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Tinker
09-15-2009, 09:36 PM
As someone who is trying to start a Fifth Age Pathfinder game on these forums. I am curious to see what other experiences are with Dragonlance Play by post games. I am already running a 3.5 PBP at another forum, and it is going well so far.

So, what are your experiences with Dragonlance PBP?

Boo
09-16-2009, 06:27 PM
I like it enough that I prefer to play PBP instead of in-person, from a DM perspective. Having all day to work on a round or a post is much better than one minute.

Tauren_Kai-Jere
09-16-2009, 10:19 PM
I'm a fan of the format as well. I've played in a few now defunct games on these boards and am still running my War of the Lance game here more then a year later. The ability to "pause" is a huge advantage as a DM, but when push comes to shove I still prefer the give and take of the tabletop.

I would advise keeping the game small. Two to seven PCs seems to work best. Anything larger then that can begin to feel cumbersome or slow depending on you and your players. Then again I don't think I'd ever be able to run a game the size of my current PBP in real life. That many people at a gaming table would be to hard to manage, I think. Patience is also key in running these kinds of games. Often times players can take days to post and combats can take weeks depending on the frequency with which your players post.

However, I love being able to go back and read exactly what happened in-game. Having that record is invaluable to a DM.

Dragonhelm
09-16-2009, 11:22 PM
I like it enough that I prefer to play PBP instead of in-person, from a DM perspective. Having all day to work on a round or a post is much better than one minute.

I agree. Plus, with a story-driven game like DL, you can really get some good dialogue.

Now, as a player, I like both formats, but I think I prefer a real life game. There's something about sitting around a table with some buds and rolling dice.

The other benefit is that you're more likely to game with the setting and game system you want, and you're more likely to find players. Problem is, you don't always know those players.


I would advise keeping the game small. Two to seven PCs seems to work best. Anything larger then that can begin to feel cumbersome or slow depending on you and your players. Then again I don't think I'd ever be able to run a game the size of my current PBP in real life. That many people at a gaming table would be to hard to manage, I think. Patience is also key in running these kinds of games. Often times players can take days to post and combats can take weeks depending on the frequency with which your players post.

A good rule of thumb, I found, is to post weekly.

I have only had one bad experience with a PBP game. There were too many players. Then the DM expected everyone to post daily. There were some other problems as well, and everyone involved was partially to blame (self included). Unfortunately, it ended in a way that wasn't good and led to some hard feelings.

However, that was one game out of several. I don't get to game in real life much at all anymore between scouts, kids, and various other real life events. The play-by-post games give me the outlet for my creativity that I seek. Plus, I get to play more character types at once rather than seeing them shelved and never played.

Currently, I play in about four play-by-post games, and I'm running one of my own based on the Magocracy alternate timeline. I'm really proud of this one. : )



However, I love being able to go back and read exactly what happened in-game. Having that record is invaluable to a DM.

Agreed.

plarfem
09-18-2009, 07:23 AM
I've been doing a Dragonlance play-by-post that has gone pretty successfully. I'd say that some things we have done that things that have made it so are, in no particular order:

1) Keep the game relatively small- I wouldn't go with more than six players, but four or five is probably better.

2) Choose a good format to host the game. We use Gmail, which technically makes it more play-by-email, but if you use Gmail, the email messages stack together in conversations, which makes it pretty convenient- this also keeps you from depending on a website, and while some players may not remember to hit a website every day, they generally check their email, so I think it helps increase the post rate.

2) Agree on a post rate beforehand, and do your best to stick with it. We have a general rule to post at least every other day, and we also say that if a player doesn't post after three days, the DM can move on, adjudicating their action for them.

3) This last one may not be possible, and may not be most people's preference, but I find it works out best if you play with people you know. I play with three different past members of a gaming group who have all moved out of town, a friend of one of these three, and a family member. It helps build the connection with the players that keep the game going.

Boo
09-18-2009, 01:22 PM
Just to make things confusing, the opposite holds if you want a fast-paced game.

