first move, he played all three cards on that challenge, winning control of it with a strong outcome. That means he gets to narrate what happens, given the constraints of the challenge. These were the constraints of that challenge:

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And here are the next several moves in this scene:

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Here you can see players going back and forth, playing cards and shifting the direction in which the challenge is headed. You can also see that, as the narrator, you can continue to make moves. You don’t have to play challenges to make a move. Also, you can play other cards like assets or goals, or you can give them directly to individual players.

Here’s the rest of the scene:

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One more thing: there’s a commentary channel where you can have out-of-character chatter. Here’s what that looks like:

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And them’s the basics! If you like what you saw, if you think it sounds like your cup of tea, go back the Kickstarter!

The post Explaining Storium appeared first on 2d6 Cents.

Dinocalypse Now!

Posted on : 20-03-2012 | By : Brian | In : Game Design, News, Role-Playing Games



Let me ask you a question: do you like dinosaurs?

Silly question, I know; of course you do. What about psychic dinosaurs? What about an army of psychic dinosaurs invading the world in the 1930s? What about pulp heroes with jetpacks and tricked-out biplanes? What about hyper-intelligent gorillas?

If you answered yes to one or two of those questions, have I got the Kickstarter for you. If you answered yes to all of those questions, HAVE I GOT THE KICKSTARTER FOR YOU!

It’s for a book called Dinocalypse Now and, having read it, I can attest to its awesomeness.

Now, how about some icing on the cake? This book is from Evil Hat, and it’s an official Spirit of the Century novel. I know, right?

Further awesomeness: Stretch goals include more books in the series as well as a SotC adventure!

Further further awesomeness: I’ve been asked by Evil Hat to write the adventure!

So what are you waiting for? Go back the project!

[Edit: date corrected]

The Demolished Ones

Posted on : 09-07-2011 | By : Brian | In : News, Role-Playing Games, TheDemolishedOnes

Tags: , ,


A little while ago, I was contacted by Steve Russell of Rite Publishing to work on a project for him. After speaking to him about it, it sounded like the kind of thing I’d really enjoy working on, so I agreed. I’d like to share a couple of things about this project with you.

First, this project uses FATE 3.0. The rules are available for free online, so we won’t be reprinting them (the page count isn’t high enough to warrant that). I will, however, be making some modifications to core FATE to accommodate some of the story elements within the game. I don’t want to get into specifics, but I’m going to be playing around with how characters are created, and how aspects are handled.

Second, this is a patronage project. This means that we’ll be soliciting patrons at some point in the near future, asking people to contribute funds to the project. What you get in exchange for your contribution is creative control. I will be soliciting feedback from patrons at various points along development, and I will be incorporating patron feedback into the final product. If you decide that it sounds like the kind of project that you’re interested in, support it. Supporting it gets you input, and helps ensure that the final product sees the light of day. It’s a win-win!

Third, this being a patronage project, it’s not yet green-lit. As I’ve said, we’ll be soliciting patrons soon, and trying to hit a specific goal that we need to hit in order to publish. Until we hit that goal, the project is not green-lit. I really hope that it becomes green-lit, because I think this thing’s going to be awesome.

Finally, I’d like to leave you guys with a little teaser, something to get you interested. This teaser doesn’t necessarily represent the final product, but it’s the direction that I’m going in at the moment. We’re not soliciting patrons yet, but keep your eye on this blog; I’ll let you know when we are, and point you in the right direction.

Tom awoke on a cold floor, the taste of cotton in the back of his mouth. His tongue felt heavy, thick; his arms refused to push him up. He floundered for a few minutes there, trying to get his bearings, trying to gain stability, control. He took a breath and was hit with something metallic mixed with the scent of sweat and fear. He opened his eyes, cautiously, and pushed himself up.

The room was small, bare concrete walls and hard stone floor. That was the first thing he saw; the second was the body. It lay in the center of the room, face-down, sprawled, a crimson pool congealed around it. The man was dressed in formal attire, though the clothes were shabby and worn. His hair was dark, mussed, matted with blood.

Tom pushed himself back, away from the corpse, and looked around the room wildly, alert for danger. That was when he saw the others. Four of them, two men and two women, all around the room. Three were unconscious, prone, as he had been, unceremoniously left on the floor to wake. The Fourth, one of the women, was huddled in the corner, her eyes shut tight, rocking gently and muttering to herself.

Who were these people? Was one of them the killer? Were they all potential victims? What was this place, and why was he here?

Tome searched his memory for the answers, but found nothing. Nothing at all. That struck him as slightly odd at first, but the more he searched the more terrified he became. He knew his name. He knew how old he was. The more he searched, though, the more he became aware that nothing else was there. He could remember nothing of his life, nothing of the events that had led him here.

Something was very wrong.

Two Journeys: A Novella

Posted on : 08-01-2011 | By : Brian | In : Downloads, NaNoWriMo

Tags: ,


NaNoWriMo Winner

Hello, all. A few years back, I participated (and finished) National Novel Writing Month. Since that time, the resulting novella has been sitting on my hard drive, collecting digital dust.

I don’t know that I’ll ever publish and sell it; I’m honestly not sure if the quality is up to that level. I do want people to read it, though, and I want to know what people think of it. This being my 500th post on this blog, I figured I’d allow you, the reader, a glimpse at something I wrote as my first real attempt at long-form fiction. This is unedited and unproofread; you may, indeed, be the first one to read it all the way through (assuming you do). I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, I hope that you let me know. If you don’t, I hope that you let me know what I can do to improve it.

Two Journeys, by Brian Engard (PDF) (1271)

Two Journeys, by Brian Engard (ePub) (585)

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