Definitions

“Story”

Description: An account of a choice made by a character in a setting, and the consequences of that choice.

Principles

“Conservation of Detail”

Related to “No More Variables”
Purpose: Immersion
Disproves: Misdirection

Description: Avoid unhelpful or unnecessary detail. When in doubt make your story shorter, not more complicated. “Always leave the audience wanting more.”

“Everyone Knows Everybody”

Purpose: Immersion
Source: Spy stories (eg. James Bond, Burn Notice)
Proves: Introduction complication; Mistaken Identity premise

Original discussion
Description: Main cast and supporting cast already know the names and faces of everyone involved in the story. This creates the formula for an Introduction scene, which brings a new character into the story. An introduction would otherwise be unnecessary because “Everyone Knows Everybody.”

New characters are never introduced for the sole purpose of establishing a relationship because under EKE, those relationships should already exist.

In addition to quickly moving the story along beyond characters simply reacting to each others’ existence, this principle establishes that the world of the story exists beyond the story itself; the characters know of each other because other stories (not just this one) happen when the audience isn’t watching.

“No More Variables”

Related to “Conservation of Detail”
Purpose: Immersion
Proves: Conservation of Detail

Original discussion
Description: A game must have no more variables than can be supported in play. Variables include mechanics, systems, choices, and consequences.

Contra-Principles

“Misdirection”

Purpose: Increase complexity; Obfuscate narrative

Description: Creates the illusion of depth by introducing extraneous details.

“Serial Escalation”

Related to “Guardian Escalation Crisis”
Purpose: Increase complexity; Displace consequences

Original discussion
Description: Creates the illusion of scope by suggesting larger forces at work. Displaces characters and events in the story as the story regularly and sometimes rapidly increases the “size” of events without lending real consequences.

Scenes

Introduction / Departure

Type: Complication
Categories: Recruitment, Absence, Death

Description: A new character enters the story in order to advance the plot, or leaves the story in order to create a complication.

Mistaken Identity

Type: Premise (subversive)

Description: One character is mistaken for another in a subversion of the “Everyone Knows Everybody” principle. It lays the groundwork for complications unrelated to the actions of the character whose identity has been mistaken.