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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Disappearing DMs

    Is it common for DMs in PbP games to seemingly vanish? It's just, I've had two go incommunicado on me recently, though one has only been gone since saturday. I'm not whining at them, I'm sure they have very good reasons, I'm merely wondering how common it is?
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    10-20% of the time, from my limited personal experience. Don't be discouraged, there are a lot of other good games out there.

    has only been gone since saturday
    Doesn't count.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    I'm not saying he's GONE gone. Just dematerialised for now XD
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    It's common for people in PbP to vanish, whether DMs or players. It's a regrettably volatile medium. Generally you just need to find a game with a good, distinctive concept, see who from it sticks around and who flakes, and try to join the former for future games. Eventually you get a group who can probably be relied upon to stick together.

    Keeping up communication is a good idea too. If you can ask the DM questions without waiting for a post-and-reply cycle, or prompt one another to post etc. via IM, it gets people more invested, gives them something to do when they're idle IC, and keeps everyone from posting nothing because they think it's someone else's turn. Even something as simple as an active OOC thread where people joke around about events in the game can do the trick.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Dust's Avatar

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    I play pretty commonly on rpol.net, and it's been my experience that a good 60% of games end within the first month. Perhaps its just that site in particular.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Thajocoth's Avatar

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    With any game you play online, you'll have a lot of trouble with people being very unreliable about showing up. That's why I simply don't play online anymore. Take online play to be exceedingly casual and you might enjoy it.
    Avatar by me. It's Incendius Darkscale, a Good Dragonborn Dragon Sorcerer, Demonskin Adept, Prince of Hell, worshiper of the Platinum Dragon (Bahamut), specializing in Fire and Lightning, wielding a staff in each hand.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Shademan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    I tend do to this as DM...
    I have learnt that PBP does just not work for me. as DM.
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Titan in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Shademan View Post
    I tend do to this as DM...
    I have learnt that PBP does just not work for me. as DM.
    But don't you tell the players, "Sorry, this isn't working out I am going to have to leave"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    I play pretty commonly on rpol.net, and it's been my experience that a good 60% of games end within the first month. Perhaps its just that site in particular.
    Yeah its definatly a problem over there. My longest running game (1.2k posts) wasn't origionally mine. The DM explained the setting, added a load of players, and then vanished before he could even make the first in game post. Players looked for a replacement DM and I took over.
    Last edited by Boci; 2010-05-25 at 11:06 AM.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    I have found that players in large groups often vanish so much so to the extent I rarely DM games other than solo adventures now over the net. High level games are often detined to failure (players dropping as soon as you hit combat or when they decide their characters are under optimised compared to everyone elses or when it degenerates into a rules argument between DM and some munchkin). The worst one for me though was a case of a solo player. Guy was doing fine in this adventure posting regularly and such. Then I agreed to DM a game for a group. Solo guy submits a sheet for said game. He isn't accepted. Stops posting in the solo adventure without leaving any notice whatsoever.

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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Jair Barik View Post
    I have found that players in large groups often vanish so much so to the extent I rarely DM games other than solo adventures now over the net. High level games are often detined to failure (players dropping as soon as you hit combat or when they decide their characters are under optimised compared to everyone elses or when it degenerates into a rules argument between DM and some munchkin). The worst one for me though was a case of a solo player. Guy was doing fine in this adventure posting regularly and such. Then I agreed to DM a game for a group. Solo guy submits a sheet for said game. He isn't accepted. Stops posting in the solo adventure without leaving any notice whatsoever.
    I'm actually not that keen on solo games because then if one player drops out then the whole game is over. In one I my games I have a 4 player group, of which only one has been in the game since the start.
    "It doesn't matter how much you struggle or strive,
    You'll never get out of life alive,
    So please kill yourself and save this land,
    And your last mission is to spread my command,"

    Slightly adapted quote from X-Fusion, Please Kill Yourself

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Shademan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Boci View Post
    But don't you tell the players, "Sorry, this isn't working out I am going to have to leave"?
    nope. I quietly skulk away, never to be seen again
    Need a setting for your game? a character concept? any gaming related ideas? I make far to many to eat up myself, and therefor I am willing to share them. Free ideas! Get yer fluff here! PM me.


    The friendly neighborhood gentleman perv is always ready to help!

    on M&B:
    Quote Originally Posted by Celesyne
    oh, and looting villages is REALLY good money, if a nearby lord doesn't stop by and give you a daily dose of rape.
    http://baetzler.de/humor/meat_beings.html

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    DMs disappear, players disappear, it happens. The current PbP game I'm DMing has been going since February, and we've fortunately only lose 1 PC (and that was within the first week). There are times where posting is more frequent, less frequent, but we've managed to make it through pretty well. It all depends on the PCs. If they're dedicated, and having fun, they'll most likely stick around.

    If you're going to be in a PbP game, here's a few tips I noticed that seem to help with longevity:

    1) Did the DM accept the first 5 people who submitted characters, or did he let lots of people submit, then choose those he thought would be best? If it was just the first 5, that means that the game is populated by those who happened to be online at the right time, not necessarily by those who are best suited to join the game.

