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Thread: Advices on how to play online

  1. #1
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    Advices on how to play online

    With time passing, the friends forming my gaming group are spreading more and more apart across the country and abroad, babies are appearing, weddings occur... All in all, it means that gathering for our RPG sessions has become increasingly difficult in the last years, to the point that we manage now only a few one-shot adventures per year.

    So we eventually considered starting an online RPG, by mail or forum (we have not decided yet). None of us has played like this before, me being the only one with some experience, that experience being the few stillborn games we started on this forum and that never went very far (and by the way, I know we are supposed to be starting another one sometimes and I haven't forgotten I'm expected to complete my character and species write-up ).

    I wanted to ask for some advice from those here who have already played online, especially whether there are some "good" or "bad" practices, guidelines, pitfalls, and so on.

    I thank in advance for any useful advice or link

    (and resume working on my character for our on-forum game)
    "The main difference between Trekkies and Manchester United fans is that Trekkies never trashed a train carriage. So why are the Trekkies the social outcasts?"
    Terry Pratchett

  2. #2
    First, toss everything you know about pacing. Play-by-post / play-by mail games tend to consist of long periods of low posting rates, punctuated by short periods of frenetic activity. Frame your scenes with as much detail as would be readily apparent to the PCs, give the players the information (and freedom to improvise somewhat) they need to portray their characters as the competent people they are. To effectively maintain dramatic tension, develop your scenes as if they were chapters in a book. Don't let a failed die roll kill the scene. Failure needs to be as interesting as success. In order to keep your players interested, the novel that is your adventure needs to be a page turner. Boredom tends to kill games quickly, as does too heavy a posting commitment unless all your players type a hundred words per minute and are already gifted writers.
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  3. #3
    Have you considered playing through irc or msn?
    Portfolio | Blog Currently Running: Call of Cthulhu, Star Trek GUMSHOE Currently Playing: DramaSystem, Swords & Wizardry

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Tatterdemalion King View Post
    Have you considered playing through irc or msn?
    Yes we did, but that's a no. We have very different time tables, including one of us who is one ocean away, and managing to schedule an IRC session would be marginally less difficult as meeting in person.

    Thanks for the good advice, RaconteurX
    "The main difference between Trekkies and Manchester United fans is that Trekkies never trashed a train carriage. So why are the Trekkies the social outcasts?"
    Terry Pratchett

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Ohio
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    462
    Hey C5,

    I have a couple things to add to RaconteurX's suggestions:

    1. Open your game up to internet players. I say this because my table-top game of 10 years running came to an end when I moved away. I tried to hold the group together via a Play-by-Post game. I set up my own web forums, made every convenience possible, but noen of my players stuck around for it. Instead, I have had an 'online table' of players that has been around now for 5 years - people I have never met before face to face.
    2. As narrator, it is 100% up to you to keep momentum. You have to monitor how much you leave open to free play or interaction. Your game will stagnate and then players will drop off. You must give them rich descriptions of scenes and sometimes assume actions or thoughts - not to drive the characters for the players, but to keep the game moving.

      Here is an example: The Company rides into town and sees what appears to be the local inn and gathering room. Without hesitation, the companions direct their mounts into the stabling yard. Moments later they stand within the smoke-filled common room of the Greenbrier Tavern...

      The thing not to do is: The Company rides into town and see what appears to be the local inn and gathering room. What do you guys want to do?

      The second example will bog down your game because of waiting for people to post the mundane and the players can get out of step with each other based on their individual pace of game play.
    3. Lastly I invite you over to my forums to see the games we have been running. You may be able to get some ideas of site setup, available utilities (i.e. dice rollers, character sheets, etc.), and you can read some of the postings to see how the narrators drive their games. My game board has been going now since 2003 and there is a lot of stuff there that shows how I evolved my PbP game to keep players coming back. See my signature below for the link to my forum.


    Nuff said... (although I might come back if another suggestion comes to mind.
    Last edited by Tomcat; 02-21-2008 at 09:14 AM.

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  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Thanks for your advice as well, Tomcat. I sure will browse your site

    BTW, I won't be the GM of this game, but I intend to transmit all these good advices to the friend who will be (or show him this topic).
    "The main difference between Trekkies and Manchester United fans is that Trekkies never trashed a train carriage. So why are the Trekkies the social outcasts?"
    Terry Pratchett

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