Author Topic: Play-By-Post Handbook (questions and suggestions here)  (Read 2632 times)

Offline AfterCrescent

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Play-By-Post Handbook (questions and suggestions here)
« on: July 18, 2012, 10:53:29 PM »
Hello! :D  Welcome to the Play-by-Post (PbP) forum here.

You may be wondering what exactly PbP is, well this thread should answer that and many other questions you may come up with. If for some reason, your question is not answered in the handbook, please post it here. Odds are it will be answered by a mod or one of the GMs currently running a game.

Now on to the good stuff! PbP is similar to your normal table-top game, only instead of sitting around a table playing, you post online. There are a number of benefits to this form of playing table-top games. You are given plenty of time to think through your actions, so if you are not the most social person but your character is, you have time to think what a charismatic person might come up with. You also get to play with people all over the world. Also, because we here at BG love all types of gaming, there's no system restriction, so maybe you've always wanted to play that one system but no one you know would learn it. Well play it here! :cool

Everything sounds great, right? Well it is, for the most part. There is one minor drawback about PbP when compared to traditional table-top games, and that is time. PbP moves at a much slower pace because not everyone is online at the same time. This is especially true when playing with people from all over the world. The game is constantly running, 24/7, but it moves at a much slower pace. Don't lose heart though, PbP are amazingly fun once you get going. ;)

Remember the only rule we have here is - Don't be a douchebag!



Okay, so now you've gotten a rough idea of what a PbP is, but you may be wondering how to play in one. The most important thing to remember is to always use details. The more detail you put into the game, the more fun you'll have. For example:

Bad - John eats his breakfast.
Good - After waking up with a massive hang-over, it takes John almost twenty minutes to roll himself out of the bed and downstairs. As he pulls a chair up to the table with the rest of the party, he lets out a grumble before grabbing for his bowl of gruel and hastily scarfing it down.

Here's a little generic guideline, although different GMs may prefer posting in a different method.
Use normal text to explain what your character does.
Speak in color. Choose whichever one fits your character best.
Think in italics.
<<Use double arrows for telepathy and/or thought>>
(click to show/hide)

One of the best features that we have here is that with each game, the GM becomes a mod for that particular mini-forum. He or she can choose to have one thread for character sheets, one for in-game discussion, one for out of game discussion, and even a thread for spectators to comment on what's going on. Whatever your game needs, you'll be able to set it up in your little private forum.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 10:44:33 AM by AfterCrescent »
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Offline AfterCrescent

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Re: Play-By-Post Handbook
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2012, 10:53:42 PM »
FAQ

1. I want to play in a game, what do I do?
Well after reading this handbook, go to the Play by Post area and look for new games starting up soon. Hopefully you'll find one you are interested in. If not, try again in a day or two and see what's new. Then post in the thread, saying you are interested. If the GM wants you to submit a character, start building. If not, wait and see if you are selected. Make sure to keep up to date and remember what you applied for. ;)

2. How do I roll dice for PbP?
These boards have their own dice roller built in. Check out Prime32's explanation here. This post also lists alternative, off-site rollers.

3. How do I make links to my dice rolls?
Prime32's post above explains everything for the on-site roller. If you, for some reason need to use an off-site roller and link to that, I've included an explanation on how to do that spoiled below:
(click to show/hide)

4. What do I do if my GM disappears?
Hopefully this does not happen. If a GM starts a game, it is usually for the long hall. Also, if for some real life reason the GM is not able to continue, we hope he or she can find a replacement GM. However, if for some reason you join a game that starts and the GM does disappear, there is not a lot we can do for you. If this happens, wait a couple days to make sure he or she has actually disappeared. If so, consider attempting to recruit a new GM.  When all else fails, let Prime32 know in this thread that the game is officially retired.

5. What do I do if my player disappears?
Much like the above issue, we hope this does not happen. However, if it does, please wait a few days and attempt to contact the player to make sure he or she has actually just disappeared. Hopefully, if for some reason they are not having fun, they will give you warning. Either way, when this happens, post in the Open Game Advertisement thread. Then you will hopefully be able to recruit a replacement player.

6. I'm not at home with my books, but I want to make a character to submit for a game. Is there any way I can do this?
Yes. Depending on the system you are running, there may be an online source for information. System Reference Documents exist for D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder. There are also numerous boards here where people are always willing to help you work on a build, and the famous Handbooks subsection with prewritten guides.

7. I keep hearing about this "Point Buy" thing. What is it?
Point buy is a system of stat generation for d20 systems like D&D. All stats start out at 8, and you pay a certain number of "points" to increase the stat to what you want. The most popular point total is 32.
A 08 costs you... 00 points
A 09 costs you... 01 points
A 10 costs you... 02 points
A 11 costs you... 03 points
A 12 costs you... 04 points
A 13 costs you... 05 points
A 14 costs you... 06 points
A 15 costs you... 08 points
A 16 costs you... 10 points
A 17 costs you... 13 points
A 18 costs you... 16 points

Pathfinder uses a different set of costs, which can be found here.

