On a recent episode of Fear the Boot they talked about Rory Story Cubes. These are nine six sided dice with pictograms on the sides. The idea of the product is that you roll the dice to generate a story. I so loved the idea that while I was listening to the episode I bought the three sets of Rory Story Cubes. I knew that there was an app but I wanted the tactile feel of the dice. I just got them today and I glad that I ordered them. They are really well made and I am sure that they will definitely come in handy in the future.
So I decided that it would be fun to brainstorm a story completely with the Rory Story Cubes. The first thing I did was pick a genre. I live and breathe fantasy so I decided to pick good old fashioned science fiction, specifically space opera. So without really thinking about it I rolled three of the generic cubes. This is what I got.
A tipi, a phone, and a turtle. Oh boy. Well I interpreted the images as: advanced humans contacting a primitive alien race. I think the tipi and the phone analogies are obvious but you may be wondering about the turtle. Did I just forget about it? For some reason I saw the turtle as a human space ship. Maybe it is a turtle class of space ship that is very good at defense or something? Alright, I thought, let’s move on. So I rolled three more dice on impulse. This is what I got.
As I looked at it I realized that this is “The Mystery.” These aliens, let me call them the Onz-Etin, might revere the trees on their planet and they take some sort of mysterious power from them (the arrow). These trees are so important to their mythology and culture that they form the alien’s identity (the hand). Next I decided that I needed a main character. So I rolled again.
I interpret this as skyscraper, fish, and building. This one was actually pretty easy. I immediately thought “this is a cosmopolitan (skyscraper) family man (building) who has the personality of Pisces (fish).” I myself am a Pisces so that will be easy to understand. Maybe his role in this is to be the consol or representative of Earth’s interests.
Now I decided to do some worldbuilding. The most important question in space opera is “how does the magical FTL work?” So I rolled for it.
Unlike the character roll, this one was a bitch to figure out. I got a crescent, a sheep, and a symbol of a lock. I finally came up with the idea with what if the FTL machine was an organic creature rather than a machine? Let’s call them Star Guides for now. And what if that alien was able to do the hyperspace magic that allowed the spaceships to go travel across the galaxy? And what if the alien formed sort of a symbiotic relationship with humans? So I took that idea and applied it to the the dice. The moon to me became cycles. This FTL creature might have the equivalent of hormonal cycles and it can only used at certain times of the year. I took the sheep and translated that to purity. Enacting this creature’s FTL capabilities might produce a lot of toxins in the alien’s body. The humans must make sure to purify the creature of toxins in order to travel. This could be a variation of the “SPICE.” And the key hole…uh, er….I got nothin’. I already got a good thing going so I just ignored it. Call me a quitter if ye wish, but I’m moving on.
Now another part of any sci-fi is that you got to have the cool tech. So this time I rolled a generic die(black) and an action die (blue).
This actually took me several tries before I got anything usable. You have what looks like a globe and you got a guy lugging around a box. I have no idea why but I got the image of the characters having to carry around these power back packs to use their tech. Imagine heavy, awkward, proton backs from Ghostbusters. These power packs store and refine the sci-fi fairy dust that allows the humans to interact with the world. I guess I would describe it as this tech gives you a world of possibilities but it a real pain in the neck to lug around and it has tons of mechanical difficulties.