Vampire Storytellers Handbook3
Chapter One: The Story
Storyteller: 1. One who is accustomed to tell storiesor anecdotes in conversation;
2. Euphemistically: a liar;
3. One whose business it is to recite legendary or romanticstories.
Oxford English Dictionary Storytelling is the focus of this book. It is also thewholepoint of the
game. But what exactly isStorytelling?There are two trite answers to this question:
Storytelling is what Storytellersdo
Read this bookand find out
.. Both are true, but neitheris particularly helpful.Storytelling is what Storytellers do. In
,theStoryteller creates and presents Stories in which theplayers participatethrough the control of their characters.The result is an interactive typeof storytelling, whereeveryone in the group contributes to the progressand finalform of the Story. The Story is at the heart of the wholeprocess,and it is the Story with which this Chapterconcerns itself. Other Chapterswill cover different aspectsof the Storyteller's role - Read this bookand find out.
What is a Story?
Story, n. A narrative of real or, more usually, fictitiousevents, designed for the entertainment of thereader or hearer; an incident,real or fictitious, related inorder to amuse or interest.
- Oxford English Dictionary A
Story is more complex than many otherformsof tale, because it is interactive. The audience (that is, theplayers)do not sit passively and simply absorb the story;they take an active partin shaping it through the words anddeeds of the characters they control.It is very difficult toformulate a simple, pithy definition of this kindof Story;the definition which follows is by no means perfect, but itishopefully enough to work with:Story: a situation, event or series of events requiringactionon the part of certain characters, presenting problems andchallenges,and offering rewards for successful action.
Just as a character in
is an amalgamationof many component parts - trait scores, nature, demeanor,equipment andso on - so a Story is made up of severalthings. On one level, the Storyconsists of characters,locations and situations - these will be discusseda littlelater. For now, we will concern ourselves with the bones of a Story- concept, plot, theme and mood. These willnormally be the first four thingsyou decide on whenplanning out a Story, whether you are conscious of doingsoor not.Paying attention to these basics can help you create aStory more easily, and combined with a little practice you canuse themto create something with as much depth andoriginality as anything in literatureor films. Of course, youhave to be prepared to put something of yourselfinto theprocess; the notes in the next few paragraphs can't do the workfor you. There is no such thing as a wholly mechanicalsystem forcreating a Story - and hopefully there never will be,for theproducts of such a system would inevitably be withoutdepth or soul.But this chapter is intended to help the bewildered or nervous Storytellerthrough the process of creating a Story, and point out a few useful ideas,tricks andtechniques.
They only have six plots, but they swap them round abit.
- George Orwell,
This quote - according to some literature teachers at least- was originally intended to reflect cultural impoverishmentunder the nightmarishrule of Orwell's Stalin-clone BigBrother, rather than telling a universaltruth about thenarrative form. However, the
Storytellerwillcertainly find that certain themes and types of story cropup againand again, in
Chronicles as well as in vampire literatureand films.The information in this section is by no meansexhaustive,and Storytellers are actively encouraged to findand develop new types ofStory to add variety and depth totheir Chronicles. It does, however, providea basictreatment of the more common themes and narrativestructures; aswell as being a useful last-resort source of inspiration, it should helpthe Storyteller identify and avoidclichés and repetition withina Chronicle.
There are as many types of Vampire as there are beastsof prey.
Captain Cronos: Vampire HunterThere are certainly as many types of vampire story asthereare types of story, and most of them have beencovered in one medium oranother. Consider the shelf andsection labels in your local bookstore:aside from thefantasy, science fiction and horror sections where most vampiresare to be found, there will also be mystery,romance, thrillers, adventure,western, literature and many other genres and subgenres of fiction. Allgenres have