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View Full Version : DM Help How do y'all make play by post work?



D20ragon
2016-05-31, 10:51 PM
Hey! As probably no one recalls, I made a meager reputation for myself on these forums by facilitating ludicrous and simply excessive numbers of Play by Post Rpgs of all sorts, the vast majority of which did not make it. So, here's a question for those of you who have made it work in the past. How'd you do it and what did it take? I'm looking for tips, tricks, anecdotes, anything really. (... Yes, this does mean I want to make a play by post game happen in the future. But only one at a time. Two maximum. I've learned my lesson!)

Theoboldi
2016-05-31, 11:59 PM
One of the biggest and most important things when it comes to play-by-post, at least as I see it, is that you need to set your expectations accordingly. I see loads of games that ask for daily posts from their players, expecting them to keep up that kind of commitment for the long periods of time that PbPs last for. Which, even if you just run a short adventure, will likely be several months. Most of the games that do this burn out their players and GM in the first few weeks.

So you need a more sensible schedule, one that you can actually hold people to. I've personally suggested 2 posts per week from every player as a baseline in the past, but anything in that general ballpark might work. You'll probably still get your daily posts from your faster players, while the slower ones won't have to fear dropping out because they have a job to take care of. That said, you need to really hold players to this schedule. Announce up-front that if someone won't post anything for longer periods of time, neither IC nor OOC, you'll try and contact them per PM to figure out if something's keeping them busy and that you'll NPC their characters after a full week of complete inactivity. Then keep to that. Idly waiting for a player can kill games.

Otherwise, encourage everyone to make their rolls pre-emptively. If someone asks what exact check it is to climb identify a monster, or whether he can actually do that, and then waits until you answer before finally making the roll, and then has to wait for what the result is, that takes up a load of time. Similarely, when your monsters use big AoE attacks, just roll saving throws for your players. Waiting on every single person to make a single roll doesn't just take a lot of time, but it's also pretty boring. Something which combat in PbPs can already be, and you don't want to further that problem.

Also, encourage players to be active on the OOC. If they don't know what they should say in a situation, they should feel free to ask the other players or even you for ideas. And if someone really has nothing to say on a subject, they should also just say that, either OOC or IC. It's all about avoiding that state where everyone is waiting on someone else to say something, and too hesitant to move things along. You need to keep information on what everyone wants at any given moment flowing.

And finally, don't be discouraged if some of your players do disappear within the first few weeks, or just simply stop posting. That happens all the time, even in the best of games. Often it comes down to players overestimating the amount of free time they have, or simply realising that your game isn't that interesting to them. Few of them have the decency to tell you why, or even that they are leaving. Don't take it to mean that you screwed up, though. If possible, try to contact them and ask why they are not posting, and let them go. Eventually, you will end up with a small, but good group of players who are invested in the game and have a schedule steady enough to fit it into.

Ninja_Prawn
2016-06-01, 02:05 AM
I've been running PbP games for about a year now, one very successful and two less so (links in my sig; A Faerie Affair is the success story). I also play occasionally (one character is live at the moment), but I've yet to be in a truly long-running game as a player.

My position on posting frequency is 'the quicker, the better'. If a game isn't moving forward every day, I find that both myself and the players lose interest. The tricky part is finding a group that can keep it up. As far as I can tell, it's a matter of luck; I didn't do anything special when I picked the players for AFA.

To some extent, the more effort you put in, the more gripping your game will be. I mean, it sounds obvious when I put it like that, but... :smallsmile: What I mean is, take the time to curate the OP of the OOC thread, produce nice maps, run a Roll20 page (or similar), all that stuff.

I've also found it useful to bookmark my players' character sheets and track their XP for them.

Beyond that, all the general advice applies. Combat is a drag in PbP, even in 5e (which is widely-regarded as having a fast-paced combat system), so try to bias your games towards social encounters. Tell your players this beforehand, so they don't make characters that only function with a sword in their hand! Figure out how you're going to do dice rolls; most players will roll obvious things instinctively, but if you find yourself calling for rolls all the time, it may be better to do them yourself.

And... that's all I've got for now. Good luck!

Mystral
2016-06-01, 02:49 AM
Hey! As probably no one recalls, I made a meager reputation for myself on these forums by facilitating ludicrous and simply excessive numbers of Play by Post Rpgs of all sorts, the vast majority of which did not make it. So, here's a question for those of you who have made it work in the past. How'd you do it and what did it take? I'm looking for tips, tricks, anecdotes, anything really. (... Yes, this does mean I want to make a play by post game happen in the future. But only one at a time. Two maximum. I've learned my lesson!)

Posting as someone who has a lot of experience with play by post, having played in some campaigns that ran for over three years:

First: Do not, under any circumstances, play here. I'm not hating on the community, but the infrastructure just doesn't support it. You need a seperate forum with numerous threads for your utilities (like for dice rolling, character sheets, status, handouts, an OOC thread for chatting, and of course one or more IC threads), and they all need to be in one neat, tidy place that your players can visit without too much trouble.

Second: You need to find players who are really invested in their characters, who want to play them and the adventure. You won't find those when you just post a random search and pick the 5 guys who write the nicest backstory. Communication is paramount.

Third: You need to bind your players together and make them become friends and a party, so that they feel obligated to stay "with it". OOC communication helps.

Fourth: You need to be diligent and keep the game rolling. The worst thing that can happen is that the play stalls for three weeks while people wait for someone or deliberate, because that is the time when a PBP dies. Leading into:

Fifth: You need to railroad. Seriously. The worst thing for a play by post is when the players have to many options, because when they do, they tend to argue about it for months or muck around, and then you get a PBP that peters out. Drive the game forward, offer clear alternatives, or no alternatives at all, just challenges that need to be overcome. If your players develop initiative and want to go off the rails, then let them (within reason), but keep a tight reign even then. It's play by post, you have enough time to create a new railroad track that runs in the direction your players desire.

Sixth: Accept that even with all these things in place, people will drop out or stop posting often enough. Don't be afraid to boot them out, make sure to pick an adventure where you can get rid of them (possibly in a way that allows for reentry, should the player return), and also an adventure where you can easily introduce replacement characters to fill up the ranks.

Seventh: Roll reactive rolls for players, like initiative, saving throws, perception checks, ability checks and so on. It speeds things up. Make sure that your players understand that you will do this and are okay with it.

Eigth: Use combat and dungeon crawling sparingly, but make it important. Your players don't want to slog through 3 encounters with goblin chaff. Just give them the boss fight, but make it hard enough to challenge them. I've found CR+3 to be a good benchmark for a pbp encounter that is meant to be the only one on a day. Just make sure that your monsters can't one turn kill your players. Give them a tactical challenge they will remember. When dungeon crawling, don't have them explore every room by room, but let them explore sections of rooms and just describe them (according to the perception rolls you make). If they want to take a closer look, they will.

If you follow all these advices, I'd say that there is a good chance your play might survive at least a year, if not longer.

Draconi Redfir
2016-06-01, 03:09 AM
This isn't so much advice for keeping a thread going, but more for maintaining post quality and roleplay development. Use them as hard rules or soft rules, it's up to you. But years ago i roleplayed a lot of play-by-post games on another message board, and these rules really helped me shape up my game. I still soft-follow them to this day.

1. Seven/five-line rule.

When posted, each post must (or should) contain at minimum five to seven vertical lines of text on the poster's monitor. This is to encourage people to do more then just speak or play out a single action, it helps them to develop their abilities in describing their actions, describing their soundings, explaining their character's feelings and motivations. A post that is nothing but "so and so hits an orc, yelling "die foul orc!" is not a proper play-by-post post. that is wasted opportunity and uninteresting.

2. Three-post rule.

Natually this is often bended or ignored if neccicary, but in general this rule enforces that between every post you make, a minimum of three other unique players must make a post. This helps to ensure that entire pages of threads do not devolve into the same two characters/ one character and the DM doing one thing for extended periods of time while others are sleeping or merely non-present. it also helps to alleviate timeline shenanigans, say Bob had to go gather water and Bill had to go hunt. If Bob's player falls asleep but Bill's remains awake and you reply to every post he makes, he'll potentially go through his entire hunting trip and return to camp before Bill has even had the opportunity to go collect water, leaving you needing to either explain why Bill did not move for so many hours, or go into a separate timeline in which Bob gathers water, but Bill can do little to nothing.

The combination of these two rules helps players keep the story interesting and fun to read, and helps keep everyone on the same page. I've been in RP's before where the absence of these rules allowed two characters to spend three pages worth of the thread on a single just-for-fun spar using nothing but one-sentence long posts. needless to say when the other players returned and had to slog through all that irrelevant and uninteresting information, it did not turn out well, and the game quickly ground to a halt as a result.


As general advice, Play-by-post games allow for a vastly superior roleplaying experience then live games, my play-by-post characters are a thousand times more involved and thought out then any character I’ve played in a live game, all my live characters eventually devolve into either myself, myself speaking solely out of character, or myself constantly getting interrupted by the thoughts of other players to the point where i don't get to do anything. Play-by-post games allow my characters to grow and have personalities of their own, they allow me to take my time and carefully consider who they are, what they do, how they do it, WHY they do it, and most of all what they are going to say without interruption. Enforce this, encourage people to make longer, more roleplay-heavy posts to help people get into character and make the whole story a more interesting read. THAT is what makes play by post games so fun.

Now, play-by-post games WILL be slow, there is no getting around this. With no set times the players can often forget about the game, or merely be too lazy to make a post, lord knows it's happened to me on multiple accounts. But it allows people to remain in the loop with what's going on, there are no cases of players missing sessions or lacking information, it's all there right in front of them for them to read and catch up on. Sooner or later posts will pick up again as people get invested, you merely need to ride out the wait, encourage people to at least visit the ooc thread once in awhile and try to keep a conversation going there, even if it's not relevant to the story at hand. this'll help people remember the game is going on, and make a post when they are able.

i hope this helped a bit.

