Another Texan Gamer - Player Lounge Discussions on Obsidian Portal Community Forums
Another Texan Gamer
edited December 2007
I've been here for months, but never got around to introducing myself here...
I'm Darth Krzysztof, a long-time gamer living outside of San Antonio with my wife (married 6 years come this February), no kids, and a lot of animals.
I got the red D&D basic set for my tenth birthday, and I've been roleplaying on-and-off for over twenty-five years. I played pretty much every system out there in the 1980s and early 90s, but D&D is still my favorite, especially to run - I love to play, but I was born to GM.
Now I roleplay via chat software, which is different, but advantageous in a lot of ways. Cold Blood is my D&D v.3.5 Planescape campaign, which I've been waiting to run since the setting debuted back in 1994. I'm living the dream!
A few things you should probably know:
1) Dice hate me as a player. I played Indiana Jones in his OWN RPG and my terrible rolling got him killed within the first five minutes of Temple of Doom.
2) Tracy Hickman signed my copy of I6 Ravenloft.
3) I've run that adventure and X2 Castle Amber probably a dozen times, and I never tire of either.
Glad to meet you. :)
Poor Indiana Jones, heh. :) Nice meeting you!
Well, considering you've probably been hear longer than I have, it would seem a bit strange to welcome you to the site- but at the very least, hello!
bq. Now I roleplay via chat software, which is different, but advantageous in a lot of ways. Cold Blood is my D&D v.3.5 Planescape campaign, which I’ve been waiting to run since the setting debuted back in 1994. I’m living the dream!
Just out of curiosity, how does that work for you? I've always been intrigued at the concept, but never actually tried it. Is it a pretty valid way to play over long distances?
I've done a _lot_ of online gaming, and there are definitely some significant advantages - but there are also some serious disadvantages.
* Separating IC / OOC information between players is really easy. You just use a private message window, and nobody gets to hear the IC information that they shouldn't.
* You can log your game to text files, which makes searching for that one piece of info that you really need very easy.
* There are a ton of players available, and you don't have to give directions to your house, order pizza for them, etc.
* It can be hard to get a specific group of people to commit the time and show up consistently for a game. For some reason people seem to take it as a less serious committment when it's "online"
* The vast majority of online games are "freeform" i.e. no dice, no rules, etc - so you wind up finding a lot of players who play nothing but cocky, arrogant demi-god level characters. Corraling them into playing something with a sheet can be tough.
* Internet trouble can be really annoying. People get randomly disconnected mid-session, someone's computer goes down in the middle of the game, one of your players is a slow typist - these things can lead to long delays in the middle of a session.
I have to admit after so many years on Tabletop it can be hard for me to keep track of combat online. I can handle solo sessions (when a player can't make it) and maybe a 2 person side game.. once the full 4 person party is in it's a pain for me.
Actually, it works really well, to the point where I'm liking it _better_ than table-based gaming.
In addition to the benefits Troy mentions, there are these (I was actually working on this list already):
* Players can make out-of-character comments without disrupting the game, even if no one else hears them.
* If somebody moves, it doesn’t have to be the end of the campaign. (One of my players moved cross-country recently, and IIRC we only missed 1 session.)
* The chat medium mutes my own identity somewhat--when I type out what an NPC says, my players hear the NPC's voice more than mine (especially my player who's never met me in person).
* Playing dramatic or emotional scenes is _much_ easier when you don’t have to look at other people’s faces, which allows everyone to dig deeper.
* The chat log allows for much more robust adventure summaries, as one of my players provides.
* Play in your pajamas. "Jammies rule!"
* You don’t have to drive home at the end of the session (unless you don't have internet at your house, I guess).
* You don’t have to clean up after your players, or hassle them to clean up after themselves.
* You have immediate access to your files & websites. (Sure, you _can_ have this at a table, but you’ve got to have a laptop & internet access if you’re not hosting. Also, you’re only an alt-tab away from your players in a chat game, and they don’t have to know you’re looking something up.)
* This one’s very specific to my game, but Xaositect babble is much easier to make up on the fly if you’re typing it, rather than saying it.
