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ursulav

Storium!

So, I meant to post about this earlier, but it kinda got away from me. Fortunately, there's still time!

The online storytelling...game? system? interesting hybrid thingy? Storium is running a Kickstarter. They've been in beta for awhile, now they're gearing up to launch.

It's a nifty online role-playing game system, and I'm not sure how else to describe it. Think of the really good bits of a play-by-mail RPG, with an easy to use on-line interface, and with pre-made cards and worlds and whatnot, and the ability to write your own as well. My buddy Mur Lafferty is one of the people working on it, and I've been playing with her, and it's really very cool.

Because Mur's my buddy, and she loves me...or something...she convinced me to be one of the many (many many) authors who are signed up to make worlds for Storium. So I was all geared up to make a post about how I was a stretch goal, and the Weird Fruit world would be fleshed out and made available for all y'all to play around in and have adventures in and tell stories in and whatnot.

Then my stretch goal kinda funded overnight, so it took a little bit of the urgency off. Also I couldn't figure out how to explain it.

Actually, I still kinda can't.

But the guy running it, Stephen Hood, has been very nice about the fact that I am proposing a truly demented world. I mean, everybody else is doing swashbuckling fantasy or dark cyberpunk or whatever, and I'm like "So, you're a rodent in this jungle overrun by killer vegetables..."

"Playful," I believe is the word he came up with. Let's go with that.

So...err...yeah. Basically I'm grabbing a bunch of stuff I've cooked up over the years that always seemed like they SHOULD be part of something, and finally trying to weave them into a cohesive whole. (Finally, I know where Frog Tribe lives...!)

So the theory is that you play as one of a village of rodents in a very strange jungle, full of Squashbats and Manticorn and the deadly Dragonfruit. There'll be a good bit of existing art--I'm not building a world this big from scratch!--but I'll also be cooking up some new stuff as time permits.

Now, I have no idea whether anybody is going to want to play in this world. (Worst. Pitch. Ever.) I mean, I like it, and people buy the art, but does it have anything beyond the gimmick? Is anyone going to WANT to fight Dragonfruit or Cobrachini? Is a selection of rodent races of interest to anyone? I don't know. It may be I create this world and people are like "You're insane and that's too weird."

Or maybe people will be like "I have always wanted to slay Dragonfruit! And I always thought I'd make an awesome guinea pig!" I don't know! I have no idea what people like!

But hey, suppose you HAVE always wanted to slay Dragonfruit. Or other things. You have the chance. And If you're playing in the Weird Fruit world, you can totally make your own as well, so if you want your group of mouse adventurers to be set upon by Piranha Beans or whatever, do it! (Hell, you can ditch the mouse adventurers and all play as frogs. Or fruit. Or whatever. For all I know, you want to be a bunch of plucky vegetables slaying the rodent oppressors.) You get the basics of worldbuilding and a bunch of starter stuff, but you are not limited by whatever weirdnesses I've managed to come up with.

I mean, I can put in a card for the Radishes of Paradise, but if you want to go on the Quest of Seven Mountains to pluck the tailfeathers from the Glorious Radish of Paradise, you can and should and I think that's awesome.

Anyway, you don't actually need to pay money to get the Weird Fruit world into Storium, because it happened already, but there's a lot of other super neat worlds out there by authors who do amazing work. Go! Check 'em out!

And when it's live and I've got a world of demented vegetables and plucky rodent villagers, you should totally come and play around and make your own crazy killer-vegetable adventures. Let's tell a really strange story together!

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Ursula, I don't think I've said this yet this month, but i think i love you.

*fangirls*

Ursula. Put the Biting Pear in there. The entire Internet was made for this moment.

Seconded! The Pear needs to be there!

Cool!
I just slayed a dragon fruit for the first time a couple of weeks ago!
They are truly strange but taste a bit bland.

You had me at sparkly vampire squash

Shorter pitch, not that you need one since it already funded: "It's Mouseguard meets Biting Pear of Salamanca."

