Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

PbEM forum?

Started by Mandacaru, March 04, 2005, 05:35:16 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


With reference to a thread on PbEM...

T'oma's initial uncertainty as to where to post this, Keith's suggestion that PbEM is an area worthy of specific discussion, and my own desire for a specific place to discuss the PbEM side of roleplaying, lead me to the conclusion that a specific forum for PbEM's would be a good idea.

I would suggest PbEM Theory and Practice as a suitable name because, as Keith says, I think it is sufficiently underdeveloped that it would require theory and practice in the same place.

I hope I'm not stomping on protocol here - if so, apologies. But I think a number of issues do crop up from this thread. For example, how to pace it? How to cater for disparate visions? How to take advantage of being able to run different threads at the same time, but what to do when they finish at different times or are running out of IG chronological synch? How to avoid players having to narrate different possible outcomes of contests? I could go on...

Does this idea make sense? Meet with approval?




I am not a moderator, but I have immediate thoughts and a question.

Is this in the interest of giving people mental tools for writing and publishing independent games that are specifically crafted to be workable in PbEM?

Because if it's just "Well, this is a roleplaying site and PbEM is roleplaying" then I'd lend it my hearty disapproval.  But if it's in order to open up a new line of discussion and theory with the intent of selling new types of games... that'd be sort of neat.  Probably not worth its own forum right now, but neat to think about long-term.

What I'd really like to see, personally, is some games designed for PbEM being created and refined in the Indie Game Design forum.  If a community of designers actually trying to tackle these problems were to materialize, that's the kind of justification that would sell such a forum to me.
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum


Hi Tony.

You didn't leave me with the third option. I personally am not interested in designing or publishing games and I confess that your response unnerves me slightly. I had thought that one of the main aims of the Forge was to get people playing these independent games and trying out all the great ideas on the site, in my case in HQ.  

The second option, "Well, this is a roleplaying site and PbEM is roleplaying" would be much too simplistic an interpretation. It's the Forge, not "a roleplaying site" - I can't see where else to discuss ideas I get from here, but don't see any of the fora as particularly suitable. I think there are real differences in a bunch of areas with PbEM's and would like a forum to discuss them or watch other people do so.

If, as Keith suggested, PbEM is greatly underdeveloped, then to me a dedicated place to discuss the specific issues would ultimately inform all the different areas - theoretical, actual play, game design etctera. Wouldn't discussing it in game design be premature if the specifics have not been discussed?


Ron Edwards

Hi Sam,

Don't be alarmed. Tony's not moderating you, just throwin' his hat into the discussion ring.

The way it works now, is that people can discuss PbEM play just like they can discuss tabletop (or LARP, or whatever) here at the Forge. If it's about play, it goes into Actual Play; if it's about how-it-works, it goes into Theory; etc.

I'm thinking that a lot of people are worried that the medium excludes it from basic Forge discussion, but that concern is not necessary. Certainly the medium offers difficulties, and I haven't yet seen a description of PbEM play which offers any unique advantages (beyond long-distance play), but those are great topics for discussion, not reasons why they can't be discussed.

That's how it currently works, but I'm also interested in others' views about your idea and whatever might come of a discussion here. I tend not to get deeply into debate in this forum, but Clinton and I do take the ideas seriously. You tossed one up, Tony added his perspective, and let's just let everyone else do the same. No need to defend the original notion or to feel that it's being shot down.


M. J. Young

A new forum specifically for PbEM strikes me as odd.

My feeling overall is that the creation of a new forum means segregating a topic because it is so different from what is generally discussed here that it needs to be isolated. That in turn means that posters would be in a position to decide whether to invest time in whatever the subject of the new forum is.

I don't really see those differences in relation to PbEM. In fact, it's not that different, in my experience, from Play-by-post (I run a major forum game), and it has many things in common with chatroom play. The actual game theory isn't going to vary that much, although expression of it may shift a bit. Play techniques are easily addressed in Actual Play, I would think, if you post what is happening in the game and ask advice on how to address it within that format.

I think that a forum for PbEM would do more to ghettoize the area than to encourage it. I'm sure I wouldn't add such a forum to my already overly long daily to-do list, in part because you're talking about scrambling things considered discrete areas in Forge thinking (e.g., theory and actual play) into one forum, and I would not want the effort of sorting through which threads are in areas in which I have an interest and which are not.

