The Storium Kickstarter

And like that — *snaps fingers* — the Storium Kickstarter is live.

Wait, you’re saying, just what the hell is Storium again?

Storium, by Protagonist Labs, aims to circle back to the old way of telling stories — collaboratively, around a campfire. Except this campire? It’s digital. This is old-school storytelling given a 21st century upgrade. It’s a storyworld you can play in. A novel you can live inside. All shot through with a tasty rush of RPG DNA.

I’ve been privy to Storium’s ASCENDANCY TO THE THRONE — ahem, I mean, “creative inception” — since close to the beginning. Stephen approached me in a Shanghai opium den — ahem, I mean, “at a writing convention in Los Angeles” — and told me what he was trying to do and I got super-geeked about it because it’s totally my wheelhouse. Collaborative story-driven gameplay? With a transmedia bent? Amazing. I was in then, and I’m in now — as an advisor, as a matter of fact.

And I’m not alone. Storium has gathered a flock of fine, feathered creators, and all the other creative advisors are not just storytellers I respect, but actual friends who I trust implicitly. Uh, hello, Mur Lafferty? Will Hindmarch? J.C. Hutchins? Plus, the campaign launches with a bevy of amazing authors and game designers attached.

Thing is, Storium isn’t just a concept on some whiteboard. It’s playable. Like, mmm, now.

Back this project, you won’t wait two years to jump in.

People are already playing.

They’re already telling stories.

And sharing characters.

And engaging in imaginative worlds.

Storium is equal parts platform, marketplace, and DIGITAL MESSIAH.

Okay, maybe not so much that last part.

But you want a new way to engage with stories? And to tell your own?

Consider backing, wontcha?


  • Chuck, can you explain something none of the Storium buzzes have made clear for me? Exactly how does Storium differ from the collaborative storytelling that’s been on the internet for (at least) the last twenty years in MUD/MUCK/MOOs, email lists, message boards, and Livejournal, among many others? Serious question. I’m just not seeing what makes this “groundbreaking”.

    • I think it’s more that they have everything set up for you, characters, locations (worlds), etc. Yes, group-storytelling has been around for a while (I daresay long before the internet, even), this is just a great tool that costs very little to use. Of course like anything else with quality development, it needs money to get started.

      tl;dr Storium is a new tool to do something we love, and it looks like a good one.

    • There’s not much difference. Though, with the RPG elements cooked into the system there’s little room for a player to take over the game. Story Cards (Character Strengths, Weaknesses, and Subplots) define how the player chooses to face a Challenge presented by the Narrator. If the Challenge is met with a Strong Outcome then a player gets to narrate it positively; negatively if the Outcome is Weak. Other cards balance those to create situations where a Challenge’s Outcome is Uncertain, leaving the Narrator to determine how the scene plays out.

      For me, those checks and balances are what make Storium better, in my opinion, to Freeform Play-by-Post gaming. Or, for that matter, Play-by-post games using RPG systems that weren’t developed for gaming away from the tabletop.

      Sorry if this isn’t really clear. The best way to understand it is to see the site for yourself. $10 gets you into the Beta Playtest. And, honestly, I think it’s worth it.

    • I was thinking the exact same thing. I’ve been playing online for 20 years now and I can’t see how this as avant garde as it’s being made out to be. It frustrates me that a rich history of online storytelling is being shot down and ignored so that this can be presented as entirely new and groundbreaking. I also see the potential for a lot of god-modding in this kind of game too, which I’m not sure I like. I would be willing to give it a shot, but I’m not sold on it yet.

      I also can’t help but wonder about the extra world pricing – and if there’s anything to protect people from having their worlds elsewhere plagiarized.

      Still, if it encourages creativity and storytelling, I can’t wish it to fail.

    • It gives an interface like I’ve never seen before. The *idea* isn’t new, but nobody is claiming it to be. But the way they put it together — and plan to push content out there as both platform and marketplace — is really something special.

      — c.

    • April 26, 2014 at 10:58 AM // Reply

      The basic idea of play-by-post isn’t new. People have been doing that for ages with LiveJournals and stuff. But the intriguing bit is the game mechanic that’s built around it. The card mechanic serves as a combination of inspiration and fairness enforcer—the game can’t devolve into “Are not!” “Are too!” arguments because players use their cards as tokens to buy the right to control how any given plot twist plays out.

      The Storium web app is basically like a specialized web content management system for storytelling, with that game mechanic built into it.

  • I am already a beta tester, and while I haven’t played, the whole creation process and what you are able to do is amazing! I have been creating my storyworld and having a blast doing it. I really love it!

  • 2003 is pretty late to the party for collaborative online storytelling, actually. Storium is a next-gen, professionally-seeded and very fun new way to talk story with friends and friends-to-be, same as we’ve been doing offline for millenia and online for the past few decades. I can’t wait to see what comes of it!

  • This thing rocks!

    Only manage to pledge a little bit today (got two-and-a-half weeks of entertaining my kid through the Easter holidays, so I need to see how that pans out financially!) But I will definitely pledge more once I get the chance.

  • I am utterly astounded by this project. I haven’t even started writing anything and it’s just blowing my mind.
    Seriously, drop $5 on it and try it out.

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