Re: You had me at sparkly vampire squash

<3

Let me put it this way: I don't play this sort of game, but with your content, I will have to try it!

(Lemonlopes!)

Yes. I will play this thing. The only twinge of disappointment I felt when I saw your stretch goal unlocked was that it wasn't ready for me to play RIGHT NOW. ;)

I just envisioned the thirteen lined ground squirrel we have at work going on an adventure full of strange vegetables... I did not realize until just now that this is a thing I desperately need in my life. (Once, he was terrified of a piece of hay. Conquering hero, he is not.)

...hay can be alarming.

He's ferocious with crickets, though.

I would so much rather play this than Warcrack! Seriously. I mean, I DO play Warcrack, but I get bored. I play it when I'm tired but not sleepy and desperately NEED to be sleepy. This would not make me sleepy!

I dunno if I would want to play the game, because I've gotten picky about games, but I ADORE your weird fruit, enough that I'd be tempted to give it a go.

This sounds really fun, except for the part where I don't think I have any friends that would play with me, so I'm not sure if I should join or not. Anyone here already on the beta who can tell me if it looks navigable by 10 year olds? Because I could totally storytell Weird Fruit for my kids, who are also big fans (the collective high-pitched squee-ing noise emitted by my family when we realized you were gonna be GoH at a con we can get to was kind of terrifying.)

(I'm not sure I've ever had a more on-point LJ icon than this moment.)

Well, from what I've seen, you do have to type out the whole "what you do" thing. So if they're up for writing the story of what they do, then yes--not sure how advanced of writers your kids are!

I think there may be a mechanism whereby you can do pick up games, incidentally, although that's fraught with all the usual perils and I'm not sure, so don't quote me. *grin*

The writing part should be within their capabilities as long as they aren't graded on spelling. Certainly they produce enough pokemon/minecraft fic. :)

Yup, the site lets the person who starts a game put a "Looking For Players" flag on it if they want to let random people join. (And which can be removed when you've got enough players). I would absolutely live in terror of such a thing on a story-telling game, but it's there for braver souls than I!

At not the last con, but the one before, there was someone dressed up as her favorite character from a pigeon dating sim. And she'd crocheted a pigeon from the pigeon dating sim to carry around with her, like to the panels and activities in the gaming track for the pigeon dating sim.

So Weird Fruit sounds absolutely fantastic.

The Ferret Booty Pirates of Sluggy Freelance board infamy will have their very own territory!! With Stories!

Can I include a flying ferret-sized galleon? What booty would a Dragonfruit hoard anyway? OH THE POSSIBILITIES!!

I have absolutely always wanted to slay dragonfruit. THIS IS WHY I BECAME A COOK, DAMMIT. Of course I want to hunt the wild carnivorous fruitbeestes.

Do we get a side-mission to transport a relatively fresh dinosaur brain?

Only you, Ursula, could make me go back to gaming... (and I second the Biting Pear appearance. Boss fight? Or Godly intervention?)

I don't know a thing about Kickstarter. When I read the ranges, it looked like it requires joining the Kickstarter at $40 to get all the worlds from the stretch goals. I could be wrong, of course.

Do you mind bothering the Storium folks to get a little clarification on this? I'd love to play with this, but if I have to dig up $40 to get Weird Fruit, that'll take a little more planning than just waiting for the game to kick off.

Also, remember that people continue to play Bunnies and Burrows.

Edited at 2014-04-27 07:59 am (UTC)

The relevant details are under Backer Rewards.

Under "Member", they note, "(By the way, there will always be a free version of Storium — and it will be the full game, not a demo version. You’ll be able to play up to three games, with full functionality, before you have to pay any membership fee!)" So if you simply wait for the public launch, you will be able to play the Weird Fruit game as well as two others without ever having to pay any money.

