Play by Post

HurstGM
HurstGM
edited September 2011 in General Discussion
Ok so yes I am planning one of these games but while the game is more or less ready I have decided to do play by post and am not really sure as to how. Not like where to put the posts but what works overall as the game progesses. I have talked to some people privately but i thought i might put this out there on the forums for some general advice.

1) How often should it be required to post?
2) How was combat handeled?
3) What were your experances as a GM or player and what would you keep or change to improve?
4) Who did the dice rolling?
5) Any advice on EXP?

These are my general questions but if anyone has anything else that might help i would apprecate it.

Im not posting the site link or anything as im not looking for players here. Im really looking for advice on how the game mechanics of the PBP will work

Comments

  • bevinflannery
    bevinflannery
    Posts: 114 edited September 2011
    I run a pbp "3.5 game on RPOL":http://rpol.net/game.cgi?gi=39973&date=1315499637 and I think the answers to most of your questions really come down to "what works for your group." Here are my completely anecdotal works-for-me-but-might-not-work-for-you thoughts:

    _1) How often should it be required to post?_

    Enough to keep things active, but not so much as to overwhelm anyone whom you want to keep in the game. And whatever you promise about your frequency of posting, try your damnedest to meet it -- and let folks know ahead of time if you're able to predict periods of unavailability. In my pbp game, I tend to post 1-2 times a week. It's slow-moving as a result. But I warn new players up front that if they want something that moves faster, they should look elsewhere. My players could, for the most part, keep up with something that moves along far more quickly. It's also important to make sure that the players, for the most part, are able to stick to the same schedule -- so you don't end up with frequent-posters moving much more quickly than slower-posters.

    _2) How was combat handeled?_

    Oof. Painfully. I try to keep combat encounters few and far for threads where more than one PC is involved. (Solo PCs might get more opportunities, just because it's easier to coordinate.) It helps to be able to point the players to an image on-line that gives them some idea of positioning, even if it's a crudely drawn sketch in Paint that is completely not to scale. Regardless, keep it short and contained; things move slowly in pbp and extended combat will slow it down even more.

    It helps to have players declare plans of attack with conditional followups ("I'll go after the mage in the back first and keep on him until he drops. Once he's down, I'll attack whoever the nearest target is...")

    Don't be married to the need to follow a strict initiative order, especially if that might mean that the group sits around waiting for one player to post and that person doesn't log on for several days. And if someone doesn't, then be ready to treat them as NPCs in order to keep the combat going (tell your players you will do this as part of the game set-up, so they know what to expect) -- have them do whatever they would be expected to do, just so everyone else can continue the scene.

    _3) What were your experances as a GM or player and what would you keep or change to improve?_

    For myself as a GM, I'd like to be able to post more often. Other than that, I'm not sure how to answer this. I periodically poll my players (using surveymonkey or zoomerang) with specific questions about what they like, don't like, would like to see, etc. You need to solicit feedback, and make it clear you welcome meaningful criticism in the hopes of improving the experience for the group as a whole.

    _4) Who did the dice rolling?_

    RPOL makes this easy, with a customizable on-line roller that records each roll, so there's no issue of players and GM having to trust one another to be honest about the results. (There's also an option for the GM to make a secret roll, if you want to be able to reserve the GM-right-to-fudge.) I myself have no general rule about who does a roll -- I let the players roll for their own PCs if they are writing a post and do something that would call for a roll. I do all rolls for NPCs, since the players don't know the NPC stats; I'll also at times pre-emptively roll for a PC if I'm writing something that would call for that -- that just saves time. They're free to say, "Hey, you overlooked the fact that I'm wearing a Fedora of Unconquerable Likeableness when you made that bluff check for me, so there should be another 64 added to that check."

    _5) Any advice on EXP?_

    If your system is one that primarily uses combat to calculate XP (like 3.5), and you're going light on combat because it drags down the game, then consider giving extra XP for other things. My guidelines for XP in my 3.5 pbp game are "here.":http://rpol.net/display.cgi?gi=39973&ti=6&date=1268598670 Depending on what you and your group wants, consider being generous with XP so that they can level up a regular (however regular you want) basis.
    Post edited by bevinflannery on
  • Sommerset
    Sommerset
    Posts: 32
    Welcome to hell, Hurst.
  • bevinflannery
    bevinflannery
    Posts: 114 edited September 2011
    FYI, you also might want to check out this recent "blog post re pbp and pbem.":http://www.roleplayingtips.com/tools/guide-to-pbp-pbem/
    Post edited by bevinflannery on
  • HurstGM
    HurstGM
    Posts: 205
    LOL hell? I knew it would be a challange but i think i can make it work. Thanks for all the advice and insight
  • JonathonVolkmer
    JonathonVolkmer
    Posts: 114
    For some more examples from a game currently in progress, you could check out the SIFRP game I'm running: "The Days and Nights of House Corinthyen":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/housecorinthyen

    -JTV
  • Sommerset
    Sommerset
    Posts: 32
    Ooh, me too, me too! But like I said, hell.

    http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/airship-lodestar
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 3,001 edited September 2011
    Sommerset, it may be hell for you, but I read your campaign, "Lodestar":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/airship-lodestar/adventure-log regularly.

    killervp

    "A God...Rebuilt":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/a-god-rebuilt
    Post edited by GamingMegaverse on

    Just trying to help out.

