The Storium play-by-post storytelling game has finally gone public. The game works like play-by-post games that have been run on forums and BBSes for years, with the addition of a rules system for adjudicating challenges and a slick blog-style interface for posting moves and uploading art.
Now that the game is public, non-members can view the games that have been played so far, and a number of the worlds funded in the Kickstarter are available for members to use.
Storium has both free and paid membership options available. Paid membership costs a minimum of $25 per year, with $40 as the “suggested” membership rate. In addition, there’s a one-time $20 fee to be able to use all the Kickstarter worlds, which will eventually become available for sale individually only.
But there’s still a lot of stuff available even for free. Free members can play in up to three games simultaneously and run a game with a single narrator and up to three players. They’re limited to using Storium’s “free” game worlds, or they can roll their own.
When someone starts a new game, the game host can choose to license it under one of three licenses when the game is launched: the default Community License, which reserves use of content the players create to those players collectively; a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial 4.0 license, which allows others to reuse the content noncommercially as long as they attribute it properly; and the Host License, which assigns ownership of content produced in the game solely to the game’s host (the person who created the game). Some of the Kickstarter-funded worlds are “closed” worlds whose content cannot be licensed under the Creative Commons license, given that those worlds belong solely to their creators.
The Kickstarter game worlds include quite a few intriguing settings, including some by fairly well-known authors or game companies. For example, the default universe for the HERO system “Champions” RPG is one of those worlds—so if you have some favorite old characters from a “Champions” setting, why not bring them back to life? Hugo-winning webcomic artist and author Ursula Vernon has a humorous setting called “Weird Fruit” (pictured above), and multiply-Hugo-nominated author Seanan McGuire has a setting called “Chambers of the Sea” in which merfolk take part in Atlantisian politics. Matt Forbeck has adapted his Monster Academy young-adult series into a Storium setting as well.
And that’s only scratching the surface. Well-known gaming or fiction writers such as Tobias Buckell, Robin D. Laws, N.K. Jemisin, J.C. Hutchins, Richard Dansky, Elizabeth Bear, Sam Sykes, Mur Lafferty, Kenneth Hite, Chuck Wendig, Stephen Blackmoore, Jordan Weisman, and Charles Stross have settings either ready or under preparation. Steve Jackson Games and Green Ronin Publications are also readying Storium worlds based on their “In Nomine” and “Mutants & Masterminds” RPG settings, respectively.
As a backer of the Kickstarter, I have three one-year memberships I can give away, but I would ask that anyone who wants one first try the game out for free and make sure it’s something they’re sure they’d actually use long-term.
As I said a couple of weeks ago, Storium is a lot of fun if you can manage not to let a story fizzle and lose momentum. That’s happened in far more games than it hasn’t, for me. But when it works, it’s a great little exercise that combines creative writing with gaming, and is a great way to keep in practice when it comes to writing something every day. And at the free basic level, it’s fully functional for a limited set of uses, so why not check it out?