Organically growing stories

I love stories. I love complex interwoven plots, with interesting characters, each with their own motives, their own reasons for doing things. But really, it takes a very skilled writer to inhabit the mind of many different characters, and interweave their goals and individual ambitions together into a rich tapestry. So, naturally I tried to think of an easier way of doing exactly that!

I was browsing around the net, and found a whole lot of RPG forums where people are each playing characters in a story. Now, obviously, you have a ‘game master’ like a traditional PnP RPG, but the thing that really interested me was how each person playing imbued their character with their own personality.

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What I’m suggesting for anyone who is looking at writing an RPG is to have a round table play through with your friends. Write a few character cards, but be vague. Let the people come up with the stories. And then just play. Dont worry about stats, dice rolls, or even where the story ends up. Record this session, and use it as a base for a story. Record how the personalities of each character plays off the other. Encourage making things up on the spot. Have a character betray another. Let romances develop, hatred and jealousy…all the good things that make up good stories!

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Im sure after a few meetings like this, you could have an organically grown story, full of well rounded characters who actually have relationships. Imagine having your parties NPC’s all having their own interwoven personalities and journeys.

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Now granted, this is just a theory. I haven’t actually done this before, but I cant imagine why it wouldnt work! One thing you could look at is setting up a forum over at ” http://freeforums.org/ ” , and use that as a platform for your story with each character posts the next ‘event’ in the story.

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Do you guys have any other ideas on how to organically ‘grow’ stories? If so, or if you have done exactly what I’ve mentioned here, please let me know how it turned out! Its definitely something I would look to if I was creating a multi-party story (be it RPG, or Adventure Game).

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On a bit of a side note, STASIS was briefly mentioned in the Killer Bits YouTube show:

There will be a full follow up interview in the coming weeks (with additional, unseen footage, and some behind the scenes stuff), so either subscribe to their channel, or keep your eyes here for details!

-Chris

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  • Nikos Patsiouras

    Well isn’t this the whole meaning of DnD ? Though it’s not a solution to all problems. It’s a good way of creating stories. Raymond Feist’s Magician has been based on a world setting he and his friends created playing DnD while attending university. It depends on the company though. To create a good story you have to gather people with a certain interest for this kind of thing. I still remember the story me and my friends played. It could have ended up crappy but the DM was brilliant with a great deal of imagination and turned our newbie sessions into a very interesting story all the while inspiring us to take unexpected and fascinating actions.

    The question is how to do that yourself. I like the idea don’t get me wrong but if anything i want to be able to surprise everyone including my friends when creating something new. Basing it off what we do together is not a way to do that, unless I base my story very loosely on what we do. Or on the basic idea of it.

  • http://www.stasisgame.com Chris

    I think its a case of looking at creating a story for a greater audience than your friends. Imagine them playing a game, and realising that the NPC is actually THEM. I think that that level of joy would massively outstrip the ‘knowledge’ of whats going to happen.

    Its also more about personalities..seeing what characters would do in a certain situation. You can always alter the basic situation, while keeping the character of the…well..character!