THE STORY ENGINE deck of endless storytelling prompts + book

Created by Peter Chiykowski

Deck of story prompts for writers, teachers, GMs, DMs & tabletop RPGs + a new book of piercing postcard stories from The Shortest Story

Latest Updates from Our Project:

BackerKit surveys have been sent out!
26 days ago – Wed, Oct 23, 2019 at 03:23:01 AM

Hello backers! This is just a quick update to let you know that the BackerKit surveys have gone out!

Check your email inbox for your invitation to BackerKit, which is the pledge manager where you'll be able to provide your fulfilment information and apply any extra funds from your Kickstarter pledge toward add-ons.

If you don't see the email, it may also help to double-check your spam folder and filters.

In BackerKit, you will also have the opportunity to select and pay for add-ons that you didn't pre-pay for during the campaign, and to upgrade your pledge.

If you wish to adjust your pledge, just click on the "switch your pledge level" text below the green "Get Started" button when you first open your survey.

You will be able to adjust your pledge, add-ons, and address until at least December 1, possibly later. If you selected a tier that includes the monthly postcard subscription, please do fill out your survey at your earliest convenience so I can get your postcard mail-outs started in time for December.

I'm travelling until Friday, but I will try to respond to any questions within 24 hours. BackerKit can also help you with any questions you may have about the process of filling out your survey.

Thanks so much, and I'll follow up with more details about extended stretch goals in the next update!

BackerKit surveys soon + registration for free decks for schools/libraries + sneak peek at book narration
about 1 month ago – Fri, Oct 18, 2019 at 02:21:32 AM

Hi backers!

Thanks again for the incredible support in the closing days of the campaign! I've been diving right in to working on the BackerKit surveys and taking next steps in fulfilment planning. 

This is just a quick update to set the course going forward! Here's what's in this update:

  • BackerKit surveys will be sent out soon
  • Registration for free decks for schools, libraries and community programs is open
  • Cecil Baldwin has finished recording his parts for the book (+ a sample!)

Let's get into it!

BackerKit surveys ready soon

I have been setting up BackerKit surveys and will send them out sometime in the next 5 days, when the bulk of Kickstarter pledges have processed so surveys don't have to be sent twice. The pledge manager invitation should arrive at the email address you have registered with Kickstarter.

In the pledge manager you will be able to upgrade your pledge, claim your add-ons, or purchase new add-ons. 

You will be able to adjust your pledge and address until at least December 1, when I will run credit cards for add-ons/upgrades and begin locking in orders. You will still be able to update your address right up until 2 weeks before shipping commences in spring/summer next year.

However, if you have backed to receive monthly postcard stories in the mail, you will want to finalize your survey ASAP to receive December's postcard.

Also, the BackerKit late pledge/pre-order store is now open for backers who missed the campaign. The pricing differs a little from the campaign, and shipping is not included in any of the bundles or add-on prices, so the most cost-effective way to get items is still by having pledged the original Kickstarter. 

Registration for free decks/books for schools/libraries/community programs is now open

Registration is open through this Google Form:

If you work with a school, library or community group that benefits the public and you would like a free deck or book for your organization, please sign up! Note that you must be affiliated with the group in some way (volunteer, teacher, etc.). If you would like to "nominate" a school, library or community program, please send them the link and so someone affiliated the group to fill out the form. (This is to avoid organizations being sent items they didn't ask for or don't want.)

The form is first-come, first-served for physical decks/books, but EVERY group that registers will receive a free ebook or print-and-play PDF, so it is worth registering even after the 100 current stretch goal slots are used up. There will also be a waiting list in case additional slots open up.

The donated copies will ship with the bulk of the Kickstarter, as early as April 2020 and as late as June 2020. I'll double-check addresses before shipping.

Cecil Baldwin has finished recording his parts for the book

Cecil Baldwin (the host of Welcome to Night Vale) has always been one of my favourite voice actors, and I got actual chills when I heard the files he recorded for The Story Engine book. The six stories he recorded will have a short URL under their title in the book where readers can go to listen to the story.

Here he is reading the title story of the book, "Story Engines."

I'll update you again when the BackerKit surveys have been sent out so you know to look out for them.

Thanks so much!


Woah, incredible! + next steps/taking the weekend off + friends of The Story Engine deck
about 1 month ago – Sat, Oct 12, 2019 at 01:54:18 AM

Thank you, backers! This has been an impossible, heady ride of a campaign.

The Story Engine Kickstarter finished at $286,851 with 3,590 backers, with all stretch goals but the app unlocked (but I'm pretty sure we'll crush it in BackerKit), all expansions and boosters made available, and 100 decks/books being donated to libraries, schools and community programs.

The campaign didn't just do well. I think it's actually going to do good in this world. I think it's going to inspire writers and storytellers and teachers and drama groups and misfits and outcasts to tell their stories and more stories besides.

There are too many people to thank! Too many people who threw their support behind my storytelling when I started writing The Shortest Story, who carried me through the darkness of 2018-2019 and gave me hope, who were ready to cheerlead this project from day 1.

Thank you to the incredible community that has sprung up around this project, offering advice and support and even running the comments section for me while I sleep. Thank you to the gracious and talented guest authors and collaborators who are joining me on this project!

