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21

Play by mail mechanics vary immensely, to the point where there are probably as many possibilities for rules in PBEMs as there are in tabletop pen and paper RPGs. Some games use pen and paper rules sets, some use board games, others custom PBEM rules (or programs) and some no (mechanics) rules at all. What I have found from my experiences in both playing ...


19

Use Google Wave Rizzoma. Embrace multi-threaded actions. Assume competence on the players' parts. Avoid boring combats wherever possible. Have the players give commands as a group instead of individuals. Have a timeout on actions of whatever the group decides with assumed actions being whatever's "reasonable" for that time in question, absent instructions. ...


14

Oddysey. I've run several successful PBPs and several unsuccessful ones. (It's been a very long time since I did PBEM.) These are based on my own experiences only. My advice may be incoherent as I'm going off the cuff and have taken a lot of allergy meds today. I usually set up a phpBB-based forum solely for use with the PBP, rather than using an area ...


14

I run (and play in) games like this based on play by e-mail, and log the results in a wiki. The largest concern is your rules- not your game rules, but the meta-rules to govern player interaction. There are several games that I have run and played in hosted on my wiki. Most of them have game logs so you can see examples of play. Also, my general rules, ...


13

I would be very reluctant to run a game via Facebook, I've played plenty of PBEM based games and chat-based (IRC style) games but I can't see Facebook as an ideal medium for this; I'll go through the reasons why for each style: PBEM style I'd recommend looking at This Question for more details about how Play By Mail games work. Post-size limitations: ...


12

The Style of Game is typically called Play By Mail or PBM. In the UK, it was also called Play by Post, but given the US domination of the early internet, PBP came to mean posts to forums or BBSs. Play by electronic mail is usually called PBEM. There are a few games I know that are suitable. Whether they truly cross all the way into "roleplaying" is ...


12

Treat plot-based milestones as the boundary points between "sessions". Achieving a significant objective or winning a major battle, followed by an extended rest - that's a natural place to refresh everything in any case.


11

admin side The singlemost important rule of any forum is consistent moderation. Don't let someone get away with behavior X because they're your buddy. It's also useful to identify the status of copyright on the board: do you as board owner assert text contributed is: copyright the poster copyright the board (which may not be legal in some places) all ...


10

One thing that's really helpful for asynchronous online gaming is a system that allows players to (tentatively) take ownership of the entire world, not just their own character. If there's going to be a lag between player post and GM response, a system with a focus on collaborative storytelling that allows the player to write a paragraph detailing an entire ...


10

Don't force them into it. If you do that they'll have even less interest than they did when they bailed the first time. Offer to start it up and invite everyone, but make sure there's no pressure to join. Run it for the players that still have interest and replace the losses with new players. I say this because I'm of the opinion that some PCs are lost ...


9

It sounds like Obsidian Portal might suit your needs. If you take a look at the features list on the signup page: Free to use GM can have secret pages The wiki can be public or private No mention of page or user limits Site hosted by Obsidian Portal and is out-of-the-box Maps and images can be uploaded Special map-handling tools included NPC and PC ...


9

The best experience of playing over the internet is done through the combination of a voice chat program and a virtual tabletop. A virtual tabletop program is a specialized whiteboard software that allows the sharing of images, text chatting, and dice rolling. Typically they allows smaller images, known as tokens, to be placed on a shared image, and many ...


8

The most important thing you must do is keep the games active - even before anyone else starts! It might mean that you have to have 2 or 3 NPCs that post regularly. Without some activity, no amount of promotion will get players to join in on a dead board. It might seem odd for them to join in part-way through an adventure but PBP can get away with that. ...


7

Here are some ideas: Bring in a new, enthusiastic member. New blood can kickstart anything. Get them to pledge commitments. Ask everyone (publicly) how much time they can commit to the game every week, and ask them to keep to it. Bribe them. Offer a cool magic item or other appropriate boon to each player who meets a certain time commitment for a ...


7

Code of Unaris was specifically designed to be played in chat across the internet. The rules even incorporate the ability of one player to "hack" the GM's typed messages by replacing single words under certain conditions. I don't think it's easy to get anymore, but you might find it around.