I run a WotL game with a daily update. I have about nine players, and I find that seven to nine is the minimum critical mass required to keep this game constantly running on a daily basis.

Basically, I resolve the player's actions and update a DM post at around the same time every evening. If someone misses a day or even a week, it doesn't matter so much, because there will always be at least three or four people posting a day, at minimum. This keeps the game flowing, but not at such a pace that people will get lost; all they have to do after leaving for a week or two is to look at the nightly DM summary posts, which quickly summarize the player actions before moving the story onward.

When questions are where to go, I go with either the party leader or the group majority. When in combat, everyone in the party has to declare what a typical standard action would be for when that person is not able to post that evening. I.e., stand 30' away and shoot a bow, close in for melee, or do nothing (typical for a wizard) but stay close to X character. I've found this is the only way to make sure that simple random combats don't last for multiple weeks.

You're going to have to cut out most actual random encounters if you want to finish the adventure before you're grey in the hair, unless they're particularly fun random encounters. I'd also discourage too much character interaction if you find it bogs down the story, particularly if the players insist on making one post per day and dragging a conversation out.

You'll also have to find ways to cut time. Many of the smaller questions you can give to a table-top game should be glossed over in this sort of game. Like, simple questions like what inn to go to, what you would like to eat for the evening, what you'll say to the bartender, etc, should be avoided if these conversations are at one post day per statement.

I'm just saying all this because I really like to finish adventures. Having people wander off before the end is very unfulfilling to me. Going at one DM post per day and cutting out as much as I can, it's taken me two years to get to the end of Dragons of Autumn. Assuming I can handle both Dragons of Winter and Dragons of Spring at the same time, I expect it will take another two years to finish the trilogy, at six months per chapter. You can play how you like, but just keep it in the back of your mind that the more superfluous stuff you put in and the less players you have, the longer it is likely to take you to get to the truly awesome final chapters of the trilogy.

Tinker
09-19-2009, 02:19 AM
Thanks everyone, especially Boo.: )

The one I am running right now has nine players, and it has been going on since early July. We have only had one combat that did take a couple of weeks to resolve. I am thinking of doing what you said Boo and having everyone say what they will usually be doing if they can not post. Most of the time someone posts at least once a day, but it is usually more often than that.

Dragonhelm
09-19-2009, 11:57 AM
You're going to have to cut out most actual random encounters if you want to finish the adventure before you're grey in the hair, unless they're particularly fun random encounters.

Yeah, I agree with this. Play by post can be slow.



I'd also discourage too much character interaction if you find it bogs down the story, particularly if the players insist on making one post per day and dragging a conversation out.

Just don't overdo it, though. If the story is getting bogged down, move on. If it's adding a lot to the story, then let the players have at it.



You'll also have to find ways to cut time. Many of the smaller questions you can give to a table-top game should be glossed over in this sort of game. Like, simple questions like what inn to go to, what you would like to eat for the evening, what you'll say to the bartender, etc, should be avoided if these conversations are at one post day per statement.

Don't be afraid to keep the rules simple too. If the rules bog down the game, throw them out. If they add to the fun and excitement, keep going and have fun.


I'm just saying all this because I really like to finish adventures. Having people wander off before the end is very unfulfilling to me. Going at one DM post per day and cutting out as much as I can, it's taken me two years to get to the end of Dragons of Autumn. Assuming I can handle both Dragons of Winter and Dragons of Spring at the same time, I expect it will take another two years to finish the trilogy, at six months per chapter. You can play how you like, but just keep it in the back of your mind that the more superfluous stuff you put in and the less players you have, the longer it is likely to take you to get to the truly awesome final chapters of the trilogy.

I've played in a couple of versions of the Age of Mortals trilogy, and not a one has made it past Key of Destiny yet. In fact, most don't make it past the Mikku. This is why I stress pacing.

For that matter, you may go with your own original content over a printed module. With original content, you can shape it however you want. There may not be a definitive end in sight, so you don't have to feel bad if you're not getting anywhere.