How does your campaign use forums?

edited October 2013 in Feature Requests
I see this popping up in a few threads, but I'd like a dedicated discussion about the way forums are used in campaigns, as this new update has dramatically altered the way that they can be used.

For my campaign, my group and I use the forums to further our game between sessions. There's a lot of information gathering and role playing involved that may not need dice and can be better done in post forum, allowing our table to focus on action. In order for this to work, the forum needs to be organized in such a way as to group things by area, character, plot thread, etc. This new design makes that kind of game enhancement impossible, or at least more trouble than it's worth.

According to this video: (at around the 2:30 mark) the developers seem to think that the forums are only used for brief, disposable conversations and the last post is the only one that really matters. If that is how they see it an intend to proceed (and I see no word from them otherwise) then I no longer have a use for Obsidian Portal. Certainly not one worth paying money for.

I am an Ascendant member and I contributed to the Kickstarter. How many other people pay for Obsidial Portal to use the forums as I have been, or in such a way that is no longer possible?

My question to the developers is this: How many paying members will it take to change your minds about the forum functionality? Or is there even any chance that we can have that back?


  • Khrol
    Posts: 5 edited October 2013
    R.I.P. "The Forums"
    Post edited by Khrol on
  • Leonidas300
    Posts: 275 edited October 2013
    I got to say there is pretty much nothing I like about this "Reforge" but at near the top of the long, long, long list of things that I utterly despise, is the dismantling of the Forums and Sub-forums. I'll be real clear; I don't run a PBP game, so unlike those poor souls, the dismantling of the forums has not completely destroyed my campaign.

    My group and I made extensive use of the forums and sub-forums and it was the archive for all of our rules debates used for campaign precedents, and where we interacted for stuff to be done before in character time as well as things outside the game and now all of that history is just gone. I guess it was foolish of me to think that "hey, these sub-forum properly organized would make a great archive for these things" instead of completely backing them up on a word file. I mean, what was I thinking? surely they would not just get rid of something like that willy nilly, or without notification would they? Well... I guess I got my answer on that.

    The_D, I do not use the OP specifically for the forums but it was a big plus for the portal and one of the features that saw the most use and that I liked best. I am absolutely stunned at the complete lack of forethought that this issue was given. I don't honestly believe the forums issue could have been more poorly handled.

    Khrol - cause of death - depraved indifference to logic and reason.

    "A Manifestation of Chaos":
    COTM - Sept. 2012
    Post edited by Leonidas300 on
  • Basileus
    Posts: 585
    I would love to run a PbP game here, so the dice roller would be nice to have.
  • saethone
    Posts: 153
    I have honestly never used the forums for any of my games :p
  • Leonidas300
    Posts: 275
    restored forums would be nice to have too
  • SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    I used them for play by post.

    Had a table/chart for init. Posted battlemaps in them.

    Had subforums for specific characters, both "out of character talk" and in character development.

    Had forums for magical item creations, world background links.

    It was comm central for us.
  • Leonidas300
    Posts: 275
    I know this sucks for the PBP games - I not sure how PBP on the portal would even be possible now.
  • SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    Once they bring back forum post editing we can "survive".

    We use textile and color for speaking, out of character comments, and strange languages.

    It was actually neat when the undead spoke to the party in a gray colored whisper. (normal speech is green)

    But one mistake, one bad punctuation, and its done. Or if I accidently use the wrong weapon for an npc Im hosed, I cant go back and fix the story when the players inform me of my errors.

    Hmmm, I wonder if I can link my forums as an example...

    "Test Forum Link":
  • SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    If the link works for you...scroll down and you will see pictures, role playing and some OOC comments. It's how we roll.
  • WolfLord
    Posts: 278
    Personally I use it for a few different things. I have a PC wish list where players list places they want to go or things they want to see meta-game wise. I also have a page for rule changes/additions since we use a homebrew system that we are constantly hammering out/improving/adding too and it is very helpful. Also, in Avatar D-20 you can create new moves by combining different ones you know and make them into "Bending Forms" which we keep track of on the forums. A valuable resource for us looking forward to having it back.

