While a lore master may almost always be a storyteller as well. A storyteller is not necessarily always a lore master.
So what is the difference? What makes a lore master a lore master and a storyteller just a storyteller?
The answer lies in what they’re creating.
Where as a storyteller creates a story with characters and dialog, a lore master takes one further step back. A lore master first creates a world, then a story in that world, then characters for that story, and dialog for those characters.
“How can a story have no world?”, you might ask. Well, it’s not a matter of the story not having world, as much as its just that storyteller didn’t have to create one. Take a romantic comedy for instance (not that I have anything against romantic comedies). The story takes place in our own world. We already know all the rules and quirks. For the storyteller, the world has already been pre-made.
Here’s an example I like to use; think of a story-based amusement park ride. The ride goes along the tracks. The audience only sees what the ride’s creator wants them to. If you could take one step off the beaten path, you’d see that it’s all just a facade, there really is no lore, no depth. A lore master, on the other hand, creates a world where the people are able to get off the ride and look around. The audience can explore.
That word is important, “explore”. That is what differentiates an audience’s experience with a lore master versus a storyteller. With a lore master, the audience can explore. The more they dig, the more they find.
That is why some stories almost become a religion, whereas others are easily forgotten.
You want some examples? Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, & Lord of the Rings. The more you look into those stories, the more you’ll find. They reward you for being interested enough to want to learn more.
This whole concept is one of the reasons why I created this site. As a writer I have a lot of respect for lore, including those who create it and lore I’ve created myself. MMO’s give the audience a storytelling experience that no other medium can.
While the storyteller may only give us a beginning, middle, and end as we pass along, the lore master begs us to stay, so he can show us more, so we can explore, challenge, appreciate, and be rewarded for our curiosity of what he’s brought to life.
Some write stories, others create worlds.