It does have disadvantages too, of course, and some of the ones Troy mentions have also affected me:
* I _was_ only able to get 2 players to commit, but neither of them is anyone I know locally, so I suppose I wouldn't be playing at all if I wasn't playing online. I don't think _my_ players consider it a less serious commitment, but I'm probably just lucky that way.
* AIM chat was very wonky last week, and we spent over an hour trying to make it work, then switching to Yahoo chat--which doesn't support the dice script we sometimes use. We've had connection issues in the game I play in, too, so there's _definitely_ that.
* There’s something to be said for having the gang around a table. (I've always preferred to sit on the floor, though.) In particular, communication between the players can suffer, especially with larger groups - sometimes players talk to the GM more than each other.
* Scheduling sessions can be a headache if your group members live in different time zones.
* If you like doing silly voices, you lose out on that aspect of gaming - but as I mentioned above, it's not so bad.
* If you work from published adventures a lot, like I do, you end up scanning a lot of illustrations and maps you could just _show_ people at a table, and you really have to boil boxed text down so you don't spend all day typing it (and your players don't have to keep wondering if you're finished or not).
* You _really_ have to trust your players if you let them roll their own dice, instead of using the dice script. There’s also no guarantee that they don’t have GM-only books in front of them - or worse, a copy or PDF of the published adventure you’re running. Fortunately, I _really_ trust my players...
I haven't had the issue with "freeform" players, since I used my existing pool of friends, whom I've played with before, to scout for players. And combat doesn't bother me, Aidan - I've always run it in the abstract, even in v.3.5. We don't bother with movement-based attacks of opportunity, so it's gone pretty well so far. Of course, my game's kinda combat-light (half of the sessions so far have had no combat at all), but that's more how we choose to play, rather than an attempt to avoid the limitations of the medium.
All this being said, I'm very glad I _played_ in a "chat-based game":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/76 before trying to run one of my own. I'm still shaking off a lot of rust, and to have to do that AND learn a new way to play would have been fugly.
I've done online games before, but never chat based. Personally, I've always found online games- particularly D&D- to be a disaster, rife with scheduling and commitment problems and, as mentioned, arrogant demigod characters. I've never actually tried chat based before, but the idea appeals to me because there are times I really would like to expand my playgroup to include a more diverse roster without having to pull from either A) masses of strangers or B) the beer-and-pretzels-kill-every-NPC-you-can-get-away-with-killing-I-attack-the-darkness-where-are-the-cheetos style of players that is my brother's playgroup (not that I have any real problem with beer and pretzels gaming, it is just heavily incompatible with me and my group with our soap-operaesque storylines).
furthermore, I have friends living out of state now who constantly whine about wanting to play with us, and we just never can figure out how to do it.
Finally, I just feel like doing it in real-time would help to bypass some of the issues I have had with other online games.
Have you ever used OpenRPG?
Hiya! I'm the GM of Chris' first online chat game, and a player in his game (I do the adventure logs for both games). I really have come to prefer online chat gaming, as well, I started with a Mutants and Masterminds game probably 4 years ago.
Mutants and Masterminds is pretty close to being THE perfect system to run in a chat room, btw. Only one die to roll and they discourage you from using a battle map the way you do in most other d20 games. (Could you imagine trying to battle map a speedster's positions during an epic battle? "Turbo can move 700' in a round, which is 140 inches . . . I'll just put him over in the kitchen somewhere . . .) I'll probably try running an M&M game online the next time I get the yen to run after I finish Brave New World.
If you're interested in trying realtime online chat, photoneater, you might want to try joining my game. Of course, I'm assuming you're free Thursdays, which is when we play.
When I started the game, I was really tempted to try using some kind of virtual tabletop software: I've looked at KloOge, OpenRPG, Tabletop Adventures . . . probably a half a dozen systems, but either they don't quite do what I want them to do or I'd essentially have to write volumes of programming in order to make them work. OP actually works pretty well for me, that's one of the reasons I came here to try out this site. It took some convincing to get all of my players on board, but now they just update their character sheets here and I can more or less keep track of what they're up to.
bq. Mutants and Masterminds is pretty close to being THE perfect system to run in a chat room, btw. Only one die to roll and they discourage you from using a battle map the way you do in most other d20 games. (Could you imagine trying to battle map a speedster’s positions during an epic battle? “Turbo can move 700’ in a round, which is 140 inches . . . I’ll just put him over in the kitchen somewhere . . .) I’ll probably try running an M&M game online the next time I get the yen to run after I finish Brave New World.