Amidus Drexel
2016-06-01, 07:42 AM
I've played in a couple of games, and I've run one or two (one of which failed to get off the ground, and the other of which has been running for a year or two now), so I guess I'll throw my 2cp in.

I've found that the most important part in keeping a game alive is having some kind of secondary means of contacting your players - an IM client, email, IRC, a different forum, etc. Something, so when your players are being slow, you can remind them to post - or when you're being slow, they can remind you to post. Using forum PMs doesn't always work for this, as some people don't regularly check the forums when they're not posting for a game.

I'll definitely second the idea that a game needs some clear(ish, at least) direction - it's easy for a game to slow down when there are a lot of vague options open to the players, though this is less of a problem if your players communicate well with each other.

So, I guess it really just boils down to communication. Making sure everyone's paying attention and keeping up with the game helps a lot in keeping things moving.

Theoboldi
2016-06-01, 09:51 AM
To some extent, the more effort you put in, the more gripping your game will be. I mean, it sounds obvious when I put it like that, but... :smallsmile: What I mean is, take the time to curate the OP of the OOC thread, produce nice maps, run a Roll20 page (or similar), all that stuff.




First: Do not, under any circumstances, play here. I'm not hating on the community, but the infrastructure just doesn't support it. You need a seperate forum with numerous threads for your utilities (like for dice rolling, character sheets, status, handouts, an OOC thread for chatting, and of course one or more IC threads), and they all need to be in one neat, tidy place that your players can visit without too much trouble.


Felt the need to comment on this, since while I find their advice is otherwise very sound, this I vehemently disagree with. While having extra pages and multiple threads just for dice rolling and character sheets and handouts is nice, they are rarely needed. In fact, most of the time I've seen them they became nothing more than useless clutter that was rarely used by the players. Really, all you need is an IC and an OOC thread, and a comprehensive OP that contains links to all the sheets (And I do highly recommend using Mythweavers or some other side to make those, if at all possible.), a list of houserules, and some setting info.

As for maps, those I do not find useless at all, but you shouldn't feel pressure to put much effort into them, or make them for all occasions. Really, in combat you only need them if you are playing a highly tactical game with precise manoeuvring, or your game takes place in a large dungeon with multiple branching pathways the players need to explore. Otherwise, I recommend a theater-of-the-mind approach to save yourself work.

That said, out of combat, you offering basic maps for towns or original settings helps a lot with immersion, and keeping things straight. Though even then, most players will be completely satisfied if you scribble up something in MS Paint, as long as everything is clearly marked on it. More is not needed.

Stan
2016-06-01, 09:51 AM
I've run and played in several, about half of which have gone to a successful ending without withering away. In addition to above, here are some thoughts.

1. Think about the rules system. 5e is better than 3e to me for pbp as it's streamlined but it's still a hard system to use for combat in pbp. Everyone has to wait for one person to take their turn before anything else can happen and their one turn might take some back and forth with the DM which extends over a day. Consider loosening the rules, such as players act in the order they post (but can go again until most others have gone). Or, consider a lighter rules system without as much dice rolling. Once the outcome is obvious, don't be afraid to go back to a narrative level of action.

2. Be selective in players. One good pool is people who you've played with before who may no longer have time for a full game and/or have moved away. Since you know them outside the game, they are less likely to flake out and stop posting. People who have demonstrated the ability to stay the course in prior games are good too.

3. Think carefully about the scope of the story. In face to face, some DMs like to have a session of characters getting to know each other, then a prologue adventure adventure prior to the main story. If you do this in pbp, you risk never getting to the main story. Try something like having people write a few lines each of the prologue to set things up quickly. One thing that I've done sucessfully a couple of times, I call Thirty Minutes Til Midnight (tmtm) where the whole story is supposed to take 30 minutes of game time. Each day of posting resolves a minute of action. The set up has a looming event that will bring things to resolution. Maybe the ship will explode in 30 minutes, the cavern will flood in 30 minutes, or the police and ambulance will show up in 30 minutes. More people can stick with a fast paced game for a month than stick with a game over a year.

4. Pacing is tricky, generally faster is better. Otherwise, people get out of the habit of checking in and wander off. You need to give time for everyone to post but don't kill the pace waiting for everyone. If someone hasn't posted for 2 days, move on. It's hard but try to get a feeling when everyone is unsure what to do and move events forward - at the table, you'll see confused faces and people looking at others for what to do; in pbp you don't get those clues. This is where having good players helps as they aren't afraid to speak up ooc or think of something on their own to move things on.

Ninja_Prawn
2016-06-01, 10:05 AM
I've run and played in several, about half of which have gone to a successful ending without withering away.

Protip: for a successful game, recruit Stan as a player. This one's a keeper! :smallwink:

Segev
2016-06-01, 11:31 AM
A format that might work for those groups which have a hard time maintaining a posting rate, and have that problem begin to self-perpetuate, might be Play-by-E-Mail (PbEM). All of it is handled by everybody in the group having everybody else's email, and you usually reply-all. you can selectively reply only to those in a scene with you, as well. The key being that the GM makes a large "recap" or "catch-up" type email once a week, wherein he summarizes what's happened and where everybody is and what's going on, and tries to get everybody onto the same in-game point in time.

That "recap" email is crucial for a number of reasons, no the least being that it serves as a weekly reminder that the game exists and of what's going on in it. And it will likely prompt replies.

Stan
2016-06-01, 11:39 AM
Protip: for a successful game, recruit Stan as a player. This one's a keeper! :smallwink:


Aww. Thanks!
You've been great.

Stan
2016-06-01, 02:35 PM
One other thing. Some times, a shift of perspective is helpful. Instead of thinking about pbp as a very slow ttrpg, think of it as cooperative story telling that is guided by a leader and that has the structure of rules to determine what's likely and the spice of randomness to put people into the the mindset of working in a situation with uncertainty and to provide the wonderful surprises of random events.

For this reason, the best pbp players are often not those who love to optimize characters for combat. Some of my favorites have been people who never quite got all the rules of D&D but who liked to write. These people were often more comfortable in a semi-freeform environment that replaced a book of rules with a sheet of rules.

D20ragon
2016-06-01, 02:44 PM
I myself am one of those people, and the type of game you describe is the sort of game I prefer to run, or rather, that I am most comfortable running (I adore all sorts of rpgs, crunch light and heavy). In any case, I am increasingly persuaded that you would fit nicely into the games I run, so I extend an open invitation for you to drop into my games as you wish. Of course, anyone interested is welcome, and encouraged to join me in my endeavors.

Necroticplague
2016-06-01, 03:00 PM
I find mechaically light systems work better. The less back-and-forth the mechanics have to be, the faster things can move along.

Stan
2016-06-01, 04:41 PM
I myself am one of those people, and the type of game you describe is the sort of game I prefer to run, or rather, that I am most comfortable running (I adore all sorts of rpgs, crunch light and heavy). In any case, I am increasingly persuaded that you would fit nicely into the games I run, so I extend an open invitation for you to drop into my games as you wish. Of course, anyone interested is welcome, and encouraged to join me in my endeavors.

If you think I might be interested in something, PM me - I don't see every thread in the forums.

Faily
2016-06-01, 07:02 PM
My experiences with play-by-post has been going since 2007 with a very strong community.

All the games recieve separate forums, hosted by Fallen Ash (https://www.patreon.com/canary?ty=h).

The games are somewhat sandboxy, set to run a specific amount of time, usually 3 Real Life Days count as 1 In-Character Day. The length of such games are almost always announced ahead of time, so players can know if they will have the time to play or not.

IMO, Play-by-Post works best if:

1. A separate forum for one campaign/adventure. This avoids cluttering things up. Sub-forums are used accordingly for OOC, specific locations and Private Forums for players to post characters sheets, inventory, quick sheets for spells and combat, etc, among other kinds.

2. Have a schedule. While delays can happen, have an official schedule of how long the game will run.

3. For combat, leave ghosting instructions for GM or other players involved in combat. Combat is very often a time-sensitive issue and should be resolved smoothly.

4. Have a setting or a scenario that allows for more roleplaying. A more open-world sort of thing is where I think Play-by-Post works the best, as players have a much bigger opportunity to really get into roleplaying their characters than they do in tabletop.


This is all based on my experience with playing and running many games of Legend of the Five Rings play-by-post. It might not suit everyone, but I prefer play-by-posts the way the L5R Community has done it for years now. (It might also be that L5R is the kind of game that fits very well for pbp, but that could just be me. :smallbiggrin: )

tensai_oni
2016-06-01, 08:26 PM
I've played many play by post games. Many finished prematurely, some reached conclusion.

And I will pretty much second everything Mystral said. I will especially stress out the need for OOC communication and coordination, it is key to ensure success and that the game runs smoothly. AND I will also agree with railroading - players can get off the rails if they so decide, but the rails must be there.

What kills a PbP most is when players aren't sure what to do, either because there are no clear options on what to do or the other way around - too many options. So people start having an argument, the whole thing gets muddled and peoples' motivation to post drops quickly. Once again, if this happens then OOC communication is key. And by OOC communication I don't mean only an OOC thread. Talking with players over IRC or other iinstant messanger can help a lot.

Also running several threads concurrently is something that can be done in PbP while it's very tricky for normal games. One thread for an adventure that is happening at the moment, while other threads can be done for offtime between adventures. Or perhaps having more than one thread for when a party splits. But that is just a sidenote, maybe a further argument as to why it's best to use a dedicated PbP site as opposed to playing on GitP (and like Mystral said, no offense intended to GitP, it's just that there are dedicated forums that do this better).