Now, if you thought there was a significant group of gamers who are not interested in RPG theory or general Actual Play who would be interested in both specifically in connection with PbEM, that might be a favorable argument; but I think that argument leads to separate forums for IRC/Chatroom, Play-by-Post, MUSH/MUD/MUX, MMORPG, and LARP, all of which are successfully integrated into the main forums at present, so I don't see why PbEM should be pulled from them.

If your concern is that the PbEM threads won't find their audience, put [PBEM] in the title and people will find it.

--M. J. Young


Quote from: M. J. YoungA new forum specifically for PbEM strikes me as odd.
My feeling overall is that the creation of a new forum means segregating a topic because it is so different from what is generally discussed here <snip> but I think that argument leads to separate forums for IRC/Chatroom, Play-by-Post, MUSH/MUD/MUX, MMORPG, and LARP, all of which are successfully integrated into the main forums at present, so I don't see why PbEM should be pulled from them--M. J. Young

My initial Post (which started this Topic) was labeled 'PbEM' simply because I had no other Name to put to it:  My point was that 'Electronic Non-Personal' (by whatever name)  RPing is Suprisingly Different in execution and numinous 'feel' than TableTop.  The differences IMO are Greater from TableTop than even LaRPing (which most TableTop has moved through or around at some point) and I (for one) certainly _do_ feel that Larping deserves an Analysis of its defining characteristics vice Tabletop (In fact:  I personally believe so strongly this that it is my opinion the GNS theory needs to be expanded to include a Fourth Principle: Kinesthetic).  
    Electronic Non-Personal RP may indeed have been thoroughly examined in the main forums: I couldn't find 'em.  I feel those seperate threads should be Linked, perhaps into this thread, as an Addendum or Index (whatever).  
    There are obviously many areas that the Three Styles (TT, LaRP, PBeM) overlap in , and those shared characteristics should be in General Theory (or wherever).  There are, however,  -certainly- Distinct characteristics for Each:  Do those not deserve to be examined  as distinct and seperate entities?

It would certainly Help Me!
YuMe MiRu MoNo TaCHi MiNa SuKuWaReRu


For what it's worth, the Forge forums already support a wide variety of totally different games.  For example, we've had people talking about LARPs, CCGs and miniatures games right alongside RPGs in all of the different topics.  I wouldn't be surprised to find a few threads discussing board games if you looked hard enough.  While games using electronic media certainly differ from traditional games, I don't think they need a special topic any more than CCGs need one separate from RPGs.  In fact, I think a PBeM RPG has more in common with another RPG than with a CCG.

One thing you might consider doing to help encourage discussion of PBeM games is to keep a list of bookmarks to threads that discuss those issues.  That way, the next time someone comes up with a question that's already been addressed, or that might benefit from historical context, you'll have the list on hand and ready to give out.  I'm not sure what method Ron uses to keep track of things, but he frequently replies to people with a list of old threads that have bearing on old issues.
Justin Dagna
President, Technicraft Design.  Creator, Pax Draconis


Might I also suggest you check out [indie-netgaming]? They have a Yahoo group, and chat all the time over IRC. Alot of Forge folks hang out there (I do on occasion), and if you feel that electronic-whatever RP'ing isn't getting the attention it deserves here, the indie-netgaming might be a good place to discuss electronic RP'ing specific issues.
--Timothy Walters Kleinert

Trevis Martin

There was this thread from a few months ago

Asynchronus Roleplay

I'd be interested in this discussion as my current game design Revisionist History is aiming at this sort of play.  On top of that I'm a member of indie netgaming, A participant in an online Sorcerer Game on and host to now two incarnations of The Universalis Arena on my wiki.

I don't think it needs a seperate forum though.  It  goes just fine in actual play (though these games seldom get reported.) or in RPG theory.  I'd be willing to host a specific spot on my own forum for the topic if it proves to be something that needs its own home.  I've just started hosting a forum and wiki for the indie-netgaming group as well, so there are people around there to discuss with if you need it.  The links to my site are in the sig.