Course Number: 53-371
Role playing games, mainly traditional pencil-and-paper, but recently to an extent, video RPGs as well, have matured over the last 40 years into a viable medium for modern storytelling. There is now a generation of novelists, screenwriters, playwrights and TV writers who first felt capable of telling a good story while they were an RPG games master. The course instructor is one of those writers, having won three Game of the Year awards for his RPG writing. Primarily for writers looking to work in games, this class also serves anyone interested in creating interactive stories. Additionally, more traditional linear writers who want to try their hand at "new media" will find a home in this class. The class will first examine and dissect existing RPGs (mainly using pencil and paper examples) seeking guidance for both design of RPGs as well as storytelling "best practices." Once the groundwork has been laid, the class will take an original draft story for an existing RPG world -- one from a game that was actually built -- and, having been given only the treatment document, form writing teams and 'flesh out' the story, transforming a hazy idea into form and substance, beats, missions, dialogue, Acts. Each student will be part of a three-person writing team which will first pitch a story idea for their own expanded version of the original story. Once their idea is approved, the team then design out a complete structure for that idea, followed by beat sheets, supporting characters, mission arcs, scene breakdowns, dialogue for some interactive scenes and also scripts for a single cut scene. By the end of the semester the students are delivering the backbone of their own story.
Fall 2016 instructor: Chris Klug