Oct. 29, 2021


Jon from the 'Tale of the Manticore' (@ManticoreTale) actual-play podcast joins me to talk about creating stories in Dungeons and Dragons. We open by tackling the academic: the seven story archetypes and how to crack the "code" of a compelling narrative. However, this quickly breaks down as the collaborative nature of TTPRGs inherently sets them apart from traditional media; the eternal struggle of story versus agency. There can be pressure on DMs to "tell a good story", but how does this impact player agency? Depending on the players, those two elements can often pull in opposite directions. By reframing the role of the Dungeon Master as a "conflict provider", rather than story teller (or, indeed, narrator), we can start to nudge the immediate gameplay into the sweet spot of agency creating story. Finally, another aspect unique to TTRPGs is that the players have direct control over the actors, which brings with it some exceptional responsibility. With a fully fleshed out character, it's likely you'll have to sacrifice some of that vision and theme to further the story. This is, of course, much easier said than done.

  • 03:51 - Applying Story Archetypes to TTRPGs
  • 22:21 - Creating Tale of the Manticore
  • 25:32 - Story Versus Agency
  • 37:50 - Reactive Versus Proactive Storytelling
  • 42:07 - Sacrificing Character Vision to the Story
  • 52:04 - Producing Tale of the Manticore

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Intro Music: 'Local Forecast' by Kevin MacLeod
Intermission Music: 'Chill' by Kevin MacLeod
Outro Music: 'Local Forecast - Elevator' by Kevin MacLeod

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Jon (Tale of the Manticore)


Tale of the Manticore is a hybrid, actual-play basic D&D game and dark fantasy audio drama.