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Starward_Bottle_Black_ThumbnailGreg and I recently started a Storium game in a Dark Age low magic setting. Chuckle. Greg GM’d a Harn game for a very long time and I accuse him of being obsessed with the Dark Age motif instead of… well, anything. Having said that, the Dark Age feeling does easily give way to the dark and disturbing ideas of the supernatural and occult, areas that tempt me.

In any case, we started using the Storium engine because our life journeys have made face to face gaming much more difficult now, and any story telling is better than none. Storium is, for want of a better word, a website that allows you to set up and play asynchronous role playing games. Or, put another way, an updated version of the play by mail games of long ago taking advantage of potentially very fast communications but still essentially a written interactions. They recently ran a successful Kickstarter effort.

This game, that we have called The nights are getting longer, the winters colder, was based on a key idea from the Hellfrost game setting. The important thing is that this fantasy world/land is moving in to an ice age. This may have been a result of some catastrophe involving frost giants, or it may be some natural celestial happening. However, from the character’s point of view, things are getting worse, season by season. This is fine Viking/Saxon/Celt story telling stuff and so we had our overarching thread. But he actual starting was a new problem. Where does a story begin?

Cue in an element from real life. 

Last year at my birthday party my very dearest and oldest friend turned up with a bottle of Laphroaig single malt scotch whisky. The Quarter Cask, I believe. Now I had no basis upon which to judge this and, being an Islay flavour full of peat smoke and iodine, I consequently failed to appreciate it as well as I should have. Never one to shirk a challenge I spent the next few months educating my palette so that now I can tell the difference between a Lagavulin and an Ardbeg. I now have a literal ‘top shelf’ of single malts to enjoy, much to the horror of my wife who shudders when I make her smell them.

To start the game I randomly generated the starting conditions using the Big List of RPG Plots by S John Ross of Risus fame I found Got Escort Service and as a sub plot I found Score one for the Team. With whisky on my mind I conceived of a story that required the characters to carry some whisky as a tribute to a distant town. And on top of this there were many other bright young lads trying to do the same, so it was a race.

This story is still young, and as I sip on a glass of Starward I am now trying to imagine how good cigars can be woven into the next chapter. The moral of the story: our fantasy stories come from real places, from our real experiences, with perhaps the volume turned up to 11.