Did you ever play the game of passing a whispered message down a line of people?  Seldom does the final message at the end resemble the original.  We hear different emphasis and entirely fail to hear whole words, but our minds fill in the gaps to (re)produce our version to pass along.

I would like to propose an expansion of that many-minded filter-and-continue game.  I call it Story-by-Baton (SBB).  I exchanged a couple of emails with Paul (Dupuis) about the possibility of software support for a specialized forum that would manage the “baton” passing part of the game, but I am curious whether an audience truly exists on this website to justify his (as-yet-unpromised) efforts.

So, in the spirit of WarGames (and memories of a much younger Matthew Broderick), WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY A GAME?

Story-by-Baton is a multiplayer game designed to accommodate the drop-in/drop-out habits of its participants.  The fundamental activity to provide its entertainment value is the writing of a story.  Contributions to the story are posted in a forum stream by whatever authors wish to continue the story further.  There might be some self-policed rules about the content of the story to which the authors agree (such as avoid character deaths, entries should be under 5000 characters, authors must roll FUDGE dice to justify actions, stick to the genre (or change genre every fifth posting)), but the only truly structural rule is about sharing the story – the Baton.

The Baton is used to indicate whose turn it is to contribute.  The realization is that it requires time between reading the latest author’s posting and the writing of the next author’s posting.  Rather than having multiple authors potentially using that time simultaneously to compose their “next installment” only to have the quickest to post make obsolete their idea for extending the story, the one and only Baton is “picked up” by an author who wishes to be next.  That starts a clock (say one day) in which that author must post or the Baton reappears for a different author to latch onto.  To increase sharing, the latest author must wait some time (say two days) before he/she may take the Baton (to become author of consecutive segments without a different author between).  For even greater sharing, perhaps the Baton pickup rule states that the penultimate author (before the latest) must wait also (say one day) before he/she may take the next opportunity to add on to the story.

{This is the unimplemented software specialization needed to make into the “Home of SBB”; for now we will need to come up with a player-based mechanism to “enforce” this rule}.

Discussion, anyone?  Are there some impromptu co-authors who wanted to try this out (alpha-test) to get a feel for how the Baton rules should (could) be implemented?

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Re: Story-by-Baton

This is an interesting way of playing - I like it.

The "baton" idea is a good, everybody gets a "fair share" of storytelling.

Having the baton is sometthing else - I'll need to wrack my brain to make a passable post! current/wink

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Re: Story-by-Baton

Without the aid of software to account and time the possession of the baton (by username), the simplist rule (to self-enforce) is that no author can follow him/herself, period, end of rule.  That might make it into a competition (of the stink-bomb variety) to see who can kill a story so thoroughly that nobody cares to continue, but it might be worth the risk.   The "pickup" (to advise other potential next authors) could be an only mildly story-interrupting message that says "My turn -- expect to post by HHMM today/tomorrow/whenever."

Of the existing Forums, I am thinking the "Play-by-Post" category is the closest but SBB is not a Discussion (although that is where Jonathan choose to site the  BiS-Planetary Silence mission), Recruitment, nor Space Patrol adventure.  What does it take to add another "Story-by-Baton" forum nested under this group?  Is that a request to Paul & Ann?  I know I can start a stream/topic in an existing forum and upload a blog (remembering how might take a while), but I do not recall what other demi-god-like privileges I have as a contributor.  If we can find the anchorpoint, I will work on a story stem which we can nourish with our creativity to see if we can entice any others to climb up into our treehouse to join the fun.

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