I was a guest on the lovely Hook & Chance podcast recently, to talk about packing like a Producer. You can listen to it here: https://hookandchance.com/episodes/2022/5/2/pacing-like-a-producer-ft-roz-young
Since then, I’ve been reflecting on storytelling and tabletop gaming. Humans love to tell each other stories. Even more than that, we need to. It’s a key part of how we connect and experience the world. It’s therapeutic. It’s educational. It’s fun! And some formats for stories just work. From writing and film, we call it act structure, and bringing that to my tabletop games is always a goal. Stories start, they grow and change, and then they end. It’s a lot of pressure to want your players to go on a meaningful and impactful journey, but how can you set yourself up for success?
When I get stuck, I keep it simple. My story structure is LAUGH – CRY – CHEER. We break the ice and get to know each other, enjoy the company, and then drop the emotional bombs. Then, we’re in combat and all looks lost, we kill a player or witness loss for an NPC. But, the party pulls out all the stops, and clutch heals, and against all odds, prevails. We celebrate, and it’s so much sweeter on the other side of peril.
We can mix up our acts and structure, as storytellers around the table, and feel out the journey as the players push the narrative forward. In the end, it comes down to them. The choices they make and how we collaborate to create this adventure, together. The best stories stay with you. And the best part about tabletop games? We did this, we were there. It wasn’t a passive, audience experience, like going to see a movie. I made choices, you made choices, and it mattered. I love D&D!
Message me your thoughts about collaborative storytelling or let me know about your favourite moments from games. Because when you roll the dice, you make the magic happen!
Contributed by Roz Young