Cages, Freedom and Angry Villains

We covered recently how Storyteller deals with death and heartbreak. Another interesting concept is imprisonment because of the unexpected spaces of meaning it created.

Since players express stories by placing objects and characters into frames, an obvious way of representing imprisonment is to make a cage that may contain characters:

So far so good: "if a character is inside a cage, he is imprisoned". But what happens if there is someone else at the frame?


Note that I removed all the captions the game displays to help interpret these frames!

Updating the rules:
  • If the prisoner is alone, she was simply imprisoned (reasons why will be determined by the story).
  • If the prisoner is with a villain, she was kidnapped.
  • Otherwise, its just a visitor.

But things get tricky if we add more frames into the mix, because the character may be absent from the frame, creating different meanings in each case:

Jailbreak & Run Away
Ran Away
Uncooperative kidnapee

It also happens that the presence of different roles like the hero allow the existence of concepts like rescues:

Maria didn't escape... she was rescued by the hero.

Of course, it also happens that some pathological cases are possible and we need to figure out ways to deal with them:
Adam is not a hero... did he release her or she did it herself?
Did Maria rescue herself or was rescued and sent away by the hero?

The cage is a clear example of how we add new gameplay into Storyteller: we put a new element and let our natural ability to read visual stories to tell us how it may be used. A single, static cage introduced the concepts of kidnapping, imprisonment, arrest, escape, rescue, releases and punishment!


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