    "Avatar: Conquest of the Imperial Order":
    "Duskreign’s Favorite CotM January 2012":
    "CotM November 2011":
  • WolfLord
    Posts: 278
    Also i should note that it is very important we be able to edit previous posts again. Especially cause i have code for a background image and nav bar in those posts from before the reforge and it is messing up my dashboard real hard.
  • Thorvaldr
    Posts: 141 edited October 2013
    We use the forum for basically everything. There is (...was :P) a subforum for in-character role-play between sessions. There was always a thread before each session for figuring out logistics of the next session, be it food, times, where we meet, how we get there, etc. We also discussed rules, the campaign-universe, and about projects for people to do with their characters, or on the portal.

    And as many have said... the new layout makes organization difficult. In each subforum and the main forum I just new where threads were. Now I have to search for them a bit. Yes, the most recent thread is on top, but with all the threads from all my subforums combined... it makes it hard for me to separate everything. And I liked having an area specifically for in-character roleplaying, separated from everything else in the forum.

    Oh! And stickies! More important threads could be stickied to the top! I liked that. That was useful.

    DM of "Tyellador":
    Post edited by Thorvaldr on
  • GhostWolf69
    Posts: 3 edited October 2013
    We use it as any other Discussion Forum. We don't do PBP, but we used Sub-Forums, Sticky's, etc and we had our weekly banter, "recently Played" thread etc to discuss all kinds of things, only some of it Game Related. Just like a "real" discussion forum.

    I understand (according to the Intro Video) that this was never as intended, but it's what we did and it's part of what I paid for in the Ascendant fee.
    Even if it was included in the "free" version, I just thought the site was so good it deserved my dollars.... now I'm not sure.

    Post edited by GhostWolf69 on
  • Leonidas300
    Posts: 275 edited October 2013
    I don't want to be "that guy", but the Forums and Sub-forums are pretty much a deal-breaker for me, so if something is not done to address this issue then I'm done with the OP.

    "A Manifestation of Chaos":
    COTM - Sept. 2012
    Post edited by Leonidas300 on
  • Psienesis
    Posts: 5
    My Dark Heresy campaign, The Seven Saints of Talis, used the forums *extensively*. I had structured it as basically one would expect a forum to be structured, with clear sub-forums for In-Character interaction (Forum RP), In-Character Journals and Notes, OOC Discussion of the game-world, game mechanics and things like this, separate forums for in-game art and OOC art and off-topic discussion.... basically, forums for just about anything that could cover the needs of the game as well as the needs of its players as a social group.

    As it turns out, the Forum RP was some of the best seen in the campaign, as it provided a place where people could consider their response over an hour or two (or more), provide context to their character's words by providing descriptions of actions, inner monologues, and other "flavor text" which is not as easy to pull off at the table. The gaming group that meets for the campaign is fairly large, eight people if everyone shows up, and so RP that only involves 1 or 2 characters kind of messes up the flow of the game for everyone else. Allowing players to take care of that on the forums was much preferable. Additionally, I have several players new to Dark Heresy and Warhammer 40K in general in this game, so having a forum where they could ask stuff like "What is the Adeptus Mechanicus?" or "How are servitors made?" (actual questions were more specific about factions in the game-world, but you get the idea) saved actual game-time as I could address this over the days between gaming sessions.

    Plus, we had an XP log, that tracked all of the party-awarded XP, and marked the campaign milestones that awarded certain XP bundles. This is generally only updated once a month, maybe twice, so with the new format, it's going to take some digging to find that thread again once the new forum format gets used more frequently.
  • The_D
    Posts: 9
    I think that the developers really underestimated how much a group can use the forums. For mine, we greatly enhanced our game in ways just not possible without it. I understand that this is a product that I can chose to pay for or not, but when so much money (and it was not a small sum) is collected via Kickstarter, I can't help but feel a little cheated that I basically paid money to make Obsidian Portal not useful to me.
    Hell, I would happily contribute more money to another Kickstarter just to get subforums back, if that is what it will take. I know there are free forums out there, but I really liked the community feel and the general idea of Obsidian Portal. So, I'd still rather pay money here than go to a free site that is just a forum. But frankly, the forum is the most important part to me, and if I can't have it here, then I don't need to be giving money here.
    I hope that there are enough people like me to convince the developers to listen.
  • Psienesis
    Posts: 5
    Yeah... the loss of forums has not *completely* destroyed my campaign, but it has *severely* limited its activity between our actual at-table sessions. I'm already investigating some alternate forums for hold-over purposes (or maybe complete transfer, if this takes too long to fix or never gets fixed), because I know my group will not get by without having their ongoing-RP fix.
  • RichardSmart
    Posts: 1
    Just so everyone knows, I found a post where the devs are saying that they are returning the forums to how they used to be, and have apologized for removing them. It can be read here:
  • WolfLord
    Posts: 278
    Woo! Glad to have them back :)
  • quercus
    Posts: 3
    To answer the question of the original post, my campaign completely centers on the forums. I run a solo campaign with a player who (like me) cannot break away for dedicated table time, so playing remotely via PbP is how we roll, and the forums are key. I'm very glad to learn the forums have been restored. I'll say that one of the core strengths of the OP site was its flexibility ... Now the site seems less flexible, unless one is versed in CSS ... which I am not.