  • Sommerset
    Sommerset
    Posts: 32
    Even the bajillion forum posts? Thanks for the props, killervp!
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 3,001
    No, not the forum posts- I am not that crazy! Just the recaps.

    Just trying to help out.

  • JonathonVolkmer
    JonathonVolkmer
    Posts: 114
    Okay, now I have time and energy for a longer reply, so here goes.

    1) How often should it be required to post?
    I'd agree with bevinflannery that 1-2 times a week is a good baseline. I am fortunate in that I am able to be online on a regular basis, so I update things more often than that, either with responses or simply putting actions into the adventure log to create a clear flow of activity. Most weeks, I'd say I'm able to update at least 3-4 times. My players range from just as often to somewhat less often, and each scene has probably averaged 60 posts or so over a 1-2 week period. Time moves slow in PBP, so plan to have "downtime" that can move the game forward in leaps and bounds.

    2) How was combat handled?
    So far, I've kept it small-sided and it's been just like anything else, except I ask for contingencies. SIFRP combat is pretty fast anyway, considerably more so than D&D (in my opinion, and I do have experience to back it up). This judgment really depends on your system. We've also experimented with Skype for some interactions, but it's not something that my schedule regularly allows.


    3) What were your experiences as a GM or player and what would you keep or change to improve?
    I've enjoyed the game so far, although I feel that I still need to improve my posting discipline. Sometimes I have an unexpectedly busy weekend, and things only get updated once over those three days, or more rarely not at all. That is a planning problem, not a life problem, so be aware that those will come up.


    4) Who did the dice rolling?
    I do the rolling using "Random.org/integers":Random.org/integers for truly random results. In general, I like retaining the ability to perform secret rolls for certain PC actions, although that RPOL function sounds awfully neat.

    5) Any advice on EXP?
    This, like combat, is another thing you'll have to judge by the game system. Characters in SIFRP improve fairly gradually, and so a somewhat slow "leveling" experience is acceptable. Players still want to do cool things, though, and they don't want to wait a year. Definitely hand out XP for actions that deserve it. The great benefit of playing online is that you have a ready record of everything the party has done, so it's easy to find little things to reward them for at the end of an adventure. I'll be going over our logs to date and handing out rewards soon - if any of my group is reading this, um, surprise!
  • Sommerset
    Sommerset
    Posts: 32
    I'll chime in as well. Thanks, slow day at work.

    1) How often should it be required to post?
    We've actually never had to set a post requirement in my campaign, all of us are a little bit older and have easy access to the site at work, on smart phones, etc. I have six players, and it's a rare day that all of them don't post at least once -- and an average day can easily run up to 20-30 player posts -- accompanied by 20 DM posts. My players are crazy dedicated, and when the story's heating up in the forums, it's not unusual to have people posting in the middle of the night, and me pulling my smartphone out at a bar to respond.

    We're crazy.

    2) How was combat handled?
    I've only attempted actual combat on the forums once, at the beginning of the campaign. It was a qualified success - players would post their actions, along with any specific Feats or abilities they wanted to use -- and I would narrate the result of the combat round in as cinematic way as possible.

    Afterwards we all discussed it, and it did functionally work -- but a lot of the nerdy fun of tabletop was lost doing combat/dungeon crawlings on the forums. So now, tabletop is for combat, and the forums are for story, roleplay, etc. That's not to say there hasn't been combat in the threads since then -- it's just handled as a function of the story, rather than the dice.


    3) What were your experiences as a GM or player and what would you keep or change to improve?
    Umm -- I don't know? I'm sure my players would have lots of feedback.

    4) Who did the dice rolling?
    I did.


    5) Any advice on EXP?
    The system I've used is 20 XP per post, regardless of length. 500 XP for an Adventure Log. The system we use is Pathfinder.
  • HurstGM
    HurstGM
    Posts: 205
    Ive actually started doing the posting. Just started in the last coupld of days so we will see how it goes. looking around can be difficult for the non player as i have alot of player secrets. What do you expect from a cyberpunk game in a shadow run like setting? anyway if anyone wants to take a look and offer advice im all ears.