1. Seven/five-line rule.


I really disagree with this.

The second biggest obstacle to a successful PbP, after players losing motivation to post, is players having writer's block. If a player suffers from a block, the worst thing to do is to pile on them expectations of how big/good their post is supposed to be. This will cause even players who aren't easily discouraged to be wary of their posting. And maybe their actions will be described better or they will be more efficient, doing more things per one post - but I doubt it will be more fun.

Also sometimes you just can't be efficient. There is only so much you can do without a response from another player or the game master. Not to mention, a longer post is not necessarily a better one. There is sweet poignancy in but a few words sometimes.

Cluedrew
2016-06-01, 08:28 PM
I... admit I don't. All of my play-by-posts all died and withered away eventually as players drifted away on flimsy excuses.

But that being said I did notice one trend: out-of-character conversation. Maybe it was just a coincidence or they just both come directly from enthusiasm but when out-of-character conversation is strong it always seems to lead to a strong story. People are throwing around ideas, setting each other up and they know where to go to progress the plot. So try to encourage some of that.

So many happy memories, and yet so much sadness. You are not forgotten Forgotten Line.

Stan
2016-06-01, 09:07 PM
It depends on the players but I've had good success with zero railroading. I set up the situation let them loose, with guidance only from the actions of NPCs or the situation itself. PBP is slow enough that I can do just-in-time DMing, fully developing things only if the game is going to make use of them.

Part of the trick is having players willing to roll with what other players start. I also tend to give players plenty of room to improvise details of the world.

Mr Blobby
2016-06-02, 12:07 AM
Disclaimer: 95% of my pbp experience is as a player, not a DM. This is utterly unscientific and simply comes from what I've seen / experienced over the years.

1/ Provide Setting Resources. Maps. Charts. Pictures. Historical Timelines. NPC biographies. Area / city descriptions. Become the master of describing the most with the least amount of words. Not only can this inspire possible players, but also means they have to do less research and/or pestering you for details.

Don't you bloody dare slack off on this even if your setting is a RL place and the present day. *You* may know say the city of Chicago well, but what about people living in the arse-end of nowhere? Or even people in other countries? Your pbp player can be from *anywhere* on the globe.

2/ Find good forum software. From all I've seen, I like phpBB best [but that's personal and subjective]. Also, a good host. Test it with different accounts and devices to see that it's not infested with ads etc for the other users.

3/ Put in rules for non-posting - and stick to 'em. Allow a clear method where a player can mothball their character if RL serves up a triple helping for a month or so and needs a break.

Perhaps I'm nice but dim, but I think at least 25% of pbp dropouts are players who ended up in this position, then didn't want to go back because they felt it would be difficult to. By letting all know at the start there's a way they can officially 'take a break' means you might retain more.

4/ This one may be a little controverisal - don't let any player character become a 'major power' in the game. I've seen one game in which the leader became a player after the NPC leader died. Said player posted once a week. And all the decisions [missions etc] had to go through them. It promptly died due to snail-speed threads. [Four month planning meetings, anyone?]

If a player gains power over other players [as an official, superior etc] *always* make sure there's an NPC superior to said player to take up the slack. Make it clear to the 'senior' player that if they drop the ball, the NPC will simply take over. Oh, and before you even offer it to any player, have a frank OOC talk with them about the work it would entail.

5/ This one might sound a little callous, but bear with me. If you're running a large pbp game, tag your players 'hare', 'turtle' and 'snail'. Whenever possible, try to get your players to work with others of their group.

As a self-confessed 'hare', I would pretty much only plot with other hares or the interesting turtle. Sure I'd RP with snails - some of the best damn RP'ers I've played with were snails. But I'd never plot with a snail - for one mission would take the best part of a year to complete. Not to say to ignore the snails; they need plots too. But many hares and turtles won't plot with snails for the reason I've outlined.

6/ Streamline as much as you [the DM] on your end before starting play. Have your players sheets with you all times, do all the rolls for them. [Unless it's a purely social thread]. Don't wait for them to ask, simply spit out the things their character would know/notice about things. Combat is perhaps the worst of all; after seeing different DM's deal with this, I'd go with simply asking for 'general orders' and running say 3-5 combat rounds as one.

Special mention goes for multi-PC thread. I say this - don't have more than 4, or perhaps 5 at the outside unless you literally can't avoid it.

7/ Evaluate your players - and use them! Some are damn good at organising stuff, keeping the group on-mission etc [some of these will move into the DM's chair one day - if they've not already]. I'd say these are the kind of player you could count as a kind of 'semi DM'; take them into your confidence a little, listen to them, perhaps ask them to play a minor NPC for another group now and then. [As many of these have DM experience, they'll be sympathetic to your position and needs. Usually. I hope.]

Others are really good RP'ers and simply love to chat; place their character in a position where they get to chat to every new player IC. The first IC thread is the hardest; having such a player there could be the difference between a player who sticks around and one who doesn't.

8/ Find out what the hell the player wants from the game before starting play. You'd think this was obvious, but it's one question I've only been asked *once*. If they're at the 'er... don't know' stage, ask instead what their fave films / TV shows are. It's often a good insight into what kind of story they'd like - even if they don't realise it themselves. Though I will happily admit I'm solidly in the 'give the players what they want' camp.

9/ Hover close to each new player, like a nursery worker with a new kid at kindergarten. If they run off confidently to play in the sandpit with the other players, let them. If they hesitate, gently intoduce them to a 'toy' or two [aka plot hooks] and perhaps that chatty friendly player I mentioned earlier.

10/ For god's sake, help the player in creation as much as they need - though stopping short of literally making the character for them. Tell them if they're making an unviable character, advise on tweaks, point out character types which are currently empty in the game 'we really need a wizard' etc, even offer suggestions for backstory if they're a bit stuck etc. Outline what you want from their backstory etc; some players will do this off their own bat, others frankly need to be given a template and prodding.

... not exactly a point, but I utterly disagree with the '5/7 line rule'. I'd guess around half of all my IC posts for all the character's I've ever played are below five lines. There are times in which they've got precious little to add at the moment in time or they're simply observing the banter between two other characters. But don't get me wrong; I can do large posts when the situation calls for it.

Remember, some people are posting from work and/or their phone, they may not have the time to do a 'full' post. And frankly put, would you prefer to see a concise 1-2 liner now, or the same post plus 4-5 lines of padding in a few hours time?

Draconi Redfir
2016-06-02, 12:37 AM
I really disagree with this.

The second biggest obstacle to a successful PbP, after players losing motivation to post, is players having writer's block. If a player suffers from a block, the worst thing to do is to pile on them expectations of how big/good their post is supposed to be. This will cause even players who aren't easily discouraged to be wary of their posting. And maybe their actions will be described better or they will be more efficient, doing more things per one post - but I doubt it will be more fun.

Also sometimes you just can't be efficient. There is only so much you can do without a response from another player or the game master. Not to mention, a longer post is not necessarily a better one. There is sweet poignancy in but a few words sometimes.

So make it more of a guideline then a hard rule, ask everyone to at least TRY to make 5-7 vertical lines of text, if they can't, oh well. but if they can, great! Then the post they make will just be that much more interesting!

Having a line-rule can really benifit both the story and the players, players get some great practice in describing things such as feelings, surroundings, and actions, and the story gets more in-depth and interesting. i'd much rather read a conversation where bill waves his arms about frantically in rage while Bob paces about the dimly lit room nodding his head every so often over one where bill called Bob a dummy and Bob nodded his head.

Or alternatively, if people don't feel they can make a line limit for that particualr post, then the awnser is quite simple: don't post right away. Wait a little bit, re-read what others have posted, wait for someone else to post in your sted, talk to people ooc about whatever vauge ideas you think you could use, and flesh it out together. it's play by post, they can sometimes go days without any updates in them at all, there really is no rush.

goto124
2016-06-02, 02:35 AM
And maybe their actions will be described better or they will be more efficient, doing more things per one post - but I doubt it will be more fun.

How I deal with minimum word count is to pile on adjectives, replace words with long phrases that mean exactly the same thing but with more words, or go on tangential stories that don't affect how other people RP.


And frankly put, would you prefer to see a concise 1-2 liner now, or the same post plus 4-5 lines of padding in a few hours time?

Change "a few hours time" to "a few days time" or "over one week later". In PbP, having a consistent stream of posts is highly essential.

Theoboldi
2016-06-02, 06:06 AM
How I deal with minimum word count is to pile on adjectives, replace words with long phrases that mean exactly the same thing but with more words, or go on tangential stories that don't affect how other people RP.


Change "a few hours time" to "a few days time" or "over one week later". In PbP, having a consistent stream of posts is highly essential.

I'm also gonna voice my agreement with everyone else on this. Minimum word or line counts rarely increases the actual quality of a post or a person's roleplaying. It really only puts stress on players who aren't as experienced when it comes to writing, and most often results in overly long, bloated posts for the most minor of actions.

And yes, PbP is slow already, but that only makes having a consistent rate of posting all the more important. Not everyone has the large amounts of free time that allow them to make a lengthy post as soon as possible, or to have long conversations about how they can pad out what they are trying to write. And if they miss their chance to write that post, someone else may make a post while they are away, leaving them unable to do what they wanted to do. Which is common already if small posts are allowed, but this only exacerbates it. Or worse, they may be lead into hesitating with their posts, until someone else gives them enough material to write a longer post with. As has been mentioned before, hesitating in the hope that others post kills PbPs.