7

My wife and I play one-on-one on a somewhat erratic schedule. Sometimes we do two "sessions" in a day, sometimes a "session" is a few scenes we squeeze in here and there over the course of three days. Our solution is pretty simple: the boundary between "sessions" is determined by the fiction. A "session" is done when you've resolved whatever feels like a ...


6

I ran a PBeM game for several years, and have done a number of successful and "failed" with others. I've only done free-form this way, though. (I call it "Collaborative Fiction" when talking to non-nerds.) One of the keys to keep things going is to be continually recruiting. New blood keeps things alive. For a free-form PBeM, I'd suggest at least 6 players ...


6

It's important to note whether or not the campaign has stalled as the result of life issues or disinterest with the campaign itself. These can lead to completely different suggestions. But here are a few generic suggestions: Campaign reboot with new characters: As has been suggested, start over at a point further ahead in time, with as little or as much ...


6

4e works quite well over Google Wave. The RPG-Bones applet has a very acceptable interface for a battlemap. Trust your players. Don't worry about cheating. Just agree on what level of die roll honesty the group wants at the start of the game. My preference is: "You may always choose to fail any roll" but some groups may choose to play "just call them as ...


6

Absolutely. Diaspora is a Fate based system. Fate is "rule lite," story oriented, and uses minimal dice (called "FUDGE" dice) and character statistics. That makes it uniquely suited to online play. While there are still dice involved, the game does not revolve around your dice rolls and pure chance. D&D, Shadowrun, and other games that follow a more ...


5

Kazekami Kyoko Kills Kublai Khan is specifically designed for asynchronous online play. S/lay w/Me may also work. Personally, the lack of nonverbal communication in online play kills most "story" games for me. Conversely, D&D 4E, using appropriate tools, keeps the same feel online it's got offline (a very boardgamey feel, that is). Some friends of mine ...


5

One way is to move the timeline of the game forward to the cusp of something amazing happening, so the change of vibe at the table is mirrored by a change in the game itself. Change the world, kick it in the teeth in a way that gives the PC's and NPC's entirely new contexts but still leaves them with plenty to do.


5

We tried this type of game over a BBS, way long ago, and it was challenging, to say the least. Now, you may not mean the slow-turn-around time that is BBS playing, but here are the problems that stick to memory anyways: The biggest challenge is the system's dependence on dice rolls for determining action results. Your best bet is to minimize the use of ...


5

I've tried to run a campaign via IRC, but it didn't work well. Players can be easily distracted and you don't even know until you notice they are lagging. They are also more prone not to take it seriously, not showing up at all. Finally, they can experience technical difficulties. I wouldn't ever consider it again unless I've really got no other option. ...


5

Whoo, boy. I need to give a disclaimer first off: this is definitely self-advertising, although I swear I'm just trying to be helpful. :) I love IRC roleplaying, specifically because it (with the right group) allows you to create much more vibrant, detailed stories than you can in-person. You can write at your own pace, and the game is only as immediate ...


5

There are several places in the rules where they defer to "social initiative", which is just "whoever speaks up first". I point this out because this is incompatible with play-by-post, so looking for these cases and considering how to manage them differently will help the game go smoothly. In particular, the space combat minigame uses social initiative. ...


5

Considering that the conversion/migration from www.avidgamers.com was to a subdomain of the original domain to ag2.avidgamers.com... it wasn't much of a migration. It's been 5 years... everything went dark in 2007. From the few posts I've read where people were asking about the site and where it went/why it went down, there doesn't appear to be any single ...


5

I think this is a bad idea only if you create a profile for your character. Facebook don't like you doing this; here's an article about some roleplayers who have been burned by Facebook when their accounts were closed down. It includes some helpful hints if you decide to go that way anyway. But as long as you use your own personal profile, it might work. ...


5

The Paizo forums have a large and very active PbP community. Quality varies, and by far the majority of games are Pathfinder, but there are other systems in use (I'm in a Shadowrun 4 game, for instance) and there are definitely some really good posters there. The forums also support: In-post dice rolling, with the ability to preview your rolls before ...


4

You should consider looking at Star Thugs. It has alternate rules specifically for e-mail games.



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