How are Stories organized?
ALL Stories share the same basic elements, that should be state clear on the Original Post of the Story:
- Season Tag: Stating clearly during which Season this Story takes place, as well which versions of the characters will be used.
- Dramatis Personae: The cast of established characters involved on this adventure, specially player-created Villains and Heroes, who is playing whom during this Story per authorization of the original character's creator. If a Story also overlaps as a Hero Story, this should be stated on the Dramatis Personae for that Story. Other than extreme circumstances, the Dramatis Personae should be considered "locked" after Act One.
- Goal:The Goal of this story should be clearly stated and summarized; what the Heroes aim to achieve. It should be still open-ended enough that no limits are imposed on how the Heroes approach it. The Game Master can rewrite and modify the Goal as Act One and Act Two progress, based on player's actions.
- Steps:By end of Act One, the Story Game Master should make clear how many Steps will be require in order to achieve a goal. At any given moment the game master must have previous achieved and failed/made obsolete goals listed, as well as the next Step that the players are working to achieve. Once Act Three starts, the current step is considered the "final" step of this Story (which might be revised and concluded in a later Season)
- Post-Script Notes: By the end of Act Three, the original post should include notes on character evolution and consequences of this Story.
Seasonal Stories are those Stories run by the Seasonal Game Master. As such, only Seasonal GMs might Master such a story. Season Story has Five Steps, spread across the three Acts. Every active Hero might take part in this grand tale. Seasonal GMs can use for their Season Stories: versions of non-player characters, Heroes and Villains with a version for that season and the [Seasonal] tag; any non-player character with a version of a previous season with the [Episodic] or [Seasonal] tags; any Villain or Hero with the [Shadow] tag.
Episodic Stories are stories run by both Episodic and Seasonal Game Masters. An Episodic Game Master is more often than not a player that is, for that Story, acting as de facto Game Master on the behalf of other players. The established character selection for Episodic Stories – including those mastered by Seasonal Game Masters – is more limited than Seasonal Stories: the Game Master of an Episodic can include non-player characters and Villains with the [Episodic] tag only with the express permission of their creator or if they have [Open] tag allowing free use by other parties; they can also use characters they or the players of the current story created with the [Shadow] tag; under no circumstances an Episodic Game Master can play a Hero they are playing on the current Season and it is strongly advised NOT to use Heroes they played on previous Seasons. Episodic Stories should have Two/Three Steps.
Besides the "basic" Episodic Stories, there are more "advanced/specialized" versions. In addition to the above guidelines, they should also:
- Character Stories: These Episodic Stories focus on a non-player character and creating connections, exploring their background and/or establishing them as important parts of the setting. They are a good way to introduce new characters or give flesh and soul to some of your favorite secondary or tertiary characters. Episodic Stories do not have a limitation on Steps, and you can tune the Steps required up and down during the Acts depending of player's enjoyment of the Story.
- Flashback Story: Do you miss last Season? In hindsight, you would have interacted with other character on a different way if you crossed paths during past events and you want to explore that? Was there anything you just did not have the time to explore? Then a quick Flashback Story is the answer. The same limitations of Episodic Stories apply, but the Story is considered to have played during one of the Seasons before the current one and you may ONLY use character's versions from that Season. Besides that, Flashback Stories are tighter organized and shorter: they should have One or Two Steps and both should be decided by the Game Master and players at Act One.