Ninja_Prawn
2016-06-02, 06:16 AM
I'd go so far as to say that increasing your word count by describing several actions actually detracts from the game, because someone else might have wanted to react to the first thing you said, leading to either awkward retcons or awkward "when X did that first thing, I went and did my thing. Then, after, I said this..." style posts. Or even "actually, you didn't need to do that, because I already cast a spell that made it unnecessary..."

It gets even worse when someone gets ninja'd by that type of post, then the first person edits their post, then the ninja edits theirs... :smalleek:

tensai_oni
2016-06-02, 08:31 AM
Draconi - you are right in that this may increase quality of storytelling and players' engagement in the game. But from my experience that is rarely the problem. The players usually feel hyped up at the start already, so unless the game master completely drops the ball with lackluster descriptions or just being horrible (saw it happen), they will try to get into the game as well.

The problem is player burnout, and I've seen it happen: a player is stumped what to say so doesn't post for a bit, this makes posting harder because they feel they have to "make up" for the wait by writing something really extraordinary. This is hardly needed and often impossible so instead they get blocked harder, feel the need to make up for the longer wait even more, and so on. A vicious circle. And if they are told that they can just wait a little more, they will probably end up waiting a little more forever.

If your game encourages quality of posts/length, even if it's just suggestions and not rules, it will put the players into this mindset harder. In this scenario, it is important to encourage your players to post frequently (but don't let have just a few of them monopolize the game, see your three post rule which is a very good one), even if it means their posts are, in their minds, not up to par. "I don't know what to say, my character would just follow the others" should be met with "well, then just write that, it really is okay". The player will gradually ease into posting and before you know it their burnout will be averted.

I know because I had several friends who have been there. I, at times, have been there.

Also a side note but your rule may actually be important if lack of player engagement is a repeating, widespread problem. But to repeat myself, that from my experience is rarely the case.

goto124
2016-06-02, 09:28 AM
I'd go so far as to say that increasing your word count by describing several actions actually detracts from the game, because someone else might have wanted to react to the first thing you said, leading to either awkward retcons or awkward "when X did that first thing, I went and did my thing. Then, after, I said this..." style posts. Or even "actually, you didn't need to do that, because I already cast a spell that made it unnecessary..."

I RP in the FFRP section of these forums. From experience, this is how many players (including I) act and react to other PCs' and NPCs' actions.

Ninja_Prawn
2016-06-02, 09:37 AM
I RP in the FFRP section of these forums. From experience, this is how many players (including I) act and react to other PCs' and NPCs' actions.

Yeah, I imagine it would work a lot better in FFRP. In the games I've played/DMed (i.e. non-free-form ones), this style has always been awkward. At best.

Stan
2016-06-02, 09:58 AM
I'd rather have flexibility in post length. What if a scene isn't really about my character? Inserting a whole paragraph would feel intrusive. In such cases, I'd rather post a single line to show my reaction and to signal that I'm following along and it's ok to continue. I want people to post what feels natural to them so they keep posting, as long as it gives others something to deal with and they aren't spotlight hogs. Variable post lengths without lots of contingencies are easier to read through when you go back looking through things.

I think strings of short posts work better if everyone is checking the thread a few times a day so the momentum keeps going.

Draconi Redfir
2016-06-02, 02:14 PM
I'm sorry, but if a player is physically incapable of writing five sentances of a post in any ammount of time, then... they really should not be playing play-by post. If you want a faster-paced short-conversation roleplay then that's what live/skyped tabletop games are for. play-by-posts are for longer and more engaging RP and post.

"Bill waved to bob and said hello."


"Bill waved to bob, a bright smile crossing his face. It's been years since he last saw his freind! He couldn't beleive how much Bob has changed, somehow the image of the small child in bright blue overalls still came into Bill's mind when he thought of Bob. As Bob came into range Bill let out an exited "hello!", quicking rushing to meet his oldest freind."

Look, that took me less then a minute and it made the first example more interesting and more informative. you actually know what's going on now!

If you can't make at least that much text for a play-by-post game, then you really should not be playing play by post.

And again, you guys seem to keep missing the parts where there is no rush in a play by post most of the time. If you are having trouble you can talk to the other players in the ooc thread about it, or just wait for someone elese to give you something to work off of. They might react to something you wanted to react to yes, but that's something everyone has to deal with, and in most cases it doesn't stop your character from reacting to it still. the ADVANTAGE of Play-by-post is that it is slower and allows you to take more time to think things out! it doesn't Need to be fast!

goto124
2016-06-02, 11:53 PM
I was wondering why 'Bob waved hello' is more acceptable in face-to-face RP than PbP, then I thought: in face-to-face, 'Bob waved hello' is immediately answered with 'John waved back', then 'Bob says How are you?', then 'John answers I'm fine, have you heard about the troubles?', then so on. In PbP, Bob would immediately jump to talking about the troubles, and get everyone to move on already.

I personally feel that if a player can't manage three sentences, there's too little to do or react to, going back to the advice on always having something to do, and for the GM to constantly push the plot forward.

Theoboldi
2016-06-03, 06:05 AM
I'm sorry, but if a player is physically incapable of writing five sentances of a post in any ammount of time, then... they really should not be playing play-by post. If you want a faster-paced short-conversation roleplay then that's what live/skyped tabletop games are for. play-by-posts are for longer and more engaging RP and post.


I think you are completely misinterpreting what we are saying. Of course I am not advocating that constantly writing up posts like your first example is okay in a PbP. However, I would also argue that second post is somewhat bloated for such a minor interaction, and if I constantly saw something like that I'd not really be all that interested in reading it, either. Not to mention that you had the advantage of being able to make up an exact situation where you had enough material to write out this interaction, which makes the usefulness of your example pretty dubious.

But that aside, you missed my actual point, namely that I think that 'three line requirements' do not actually improve the quality of RP. Most players, even without them, will already attempt to write up posts of decent length, especially if they see other players or the GM doing so. Simply instructing players to be descriptive often is enough to bring results. And even if not, talking to them and explaining that their posts just do not give others enough to interact with, or make their actions unclear is far better than simply giving guidelines.

Good roleplaying, as far as I've seen it, will always come from your players having interest in specific situations, not from needing to write up something. Once they get interested, they'll happily start explaining their characters feelings, and describe how they are emoting. Such things happen by themselves, and cannot be forced.

Also, you are greatly overstating the amount of time available in PbP. Yes, people do get cut off sometimes. Yes, if they didn't write their post fast enough the action that they want to take will be made entirely redundant, because the game has moved on without them. And while yes, you can ask others on what to do, I do not imagine that it is much fun having to wait until someone else gives you more material just because a comment your characters wants to make does not allow you to make a huge, overly-descriptive post. Sometimes saying 'Bill waves to Bob and says "Hello"' is enough, and perfectly fine, especially if it does not happen at a particularely pivotal moment.

Cluedrew
2016-06-03, 07:49 AM
I'm sorry, but if a player is physically incapable of writing five sentances of a post in any ammount of time, then... they really should not be playing play-by post.What about practice? People don't start out good at things, some start out bad other start out terrible. You need to start out somewhere and I would rather say start working on making that one good line. Consider if Bob and who he is waving to are in the military (off duty), than maybe waving is doesn't quite fit.

Bob gave an informal salute in greeting.

Segev
2016-06-03, 10:25 AM
Short posts may be indicative of nothing-much-happening, and may not move things forward much, but long posts are not necessarily going to do any better. This is especially so if the long post is artificially lengthened with purple prose and meaningless description that the writer wasn't even really interested enough to come up with except that he needed to pad his post.

As with any problem, you need to identify the real cause, not the symptoms, and push for solutions that address those real causes.

The primary problem with "Bob waves hello" posts is that they don't really provide anything for the other player to act upon. However, half the time, "Bob waves hello" is a response to a post which ALSO gave little to nothing to act upon.

What you need to encourage in PbP (and PbEM) is that every post have the character do something meaningful, and offer opportunities for other characters to react or respond to those actions (even if those actions are just words).

One excellent trick I've picked up is the "if nobody stops him" phrase.

This magical phrase allows you to fill out a post with an action and consequences, and even a series of actions, while leaving it open with specific interruption points. "If nobody stops him, Bob climbs over the bar and starts serving drinks as if he owns the place." It is quite possible that nobody will stop him, especially if the barkeep is distracted or missing. But it is also possible that some law-abiding citizen will object.

Even that short post, though, would advance action and give people something to react to, and is far superior to that five-line-minimum padded example that was really just "Bob waves hello" spoken in more words than necessary.

In particular, that example gave a lot of Bob's inner monologue...but there's nothing there for his "dear friend" to respond to. Far better to have Bob wave hello, then SAY, "It's been ages since I last saw you! How've you been? I've been..." and fill it out with conversational elements Bob's player wants Bob's old friend's player to be able to pick up and run with.

Draconi Redfir
2016-06-03, 11:32 AM
But that aside, you missed my actual point, namely that I think that 'three line requirements' do not actually improve the quality of RP. Most players, even without them, will already attempt to write up posts of decent length, especially if they see other players or the GM doing so. Simply instructing players to be descriptive often is enough to bring results. And even if not, talking to them and explaining that their posts just do not give others enough to interact with, or make their actions unclear is far better than simply giving guidelines.

Okay so i'm confused. what's the difference then?:smallconfused: Why is saying "Hey, try to make at least three sentances per post" upfront so bad if people are already going to do it and you talk to people who aren't doing it? I find it kind of hard to relate it to the phenomonon where you make the personal decision to clean your room, and right as you're about to start your mom shouts at you to clean your room, thus making you not want to clean your room. In this situation it's more like she told you to keep your room clean at the beginning of the week to help ensure that you did indeed keep it clean.


