Friday, July 27, 2007


B mentioned he was waiting for me to post a link to the second season of Barsoom Tales. And now I have done.

The Story Hour is an interesting entity, somewhere between fan fiction and "real" writing. Story Hours probably don't appeal much to anyone who doesn't game, even the ones that --

(Sorry, I'm listening to Patsy Cline singing "Imagine That" and she bursts into laughter at the end and it's totally awesome. Had to share.)

-- aren't particularly deconstructable down to actual table-top game play. There are tropes from the table that if you've done any amount of gaming you will recognize. There are cliches peculiar to this form of story-telling, dictated to some degree by the very nature of the medium.

(Now she's on to "Crazy". You must be EVIL to not love. Nazi-level EVIL.)

The grandfather of Story Hours is (contact)'s "Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil", closely followed by Piratecat's "Defenders of Daybreak". Those author names probably seem weird to you if you don't spend much time on discussion forums, but in the circles where the Story Hour is well-traded, they are the grand masters of the form. A form that hasn't existed much more than a few years, really, which points to how much the world has changed in a short short time.

I suspect many players (and especially DMs) experience the urge to write down the tale of their adventures. But ten years ago, the motivation to do so was tiny, because the potential audience was so tiny. Sure, maybe your players would read it (MAYBE), but who else would even be able to parse those tropes and cliches that RPGs lean on? Most campaigns would be incomprehensible to somebody untutored in the ways. And anyways, how could you present it? A massive typed manuscript? Yeah, that's easy to hand around and read.

But now, with massive discussion boards hosting thousands of members, all of whom share an understanding of the RPG structure, there's suddenly a great big audience who will potentially enjoy your efforts.

I've had a lot of fun writing my Story Hours, and given that writing is a craft, I'm reasonably sure I've learned some. Practice is hard to screw up. But it's sure great to have a forum where you can practice AND get some attention in the process.

Of course, practice is what you practice. And what I've been practicing is mostly episodic, action-filled, plot-driven pulp tales.

Which is what I love, so that much is good.

Even more interesting is that people are selling BOOKS of a Story Hour. puts book publishing in anyone's hands and look! From D&D game to honest-to-god book you could actually put on your shelf.

B mentioned that he was in Toronto a while back and half-a-dozen publishers approached him with hiring ideas in their heads. I think he was wise to stay out of publishing -- what I see right there is "Crazy". "Headaches". "So Wrong". I can see a lot of "Walking After Midnight" in any publisher's future.