    "OCP Security Services":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/unkown-project
  • JonathonVolkmer
    JonathonVolkmer
    Posts: 114 edited September 2011
    I'm a grammar fascist, so here are a few notes for your first page:

    "We are currently seeking five entry level security specialists. Previous experience in security services, the military, or *collage (should be college)* degree required. All applicants will be required to submit to drug tests, psychological evaluation, psionic testing, magical assessment, and DNA sampling. *_Also_* a high security level background check -also- *(is)* required. Pay is based on rank. All Applicants will be considered regardless of race or background.

    Job requires investigation of internal security concerns and external threats such as espionage. *(You'll gain) Self defense training, experience in the field as a security agent, and a great chance for adventure. (Other benefits include a) Flexible schedule, great medical benefits, and the opportunity to rise though the ranks of one of the most stable companies on the planet."*

    The text in parentheses, obviously, just constitutes my suggestions. Do whatever sounds natural to you.

    Onward:

    That employment contract is great! I'm totally going to find a way to use something like that in an upcoming game.

    And lawd, lawd, your character pages are gorgeous. Labors of love, right there. I hope your players know how you feel about them.

    The character creation process seems to live up to the character pages. That form is great - I've experimented with googledocs a bit, but Ithink you've left me far, far behind. Is it difficult to create something like that?

    Ah, and here's one possible problem - it would seem that your "Main Page":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/unkown-project/wikis/main-page is Agent Phi's phone. Not sure if that was intentional or an oversight, but it strikes me as a bit inconsistent.

    All-in-all, your site has a couple of things I want to copy, so you've been added to my favorites. Props, yo.
    Post edited by JonathonVolkmer on
  • HurstGM
    HurstGM
    Posts: 205
    Well as you explore the pages you should not be able to go to the wiki main page. That phone is techniaclly the GMS if i need to make global changes quickly. Alot of those links are not consistant because they are for me. As far as the grammer well im an engineer not an english professor so im not too interested in the minuta of grammer. Not that i dont welcome the suggestions or that I will not offer exp and in game cash for one of my players to fix it.

    The google docs were difficult at first but after a couple i got it down and it works well. You can check out my custom weapons makers "here":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/unkown-project/wikis/weapons those were more complex but they still worked. Play around with the google docs and you will find it to be fairly intuitive.
  • JonathonVolkmer
    JonathonVolkmer
    Posts: 114
    Ah, yeah, I've discovered that. I got there from the forum - took me a minute to figure out how I did it. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the term "GMS":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GMS - what's that mean?

    As for the grammar, I didn't mean to go into minutia, but collage is an actual word that means something different from college. I knew what you meant, but there was a confusing second there when I was trying to figure out why your players needed a degree in scrap-booking. ;-D I won't get any further into it, though.

    Thanks for the links! Those are awfully neat, I'll have to start playing around with it some more.
  • HurstGM
    HurstGM
    Posts: 205
    LOL sorry short hand used by my group but im sure its not uniqe. GM's or game masters phone. Its mine in case i need to make global changes.
  • Judd
    Judd
    Posts: 4 edited September 2011
    I'm running a one-on-one Burning Wheel game set in the Forgotten Realms: "The Ballad of Hal Whitewyrm":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/the-song-of-hal-whitewyrm

    *1) How often should it be required to post?*

    The reason why I set it up as a one-on-one game is so this wouldn't be a problem. We post when we can and keep in communication when things are slow or when something's puzzling.

    *2) How was combat handled?*

    We've just started our first combat, actually, in our most recent posts. Its clumsy, doubly so because we're both getting used to the system and playing on a forum. I mitigate troubling miscommunications by having italics be for out of game talk.

    *3) What were your experiences as a GM or player and what would you keep or change to improve?*

    I've been doing this thing for a little over a week, so I don't know what I have to offer here. I wish I could make a forum that was custom built for the game I'm playing but I know nothing of such things.

    *4) Who did the dice rolling?*

    We each do our own dice rolling. I figure, we're adults, and trust each other.

    *5) Any advice on EXP?*

    Burning Wheel's a totally different game, so this kind of thing is quite different.
    Post edited by Judd on
  • HurstGM
    HurstGM
    Posts: 205
    So ive been doing this for a coupld of weeks now and things appear to be going well. I have noticed some people post more than others. now this will effect exp as I am giving out exp with every post. Makes sense to do it that way as thats when thier characters are doing stuff. If anyone wants to read over it go right ahead. I, still interested in comments as I am trying to learn form the experances of others.

    oh yea you can check out the game "here":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/unkown-project
Sign In or Register to comment.

June 2024
The Planewalker’s Guild

Read the feature post on the blog
Return to Obsidian Portal

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Discussions