What about practice? People don't start out good at things, some start out bad other start out terrible. You need to start out somewhere and I would rather say start working on making that one good line. Consider if Bob and who he is waving to are in the military (off duty), than maybe waving is doesn't quite fit.

Bob gave an informal salute in greeting.

Which would be why you would introduce the line-limit rule to begin with, THAT is your practice. THAT is your encouragement to be more discriptive in your posts. If you make a post that doesn't meet the soft-line limit then you need to add something to it that still makes sense, and then you'll do it again, and again, and again, and soon you'll be sitting down to make a two minute post and find yourself with four paragraphs of text.

Florian
2016-06-03, 11:43 AM
(Iīm playing PbP games because Iīve got a traveling job and want to engage in some fun while hanging around in the hotel each evening)

Based on my experience, some things are good, even vital, for a successful PbP experience:

- Donīt force group play. A game where each character inhabits the same world and area is fine, but donīt force them to stick together.

- Have an overall story happening (railroad) with development that is keyed to real world time but takes leaps and bounds. That means things happen slow, but when they happen, itīs "Whoa!?"

- 2 posts per week are fine, more are nice to have, and the gm should do a recap every week to keep people informed and engaged.

Theoboldi
2016-06-03, 11:55 AM
Okay so i'm confused. what's the difference then?:smallconfused: Why is saying "Hey, try to make at least three sentances per post" upfront so bad if people are already going to do it and you talk to people who aren't doing it? I find it kind of hard to relate it to the phenomonon where you make the personal decision to clean your room, and right as you're about to start your mom shouts at you to clean your room, thus making you not want to clean your room. In this situation it's more like she told you to keep your room clean at the beginning of the week to help ensure that you did indeed keep it clean.


Well, personally speaking, I just think it creates the wrong kind of expectations. As I said, sometimes you do want short posts like that, you do want people to keep it brief.

You do not always need to make sure that you are describing your character's feelings or be use much prose to describe what they are doing. It can help keep the actual actions of your character clear, or make it clear that you want to move along to a part of the conversation or scenario that is more interesting. And sometimes, just adding on prose so you can reach your quota makes a post boring and annoying to read. As Segev said, your example did not actually provide anything for the other player to interact with over the shorter post, and I question whether one can actually keep up this level of personal reflection over the course of a long conversation or scene.

There can be advantages to feeling like you can keep a post brief when needed, so I think that discouraging it is the wrong move. Brevity being the soul of wit, and all that clichéd stuff.

Ninja_Prawn
2016-06-03, 12:01 PM
- Donīt force group play. A game where each character inhabits the same world and area is fine, but donīt force them to stick together.

Splitting the party is a tricky one, in my opinion. It doesn't work well at the table because it forces half the players to sit there doing nothing while the others have fun - a problem you don't have in PbP - but in a group with different posting rates, it can cause big timeline headaches.

I prefer to keep the party together if possible, even in PbP.

In other news, I just remembered something. The games where a GM has said at the outset: "here's my game, who wants to play?" (including my own) have have lasted much longer than games where a player has said: "I want to do X, please could someone GM it" or "our GM dropped out and we need a new one." When times get tough, it's much easier to summon up the enthusiasm to push on if it's your own game rather than someone else's.

Cluedrew
2016-06-03, 01:30 PM
What you need to encourage in PbP (and PbEM) is that every post have the character do something meaningful, and offer opportunities for other characters to react or respond to those actions (even if those actions are just words).

One excellent trick I've picked up is the "if nobody stops him" phrase.Good ideas, especially the first one.


Which would be why you would introduce the line-limit rule to begin with, THAT is your practice. THAT is your encouragement to be more discriptive in your posts. If you make a post that doesn't meet the soft-line limit then you need to add something to it that still makes sense, and then you'll do it again, and again, and again, and soon you'll be sitting down to make a two minute post and find yourself with four paragraphs of text.If your encouragement is not to make more descriptive posts is not you want your posts to be more descriptive than I can't help you and forcing people to do it will rarely help. I mean if you find it is a good spot to practice, do it by all means. For me however saying something in too many words can be just as bad as saying it in to few.

For instance the longer, three line example of Bob waving that you wrote... I didn't actually read the entire thing because by the end of the first line I went "OK I get it, Bob is waving to someone' and I stopped. I did however read the entirety of the one line example. You can say that "you should read everything all the time" but if I'm not enjoying it what's the point when I do this for fun? So instead I feel you should focus on saying the things you want to say well. How many words that will take will vary with both the person who is saying it (and their writing style) and what they want to say. Any that will not necessary take three lines.

Segev
2016-06-03, 01:52 PM
I'm going to be a bit presumptuous here, and treat this a bit like a workshop problem. I think the example of Bill waving to Bob, below, doesn't actually address the problem it means to by adding more lines to the post. I will attempt to rewrite it in a way that I think will make it more useful to Bob's player (and possibly other players) in a PbP.

The original is here. What follows after will be my efforts to improve upon it.


"Bill waved to bob, a bright smile crossing his face. It's been years since he last saw his freind! He couldn't beleive how much Bob has changed, somehow the image of the small child in bright blue overalls still came into Bill's mind when he thought of Bob. As Bob came into range Bill let out an exited "hello!", quicking rushing to meet his oldest freind."

A bright smile crossed Bill's face as he waved. "Bob! I haven't seen you since we were kids! I see you're not wearing bright blue overalls anymore. How're you doing, man?" he said eagerly as he rushed up to clasp his oldest friend's hand.


===


This gives Bob something to which to respond, since Bill's thoughts are voiced and thus become something to which Bob is privy. It is, however, still shorter than the original, deliberately-padded post, and would not meet the "4 lines minimum" requirement.

Florian
2016-06-03, 02:40 PM
Ninja Prawn:

Donīt pull that out of context. Iīve also written that you need an overall story.

For example, Iīve been into a long running and successful "Hellboy" PbP that featured the "Base", some "Side Stories" and each month one "Main story".

People were free to roam the base and engage in side stories, individually or in greater number, but all players were expected to partake in the main story mission. That concept helped to ease the pressure between to very active and not so active players and helped to maintain the story at multiple speeds and levels of engagement.

goto124
2016-06-03, 10:47 PM
I'll agree with Segev. I always drop stuff that other characters can react to, and I try to leave enough of such stuff so that the players have enough material to react to. They act as 'plot hooks', pushing the game forward with every post. This is even when I type out my character's unvoiced thoughts, usually because those thoughts are ICly (not OOCly) rude to point out, or the character has already talked a lot about one topic and doesn't want to derail.

If the GM provides enough content to react to, the players are likely to follow suit. With 4 players plus a GM who provides a good chunk of material, there's little reason the game can't keep rolling.

There are situations where enforcement of a line limit can help. For example, if there's a newbie in the game who writes so little it's not even clear what the newbie is trying to do. But these are rather specific situations.

Darth Ultron
2016-06-04, 02:56 PM
The best way to make a play by post work is to get people that really want to play. Oddly, while lots of people say they want to play, a great number will ''suddenly'' not want to play once the game starts.

Sandbox type games don't work too well in PbP, unless everyone really has that casual carelessness feeling about the game in the first place.

Tight, focused, forced, streamlined lineal plots are the way to go for a PbP. The ''group will do X'', and then play the game.

Mr Blobby
2016-06-04, 03:13 PM
It's a fine line; to be succinct, but give enough for other players to work with. To cite the example given before: I'd say it's meat / fluff ratio is too low. Also, it's got an internal monologue which I'm not ovely fond of. I offer this one instead...

Bill waved enthusiastically to the stranger, it's clear he knows them. He hurried towards them with a wide grin, which was met with a look of confusion.

'Bob! It's Bill! We've not seen each other since we were little kids!' It takes a couple of seconds for this to sink in, then accept's Bill's proffered hug with a smile of his own.

I always remember that written conversations are not the same as spoken; the written is a representation of it.

PersonMan
2016-06-04, 03:49 PM
It's a fine line; to be succinct, but give enough for other players to work with. To cite the example given before: I'd say it's meat / fluff ratio is too low. Also, it's got an internal monologue which I'm not ovely fond of. I offer this one instead...

Bill waved enthusiastically to the stranger, it's clear he knows them. He hurried towards them with a wide grin, which was met with a look of confusion. [...]

It takes a couple of seconds for this to sink in [...] Bill's proffered hug with a smile of his own.

I always remember that written conversations are not the same as spoken; the written is a representation of it.

The problem with that sort of writing is that it only works when you're the GM, narrating a scene of two NPCs interacting.

As a player, I'd both feel incredibly out-of-bounds writing the response of another PC to the actions of mine and feel like someone was overstepping their bounds by writing my PC's responses to their own actions.

---

As for inner vs external stuff, in my opinion it works as long as there's enough to respond to IC. Sure, my PC won't know the thoughts of the others, but I the player do enjoy reading them. A more detailed description of the specifics of some actions, or a slightly longer chain of actions, a look into the character's thoughts - it makes the exchange more pleasant to read, and can offer insight into the characters. Which is the strength of PbP, in my opinion. You can take 20 minutes to make each post a lengthy, detailed thing (one game I ended up doing so, taking at least 15 minutes to write each post because I made sure to add more to it than I normally would) and while you could strip it down to a one or two-sentence post, the extra doesn't hurt.

Besides: if you don't want to read, don't play a game form that's 50% reading.

Darth Ultron
2016-06-04, 04:02 PM
I always remember that written conversations are not the same as spoken; the written is a representation of it.

PbP is great as it's a chance to get in great detail that is normally not possible in a real life game. But it should not be endless walls of text.

I really hate the ''10000 word'' posters who just fill the page with fluff. It's even worse as often they ignore the game to do it.

