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Anyone know of an IRC client especially geared toward RPGs? I know, Roll20 is essentially the same thing, but certain other questions on here made me think that having a desktop app that was specifically tailored to RPGs would be epic! It could have a built in directory of rules, a bot that comes preconfigured to help with rolling and resolving various situations.

Seems to me that if one doesn't exist then someone should build it. If there's enough interest I'm willing to start one (my day job is a programmer). And no, I'm not trying to drum up business, just always on the lookout for new tools that make the GM's life easier.

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I've always wanted to write one, too, but I've never found good documentation for the process. –  Squish Mar 11 at 4:38
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As another programmer, my estimation is that you're doing it wrong. IMO this functionality shouldn't be part of a client (a client should only be concerned with implementing the IRC protocol and providing an easy interface to it), but of an in-channel bot. That way the functionality is available to any client –  Martijn Mar 11 at 10:30
    
@Martijn, At most, I'd include reference information in the client, but then that pushes the application towards narrow use for a single (or small number of) systems. –  Brian S Mar 11 at 13:58
    
Good point, Martijn, probably the reason why I keep finding rpg chat-bots but no irc rpg clients. –  HeavyAl Mar 15 at 1:17

4 Answers 4

It sounds like you're not wedded to IRC at all, just the concept of a custom play-by-text RPG tool, considering you say that "Roll20 is essentially the same thing".

Roll20 is currently popular, but by no means the only example of a RPG-focused application. Most of the popular ones are stand-alone desktop clients, and yes, they do have a lot of excellent, RPG-specific functionality. The exact features vary from application to application, but may include rules helpers, game-custom die rollers, mapping tools, and the like. In general these clients are called "Virtual Tabletops" or VTTs. The two big ones that you would probably find sufficiently useful/interesting to start your investigations with are MapTool and Fantasy Grounds.

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From what I've seen, most people bake that functionality into a chatbot, therefore divorcing the functionality and making it available to any client in the room. That allows for compatibility with chatters on any OS, using any client they wish, including mobile IRC clients.

I saw a bot once, though sadly it vanished when the game died, that had a complete 3.5 character generation system built in, and stored character sheets so you could do something like "!Attack orc1 sword" and it'd calculate all the values for you. About the only thing a bot like that can't do well is display a map; it could maintain coordinates of characters, but you'd want some kind of graphical output that IRC won't do well by default.

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There have been literally dozens over the years.

I've not been able to find the ones with support for ASCII maps connections in over 10 years. (Since I use Mac, when the shift to OSX happened, most of the IRC gaming clients didn't get ported, and I stopped looking.) There was one for MacOS 8.1-9.0 that used IRC as a connection medium, and had text-based maps, built-in die-roller, and character sheet serving.

Most of the people I've seen documenting recent play via IRC are using mIRC. Darknet recommends the same.

Most people have moved to either graphical interfaces or VOIP based tools.

The only one I know of with a graphical interface overlay on IRC that's been supported recently is GRiP by QuickLink Interactive (QLI); almost all others use other server systems. QLI is no longer in operations as the proprietor, Hunter Gordon, has passed away, and the business shut down.

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This doesn't really seem to provide an answer. It just alludes that they existed somewhere, at some time... –  Jason_c_o Mar 11 at 8:43
    
The other answers at present do no better. –  aramis Mar 12 at 18:24
    
That may be true but this is still a non-answer as it doesn't provide any useful information on even how to find these clients that supposedly existed. –  Jason_c_o Mar 12 at 20:19

On Brazil, we have two tools for that: RRPG Firecast and 2ic.

Not really IRC clients, but they are indeed desktop tools. Both are really similar in functionalities but way different on visuals.

Both tools are desktop clients. They have a room directory, on which all the "tables" are listed, complete with a brief game description, a status (accepting new players, playing, etc), and GM status (GM online or not). Both have privacy support, so you can make your rooms public or private (password-protected) as needed.

Firecast is the brazillian RPG powerhouse:

  • Full support to a wide gama of systems, and can be expanded with custom character sheets and system rules, akin to Fantasy Grounds.
  • Supports tabbed conversations, so you can easily talk to your players on separeted tabs while keeping the main chat clean of out of character talks.
  • You can create folders containing maps, rich-text documents, images, characters sheets, scenes (3d tabletops) rules summaries and tons of other stuff, and associate permission levels on each item.
  • It supports a complete "Sound Table", integrated with Winamp, so you can play music for your players.
  • Features "combat minisheets", for easy reference during combat.
  • Dice Roller with ample support for various systems (d20, WoD, 3D&T, etc)
  • Free, with a few extra functionalities for about R$5 /month (about 2 dollars)
  • Emotes support.
  • In-chat pictures - you can paste a Image directly to the chat and send it like a regular message.
  • Integrated Sound System, so you can talk to your players without any other tool (like Skype or Ventrilo)
  • It can be a bit ugly if compared to Fantasy Grounds, but it slaps it's face in terms of functionality.

2ic is similar. It is not so powerfull, but way more good looking than Firecast:

  • Plain text character sheets, with a few tabs for different stuff
  • Visual HP/MP/XP/SP bars near the player portrait, so you can easily see how screwed you are.
  • NPC Avatars identical to player avatars in functionality and behavior, so you can effectivelly have "ghost players" on your table.
  • Dice Roller with ample support for various systems (d20, WoD, 3D&T, etc)
  • Basic sound system, with don't even scratches the system of Firecast.
  • Split Screen mode, on wich half of the screen is the "Adventure", and the other half is the "Out-of-character chat".
  • Action Mode, on which your message go pre-formatted when you use some markers on your text.
  • Mobile version in progress, but already avaliable in Open Beta.
  • Image Directory - Upload your images to your room, add a description and send it any time the chat with a few clicks.
  • Free, with a few extra functionalities for about R$5 /month (about 2 dollars)
  • Really good visuals for gameplay. Chat font, font size and formatting are perfect for play-by-chat gameplay.

Overall, Firecast is better to a gamist experience, were 2ic is way more narrativist. Both of them are very good, and, depending of your gaming style, can be vastly more powerfull than Roll20.

Both are on Portuguese, however.

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