Storytelling Arcs: Radio…

2008 October 1
by Dante

On Monday, I began discussing storytelling arcs as seen in other media. Today, I’d like to take a look at everyone’s favorite yesteryear storytelling device, the radio. For many years, our grandparents generation would tune in to radio serials, which told stories in a very different way than television or movies do today.

Situation and Interaction

Most radio programs are structured in a narrated situation/interaction style of prose. Often, you will find a dissociated narrator to the story that sets up a scene, wherein voice actors play out their roles for a small vignette and then the plot progresses. These small plot pieces are sometimes last the entire length of the episode, and the listener must continue to tune it to see how the story slowly unfolds.

To my mind this format is easily digestable, fun, and interesting because it focuses on strong character interaction. The narration is second to the interplay between the voice actors and this can directly map to your roleplaying campaign. This approach really focuses on roleplay, and has the added benefit of being quite easy for the DM to manage. Simply put your characters in a situation, give them some sort of a catalyst, and let the player interaction both entertain and color the story for you.

The main difference between the classic radio storyline and your campaign is that you will have to be sensitive to how long the “episode” lasts. If your players get tired of talking to one another, are confused, lack direction, or are just plain ready to move on you have to be prepared with the next piece of campaign content to continue the story along, but knowing when to let your roleplayers take center stage can really enhance your gaming experience.

For those of you that have never heard any radio serials before, I found that OpenCulture has provided old Abbott and Costello shows, The Lone Ranger, and more for your listening pleasure.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS