# What online chat or chat-like resource will work for my closed game?

I'm designing a RP forum but when the characters have to talk to each other the game slows to a crawl.

Do you know of any online chat or chat-like resource I can use for a closed game? I am looking for a text-based chat that would allow for off-topic and on-topic talking between players to assist in speeding up our games on the forum.

I would add: That players may not know who is the player beneath the char. A chat where you enter with an alias. So that chars only know themselves as chars. Oh and text based because I would like to copy it and paste onto a website.

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Does the resource have to work asynchronously or synchronously? I.e. should it be possible for people to enter, describe their action, and leave (similar to play-by-post, asynchronous) or will players be attending all at the same time with communication being a constant back-and-forth (synchronous). – fgysin Nov 12 '14 at 13:48
Should work for both, but primarily sync – apacay Nov 12 '14 at 15:29

Since this question was originally asked, more options that might give a better solution have become available. Specifically, the Roll20 online virtual tabletop.

With Roll20 you can invite people by email address and they can play as their character while in-game. Some tools make it much easier even for new users, including irc style chat, voice chat and even video. There is also the option of bringing up the interface while attached to Google hangouts which allows even more flexibility with methods of communication, and for players who might need to come and go a lot (hangouts allows you to 'hold' a session and come back to it at will, the session is never actually deleted).

Roll20 is also a GM's best friend once you figure out the idiosyncracies of the interface. Even playing an 'adhoc' game where you don't necessarilly have all your ideas fleshed out can work well because while the players are discussing what their next move might be you can actually be creating a new screen to move them onto in the GM view.

Tokens, maps and various imagery are a cinch to add to the virtual tabletop even if you don't have any assets prebuilt. Just use the built in search tool and drag and drop the resource you want to use to the virtual tabletop.

Want some mood music to enhance your game? There's a menu for that as well. Search for something like 'dungeon' and it goes out to soundcloud and filters the music their using some built-in algorithms that check to make sure the tunes are appropriate as background without lots of crazy explosions but more of a consistent harmonious sound.

There is more to the Roll20 virtual tabletop than I can cover here but I definitely encourage anyone who needs to hold a game online to check them out.

Happy gaming!

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Just to let you know that this isn't a forum in the traditional sense, and there is no such thing as necroing. Questions can have new answers added at any point, and where the situation changes such as here, it is good practice to do so – Wibbs Mar 10 '14 at 21:01
Thanks Phil. It's funny, on one of the other StachExchange sites there is actually a badge for necroing a thread. Wasn't my intent of course, some places get really up in arms when you bring back an old post. Glad to see this isn't one of them. – HeavyAl Mar 10 '14 at 21:38
Yeah, there's the same badge here - I think it is supposed to encourage this kind of thing, not put you off of doing it – Wibbs Mar 10 '14 at 21:50
@Heavy All Stack Exchange sites share exactly the same pool of badges. There are none missing and none added between sites. – doppelgreener Mar 10 '14 at 22:16
+1 for Roll20, it's an excellent resource. The biggest downsides to R20 are limited character sheet support (many groups use another site such as myth-weavers to host character sheets) and certain limitations in the dice/macro engine that can only be overcome if the campaign was created by someone with a Mentor account ($10/mo or$100/yr) -- and overcoming them requires proficiency in JavaScript or getting help from the R20 forums. Most game systems don't need the help and the API is only adding convenience and automation, but some games are difficult to work without scripting. – Brian S Mar 10 '14 at 22:26

An IRC server would be the easiest answer. Pick a server, create a room, and have everyone connect to it with their character name as their /nick. All you need to do is denote some form of "This is how to talk OOC" (such as simply putting 'OOC' before each line), and you're good to go. You can even look into dice-rolling bots and/or a server which already has one, if you want.

I can't make any recommendations for servers off the top of my head, but I know they exist. It's even possible to host your own server if you want.

Here are some resources that may be helpful:

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mibbit.com is a free, web-based IRC client. Go to mibbit.com, select one of the servers, and create a room. The otherworlders.net server is very RPG-friendly. – Brent Newhall Dec 29 '11 at 13:46
There are probably IRC servers around with explicit /ooc commands implemented, and probably /emote commands as well. Definitely spend a day or two shopping around. – Brian S Mar 10 '14 at 22:17
My experience on IRC (mibbit specifically) tells me messages get lost after some hours or maybe some fixed numer of lines of text. Not ideal if you want to copy/paste it when you're done... unless someone is on a logging IRC software like mIRC. – Zachiel Mar 10 '14 at 22:56
@Zachiel Speaking as a former IRCOP (IRC server operator), messages are lost, server side, the instant that they are sent to other clients. – Tritium21 Nov 11 '14 at 23:00

Not sure if this is relevant but...

If you're doing DnD4e or another tactical game, it's essential to have a gameboard/tabletop in front of your players. You could use something like http://onlinetabletop.appspot.com/ or http://beta.ditzie.com/dnd but I've seen people have good success with just a Google Docs spreadsheet that everyone is viewing.

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Not all my players are Googleish like you and me. And hotmail guys seemed to have trouble with this. Nice idea though! – apacay Jul 18 '11 at 13:49

Again more/better options have become available as the internet continues to develop over time:

Traipse (I recommend the Ornery Orc distribution) is excellent for this. It not only has aliasing abilities but allows players and the GM to use different aliases at different times and change between stored aliases easily so you can, for example, have a character who starts posting as <The Voice From the Shadows>, then changes easily into <The Mysterious Stranger>, and finally <Jinn, Grandmaster Assassin>. It also allows PMs between players and the GM (and PMs between players without the GM may be disabled), various special chat functions, basic rolling stuff, a whiteboard map with optional grid, etc.

Maptool is also excellent but hard to set up. It has the advantage of supporting a massive and awesome map-board interface system, wherein things like movement and Line of Sight can be handled automatically and also includes a chat system of the nature you are looking for, but with much less flexibility than Traipse. Maptool supports macros so theoretically you could automate massive amounts of your game, and, in fact, some people do this, but it takes way more work than I find it to be worth.

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