Folktellers 101: A Storyworld Primer

Josef Bastian
5 min readAug 20, 2022

It all begins with a boy, a book, and a shadow…

The Folktellers Universe is a transmedia storyworld built upon the premise that the tales we tell are not only meaningful, but powerful. And in this place, whoever holds the story, wields the power.

The most fascinating thing about this metaverse, is that storytelling operates on multiple levels simultaneously. The Droste Effect is at serious play here, (known in art as the effect of a picture recursively appearing within itself, producing a loop which mathematically could go on forever). Thus, we are given an introductory cryptic clue to this mysterious storyworld:

There’s a story in the story,

Like a wheel within the wheel,

Spiraling forever,

Through the world we see and feel.

There’s a tale within the fable,

Like a gear within the gear,

Marking time forever,

Until the secret is revealed.

As the universe unfolds, we learn that in every age, across time and space, there have been Folktellers. These are the select few who have been chosen to collect and share the stories that must be told. From that point on, we find stories are everywhere, ready to be told, shared, and even captured within the pages of a Master Guidebook — the Book of Books that holds all the tales that ever existed.

Storytelling permeates everything.

Once this premise is established, the real trouble starts. A mysterious narrator informs us that sections of an ancient tome are being discovered in odd places around the world with desperate notes like this one:

In the first series, within these excerpts from an unknown book, we meet Aaron, an average midwestern teen — or so he thinks. When his grandfather disappears under strange circumstances, Aaron’s ordinary existence changes forever. He will soon discover a mysterious world where stories are powerful and dangerous, where deadly enemies and dark forces lurk just out of sight.

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Josef Bastian

Josef Bastian is an author, human performance practitioner and often an odd duck.