<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-storytelling.html>Storytelling</a>


The act of telling storieswithin the game.

Some games promote players to tell stories within games. This may be retelling of actions and events that players have done, the history of the Game World, or part of creating the Game World.

Example: Once upon a Time is a card game based around storytelling. Players play cards with story concepts to be allowed to continue the story based upon the narrative started by other players.

Example: The role of game masters in roleplaying games is partly that of storyteller, merging the preplanned events with the actions the players have performed within the Game World. The gameplay in these games is based on Storytelling assisted with background material such as maps and rulebooks.

Using the pattern

Storytelling in games can be done both by Dedicated Game Facilitators and by players. The stories told do not have to be part of the Narrative Structure of the Game World but can be in several different ways. First, they can be explanations of the history and current state of the Alternative Reality of the Game World and this is the typical way Storytelling is done by Dedicated Game Facilitators to advance the Narrative Structure. Second, the stories can be part of Roleplaying, the retelling of previous gameplay within Consistent Reality Logic. Third, the stories can be part of creating and expanding the Narrative Structure rather than unfolding an existing structure, although this requires Game Masters or Self-Facilitated Games. Providing back stories for Characters is an area where players usually are allowed Creative Control for Storytelling, even in games with tightly restricted Narrative Structures.

Storytelling gives both players and Dedicated Game Facilitators the possibility to explain Extra-Game Information in a context so that it does not disturb a Consistent Reality Logic.

Storytelling by players or Game Masters may be controlled through Turn Taking or be Interruptible Actions. In contrast, the Storytelling done in computer games, for example by Cut Scenes, is a form of Ultra-Powerful Event that cannot be interrupted although they may be skipped.


Storytelling can be used to frame all actions and events in a Game World within the Consistent Reality Logic of the Alternative Reality and can visualize the Game World and its history. When the Storytelling is performed by enacting Characters, the activity gives rise to Roleplaying.

When Storytelling is performed by humans, it is a form of Social Interaction that often gives Emotional Immersion, and being able to tell stories well can give Social Status and can even be considered part of Game Mastery in some games. Storytelling can give players Creative Control and Freedom of Choice, and in games with Game Masters, these stories can become part Player Constructed Worlds by being Player Decided Results. In Persistent Game Worlds, the stories can have further influence by being part of the development of Never Ending Stories.

Games can of course also cause Storytelling as Extra-Game Actions, for example, bragging about results. In this case, Storytelling passes Trans-Game Information between players including possible Strategic Knowledge.


Instantiates: Player Decided Results, Emotional Immersion, Never Ending Stories, Creative Control, Freedom of Choice, Game Mastery, Narrative Structures, Roleplaying, Player Constructed Worlds, Social Interaction, Extra-Game Actions

Modulates: Strategic Knowledge, Self-Facilitated Games, Trans-Game Information, Game World, Persistent Game Worlds, Characters, Alternative Reality, Consistent Reality Logic, Extra-Game Information

Instantiated by: Dedicated Game Facilitators, Game Masters, Roleplaying, Cut Scenes

Modulated by: Interruptible Actions, Ultra-Powerful Events, Turn Taking

Potentially conflicting with: