Actual Play – The City, Chapter 1 (4/14/2014 to 4/30/2014)

storiumNarrator: Sean Nittner
Players: Scott White and Rich Rodgers
System: Storium
Setting: Urban Fantasy

Woot, my first Storium Game. I’m totally new to play-by-post RPGs and to Storium, so I decided to start playing with some old hands, Scott and Rich.

Cast of Characters:


Played by octoscott
From the game The City

Life was full of promise for Enyo. Attending her first year of college in the United States on full scholarship. Even so she had to work late at the coffee shop that night. At least one of the werewolves had stalked her for some time and they must have known she had no family to miss her.

Laying on her back, body torn and bloody, guts spilled and moments from death she could only mouth her last words to her friend Saul. She had no voice left… she told him, “I’m dying, Saul… just leave me.”

Instead he tried to help her, and paid a terrible price.

Why is she hanging on? For him? They were friends, once lovers but that didn’t quite work. Why stay? Because those creatures must pay for what they did to us.


Played by orklord
From the game The City

Last year, Saul was finishing his business degree at university. Out late with some friends, he walked back to his apartment and stumbled upon a werewolf feeding on one of his best friends, Enyo.

Saul tried to do something, anything to save her, but all he did was anger the beast. It bit him, but left him alive. The resulting transformation into a werewolf shattered his world. He dropped out of school, left his friends for fear of becoming a monster and hurting them.

Now, he works a dead-end job with people he doesn’t know, trying to find something resembling a pack, someone he could trust.

Chapter 1

I’m not exactly sure how to write up AP for a Storium game. Since it’s all posted online I’m going to link to the game with brief descriptions of the scenes:

Scene 1: The wild flight from Lawrence, the werewolf. We opened with Saul and Enyo fleeing into the 16th street BART station. At first evading and then confronting Lawrence, the 300lb high-on-speed Werewolf that was determined to bring Saul in!

Scene 2: Having purchased a single night of reprieve in the service tunnels under the station, Enyo and Saul get a chance to connect with one another. Enyo is teathered to Saul strongly enough that for a moment she become solid enough to touch.

Thoughts on the game

I’m way unsure of pacing in play-by-post. How much action do you hit the characters with at first. Give them a big challenge, or dole a few out at a time. What if you want a moment of reflection? I really wasn’t sure how to do any of that, but thankfully for the comments section, we were all able to talk about it and I could make sure that Scott and Rich were still having a good time.

I’ve been leading off a lot of my moves with exposition about the world. I figure this is my chance to describe it in little pieces. I won’t lie, I just read Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore, so a lot of my ideas about the dead are coming from that. Also Ghost Story has informed the world quite a bit. I’ll see if I have anything original to add.  My hope is that the world starts coming alive as the players experience it.

I’ve been ending my moves with questions. Sometimes it’s just “what do you do?” but I’m also working on asking for more information from my players in general, and this is a good opportunity to examine what I say before I blurt it out.

Not sure if it’s too much transparency, but I really enjoy being able to talk to the players about what is the right beat for the story. Sometimes I know what’s next, but sometimes I think I’m too reliant on tropes and not paying enough attention to what’s actually going on in the story and with the characters. I really liked that at the end of the chapter I was able to talk to Scott and Rich, much like if we were working on a show together, to ask what they thought would be best for the scene.

One thing I think is really lacking from Storium is a staging ground to talk about what the game will be about. I started up “The City” and then Scott and Rich made characters (very cool, interconnected characters mind you). I opted to build my world around them focusing on ghosts, werewolves, and finding your way in an uncaring world. I started narrating because that was the thing Storium was prompting me to do, but there wasn’t that spit-balling session where we talk about what the game would be about. So far things are working out okay, but I don’t know that the game will really “click” until we either discover through play “Oh shit, that’s what w’ere doing here.” or we talk about it more offline. I’d like to see something like a PTA style “build the world” session where everyone contributes and we figure out what kind of game it will be before it starts. Maybe it would be optional if someone starts a game with a strong concept in mind, but I’d like to see it there somewhere.