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Trying to run a PnP game, running into numerous problems

ArchonexArchonex No hard feelings, right?Registered User regular
edited January 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
I figured i'd post this in H/A, since it might be a bit out of place on Critical Failures.

So, i've been getting intrigued by PnP games lately. Games like Rogue Trader and Dark Heresy seem like they're a hell of a lot of fun to play, despite my original misgivings.

The problem is, there's noone around who wants to play them. The local DnD group are quite literally the most stuck up bunch of people i've ever met, and won't even give other games the time of day, and the regular DM they have delights in killing people for fuck-all no reason, just so he can claim that his games are "extreme".

Another problem is that the books are hellaciously expensive, to the point where i'm not sure if I can justify buying them without a way to use them. I looked one book up, a Dark Heresy supplementary book, "The Radicals Handbook", at Borders a few days ago, and while it was great reading, and definitely would add something kickass to the game, it was also about fifty dollars. If I could actually find a way to play I could justify the expense to myself, but without a way to actually play the game those books are basically overly expensive reading material.

To counter all that, i've been looking into finding a way to play over the net, with not much luck. However i'm not sure if there's any resources I could use to do that, or websites where people play (Aside from Critical Failures, rarely.), or anything like that.

Hell, I don't even have a way to roll dice in a game if that comes up. And i'm sure it will.

I'm also not even sure if playing online is really doable, since there seems to be a ton of problems with playing a PnP game that requires the books over the internet.

So I turn to you, H/A. I'm hoping someone out there might have some experience with trying to get a game going this way.

Archonex on


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    Toxin01Toxin01 Registered User regular
    edited January 2010

    ( a dice roller)

    Also, I had to convince all of my friends to give it a try to get anyone to play, and now we have a group of ten that used to be a group of four. Be ready to spend a lot of time memorizing rulebooks and explaining things to players, otherwise they could get bored as you fumble around the book.

    Toxin01 on
    Aiden Baail: Level 1 Swordmage: 19 AC 14 Fort 15 Ref 13 Will (Curse Of The Black Pearls)
    GM: Rusty Chains (DH Ongoing)
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    soxboxsoxbox Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    There's a rogue trader pbp going on at the moment in CF:

    Read along and get ideas.

    Dice rolling, go invisible castle (there's orokos also which d&d4ers use a lot, plus some others). They keep track of the rolling history so that the DM can monitor such things.

    If you're wanting to get a game going as a GM, throw up a recruit thread in CF - things are a little quiet there at the moment (that time of year), but usually there's a flood of players for most games (d&d especially can get swamped, interest is usually relative to the complexity and popularity of the ruleset).

    If you're wanting to get into a game as a player, nothing to do except sit around and wait for a game to pop up. Other than CF, there's also some pbp action on or enworld or a bunch of other sites. If it's a game that doesn't see a lot of action you may want to start a thread somewhere to try and draw a DM out of the woodwork, but don't go expecting anything - playing in a pbp is a privilege, not a right.

    soxbox on
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    Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Are you talking about PnP (Pen and Paper) games or the subset of PbP (Play by Post) games? I've been playing Pen and Paper RPGs for about a decade exclusively online. We've been using Ventrilo for our Voice over IP program and Maptools (at for our digital whiteboard. I've used at least a dozen digital whiteboard programs over the years, and Maptools is the best I've used so far. It's also free (along with Ventrilo).

    It's pretty much just like a face-to-face session with enhanced visual aids (since Maptools allows you to drag and drop any picture to use as a token or map), minus some of the benefits that you'd get from face to face sessions (pizza and soda/beer). On the other hand, you can leave for a quick bathroom break and come back, and no one would know. *grin*

    For Play By Post games, I'd recommend Invisible Castle for rolls. PbP tend to be heavy on the typing and light on the rolling. It also requires a regular time investment on the part of the players, so it may be less viable for people who have regular work/family commitments. I personally recommend players who are dedicated enough to post once per day, minimum.

    The problem, of course, is finding other people online who want to play with you, using the game system that you want to play. 4th Edition DnD is very common here at the Penny Arcade forums (bah!), but if you want to play Earthdawn or BESM or something, you'll have better luck finding a group to play with on their own respective fansites/forums.

    I can't recommend anything substantial for people on a budget. RPG rulebooks are expensive and are a required investment in some cases. However, you can often get PDF versions of the rulebooks for cheaper at places like For example, one of our group's games (Shadowrun 4th edition) has all of the core rulebooks available in a digital bundle for 50 bucks (around 200 to 250 bucks of rulebooks). It lacks the tactile feel of books, but if you're broke or tight on the cash, it may be worth your while. We also play ORE Wild Talents (using the Godlike setting), and the basic rules for that game (Essentials Edition, 2nd Edition) is only 5 bucks at Not bad for the best roleplaying dice system out there (and I say this without irony or remorse).

    EDIT: Oh, and apparently, PDF versions of Fantasy Flight games are half price at, compared to the retail books. This price goes down during sales, too.

    Hahnsoo1 on
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    Forbe!Forbe! Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Have you tried using google wave? I've heard of a lot of people using it for D&D games. Other than that there are a lot of IRC scripts for running games in IRC chats.

    Forbe! on
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    Cynic JesterCynic Jester Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    As the guy running the Rogue Trader PbP mentioned earlier by soxbox, feel free to shoot me a PM on any further questions you might have. In general though, running a PbP requires you to dedicate some time every day to answer questions and keep the game flowing. If you have the time for that, the patience to wait for players to get their posts in and the knowledge that no matter what you do, most PbP games will die at some point of their existence(whether permanently or temporarily), you should be good to go. I used to host PbPs on a different site for a few years a while back, and though I've only recently gotten back into it, I enjoy the medium. It's a lot more about roleplay than rollplay, as combat can only move so fast in a PbP setting and just posting one-liners quickly gets boring for all involved.

    Cynic Jester on
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    ArchonexArchonex No hard feelings, right? Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Sorry about the lack of replies, it's been a busy past few days.

    I'm going to look at some of the options presented here. I just tried to get some friends to give Rogue Trader or Dark Heresy a shot, but they don't seem to be interested, so i'll have to find some other way of playing I guess.

    I'll check out the PDF version of the books as well, since it looks like my only way to play is to do it through the internet.

    Appreciate the replies i've gotten.

    Archonex on
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