View Full Version : Has anyone ever seen or tried to design a combat/initiative system for PbP?

2016-04-28, 01:26 PM
Play-by-post is a fairly popular gaming medium for a number of reasons. However, its big weakness is when things get most second-by-second action-intensive, because the time between posts becomes exponentially longer than the time that passes in each post. This is especially noticeable in combat, when everyone has to wait on everybody else. So it becomes an enormous bottleneck as each round requires dozens of posts to adequately cover, using combat systems designed for tabletop, person-to-person, face-to-face gaming.

One GM I have seen resolved this by asking everybody what their standard tactics were, presenting the start of the fight, and then letting people tell him in general what they try to do. He then rolled out the combat, making some judgment calls as to reactions and strategic expenditures of resources, and presented either the whole thing, or everything up to a big decision-point (such as when somebody dropped on either side of the fight and it would make a serious difference to people's strategies).

A possible adaptation of this, if round-by-round is fast enough to satisfy, might be to have everybody write in their actions for the round, then the DM resolve them. Treat everything as being simultaneous, so nobody has to be asked "what do you do now that the situation has changed between your decision and your turn?" This would make initiative a worthless stat, unless it somehow factored in otherwise. But it would at least move the post granularity to one per player (including the GM) per round, as the GM writes the definitive "what happened this round" post at the end of each round (which kicks off the next automatically).

But if one could start from scratch, and design an RPG for PbP specifically, what might one do to make combat flow smoothly with the format that favors longer posts less often (over shorter posts more often)?

2016-04-28, 01:35 PM