    2) Are the PCs interesting, and will there be good interaction between them? This is one of the reason I stay away from "evil" campaigns, because 75% of the people who play in them simply want a chance to play their @#$%# characters that they'd never be able to get away with in a regular game. In addition, if the character discriptions are things like "I'm Bob the fighter, and I want to kill things and take their stuff," there tends to be less long-term interest than there would be if the character had a more fleshed out backstory

    3) Is the tone set very clearly early on? If some people come in expecting a super-heavy role-play, and some want hack-n-slash, things are going to fall apart. Try and make sure that people are more or less on the same page.

    4) How heavy are the house rules? While house rules can be awesome, I've noticed that games that have large chunks of the system thrown out or replaced, or whatever tend to struggle. I remember once there was a push on the PbP boards for a 4th Edition level 30 game, that got a huge amount of interest. but once the DM came forward and said that there would be absolutely no magic items (plus a few other odd restrictions), the interest dropped off very sharply. A few house rules are good; too many are simply frustrating.


    Anyway, just a few thoughts I had.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    For me, DMing a PbP game is like buying a hamster. It's fun, but sometimes they poop all over the place, and you must go in knowing you probably have to keep the little rascal alive for the next few years.

    Some people treat their games more like gold fish.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    I have sworn off playing PBP D&D until I get a job. It is slowly driving me mad.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    I'm currently DMing a PbP game on here with a whole 8players ( *gasp* ) I'm hoping that no-one drops our or vanishes, but i suppose it can't be helped if it happens. I certainly arn't planning on vanishing, well as long as that van outside leaves soon.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    That van outside is a surveillance unit sent by the players (yep, we all chipped in!) to make sure you're not going anywhere.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    It is very luck based really. I've tried to get... I think it's over five games up and running. Only one is still running, and it has been running for years. I think it is because I managed to create a very good story for it, with many interesting world changes, little mechanical changes and some luck. Only one of the original players is still around though, but I think she's having fun, and I pretty much end up with good replacements anyway. Just too bad that I only got to keep my ideal group for a very short time... but that happens.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    It seems to depend on the site a little, really. I was on a german forum for a while, in which every game got it's own subforum, in which the DM would usually start half a dozen or so threads. Most games there lasted quite long. 40, 50 pages, sometimes, and the record holder was over 400 pages and still running after several years.
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  19. - Top - End - #19

    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Maryring View Post
    It is very luck based really. I've tried to get... I think it's over five games up and running. Only one is still running, and it has been running for years. I think it is because I managed to create a very good story for it, with many interesting world changes, little mechanical changes and some luck. Only one of the original players is still around though, but I think she's having fun, and I pretty much end up with good replacements anyway. Just too bad that I only got to keep my ideal group for a very short time... but that happens.
    Kinda reminds me of my situation. I DMd a lo of games but only one of them actualy lasted a good amount of time (aproaching 3 years now). Most others lasted some months at best.

    On the other hand, around half the party is still the same of the original group! Yay me! Altough all but one changed characters. Quite interesting to explain to your employer why did you leave with a wizard, demon, human psion, swordman, barbarian and dragon disciple and return with a wizard, two clerics, one warforged psion, and one gargantuan dragon.

    Geting a good story backed up by good mechanics is indeed essential. You got to captivate your party, make them dream and hope and wanting to interact with your world. You have make sure they feel like their time is well expended when they check your posts.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Weimann's Avatar

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    A PbP game featuring players you've recruited off a website is possibly the most detached gaming group you can have. I think that the lack of pre-existing relationship is as much a reason for games falling apart as the medium.

    I have personally tried PbP and it's just not working for me. Instead, I joined two games over MSN which I'm greatly enjoying. If it's only the "online" quality you are seeking, I would suggest trying to find a group for a chat-based game, and if you have Skype and a mick, it'll be like just around the table. Well, not really, but as close as you get.

    Since there mere switch to MSN from PbP has had my two first games last 2 months each, I would surmise that actually being able to quip jokes at each other without having to adjust them to the written medium would do a whole lot for group integrity.

    Good luck in finding your style
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  21. - Top - End - #21
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Another_Poet's Avatar

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    It's very common.

    There are some things you can do to avoid it, when choosing which games to play in:

    -ask the GM outright if they have ever run a PbP game that lasted more than 2 months, and if they have ever abandoned a game

    -look at their house rules. A Gm who knows what it takes to run a PbP game will have rules to speed up combat, possibly change/abolish initiative, and reduce "ping" time waiting for player responses.

    -look at how they're choosing players. First-come, first-served is a bad policy. If the players stop posting often enough, the DM loses interest and lets the game drop. They should be looking for dedicated players from the get-go.
    Last edited by Another_Poet; 2010-05-31 at 11:59 PM.
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  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Another_Poet View Post
    It's very common.

