Saturday, November 12, 2011


A set of rules for a "Story Writing" game have appeared on RPGGeek called "Epistolary", don't worry that's not a swear word.

The easiest way to understand this game is to refer to the book Dracular by Bram Stoker. This famous book is written with each chapter being an extract from a diary, journal, letter or even a report from a newspaper. The whole effect of which is to tell the story from multiple points of view.

This free set of rules lays out a framework to allow you and a friend ( perhaps two friends ) to write a story in this way. Each taking turns to write a part of the story from a certain point of view, and then hand off the story to your fellow player(s) by giving them a choice of "leads".

I think these "leads" are the challenge and the beauty of the system.  Suppose I've just added a section to the story, I finish off by offering between three and five leads to the next player.  Leads take the form of chapter headings, such as :

  • The shadows advance!
  • A friend.
  • Long lost love returns.

So the next player looks at those leads and decides on which one they want to pick up and use as their next section heading.

I find that whole idea fascinating. I can interpret the leads given to me, but as I have no idea what leads I'll be offered they can inspire your creative juices and take the story in a whole new direction.

The system is not just limited to the classic letter writing age, but can be brought up to date or even into the future.  A "chapter" ( a grand title for a section you write ) can be a letter, a blog post, a video transcription, a transgalactic finance report, literally anything you can conceive.

If you have a space half hour and have creative writing "urges" this is well worth a look.