My sister, (mamelon on here) loves M&M and True20, and we're currently running a modified true20 game, so I can see where you are coming from on that. I love how everything is very organic and simple- I feel like those systems are a really good mesh of freeform storytelling and mechanical validity.
bq. If you’re interested in trying realtime online chat, photoneater, you might want to try joining my game. Of course, I’m assuming you’re free Thursdays, which is when we play.
That would actually be really cool- I love me some psionics- but I just don't know if I could do it. Thursday are almost always bad for me, since that is the first day of the week I get back from work (I work out of town, and so I'm away from home during the work week up until Thursday evening). Also, I'm already in 3 campaigns, so I would hate to spread myself thin. That would be cool, though- if ever things change up a bit and you still have a spot, I'll definitely keep that in mind. It sounds like it could be pretty fun.
bq. When I started the game, I was really tempted to try using some kind of virtual tabletop software: I’ve looked at KloOge, OpenRPG, Tabletop Adventures . . . probably a half a dozen systems, but either they don’t quite do what I want them to do or I’d essentially have to write volumes of programming in order to make them work.
I've tried OpenRPG in the past, but I could never really get it to work on my computer. It did seem like I would have a lot of work cut out for me for it, too, since my games and heavy houserules tend to go hand in hand.
I am currently playing an online Savage Worlds campaign using Fantasy Grounds. The software is quite good, and I generally enjoy it. It does a good job of handling combat. However, the chat is my least favorite aspect. I strongly dislike real time typing and I type very slow. I tend to use voice more than the other players.
I also find the chat logs to be a pretty boring read. They are too dialog heavy to read like a story. I suppose that is why I am less likely to follow campaigns on Obsidian Portal that have Adventure Logs which appear chat-based.
I would recommend Fantasy Grounds, but the rule sets supported are few, so most of the games displayed on Obsidian Portal would not be available options.
That's an interesting comment, viz, because I think they *do* read more like a story, by which I mean "novel". If you can use real dialog instead of "he did this, they went there, there was a fight, so and so was hurt" method, it lends itself much better to the "show, don't tell" principle and thus the dramatization of events rather than the simple reporting of them.
I think a good game should be like writing a novel or creating a movie (both mediums are chock-full of dialog), and I find that online chat works better for this than other methods. If you're not a big fan of dramatization and your players tend to more do things like: "We talk to the king and tell him about X, then we accept the quest and travel to the mountains", chat is probably not a good medium for you.
P.S. I have typed for a living for years, so typing speed has never been an issue for me, but I've played online with my brother, who does not type exceptionally quickly, and it was a strain. So I can understand that issue, as well. Another factor I like, however, is that it is physically impossible for people to actually talk over each other in a chat game. The comments may not necessarily come in the proper *order*, but you get to hear both comments *clearly*, and if you've forgotten something you can just scroll up instead of asking the GM for the umpteenth recap or repetition of an NPC name.
My players actually correctly use and remember most of my NPC names now, something that never happened in any of my in-person games, and some of those NPCs are named things like Nopalxochitl. I don't have to play twenty questions with them any more about "remember that guy? The one that told us about the thing? Wasn't he involved with that other dude? Wasn't he important or something?" and wind up saying, incredulously, "You mean the KING?! How could you not remember the single most important NPC in the game so far?!"
Jennifer, I expected some people, or maybe most, wouldn't share my views. It may even be that I didn't explain myself very well.
I should also add that I think I'm the only player of the online game that has these views. It has been difficult for me, because my dislike of real-time typing means that I participate less than I would in a traditional face-to-face game. I am not at all the same roleplayer online, and sometimes it is very frustrating for me. But I also believe that online gaming is important and will probably grow, so I want to stick with it and try to improve my experience.
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