8. Who is in charge of this forum?
The Brilliant people at Brilliant Gameologists, of course. Prime32's moderating most of this area, from what I can tell.  So let's all thank him for all his help.  And of course you all are! This is a community forum for the community and without you all, it doesn't work. So voice your questions/concerns/suggestions here!
« Last Edit: August 09, 2012, 11:09:17 PM by AfterCrescent »
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Offline AfterCrescent

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Re: Play-By-Post Handbook
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2012, 10:53:48 PM »
I want to run a game. What do I do?

Good question. Anyone here can run a game. And more importantly, you don't need anyone's permission to do so. You are the community, after all. But I figured I'd come up with some suggestions to help everything run smoothly.

First off, please be certain you are in it for the long haul. Like I mentioned above, PbP can move slowly at some times, so be ready to accept that and still strive to make it fun, because it can be.  If you aren't going to stick around, please don't start a thread and get people's hopes up. Remember the Don't be a Douchebag rule. :D

Assuming you're fine with all of that, the first thing to do is start a Pregame/Setup thread.  For consistency, please put the system you are playing in brackets at the beginning, followed by the game name and something like pregame/setup thread. Examples:
[Shadowrun] Age of the Beast - Pregame Thread
[D&D 3.5] The Lost Years - Setup Thread

Inside your thread you'll want to layout a few things for prospective players...
1. Describe the background, either of the story or of the world, if it's a homebrew setting. Or both, really. Give your game a hook, a feel, something that will attract players and make them want to play.
2. State any houserules that will be in effect. This really helps players not upset when something they expected doesn't worth quite that way in your world.
3. Decide if you want full characters, just backgrounds, or just a show of hands of who wants in. Let the players know so they don't do too much work if you're not even going to look at it.
4. It's fine if you don't know when you first start, but whenever you decide the cutoff date for selecting players, put that in the first post so people know.

Once you pass that cutoff date, select your characters. Feel free to continue to use the setup thread to develop backgrounds, fix any errors, or otherwise plan/discuss your campaign. Once you are ready to play, make a post in the Board Requests thread.

In this thread, make one post, and use this format for simplicity:

Name of Game: *insert name*
GM(s): *insert your name*
Players: *list names*

We can also provide you with subforums within your game forum (which may in turn have subforums, and so on). If you have something large-scale and feel you need this kind of structure, the following format is suggested.
Name of Game: *insert name*
GM(s): *insert your name*
Players: *list names*
Subforums: *list subforums*

Subforum Name: *insert name*
GM(s): *list only if different from parent, mod rights are not inherited*
Description: *insert description to appear under board name, can be left blank*

Once you do this, we will set you up with your own mini-forum and give you mod power over it. Once your game has picked up and is ready, Prime32, or whoever establishes your subforums will lock the pregame thread. It will sink to the bottom of the forum and be available for reference, but immune to thread necromancy.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 11:17:14 PM by AfterCrescent »
Clerics just wake up one morning and decide they need to kick ass, and it needs to be kicked NOW. ~veekie

Offline AfterCrescent

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Re: Play-By-Post Handbook
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2012, 10:54:08 PM »
Last but not least. Are you looking for a place to put your character sheet? Well look no further. You can use any online site like Myth-weavers or copy any of the character sheets from the Character Sheet Template thread.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 11:20:59 PM by AfterCrescent »
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Offline AfterCrescent

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PbP Questions & Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2012, 11:11:59 PM »
I'll have the handbook for PbP up soon, as requested by Prime32.  This thread should serve as a general Q&A and comment/suggestion area for the mods in reference to this PbP subforum.

Feel free to express your thoughts, concerns, and any questions you may have.
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Offline zugschef

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Re: PbP Questions & Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2012, 11:13:19 PM »
great idea for a handbook! :clap

Offline Prime32

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Re: PbP Questions & Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2012, 11:06:24 AM »
There's already a lot of stickied threads. Could be easier to put suggestions/Q&A in the Handbook thread, since that thread could attract questions anyway.

Offline AfterCrescent

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Re: PbP Questions & Suggestions
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2012, 02:49:49 PM »
That works fine. Can you merge the two threads? I just mirrored what we had on BG back in the day. Having the Handbook be Q&A works, too. :)
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Offline Jackinthegreen

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Re: Play-By-Post Handbook (questions and suggestions here)
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2012, 08:44:46 AM »
One of the suggestions I have is that, while detail can be nice, there is such a thing as too much detail.  An example of too much detail might include a long paragraph describing only a few actions, such as if there were an entire paragraph about John getting his breakfast instead of those two sentences.  Readers will start to get a case of "Too Long; Didn't Read" and just start skimming for the really important bits.  I'm reminded of the Lord of the Rings books as being long-winded, which might work fine for books but in Play-by-Post is probably something to avoid.

It bears mentioning that we're all not masters of the English language, but a certain degree of fluency helps greatly when posting.  "Txt tlk" should be avoided in PbP because most people believe it cheapens the whole experience and makes it more difficult to understand the poster.  Likewise, posting sentences that don't start with capital letters or end with appropriate punctuation tends to make the text more difficult to understand.  These posts are meant to tell a story after all and should probably have more formal writing instead of the casual conversational style most post with on forums.