    The developers would be wise to acknowledge that customers, paying customers, use the site (esp. the. Forums) in ways unintended. I understand the forums have been restored (to a certain degree), but this is different than accepting uses that diverge from what the website authors intended.

    So, I appreciate The_D for starting this thread and creating a platform for folks to share what role forums play in their campaigns.
  • kenurion
    Posts: 80
    I run a PbP game on OP "Saga of Jaraah":

    Like many PbP gamers, we make extensive use of the Forums. Fortunately for us, we did not use the sub-forum feature, so we were unaffected by that disablement.

    Here's a little CSS I'm using to make the Forums more usable for us. The first blurb was posted elsewhere and enables you to change the text entry box and font colors to suit your taste and eyesight. The second blurb lets you modify any wiki links used in your forum.

    input[type=“text”], input[type=“email”], input[type=“password”], input[type=“tel”], textarea, textarea:focus, .campaign-settings #style-settings #custom-css-field {color:black !important;background-color:#eeeeee !important;}

    .wiki-page-link{text-decoration:none !important;color:#470913 !important;font-weight:bold !important;}

    Thanks to "Thorvaldr": for demystifying CSS so I could go figure out that second bit myself!
  • GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 3,001
    Nice! Thanks Kenurion and Thorvaldr! I will throw this into Plot Club when I finish with Rebuilt! Awesome!
    "A God...Rebuilt":
    "OP's COTM April 2012":
    Unabashadly pushing for 300 fans!

    Just trying to help out.

  • Viehmagnat
    Posts: 24
    We are not strictly PbP, but our group uses them for a number of things, but chief amongst them were:

    -continuing the adventure between table sessions (the forums had more options than the adventure log comments)
    -keeping track of loot from each adventure
    -discussing rules rulings and homebrew rules

    I would like to see the forums go back to being forums, not an e-mail inbox. If the new format was good for forums, then why not adopt it for the community forums? Because it is not a good forum format. I had even hoped that the forums might be improved by adding the ability to add forum privileges to be able to give specific players access to certain forums (or subforums) for those occasions were a member of the group becomes separated from the others and has private information that should not be shared with the rest of the group yet.
  • Sorceress
    Posts: 25
    For my game personally I use my forum as a means to dispense out of game information or solicit information from my players.
    However, in other games I play in we use them for solo+GM character scenes(whether those be dream sequences, or personal time with an NPC...etc), writing interludes during long periods of downtime. Mostly
    role play stuff in general.

    GM of
    "The Hero Academy":
  • smiler127
    Posts: 16
    Since reforge my forums are not appearing very user-friendly. My thread appears on the left, but when I open it, the content -which appears on the right -is super hard to see as my background image for the campaign site is visible through it. (hope that makes sense).

    How do I get the background behind my text to just appear white?
  • kenurion
    Posts: 80
    I have to say I'm feeling pretty good about the forums now. It's fewer clicks to hop across forum topics, and it's much easier to manually scan the posts since you don't have to keep clicking to get to the next batch of ten. Big improvement over preforge.

    I realize if you were using sub-forums, that's still an ongoing problem.
  • Langy
    Posts: 364
    But not anymore! Sub-forums have been reintroduced.
  • MarkGiguere
    Posts: 53
    Curious: did they restore posts from before the Reforging when they restored the sub-forums?
  • madartiste
    Posts: 328
    MarkGiguere, were you missing posts? Our sub-forum structure is exactly the same as it was pre-reforge now. We didn't use the forums very much, though, so maybe there might be some weirdness if people had really robust forums.
  • Viehmagnat
    Posts: 24
    It looks like the subforums and previous posts were restored intact. At least I can't find any missing in my campaigns.
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