Takewo
2016-06-04, 04:05 PM
Besides: if you don't want to read, don't play a game form that's 50% reading.

For me, it is not so much not wanting to read as not wanting to read superfluous things. In the same way that, whereas I really enjoy reading, I don't enjoy a book filled with meaningless stuff, I don't enjoy reading something that's there just to fill the line count. I don't care how Bob greeted Bill and crossed the street and thought that that woman's dress was horrible while he was chewing his strawberry-flavoured gum that his old friend Nick had given him the previous evening. Unless, of course, those details are somehow important for the story. If you make it meaningful, go ahead, give as much detail and tell as many things as you want. Now, if all that you say is just as if you had said "Bob greeted Billy" but with two whole paragraphs instead of a sentence, don't bother, I'm not going to make it to the end anyway.

EDIT: I guess my advice for PbP would be this. Write as much as you want, but make sure that what you write is meaningful.

Mr Blobby
2016-06-04, 04:06 PM
I was assuming that 'Bill' was the PC and 'Bob' was an NPC invented by Bill's player. I've written many a post like this and had no complaints yet.

Yes, sometimes it is nice to get peeks on the internals of other PC's. But some players simply can't help themselves on acting IC what they learn OOC. I err on the side of caution on this, only putting down internal stuff I don't really mind the world knowing. My exception to this rule is their opening post for each thread; I like to give a bit of backstory on why they are there etc.

EDIT: I don't mind reading long posts. As long as they're paragraphed, legible and actually go somewhere. I'm personally a great fan of 'Personality Posts' which are public to all; there you can infodump your PC's looks, usual clothing etc so you don't have to mention them each time unless in this one instance they're different.

goto124
2016-06-04, 08:45 PM
Depending on the type of game, it might be frowned upon for a player to suddenly invent NPCs to play with. The PC could mention people not previously mentioned before, but actually having an NPC appear out of nowhere? That's stepping into the GM's realm.

Mr Blobby
2016-06-04, 11:40 PM
Naturally. Check with your local DM for details of such before you do this.

thirdkingdom
2016-06-05, 05:40 PM
1."Bill waved to bob and said hello."


2."Bill waved to bob, a bright smile crossing his face. It's been years since he last saw his freind! He couldn't beleive how much Bob has changed, somehow the image of the small child in bright blue overalls still came into Bill's mind when he thought of Bob. As Bob came into range Bill let out an exited "hello!", quicking rushing to meet his oldest freind."



I would rather have Player #1 in my games any day over Player #2. Your second example makes my eyes bleed.

thirdkingdom
2016-06-06, 10:24 AM
Thirdkingdom's Guide to Play by Post

1. Play by post is an inherently slow medium. Try to make every post count. If your post does nothing to move the game forward it is a wasted post. I don't care how much the post reveals about your character's feelings, or motivation or backstory or whatever. If it doesn't do anything to move things forward it's useless*.

*Unless you're making multiple *useful* posts per day.

2. I run games where the expectation is that the party does things based upon a simple majority. The most simple example might be deciding which way to go while exploring a dungeon. As soon as a majority of players vote for the one option I post based off that. This does favor more frequent posters, but it helps keep the game moving. I'm not going to let the game stall waiting for the one dude who only posts every other day, or forgot about the game, or lost interest or whatever.
2a. If you are voting no on a proposal don't just vote no. Offer an alternative.
2b. Don't post that you're fine with whatever the party decides. That is implicit in the fact that you're playing in a cooperative game. Posts like that are a waste of electrons.

3. Keep things simple. I've got a lot of balls in the air trying to run a game and I don't want to wade through paragraphs of turgid prose to try and figure out what you're trying to tell me. I'd much rather see:


"Let us go left here, checking for traps as we go!

then

[quote=Bwango the Boisterous]Bwango looks right and then left. The fetid, oppressive air of the dungeon weighs upon his soul like a ton of slimy mackerels, taking him mentally back to his childhood when the half-orc ninja paladin of Owly the Omniscient made him practice fencing by slapping him in the face with rotten fish. He sighs, heavily, as the drip, drip of water from the ceiling of the dungeon snaps him back to reality. "I think," he says, looking longingly at the katana-wielding, trenchcoat wearing drow warrior with the heart of gold who had won his heart the moment he set eyes on her, "I think we should go left."[/sblock]

The first tells me what Bwango wants to do and how he wants to go about doing it. The second makes me want to bury my face in my hands and cry.

4. Set clear expectations. I let my players know what the theme of the game is, how often posting is expected and what is or isn't appropriate. My players know that they need to track bookkeeping for all their characters and that I expect at least one post per day. If they are incapable to doing either, or both, they are asked to leave. I also understand that real life happens and ask that they let me know if they will be unable to post or track stuff for a given amount of time.

5. Spelling. Please try to use proper spelling and grammar. Reading posts filled with hard to parse sentences and butchered spelling is too much like work.

6. Logistics. I find wikis to be incredibly useful tools to use in conjunction with the game. Here's a link (https://wiki.rpg.net/index.php/The_Wilderlands_of_Absalom) to the wiki we're using for the game I'm currently running. It is a wilderness hexcrawl with mid-level characters using ACKS. There are six players with a total of 6 main PCs, sixteen henchmen and six second tier henchmen. The adventurers are in the process of establishing their own domain in the wilderness, repairing an existing Keep and taking over a neighboring domain. They are expected to track everything involving their own PCs, henchmen and henches of henchmen. In exchange, I do all of the overland mapping, much of the wiki maintentance, track their finances (they've got a small mercenary army of close to 200 troops, about 150 workers repairing two separate structures, four river boats involved in transporting goods from civilization to their nascent domain, around a dozen newly situated settler families in their new lands, etc.). I handle treasure distribution for them. I also make all rolls, in and out of combat.

7. Pace. Players are like cats and require vigilant herding and nudging. I give my players 24 hours (in combat) and 48 hours (otherwise) to reach decisions. If it takes longer than this I move things forward without their input. In the dungeon this shows itself as torches and oil burning down, wandering monster checks made, etc. Outside the dungeon it becomes days passing as the adventurers debate. Stuff will happen if they do not act. The world does not stand still for them. If the dithering becomes too much I will deliberately restate their choices OOC and ask for votes: "You can go left or right or just turn around and leave the dungeon. What do you want to do?"

This also, I've found, applies to recruitment. In my opinion you want to get things up and going as soon as possible so no one loses momentum and everyone can enter the game excited about it. If recruitment takes, say, more than a week that's too long. Looking at the game I'm running now it took me six days to go from the first post in Recruitment to the first post in IC. That's with six players controlling six primary PCs and around ten henchmen (who were also created as characters). Now, it's also using a fairly simple system and characters, but it was a pretty fast turnaround.

8. Honesty. If I've lost momentum on a game I'll let my players know so we can shut things down properly, as opposed to finding it harder and harder to post and letting the inevitable drag out over days and weeks.

PersonMan
2016-06-06, 11:03 AM
Regarding what to post / whether to post in a long or short fashion, it also depends heavily on the type of game you're playing.

A story-driven game about finding X in the tomb of Y to defeat the Z invasion will probably benefit from people who post short, simple things that move the story along. Bob opens the door and looks around. Jill sets fire to the cobwebs to clear the path. Etc.

On the other hand, if you put that kind of posting style in a game in which the closest thing to a central plot is 'these people live interesting lives, don't they?', things won't work out as well. It's not time to finish up the talking with the merchant so you can move on to the real game, talking to the merchant for an hour of in-game time is the point of the scene. In a more character/interaction-driven game, expanding your post to explain your character's thoughts and feelings is much better than simple statements of action that are intended to progress a nonexistent plotline.

So, a tip from me would be: Decide which type of game you'd like to play and make sure you don't find yourself in the wrong type or with the wrong type of players.

Otherwise you end up with a player trying to move things along more quickly, to get to the DM's plot, only to find everyone else involved in extended conversations with other NPCs and the DM misinterpreting their actions as a way of saying 'this doesn't interest me, I'd like a different type of person to interact with' as they cook up new NPCs to throw at them.

thirdkingdom
2016-06-06, 11:21 AM
Splitting the party is a tricky one, in my opinion. It doesn't work well at the table because it forces half the players to sit there doing nothing while the others have fun - a problem you don't have in PbP - but in a group with different posting rates, it can cause big timeline headaches.

I prefer to keep the party together if possible, even in PbP.

In other news, I just remembered something. The games where a GM has said at the outset: "here's my game, who wants to play?" (including my own) have have lasted much longer than games where a player has said: "I want to do X, please could someone GM it" or "our GM dropped out and we need a new one." When times get tough, it's much easier to summon up the enthusiasm to push on if it's your own game rather than someone else's.

I also don't like splitting the party because it can potentially result in one group sitting around twiddling their thumbs while the other group spends time -- days, if not potentially more -- in combat, resolving in character stuff, etc. It has been my experience that, due to the slow pace of play, people without stuff to do for more than a day or two grow bored and lose interest.

lacco36
2016-06-07, 08:30 AM
While I'm not very experienced, I can give some observations...

1. Expectations: it's been said, and I'll repeat it. Everyone needs to be on one ship as far as "what will this be about" goes. GM needs to have a broad idea, players need to be fine with it. If one misreads the other, game will fail.

2. Recruiting honesty: GM should be honest about the game he is about to play. That includes stating what the game is going to be about, style it will begin, style he is comfortable with and - especially important - where he is not going to budge and what are the intentions. If he wants to just test the idea, play a long-term campaign, or just have some fun - the players should know what kind of game they'll get. This is also the point where table rules should be discussed - even the expected post quality, PvP rules, etc.