I'm about to take the weekend away from my computer (or on very reduced hours) to get some quality time with my wife and my friends, who have seen too little of me these past 4 weeks. I may be slow to respond until Monday, when I'll be back in force.

Next steps

I'd like to let people have access to the BackerKit pledge manager as early as next week, and no later than the week after, so we can work toward the last stretch goal.

I will likely be announcing a couple more donation-based stretch goals for additional donated decks and books for schools, libraries and community programs to share the incredible support this campaign has found.

I will also work with my manufacturers to explore boxing options for the boosters and expansions.

But for now, I'm going to enjoy a glass of scotch and try to get a few hours of sleep in before I head for a train in the morning.

In gratitude for all the incredible support this project has received, I also wanted to leave you with three projects by collaborators of The Story Engine that I support and I wanted the community to know about!

  • Guest author Chinelo Onwualo is one of the editors at Anathema, a magazine focused on publishing science fiction/fantasy/horror by queer people of colour/Indigenous/Aboriginal creators, giving a platform to voices that often get shut out of mainstream publishing. Anathema is fundraising for its December 2019 issue.
  • Guest author S.M. Beiko is editing and Kickstarting Gothic Tales of Haunted Futures, an anthology of 18 original stories, casting the indelible themes of gothic romance forward in time, to imagined futures and tomorrow’s afterlives.
  • Longtime friend and playtester/advisor of The Story Engine Jason Anarchy is Kickstarting his original hilarious drinking RPG Drinking Quest, which takes everything you love about golden age D&D and turns it on its head.

I also wanted to take a moment to shout out Brett Bernstein at Precis Intermedia games. I didn't know when I launched the campaign, but there has been a scenematic tabletop RPG called "Story Engine" since the 90s. Brett was extremely gracious in working out an agreement where we can coexist using similar names for our separate projects.

For those interested, you can check out Story Engine RPG here. For clarity, I've added this statement to the campaign page: Story Engine is a Precis Intermedia trademark for its collaborative roleplaying game and rules ( The Story Engine is a Peter Chiykowski trademark for his deck of story prompts (

This project, and seeing the ways in which friends and strangers have stepped forward to make room for it or share it with the world, has been a gift for me after a very difficult year.

Seeing this campaign through has been a special kind of magic. Thanks for being part of the summoning circle with me!

With endless <3


$250,000! ALL Expansions and ALL Boosters unlocked! End-run stretch goals!
about 1 month ago – Fri, Oct 11, 2019 at 10:46:58 PM

Hello, fellow storytellers!

With a few hours to go on the campaign, we've just passed $250,000.

All expansions are now unlocked, all boosters are unlocked, and we've stockpiled 75 decks or books to donate to schools, libraries and community programs with free international shipping! Incredible! I will release more details about registering in the weeks after the campaign.

For now, I've included a complete menu of expansions and boosters below. As a reminder, here are the three new "ALL-IN" tiers for expansions and boosters.

  • $220 CAD (~$165 USD) for the limited-quantity /|\(°,,,°)/|\ *DEVOURS EVERYTHING* package, which I will be opening up a few more spots in for last-minute pledges

You can also add-on expansions at $20 CAD each / $55 CAD all 3.

You can add-on boosters at $7 CAD each / $17 CAD for 3 / $30 CAD for all 6

I've added an intermediary $275,000 goal to bring the donated deck/book stockpile to a nice round 100 units, and other than that, the last goal to hit is $300,000, where I'll set aside budget to explore making an app for The Story Engine deck!

For 4 weeks after the campaign finishes, all late pledges, upgraded pledges, and add-ons in BackerKit will count toward stretch goals, so even if we don't hit $275,000 or $300,00 tonight, we may still get there in the post-campaign.

If you've got one last moment to share the link, I'd appreciate it so much. Feel free to tag The Shortest Story on:

Thanks for all your INCREDIBLE support!

New ALL Boosters/Expansion tiers + 5 out of 6 Boosters unlocked
about 1 month ago – Fri, Oct 11, 2019 at 12:10:54 AM

Hi everyone!

As we hurtle toward the finish line, I wanted to let you know that I've added THREE new reward tiers that include ALL 3 expansions and ALL of the boosters that are unlocked in Kickstarter or will be unlocked in BackerKit in the 4-week window outside of the campaign.

  •  $110 CAD (~$83 USD) + shipping for DECK + ALL EXPANSIONS + ALL UNLOCKED BOOSTERS 
  •  $125 CAD (~$94 USD) + shipping for DECK + BOOK + ALL EXPANSIONS + ALL UNLOCKED BOOSTERS 
  •  $220 CAD (~$165 USD) + shipping for the /|\(°,,,°)/|\ *DEVOURS EVERYTHING* package, which includes the deck, the book, all expansions, all boosters, and one of every add-on (except for the ChiZine Publications ebook library)
Rendered image. Design not final.
Rendered image. Design not final.

Also, on a  backer's suggestion, I've adjusted the stretch goals. We have now unlocked 5 of the 6 booster sets. The "ALL" bundle tiers now save you money, even with only 5 boosters unlocked. If we hit the 6th booster, it will essentially be a free bonus.

I would be incredibly grateful if you have time in the closing hours to share the campaign link, or to boost the signal by sharing or tagging The Shortest Story on:

Onward and upward, fellow story-lovers!