Narrative Control – Episode 37 – Exploring the Premise

This week Justin and I talked about Exploring the Premise, taking time out of the game for exposition about the setting, the characters and their place in the story.  This episode continues a conversation we found on Rob Donoghue LiveJournal post of the same name here:

Hosts: Sean Nittner and Justin Evans

Length: 26:45

Show Notes

[00:28] Intro to the show – a response to Rob’s LiveJournal entry.
[00:55] Definition of the Premise in a story.
[01:18] Super Intelligent Hamsters!
[01:41] Justin reads the first paragraph of Rob’s entry.
[02:55] What we imagine Rob sounds like.
[03:12] Sean’s argument with a friend about exploring the premise vs. facing conflicts.
[08:55] Exploring the premise is there to give the audience (the players in this case) a chance to learn about the characters and settings and begin to care about them.
[10:02] A unique situation in a role-playing game.  Each player is contributing to the premise, which requires it to stay flexible.
[11:54] Another reading from the book of Rob.
[12:25] Games with nothing but conflict make you wonder what the conflicts are about.
[13:05] A recount of “The Sword.”
[13:48] A system that leans toward constant conflicts: In a Wicked Age. (
[15:50] An opposite end of the spectrum: Gumshoe (
[19:14] Somewhere in the middle of that spectrum: Dungeons and Dragons 4E (
[21:59] Another method of weaving action and exploration in the extended skill challenges in Spirit of the Century (
[23:00] Transitioning between exploration and conflict scenes.  Sean’s example, with Scalagrim the Barbarian Prince of course.

Direct Download: NC_Episode_037.mp3

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