They note in the next heading, "The Deal", "When Storium launches publicly, many of our Kickstarter worlds will have a small fee for usage. Much like how Apple's App Store works, Storium world creators will have the option of charging app-like prices for their worlds." That's why the $40 level is called "The Deal", because if you chip in that amount now, then you "will get a year of Storium membership, plus early and ongoing access to every world that we fund through this Kickstarter. This means you'll always be able to play games in these worlds, regardless of whatever they end up costing in the future."

Ah. So I could pay $20 for the first year, plus extra if I want to enter a stretch goal world, or $40 for the first year, and not pay for entry to the stretch goal worlds for what appears to be forever.

I shall have to consider this carefully.

I actually read that as you could, if you were only going to want to play the one game, have a free storium membership and just pay a one-time fee for access to the world in question, like buying a content pack, kind of? (somewhere in the backer discussion they talked about this, but it's turned into a feedback thread as well, so it is hard to decipher.)

You would be waiting for it come out of beta, as well, of course.

Yeah, actually you just made me realize the one discrepancy there—it's not clear whether the free version will include your choice of *any* world/game or whether the ability for creators to charge an app fee means that some of the Kickstarter worlds will only be available for paying members. But otherwise, it is as you say.

Keep in mind, as you say you're not familiar with Kickstarter, that those prices are only available *now*, while the Kickstarter is running, so for another ten days. Once the Kickstarter finishes, if you haven't already pledged, you'd have to wait for the public launch and your choices would be the free play-three-worlds option or the $25 annual membership plus possible extra fees for additional worlds.

FWIW, I have no intention of charging for my particular Storium world--they're paying me to create it up front, I don't want to stick people for it afterwards. If it comes to a point where I'm cooking up scads of additional content, then I suppose that could change, but I'd prefer not to do anything like that.

I don't have solid info on the various pricing tiers, though, so would not want to steer anyone wrong--it's worth asking over at the Kickstarter about the ultimate plans.

Will there be Gearworld content? Please please please?

That's got enough for another whole game! If it would stay still long enough to document it...

Well, I want to slay dragonfruit now...

Just as datum point... Perfect World International, the guys who do D&D online, started out with Perfect World...which is a seriously weird little MMO game. I mean, it has wood burning stove monsters, as in the stoves attack you!

There is a market for weirdness.

I cannot wait for this. This is going to be AMAZING. I love your art, and the story sounds fascinating!

I hope it should include the Biting Pear and the Lurking Turnip!

Never mind the game potential, schools should pick this up. it would be a really fantastic and fun way for the kids to learn English and Creative writing.

Yesssssss! Writing!Teacher!Me was gearing up for summer sessions and open house by preparing tri-fold brochures today (ugh the pain) and just... aiii this is good (maybe not for structure and organization and PLANNING and adequate conclusions and all those English Teachery things... but for sheer creativity and enjoyment!!!) As an English tutor I particularly like throwing digital things at kids these days. Oh your kid hates to read but can play video games for hours? How about... RPGs (proceed to list based on age level, Disney, Zelda, Final Fantasy, whatever).

As an elementary aged kid (7?) I wrote a choose your own adventure story in elementary school that we then made into story cards on some sort of basic computer program so that you could "click" each choice and be brought to the appropriate card. It was nifty and reminds me so much of the types of games Ursula has been mentioning lately.

Signed up... And now kinda super tempted to start putting together that "Miskatonic University European Field-trip of 1938" campaign idea I've been kicking around for so long.

Oh so many cards I could create...

Aw DARN, I want this thing as a PDF so I can run a tabletop game of it at my birthday party!

This is the best news of the day. Seriously. Anyone who DOESN'T want to pretend to be a rodent and slay ferocious fruitbeasts isn't worth my time. ;D

I might actually play EXCLUSIVELY in that world. :D

I will totally play your world because I absolutely adore the Xbox games Viva Piñata.

A friend told me about Storium and I "made the mistake" of telling my kids you were designing a world for it. They begged me for several days to become a backer. So we are. They're now playing a Storium game with said friend and their character has been described as "a ferret wizard."

My burning question: Is the fruit organic?

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