3. Character generation: GM should participate. At every part - I know, that in 3.5 and PF most players are able to create a legal and fully playable character. But what the players often overlook is - the GM should like their character. And what I often saw (there were times when I browsed a lot of "Recruiting" threads...) was that player provided very broad overview and then suddenly - bam! - full charsheet. Maybe it works - but I always prefer discussing characters with players, filling in gaps, talking about the world or even worldbuilding in recruiting phase. Bouncing off ideas. So, GMs - work with players so you like the characters - and players - work with the GMs. They should understand your characters - and you should let them work on the characters (e.g. providing some background, known NPCs, plot hooks, sidequests...).

4. Opening adventure: even in open sandboxes, if you provide players with introductory adventure, it will provide cohesion, and make things running more smoothly.

5. OOC banter: often overlooked part - but when the players discuss the world, the things they have done, or plan to do - it's great for the game. Also, keeping each other informed about current status, expected breaks and - very importantly - your IC vs. OOC views, it helps. If your character is shouting at other character, it helps that you tell to the other guy/gal that it's only IC thing and you'll accept a slap as a response... again, IC... :smallwink: Important thing is - if there are discrepancies that don't lead to character death (e.g. someone thought an NPC was standing closer/was not armed/GM forgot something), inform about them, but don't take it as personal attack (that's valid for both sides).

6. Feedback: GMs should often ask for feedback. And players should provide it - tell the GM what you like and he'll do it more. Tell the GM what you don't like - and this is very important - and maybe he'll tone down, or you'll redo the whole thing. A point is - a GM is not without faults. Neither are players. Talking about it will prevent game dying out because "he did something I don't like and no, I won't tell him...".

7. Speeding up: yes, I roll most of the rolls for players. It helps speed up the game. Do anything that will speed it up (except for playing it for players...) :smallsmile:. Ask for player help - they are often able and glad to help.

8. Liking the game: oh yes. A GM must like a game to run it. This isn't tabletop, where your friends are the "glue". This is PbP, which sometimes can become a burden instead of fun - and there are so many easier and less tiring things to do. Again, the GM should like the game. What works for me? Seeing that my players care about the game. Reading well-thought IC posts. Getting positive feedback (also, negative one is fine, but I'm sucker for a positive feedback). And seeing that the players understand and like the game - we are talking about a game where they have to think about every combat as possibly the last one... and they do! It's great for me. From the player position I'm not really one to speak... :smallwink:

9. Post Quality: both GMs and players - should agree, what's expected and keep it up. It's not a problem if someone posts just a one-liner in appropriate time. Or extremely large post. My favourite are the in-betweens. Grammar & punctuations are a must in my games - if I see a post "i tell him to shut up and shoot then duck out of way", it demotivates me. Also, large chunks of text? Yeah, put an "OOC" spoiler to the bottom and write down what your character intends to do - ideally also "how".

And that brings me to no. 10. Don't know how to name it, so:

10. What works for me, as GM - is to ask the players to state the intentions of their character. Not results. It helps, if the player knows what "post style" I expect, since they can post in the way that works for me. And then - it's again easier for me to just look at the text, roll what's appropriate (if there's anything to roll), and narrate. It's easier than reading three times through a well-written post which is "closed" - gives me no answer to question "what should I write next?".

I've had points in the games I run where I didn't know where to move next and it caused a writer's block equal to mental constipation. I usually ran it over several times and either ignored it and wrote something universal, or asked the player for a rewrite - that usually worked wonders. And since then I warn the players up front to state intentions. Helps.

So it boils down to: communicate, participate, do "tl;dr" summaries for longer posts, agree expectations, and pat your GM on the back (for GM's - ask for the pats) if you feel he's doing a good job. Write intentions, not results and write "open" posts.

Luckily, in my current games, the players are wonderful and they usually do all the "good stuff" from this list. I'm grateful for that. And I let them know (IC and OOC). When I see a new post in the game, I immediately go to read it, and I always feel the need to reply - and even if RL barges in, I try to find time. Why? Because I like the game, I love their characters, and the players are also wonderful people. That helps a lot.

thirdkingdom
2016-06-08, 01:46 PM
For anyone who is interested, here are two links to games that I consider to be the gold standard of pbp gaming (note that you'll need to be a registered member of rpg.net to view them).

The Wyzard runs OD&D. (https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?519816-The-Wyzard-s-OD-amp-D-Campaign)
The Companions of Imladril (https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?682996-B-X-D-amp-D-The-Companions-of-Imladril&p=16630659#post16630659)

DrK
2016-06-08, 04:37 PM
I've been DMing on the forums and have run a lot of games with mixed success. Some have lasted >2 years and been great successes, others have withered and died on the vine without weeks. I'd say that that is the nature of PbP but there is a few things that I've noticed that have made my successful games successful and my bad games short lived...


Pick your players! It makes a massive difference. You need people with similar temprements and wants. E.g. its fine if you're all combat or all "story" but a mix of the two doesn't wlays gel well. If you find good players then keep them in your games. I've one or two players that I keep in nearly all of games and they form the solid core that other players can gel around
Set reasonable expectations: In terms of style of play and posting times. Be honest with the players.
Share the same optimisation goals! IT may be particular to PbP or GitP but optimisation varies wildly and its important for everyone to be on the same level (within the limits of 3.5) but also within the DM's comfort level or it becomes an arms race.
Set a sensible pace: No-one can post every day for months on end. Games ebb and flow. As a DM its your responsibility to chivvy things along through the slack times. PLayers want to play so when the ball is rolling you can enjoy the ride
If you last 4 months you'll probably go the distance! In that 4 months players will have had holidays/busy spells at work as will the GM. If you are all still playing at that point then you've a good group
APs or Pre-set adventures work well: Its hard as a DM to remember your plot over 2 years with the pace of PbP. THe railroad nature of AP's (see player expactations above so they go with the flow a little) is easy for all. And good APs have good stories.
Skip little fights. If a dungeon has 10 rooms with 8 encounters I'll cut that down to 2-3 harder and more interesting ones. If you have lots of easy walk over encounters
Don't fuss about post length. Sometimes players will post essays, other times they are busy and it'll be one-liners. Don't have rules or pressure and things will naturally improve as people get into their character and things begin to flow.


As an examaple this is the game I enjoy DMing in its IC (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?393190-DrK-s-Age-of-Worms-IC-pt2/page1)and OOC (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?474506-DrK-s-Age-of-Worms-OOC-pt4/page1)threads. Its been going for almost 3 years now and has 4 of the same players that we started with!

D20ragon
2016-06-08, 08:48 PM
I've been DMing on the forums and have run a lot of games with mixed success. Some have lasted >2 years and been great successes, others have withered and died on the vine without weeks. I'd say that that is the nature of PbP but there is a few things that I've noticed that have made my successful games successful and my bad games short lived...


Pick your players! It makes a massive difference. You need people with similar temprements and wants. E.g. its fine if you're all combat or all "story" but a mix of the two doesn't wlays gel well. If you find good players then keep them in your games. I've one or two players that I keep in nearly all of games and they form the solid core that other players can gel around
Set reasonable expectations: In terms of style of play and posting times. Be honest with the players.
Share the same optimisation goals! IT may be particular to PbP or GitP but optimisation varies wildly and its important for everyone to be on the same level (within the limits of 3.5) but also within the DM's comfort level or it becomes an arms race.
Set a sensible pace: No-one can post every day for months on end. Games ebb and flow. As a DM its your responsibility to chivvy things along through the slack times. PLayers want to play so when the ball is rolling you can enjoy the ride
If you last 4 months you'll probably go the distance! In that 4 months players will have had holidays/busy spells at work as will the GM. If you are all still playing at that point then you've a good group
APs or Pre-set adventures work well: Its hard as a DM to remember your plot over 2 years with the pace of PbP. THe railroad nature of AP's (see player expactations above so they go with the flow a little) is easy for all. And good APs have good stories.
Skip little fights. If a dungeon has 10 rooms with 8 encounters I'll cut that down to 2-3 harder and more interesting ones. If you have lots of easy walk over encounters
Don't fuss about post length. Sometimes players will post essays, other times they are busy and it'll be one-liners. Don't have rules or pressure and things will naturally improve as people get into their character and things begin to flow.


As an examaple this is the game I enjoy DMing in its IC (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?393190-DrK-s-Age-of-Worms-IC-pt2/page1)and OOC (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?474506-DrK-s-Age-of-Worms-OOC-pt4/page1)threads. Its been going for almost 3 years now and has 4 of the same players that we started with!

I started to read your example and quickly became invested in it. I do love to read campaigns and the like :smalltongue:

goto124
2016-06-09, 12:16 AM
I started to read your example and quickly became invested in it. I do love to read campaigns and the like :smalltongue:

I seem to enjoy reading about other people's campaigns more than I like playing the actual games...

DrK
2016-06-09, 01:35 AM
I started to read your example and quickly became invested in it. I do love to read campaigns and the like :smalltongue:

I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's a good to game to run and nice that the players are running interesting characters rather than high OP ones.

Plus Age of Worms is an amazing, if long, AP.

prufock
2016-06-09, 01:08 PM
Disclaimer: Every game I've been in has died within a couple weeks. But I've learned some things that don't work, and some that do. My current rules are:

1. Don't spread yourself too thin. One or two games, MAX, at a time. Keep player count as low as is reasonable. I'd say 5 MAX.

2. Posting schedule. Let your players know what you expect of them and what they can expect of you when it comes to posting times.

3. Disclosure. If you know you won't be able to post, let them know there will be a delay.

4. Avoid extended delays, though. These kill games.

5. Keep the action moving, always. If the party is doing too much one-line posting, do something to push the action forward.

thirdkingdom
2016-06-09, 02:37 PM
5. Keep the action moving, always. If the party is doing too much one-line posting, do something to push the action forward.