    There are some things you can do to avoid it, when choosing which games to play in:

    -ask the GM outright if they have ever run a PbP game that lasted more than 2 months, and if they have ever abandoned a game

    -look at their house rules. A Gm who knows what it takes to run a PbP game will have rules to speed up combat, possibly change/abolish initiative, and reduce "ping" time waiting for player responses.

    -look at how they're choosing players. First-come, first-served is a bad policy. If the players stop posting often enough, the DM loses interest and lets the game drop. They should be looking for dedicated players from the get-go.
    I'm running an Amber game at the moment, with two players. If they'd taken this advice, they'd have never played with me (first time GM'ing, no house rules, and took everyone who was interested). The game's been running since October and is still going well. Only two players, though ...

    And I can't explain it either ...
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  23. - Top - End - #23
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Another_Poet View Post
    -look at their house rules. A Gm who knows what it takes to run a PbP game will have rules to speed up combat, possibly change/abolish initiative, and reduce "ping" time waiting for player responses.
    What sort of rules to speed up combat do you suggest? I've noticed that standard combat drags on and on without adding much to the game, yet one doesn't want to divorce players from their characters' actions too much.
    Last edited by Irreverent Fool; 2010-05-25 at 09:08 PM.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Irreverent Fool View Post
    What sort of rules to speed up combat do you suggest? I've noticed that standard combat drags on and on without adding much to the game, yet one doesn't want to divorce players from their characters' actions too much.
    Well, try this one - roll a d6 for each side. High roll wins. Award XP. How's that for fast? Actually, my group tends to stretch combat out a little by going back to the older initiative rules. We roll for initiative each round because battlefield conditions change rapidly - you might be first now, but you'll probably lose and regain the advantage many times during the fight. Many of us are accustomed to more detailed combat systems, so we felt that D&D was dumbed down about as far as we cared to go.

    Actually, I've never even tried to play on a bulletin board. Played a game on AOL in chat about 14 years ago and that worked ok for a few months, but that's the closest. Right now I play around a table with a group of six fairly regular players and two floaters, and we're going to try to translate that into Neverwinter Nights because one of the group is moving out of town shortly. Not exactly bulletin board gaming either, but it's as close as we want to get.
    3.5e D&D / Pathfinder / WoT player and DM. Played AD&D from a pre-print copy of the PHB, DMG and MM that was "Not For Release" obtained by a friend whose father worked for TSR.... Yeah, I'm kinda old.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Grifthin's Avatar

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    Has anyone here tried playing using something like Skype ? I've always thought that using the skype conference ability would be the next best thing to being in the same room.
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  26. - Top - End - #26
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Grifthin View Post
    Has anyone here tried playing using something like Skype ? I've always thought that using the skype conference ability would be the next best thing to being in the same room.
    When we start our Neverwinter Nights game we're going to use Ventrilo. And the DM Client as well - that allows you to do a ton of stuff that is just too much trouble to script.
    3.5e D&D / Pathfinder / WoT player and DM. Played AD&D from a pre-print copy of the PHB, DMG and MM that was "Not For Release" obtained by a friend whose father worked for TSR.... Yeah, I'm kinda old.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    DnD combat on the forums kills more than just characters.

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    Grifthin's Avatar

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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    Quote Originally Posted by WorstDMEver View Post
    When we start our Neverwinter Nights game we're going to use Ventrilo. And the DM Client as well - that allows you to do a ton of stuff that is just too much trouble to script.
    DM client ? What's that ? Sounds fuN!
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    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    The first thing to do would be to remove classic initiative: if players live in different time zones, that means that you'd have to wait for perhaps 12 hours or more before the next player in the order even has a chance to post. Kills a game.

    What I'd suggest, instead, is group initiative: the entire player group has one initiative count (average of all their rolls, perhaps), all enemies have another. That way, you can do all monster action in one post, then let all the players post whenever they are online.
    Resident Vancian Apologist

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Disappearing DMs

    I tend to vanish when I'm DMing PBP, and PBP only.
    There's just something that drives me off the campaign at some point (generally very early), and I can't help but leave when I feel the game's going the wrong way. Maybe I just get frustrated because PBP games are so terribly slow; maybe because they tend to become awfully linear. Last time this happened was with a Vampire: the Requiem campaign I was very fond of, and I swore I'd have never joined a PBP campaign as a DM again. I tried a Mage game later, and left it. Then I took my oath seriously and it's three years I'm staying away from PBPs.

    Strangely enough, I'm quite comfortable with PBP as a player, and I love running campaigns on IRC. I'm currently narrating a campaign on Google Wave, and everything is going just fine aside from some minor delays (due to exams in my case). Wave is really amazing and I found a nice gaming group.
    It's much, much better than PBP. I love DMing on tabletop too, but my friends are unreliable.
    So I think it's PBP's fault if DMs tend to disappear. There's so little interaction between the players, DM included, that even Planescape loses all its charm; games are horribly slow, and if you try to make 'em faster it's even more painful. Very frustrating for a DM.
    Last edited by poisonoustea; 2010-05-26 at 08:25 AM.
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