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Author Topic: A play by post role playing system, first thoughts.  (Read 2124 times)

Posts: 59

« on: April 16, 2010, 12:29:48 PM »

I'm looking to design a general system that would work with nearly any play by post role playing game, one that would be able to work in any basic forum such as this one, I have some ideas but find it hard to get a good balance of rules-heavy vs rules-light, and all other shorts of challenges unique to a play by post role play system as opposed to a table top role playing games.

My main problems so far are;

Character Advancement: Experience points wouldn't work, too complecated, for now I'm thinking of rewarding a number of skill points to be spent as desired, and occasionally give boosts to attributes, though they wouldn't be able to choose which attribute to increase. I'm also thinking of putting in a optional rank system but it would be less levels and more... arbitrary I guess would be the right word, more like a general rating of their power, maybe something like E-A with S & SS above it. Any ideas?

Gm vs Gm-less: With GMs the quality is so much better and the chance of godmodding is lowered, however GMless is faster and seems to be the prefered method, so far I'm thinking I'll make both an option.

More to come later, for now I just want to post this.
Warrior Monk

Posts: 85

« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 02:26:14 PM »

I played once with a system as complex as D&D on a forum programmed with a dice roller utility. Complex system was good as long as it was managed by the GM, so I would recommend to keep it quite simple. Perhaps fudge like, or even rissus if you feel like it. If yout game goes to a narrativist audience, gmless would be ok, since it's gonna be a lot less of work for a single person. Try a forum with a dice utility and perhaps give people a bonus for each 100 in game posts (things like that could be programmed on the page) Gmless is default but you can have a few topics for campaigns with a gm.

Posts: 3

« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2010, 09:54:13 AM »


My primary method of gaming has been play-by-post for quite some time now. Experience can work, but as you said, it is pretty complex. What I've started doing is what I call "Stages" or essentially, chapters of a story.

The basic premise is that every time the players complete a portion of the story or perform a key event, they all gain a level. It is simple and easy to explain. Plus it works pretty well in most play-by-post games.

Jeff Russell

Posts: 44

« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2010, 02:51:28 AM »


   I'm playing in a home-brewed play by post game right now, but we're taking a slightly different tack. Basically the game is a standard table top RPG, and we just use the posts for the communication. The level of complexity is the same as a non-post game, and I'd rate at somewhere around R. Talsorian's old Fuzion system (a fair amount of crunch, but pretty smooth). Here are some of my observations on it:

1) The game happens in slow-motion. This could be alleviated by aggressive posting time guidelines, but that takes a dig at why most of us are playing by post anyhow: life gets in the way of having the sessions we want
2) The occasional live chat is good for important scenes, though again, coordinating across timezones and different work schedules is tough
3) We have a GM and it works pretty well. Most individual roleplaying is done via private message with him, and then those private messages are collected and posted for everybody to see. This works out okay, because so far it's more of an 'ensemble cast' than an a party
4) Having a wiki for the game helps a lot. Our wiki has the rules and the character sheets/descriptions posted to it, as well as pages for locations and major NPCs. The workload for setting creation is partially farmed out to the players, as is the load of updating the relevant wiki pages
5) Depending on the level of competitiveness you plan on playing with, online dice rollers are good, but this is another case where an old-school impartial referee role for the GM comes in handy - he just rolls the appropriate dice when they come up, and we trust his results (this has the hazard of illusionism of course, and it's sad not to roll dice, but overall it works out)

That's all I have that I can think of. My main point is that while a custom-built 'play by post system' might speed things up some (especially if you come up with good rules about what players can contribute to the fiction in a given post), playing  a more traditional system works out fine, if a bit slow.

Jeff Russell

Jeff Russell
Blessings of the Dice Gods - My Game Design Blog and home to my first game, The Book of Threes
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