A couple of us have gotten choked up at the ending of our Heroes of Karia Vitalus game. A lot of the reason for me is that the story turned out so incredibly well. It was a lot more than I could have come up with on my own. It was genuinely shared, and enriched a great deal by all of the players and of course our GM.
There’s no guarantee that shared story will be good. I’m trying to figure out what made this one so moving, and I’ve written about it a bit before. I’ve had a few precious experiences like this where a game’s story has haunted me after it is done – never as a GM/DM/Storyteller, which is odd, but always as a player. My first Vampire game with my new friends at college. The Mage game that my friend ran with a similar group for a year when I was living in OH. And this HoKV game that just recently ended.
Its a great example of something that is more than the sum of its parts.
It is also great to see, in the second two parts, how the story that we created through the game spilled out into other stories as we were playing, and continued to inspire people to write and think about the stories after the game was done. They become like engines for more stories, churning them out when we’re supposed to be sleeping.
The amount of story that we’ve written up for HoKV is really incredible. Almost twice as many posts as this entire blog, and more are still to be added.
Something clicks in a game, when the players just have this instinct of when to hand each other big scenes or opportunities, how to build on what the others are doing, how to introduce interesting complications, how to push the story past where it is now in exciting ways. I want to figure out how this click occurs, and I want to make it so it happens more often.
It might be that there is no shortcut. You need to build relationships with the other players, put a lot of work into preparation for the game, think about the game when you’re not playing it, and work hard to contribute to it the entire time. There might not be a substitute for a good group of players with a strong vision of where the story and the game is going and lots of ideas of how to get it there.