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Storycraft – Ep91

How do you craft a story? Like Uncle Bill, it starts with Benzedrine, Junk and William Tell reenactments.
How do you craft a story? Like Uncle Bill Burroughs here, it starts with Benzedrine, Junk and William Tell reenactments.

The processes that writers use to create their stories are as varied as there are styles. We were asked to talk how we create the stories that we play, as game-masters and as players.


If you have some input on this, leave a comment here, via email or on our Facebook page.


Thanks to Brian Scott for giving us this topic to work with.


Cast – Eric, Mike, Dan, Mark, Jayson, Shannon and Shawn


Intro: Jayson

Outro: Eric

Listen or Download on Stitcher:


Shows Featured in the Outro:

Monkey in the Cage

Carpe GM

The Dragon Fisters



Items Mentioned:

Heart of Darkness, Star Wars, Shadowrun, Legend of the Five Rings, James Bond, Batman, Mutants and Masterminds, Hero, Dungeons & Dragons, Fear the Boot, Dresden Files, Fiasco, Ravenloft, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Aces & Eights, Sidewinder, Record of Lodos War


Here is a link to the Fear the Boot campaign sheet mentioned. Thank you Dan Repperger for this and all your show does for the hobby.


  1. Brian
    Brian January 14, 2013

    Man I love you guys, but I have to say there was a part of this one that threw me for a loop as a DM. To hear another DM too afraid to introduce their key antagonist at an early point (or any point) in a story for fear of its vulnerability was totally unexpected. I’ve gotten over that AGES ago. It isn’t about gameplay balance or fairness to the players, it is totally about your adaptability as a DM.

    First: Confidence. You have to give the guy a legit out. Assume he/she has anticipated the risk inherent to the world he lives in and planned accordingly. Just because you have multiple minds focused entirely on killing him at that moment in playtime, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t anticipated trouble and given himself time before said moment to plan for the worst. Even mook the dimwitted orc probably has a few hiding spots he’s had to develop to hide from the other smarter jerk orcs! How else would he have survived?

    Second: Slow down. You control this entire UNIVERSE remember? It isn’t about negating or limiting the abilities of your players, everyone deserves their unique advantage. It is about remembering that a whole hell of a lot of COMPLICATIONS exist even here in the non-magical world. The trick is that you have to setup a large enough context within the grand story that your intervention doesn’t actually appear to be an intervention, but a addition to the story as a whole. Weather complications due to unknown influence, bad iron leading to unforeseen equipment failures, the ultra common switch of a badguy into henchman, hell I’ve even had a player quaff a healing potion that turned him into a rampaging dragon! Boy did they beat the living crap out of the potion vender that day!

    Finally: Emotional Currency. Who the hell says a master villain’s fate has to be 100% bound in stone by game mechanics? We are telling stories about fantastic times and your players will benefit far more from giving you a bit of trust then anything else. Make a contract with your players to yield on the side of fun(story). That means sometimes fate (the DM)will toss the bad guy a bone, and sometimes he will give them the advantage. The cost is emotional. Keep it fair and the game actually improves! Don’t, and forget about suspension of disbelief. -Cv

    • Gamerstable
      Gamerstable January 14, 2013

      Brian. You are 100% right.

      In the context of many adult games, introducing the villain early on can have a powerfully profound effect on the drama.

      We have quite a history with powergaming douche-baggery and that is the root cause of a lot of the feelings expressed in the episode. In one way it has jaded us, preventing us from using a good story telling device. In another, it has forced us to come up with different ways to do things.

      As you stated, there are many ways around the untimely death of a main villain and one of the reasons we did this episode was to find out what other people do to rectify this.

      Thank you, as always, for your input.

  2. Brian
    Brian January 15, 2013

    I’d love to play with you guys man, totally my kinda folk. Everyone faces this problem, and your group is exactly my kind of murderous scum.

    I believe that nothing is official until it actually hits the gaming table. Sure, I may have to change what I’d planned the last month cuz of a witty player, but that doesn’t mean they have to know this. 🙂

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