Storytelling game

From Academic Kids

A storytelling game is a game where two or more persons collaborate on telling a spontaneous story. Usually, each player takes care of one or more characters in the developing story. These characters are often reused in different stories, and players often bond quite closely with their alter ego. At least one participant takes the roles of the various supporting characters, as well as introducing non-character forces (for example, a flood). Since this person usually sets the ground and setting for the story, he or she is often referred to as the "storyteller" (often contracted to "ST") or "narrator". Any number of other alternate forms may be used, many of which are variations on the term "gamemaster"; these variants are especially common in storytelling games derived from or similar to role-playing games.

In contrast to improv theater, storytelling gamers describe the actions of their characters rather than acting them out, except during dialogue or, in some games, monologue. That said, live action versions exist, which are very much akin to theater.

The most popular modern storytelling games originated as a sub-genre of role-playing games, where the game rules and statistics are heavily de-emphasised in favor of creating a believable story and immersive experience for all involved. So while in a conventional tabletop role-playing game the announcement that one's character is going to leap over a seven-meters-wide canyon will be greeted with the request to roll a number of dice, a player in a storytelling game who wishes to have a character perform a similar feat will have to convince the others (especially the storyteller) why it is both probable and keeping within the established traits of their character to successfully do so. Some storytelling systems provide for randomness in the arbitration of the rules, often in the form of a contest of Rock, Paper, Scissors or a card drawn from a deck of cards. In practice, most "Storytelling" games are simplifed or streamlined forms of traditional tabletop role-playing games.

It takes a certain kind of gamer to enact in good storytelling, one that is more interested in the path to a goal than reaching it. Many role-playing gamers are more comfortable in a system that gives them relatively less freedom, but where they do not need to police themselves; others find it easier to enjoy a system where a more concrete framework of rules is already present.

White Wolf Game Studio's Storyteller System, which is used in World of Darkness role-playing games such as Vampire: The Masquerade and live-action games under the Mind's Eye Theatre imprint, is the best-known and most popular role-playing-style storytelling game.

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