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Question

Does anyone offer an online, session story telling service? I would like to submit transcripts/records of game sessions, and receive story-fied versions of them back.

Context

I'm DMing for a rather beginner group of players, and we're slowly making progress at learning the rules. We're using the 3.5 rules for DnD, though this question is not system specific. Since the players are just starting out, they're also having trouble with role playing, and with converting their actions into a story. I'd like to try and get the players to be more engaged.

In other groups, we tend to eventually settle on one player as the story-teller; that player, either in session or afterwards, retells encounters and actions in a more glorified, story-telling style. Usually players in the group pick up on this, and start filling in bits as they are inspired, but it's unlikely to happen with this group for a while.

So far, as an interim sort of thing, after each session, I've been sending out a quick 3-4 paragraphs, describing what transpired in a fancy, story-telling kind of way. It's not enough, though, and it's time consuming for me to do. Is there any way for me to outsource this work? Can I find someone online that might do it (maybe through an outsourcing site or equivalent)? Has anyone tried outsourcing this kind of DM work?

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I'd considered doing something like this for some of my own games, but never even thought to ask if there were any services that do it. Great idea. Hope you find some answers. –  KRyan May 14 '13 at 3:53
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How much are you willing to pay? And how much time are you willing to invest in organizing this? –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton May 14 '13 at 4:27
    
Minimal time. 20-50 per session, I'd guess, depending on how much my players are willing to pitch in –  blueberryfields May 14 '13 at 4:44
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Usually you do this by insourcing: ask someone in your group to do it or make it a rotating task. –  okeefe May 14 '13 at 4:46
    
If you do use the turk, I'd love for you to post an answer detailing your experiences in this regard. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton May 16 '13 at 3:31
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This sounds like a task for the mechanical turk! (and recursive analysis1)

Functionally, if you break a transcript up into paragraphs, then you can offer a mechanical turk job of "summarize this paragraph using a narrative style." The trick is, getting good results can be difficult. You'll probably spend some money figuring out your best process. (Tips and Tricks, Best Practices)

In a rough sense, anticipate that any given task needs to be done two or three times by different people, and have its quality voted on by other people.

At the end of the day, because you're trying to build a narrative, you'll need to pay quite well. ($10-20 an hour). Split the task up into small, combinable, bits with meta-voting built in. Designing this task is a non-trivial job in the first place, but besides paying an author, this should produce very serviceable session narratives. You may derive greater value from requiring a master work on the summarization, (you'll pay more for that task, but may reduce your overall pay).

The problem with this method is that no one worker will know the whole story in order. Therefore, everyone will be very dependent on the quality of the summation that came before, and you will not see narratives or plot arcs or anything else that you expect from fiction. This is repeatedly summarized content, glossed with a narrative tone.

1 See my thesis(10 meg PDF) for a description to the literature of recursive analysis, but basically it's "summarize a few lines of transcript with a sentence. Then go over that set of sentences and summarize them. Repeat until you have the length you want.

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I don't know about specific rpg story teller willing to write for other DMs, but based on what I found on Internet, a (cheap) ghostwriter is about 0.50$ a word or 4$ a page.

Here's some info : http://www.ghostwriter-needed.com/expensive-cheap-ghostwriters.html

I have a friend more than able to do this, but he'd consider himself rather good at it, so not so affordable.

EDIT : besides, if you ask a guy to listen to a recorder game, he'd probably charge you for the listening, and if he just reads your notes, they'd better be complete, or he'd have to ask questions. And charge you for it.

EDIT 2 : 25$ a page for a novel writer specialized in fantasy : https://www.writer4me.com/hire-a-ghostwriter/component/virtuemart/?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=21&category_id=6

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