View Full Version : Play-by-Post vs Tabletop Gamng

2015-10-24, 03:58 PM
Certainly there are threads about this topic, but I wanted to know if anyone had experiences similar to mine. My infrequent D&D group is now in the 28-30 year old range and though we all enjoy good roleplay, our D&D sessions end up being more like an episode of Tabletop, joking and whatnot. And for the record, I have no issue with that.

However, I've been coming up with a campaign based around Arthurian legend, in particular those portrayed in Steven Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle, heavily influenced by Welsh mythology and includes the fall of Atlantis. As with many DMs and their pet projects, I'm becoming attached and don't want something as epic feeling as Lord of the Rings to turn out Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Thus, I turn my thoughts to play-by-post, which I've played infrequently over the years on rpol. The overall feel, I found, was for more serious roleplay, even among normally goofy D&D players.

It certainly helps that one of our number is expecting a child in the coming months.

2015-10-24, 04:05 PM
The big issue I've see with Play-by-Post games is maintaining interest. Some players and GMs may like to post frequently, several times a day, due to excitement. Others may forget or only want to post once a day. This can hold up the game if the slower posters get involved in a high post activity, such as combat. This may seem deceptively easy. When a group is playing together, in person, there are ways to mediate and work with who is and who is not contributing in an immediate fashion. Functionally, getting together forms a social contract in which the group knows and expects to play along, even if it isn't necessarily in the intended form. In a play-by-post game, the social contract isn't as clear and while ultimately you are spending far less time on it than on an in-person session, it may be too causal for some. It is also harder to enforce, since you can't just do something to get everyone's attention back on the game.

If you can get everyone to post at a regular, acceptable rate then it's not an issue. This allows you to reap the joys of having players post thoughtfully and in character, often in much more satisfying ways than if they were done in person. For as short as they were, I did enjoy my play-by-post games.

2015-10-24, 04:18 PM
The OP and Talion's reply both sum up my (admittedly limited) experience with PbP roleplaying pretty well. Goofing off is generally not part of the PbP game (unless that's the tone it's going for), but at the same time people don't treat the commitment as seriously and the activity level is much lower. In fact, every single PbP game I've ever participated in has died off when multiple people stopped posting. The same convenience that lets someone make a post any time of the day or night that's convenient for them inevitably leads to people not setting aside time to make that post, and then it doesn't get done, or the more active people quit because they're tired of waiting for the less active people to respond.

As I said though, my PbP experience is limited because I ran into this problem repeatedly and gave up trying. I'm sure it's possible to find a group dedicated enough to keep a game going long-term, but I never did.

2015-10-25, 06:36 AM
I've spent quite a lot of time on roleplayerguild.com, and I've never been in a group PbP game that didn't die way prematurely. It's a system that just doesn't work all that well outside of one-on-one play. And mind you, that was free-form. Playing out combat in a system such as D&D in PbP is, from what I've seen, hella time-consuming.

On the bright side, it is true that people are far more willing to roleplay when not face-to-face, yes. Many people with busy schedules also prefer it over face-to-face sessions, because they can split the time spent into smaller pieces. I must say I've never understood that; I would much rather play for four hours and then not have to worry about it for a week, than worry about posting every day, which stresses me out. But that's what I've observed.

It could still work depending on the kind of people your friends are, but after two years of PbPing I've come to the conclusion that you should always set yourself up for disappointment if you start a PbP.

2015-10-25, 07:22 AM
I would much rather play for four hours

That requires playing for four hours straight, at a specific time regularly.

My personal opinion: I like to take an hour's break to make a post in PbP. I don't have to rush to make it at a particular time, I get to lull over my actions, I don't even have to take a bath or dress nicely or watch my social skills as much (a big plus for me).

Of course, as stated before, it leads to some negative consequences as well. Pros and cons.

2015-10-25, 07:58 AM
My personal opinion: I like to take an hour's break to make a post in PbP.

And then four hours of work over the course of four days later, four rounds have gone by, which you could've done in 30 minutes in a real-time session.

Don't get me wrong, I get it. I'm just tired of PbP. You should take my advice like you would take that of a jaded old man yelling at whippersnappers.

Darth Ultron
2015-10-25, 09:30 AM
It is possible to have a good group PBP D&D game....but it is rare.

You will get tons of interest, but once the game starts it is hard to get people to post even once a day.

Solo PBP games work out great though.