So, I don't get this animus towards one line posting. If I'm running a game and say the following:


DM: "The corridor splits in two at the end of the hallway; the western hallway leads thirty feet before terminating in a door while the eastern hallway runs off into the darkness beyond the reach of your torches."

I'd much rather have this exchange


Player One: "I propose we venture west, listening carefully at the door and searching for traps before opening it!"
Player Two: "I agree!"
Player Three: "Let us move forward with this plan with all alacrity!"

then some densely written wordage, packed full of adjectives and adverbs because the players think they have to have some maximum length to their posts. What I like about the first example is that a) a plan is proposed, giving me something to work with and b) they tell me what they want to do next. With the above proposal I can advance the game as follows:


DM: The party advances down the hall in their predetermined marching order, advancing cautiously as is their wont when covering unexplored territory. Upon reaching the door Tywlla Two-fingers comes forward and checks the door for traps. Finding none she presses her ear to the door and listens, but hears no sounds. Twylla returns to her place in the marching order and Ruggo the Rugged thrusts the door open, revealing . . .

This is the result of an initial seventeen words, plus an additional twelve words from two other players. The other players respond addressing the proposal at hand. I absolutely hate it when someone brings up a suggestion for what to do next and the following responses have absolutely *nothing* to do with the proposal.

prufock
2016-06-09, 06:00 PM
So, I don't get this animus towards one line posting.
I find that players can usually post once or twice a day at most, which is fine. If half the posts are one-line responses, the game slows or stalls. Yes, sometimes it's called for, but I'd much rather see posts that progress the action. In the example you posted, the DM is the one who pushes the action forward, not the players. This is following my advice exactly.

Mr Blobby
2016-06-09, 06:22 PM
I think both sides have their merits. I've been in both the situation where trying to get the other player to provide any info so my character could react on it was like pulling teeth and where what could have been a simple one/two liner ended up being a screen-filling monologue which added little to the conversation or setting.

This is why I'd use the word 'concise' rather than actual lengths or anything in describing a good pbp player. A concise player considers padding their enemy, but isn't afraid of longer posts when they are needed. That's the secret; they're experienced enough to know when to offer conversational hooks, to add flavour stuff about their character, when to in effect 'take charge' of the scene in an effort to keep it running and yes, when a one-liner is the best reply to give.

Instead of saying 'your posts must be X' perhaps simply give a small sample of what you [as DM] consider excellent pbp RP and why?

thirdkingdom
2016-06-09, 06:31 PM
I find that players can usually post once or twice a day at most, which is fine. If half the posts are one-line responses, the game slows or stalls. Yes, sometimes it's called for, but I'd much rather see posts that progress the action. In the example you posted, the DM is the one who pushes the action forward, not the players. This is following my advice exactly.

Er, no. The players are telling the DM what they want to do and how they're doing it. The DM is telling them the result of their actions.

And I'm not saying that every post has to be one sentence, just that given the choice between a few sentences or two paragraphs of descriptive action I would rather have the former.

Draconi Redfir
2016-06-09, 06:42 PM
So, I don't get this animus towards one line posting. If I'm running a game and say the following:



I'd much rather have this exchange



then some densely written wordage, packed full of adjectives and adverbs because the players think they have to have some maximum length to their posts.

Short exchanges like that however can usually be resolved in out of character threads if nobody else can manke anything relavent. for example:

player 1. i think we should turn lef.
Player 2. me too!
Player 3. i'm more of a right person but whatever.
Player 4. Just tell me where to hit things.

And then one player, likely the leader of the party, could make a single composite post along the lines of



player 1 gauged their options carefully, and after a breif discussion with the others, agreed that they would be exploring the leftmost passage first. Player 4 seemed eager to get to some combat already, and player 2 seemed to be on the same mindset as player 1. There was some objection from player 3, who was more interested int he strange noise they heard from the right path, but ultimately they agreed to travel left as well.

This way you get a more interesting post, everyone's opinions are still being calculated, there's no wasted text, and you aren't forced to slogg through five different posts containting two or three words at best just to make a simple decision.

thirdkingdom
2016-06-09, 07:19 PM
Short exchanges like that however can usually be resolved in out of character threads if nobody else can manke anything relavent. for example:

player 1. i think we should turn lef.
Player 2. me too!
Player 3. i'm more of a right person but whatever.
Player 4. Just tell me where to hit things.

And then one player, likely the leader of the party, could make a single composite post along the lines of



This way you get a more interesting post, everyone's opinions are still being calculated, there's no wasted text, and you aren't forced to slogg through five different posts containting two or three words at best just to make a simple decision.

You do realize that your suggestion *adds* one extra post, right, which has the opposite effect of speeding things up?

Draconi Redfir
2016-06-09, 08:32 PM
...how?:smallconfused:

People talk in the ooc chat, they talk about which path they want to take and make an agreement.

then one person makes one post in the IC chat that includes the other character's reasonings and opinions, and you have made one IC post. this is not adding any more posts then you would have had by having four or five people each make three-word posts in the ic thread.

Anachronity
2016-06-11, 06:19 PM
Can't say I've ever had a successful PBP game, but I can say that, in my experience, any serious combat grinds the game to an utter halt. There are also entirely reasonable abilities in tabletop (almost any ability that is an immediate action or which allows an ally to reroll) which are clunky and difficult to use in PBP and slow the game down even more.

Also I've noticed that a lot of times players/DMs will wait to continue a dialog or interaction on the assumption that another player was going to do something before the subject changes, while each individual player assumes no one will wait for him to do something unless he/she posts that (s)he is going to do something OOC.

Accordingly, I would suggest having combat take place in a chatroom at a mutually agreeable time, and that you plan ahead during recruitment and make sure there is some time that is going to work for everyone (timezones, jobs, etc.). Second, I would encourage players to quote lengthy NPC dialog or other obvious "scenes" they don't intend to respond to in the OOC thread and reply with something along the lines of "(no responses)".

I would also simply skip over players who simply stop posting with no warning or explanation and seriously consider replacing them after only two or three such offenses. The confusion and unnecessary waiting this causes has killed more than one PBP campaign.

prufock
2016-06-12, 07:28 PM
Er, no. The players are telling the DM what they want to do and how they're doing it. The DM is telling them the result of their actions.
From what you posted, it sounds like the players have discussed, seemingly in character, what they should do. They haven't narratively done anything yet. Compare:


Player One: "I propose we venture west." Player one presses his ear against the door for what might be in the next room. (Rolls Listen check).
Player Two: "I agree! West it is!" Player two moves forward and examines the door carefully for traps. (Rolls Search check).
Player Three: "Let us move forward with this plan with all alacrity!" Player three kicks the door open.

Mr Blobby
2016-06-13, 08:05 PM
...Accordingly, I would suggest having combat take place in a chatroom at a mutually agreeable time, and that you plan ahead during recruitment and make sure there is some time that is going to work for everyone (timezones, jobs, etc.)...

Erm, you realise that this rule would make it in effect impossible for say players in say the Pacific Coast and Europe unable to play in the same game?

Combat is a serious drag. In large fights, I'd be tempted to change the combat round = posting round ratio from 1:1 to say 3-5:1. Get the players to post 'standing orders' and get the DM to run it.

Draconi Redfir
2016-06-13, 08:20 PM
I've seen it done where during combat, everyone technichally has their own initiative, but for the most part it's divided between player round and enemy round. during player round, everyone has a set ammount of time to post before enemy round starts, if you don't make a post before X days have passed, then you're out of luck and either the monsters go without you, or the DM takes control of your character breifly and makes them use one of their most basic attacks/abilities. Keeps things moving and encourages active play.

PersonMan
2016-06-14, 01:32 AM
Erm, you realise that this rule would make it in effect impossible for say players in say the Pacific Coast and Europe unable to play in the same game?

I think he'd consider that an "acceptable loss", actually. Yes, you slim down your potential players, but if you see this as the best method of keeping a game going, it's probably worth it.

Mr Blobby
2016-06-14, 06:10 AM
I feel it's a stupid idea. Geographical location has no bearing on the quality or quantity of posts for a pbp player. Some of the best players I've RP'd with have been ones way out of whack of my own timezone - and not blowing my own trumpet, I think I'm not too shabby a player either.

This rule also doesn't take into effect our RL commitments. Some of us have other hobbies, irregular work patterns, kids, partners etc. I have enough time to play [and keep up with the other players & DM], but I don't have enough predictability in my life to be able to guarantee that I'll be on the forum at X time every day.

PersonMan
2016-06-14, 09:27 AM
I think the idea was that there'd be a meeting, say, once a week or one would be held at roughly X time on Y weekday if/when something like a fight came up which would best be dealt with via that method.

Draconi Redfir
2016-06-14, 12:30 PM
Here's a new tip for the thread:

Don't ignore players.

If you've already made three replies to one player in the past week, but a seccond player is still waiting for a reply from you since a week ago, you should prooobably reply to the seccond player already. Ignoring players for weeks at a time and speed-running others never ends well.

2D8HP
2016-06-18, 02:32 AM
I'm an old guy who played alot of "table top" DnD "back in the day", but has never tried "play by post", please let me know how to start.
Thanks!

Mr Blobby
2016-06-18, 05:23 AM
Step #1: Find a pbp game.

This might sound stupid, but it isn't. Not only do you need to find a game which has space and is active [harder than you think], but then you need to chat with the DM for a bit. You need to learn how they run their game, the style of play on the board etc. Also, you need to learn if you get on *personally* with the DM too.

Just because 'it's not in RL' it doesn't mean you don't have to do the standard checking before you start playing.