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Running PbP Games

Kayne Red RobeKayne Red Robe Master of MagicArcanusRegistered User regular
edited February 2007 in Critical Failures
Well, some friends and I decided to play a PbP campaign of D&D, and I was nominated to DM it as the guy with the most experience. Unfortunately, that's playing experience, not DMing experience, and most certainly not PbP experience, so I'm a little lost.
I have a setting mostly finished, as well as some ways to get the party started on some basic jobs, but I really want to avoid railroading them. Most troubling, is that I don't know where to run a PbP campaign. I know there are some sites out there that can be used for this sort of thing, and I was hoping you guys could help a guy out.
To be honest, any advice is good advice at this point.

Kayne Red Robe on

Posts

  • MoridanMoridan Registered User
    edited February 2007
    I'm in the process of growing my website and message boards. And as it happens, we do some play-by-post gaming.
    Right now we just have a MAGE: The Awakening game going on, but feel free to add your own.

    Just click the link in my sig and make yourself at home.

    Moridan on
    Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary
    opinion is wishful thinking at its worst.
    - Robert A. Heinlein
  • ReynoldsReynolds Gone Fishin'Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    You could also probably run it here.

    Make sure you have firm rules set about how long you expect to see between posts. Don't want a person's round in combat to come up, and you find out later they're out of town for the weekend.

    If Moridan's page has a built-in dice roller, that's perfect. Otherwise, you can make the party use Invisible Castle. That's still not perfectly trustworthy, though. So you might even want to say that you'll be making all the rolls for them. Definately make all the initiative rolls, so you don't have to wait for everyone to check in before combat can begin.

    You don't have to worry so much about them feeling railroaded if you're doing it PbP. You have plenty of time to stop and figure out how to counter anything crazy they think up. Them going outside the boundries of the story you had set up is really only a problem when they're right there, demanding more information from you.

    Reynolds on
    uyvfOQy.png
  • MoridanMoridan Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Agreed about the railroading thing. That's the reason I chose pbp for my Mage game. In Mage, the characters have so much potential, they can really easily steer a plot of course. In a pbp game, I've got at least a day to sit down an figure out how to handle it.

    Pbp is also wonderful for games you aren't 100% comfortable with from a rules perspective. Hit something sticky? Research the rules, or ask for advice on a message board before making a ruling.

    Moridan on
    Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary
    opinion is wishful thinking at its worst.
    - Robert A. Heinlein
  • UtsanomikoUtsanomiko Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Play-by-post has a much slower pace, which can be an advantage if the focus of the game is on putting depth and thought into one's actions, or a disadvantage if you're attempting something fast-paced or with a lot of drawn-out combat. Generally the time between actions is the same unless characters are having a conversation or the GM is on hand to answer a lot of simple questions (like describing an area).

    This means it takes just as long for a player to say 'I make these statements, have this train of thought on the matter, elaborate on my character's background, set off on this course of action' as 'I fire another blaster shot at the assassin!'. When I run D6 in PbP, I try to keep combat from becoming drawn out, which can easily stretch out to two weeks in length, and instead encourage players to think their way out of long firefights and push things to their advantage (especially when characters fall after one or two hits).

    Also, you have to be prepared to corral them back into the frame of the game and push them along the right pace, and not simply by setting minimum posts per week and beforehand warning of long absences. Imagine if after every single action made in an in-person P&P game everyone was immediately somewhere else; getting some Cheetos, on the phone, in the bathroom, playing a round of Gears of War, whatever. You'll need the skills to call everyone back, possibly including refreshing the current turn, presenting them with a new or more-detailed situation, or pushing them forward from the current scene when it's clear the game is merely stagnating in its current position ("alright, it seems we've done everything we want to do in this town, let's move onto the journey to the next town..."). Especially important in PbP because while a P&P gamer can often patiently deal with a lull of a minute or two, this translate to a day or two on a message board, failing to keep players in the habit of checking up on the thread.

    Scheduling rough time frames for players to be available to post (Sunday afternoons, weekdays 9 to midnight or more, for example) might be a viable option, but I've only been in an instance or two of this sort of gameplay.

    Utsanomiko on
    hmm.gif
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