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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

meh...general whatever

I think I'm getting my head wrapped around Play By Post. I've just started a game up at Vin's Trollbridge (had the last few days off to work on stuff...). It's primitive, and I'm wondering if all of the five players are going to 'show-up', but I think that running this is going to be a blast.

Oddly enough (!), playing more has cut into 'blog-time'...

The pace of online gaming is still a little rough for me but I'm getting used to it.I'm playing in a Warhammer FRP PBP and a couple of the players are in Israel, so there's next to no chance that we'll be online at the same I don't have expectations of 'instant-action' or something...

This mode of gaming lends itself well to 'parlour-games', more abstract gimcrackery, woodshedding, strategy games. Thinking about the Play-by-Mail model - which I admittedly have never done, just read about it...I think it would be really interesting to run a sandbox game where every player<->GM channel had its own thread - or an approach that considered threads calving and merging a trivial thing.

I've been thinking about ways to deal with the absence of players. My inclination is to post up a table like this and let the players know that I'll run them as NPCs if I need to to progress the game. What player would want that? The DM is not to be trusted!

Cue Random Tables! It's just like AI!

Based on what kind of situation the characters are in, the actions of a character-sans-player are 'determined' by a die roll...

1Stumbles and falls down (momentarily helpless)
2Decides to change weapons then changes mind (no action)
3Moves to defend ally
4Attacks nearest opponent/Casts sub-optimal spell
5Attacks random opponent in reach or moves to nearest opponent/Casts optimal spell
6Goes Berserk

1Says something really insulting and wont retract it
2Tangential mouth-mush leaves people confused and suspicious
3Mumbles and grunts at some appropriate places
4Doesn't say much
5Lends good support to own or party's goal/agenda
6Steals the show, very convincing arguments for own goal/agenda - may try to cast an 'appropriate' spell toward this end
*"own goal" meaning maybe the GM's interpretation...

1Gripped my 2 minute choking and coughing fit (very noisy, takes no actions)
2Lazy (-1 search or stealth or whatever negative modification os appropriate)
5Is double-checking already explored areas/normally stealthy
6Is searching (and finds 10 gp!)/sneaking at +1 (or whatever)

ha ha! wouldn't that be cute!


Timeshadows said...

I think it is a great idea.
Too bad the table is cut-off on my screen. :(

Ragnorakk said...

I was worried about that - my html is pretty could be a fun DM toy - I can just imagine players being lass sanguine...

Timeshadows said...

The table cells did the trick. Thanks.

Vedron said...

I've been playing online PBP games for some time now.

One of my fondest was running a 1E game in the frozen north (a homebrew Blackmoor based on the World of Greyhawk boxed set). I utilized the idea of having a seperate thread for each player, at least until they linked up. I even made use of some clever DM-fu impersonation tricks to make PCs look like NPCs to the other players and vice versa from time to time, so players were never quite sure if that lantern light down the dungeon hall was another PC-party, some NPCs, or some sort of monster.

It worked pretty well, but due to being deployed and having limited connectivity I decided I needed to focus on family so I pulled the plug. One of the advantages of the online format is that it allows for private, individual communication, so if you are willing to put in the time as GM, you can really engage in a lot of active side-questing or paranoia-generating.

Ragnorakk said...

yeah - this is alot the lines I am hoping to explore with it - so far, only 3 players have showed up...
one thing about Tunnels and Trolls is that a lot of its players are used to solo modules, so (I assume) the 'culture' might be already predisposed to these sorts of one-on-one channels...
we'll see how this goes...