Howto Play by Post Any RPG on Google+

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The most common thing I get asked when starting to run a new role-playing game online is how does Play by Post work. Here is a break down of how I run AD&D (1e/2e/OSRIC) games with Google+.

First, what is play-by-post. Play-by-post PbP is a game run by posting situations and then allowing for players to respond to them. It’s not the fastest way to play, and the waiting sometimes sucks; I have to make sure everyone has a chance to contribute before rolling out the next part of the story. But where it works really really good is for people who are across the globe in different timezones and on different schedules. A single area could take a few hours to a few days to complete – but everyone has the opportunity to contribute without having to rush to be online.

Google plus is a little different than forum play, here’s how I setup my games…

Private Group

I always create an invite only Google+ group. This allows for me to control who joins and participates in the game. Added bonus you can ban and remove players if you need to.
Groups also give you the ability to message everyone in the group at once as well as categorize posts to control the madness of a 100,000 posts.
Typically I create the following categories:

Discussion

This is a general are for players to ask questions, post off topic items and just be people in a gaming group.

Area

The area is where I post descriptions of locations within the game. Just as with an adventure having area identifiers (Area 21) so to are their areas post as PCs discover them. As the progress from area to area, I make sure to include a brief recount of what happened up to that point so everyone is on the same page as we start the new area.

Combat

Every area has a corresponding combat discussion or two. Keeps the rolls and roll results for each combat round clear. At the end of one round typically I post a link to the new combat thread to start the next  round fresh. On the follow up round, I make sure to include a brief recount of what happened up to that point so everyone is on the same page as we start the next combat round.

NPCs

During the course of all games there are Non-player Characters that come into the game to push the story forward and provide more clues. Each of these NPCs get their own discussion topic. Players can ask questions directly to the NPC in each NPCs topic.

Links

Typically links to dice rollers or character sheets.

Character Reference

Each player character has a post describing their back story and a little about their PC.

Suggestions

A place for PCs to post ideas on how to improve the game.

Video Overview

Example of the above in action

The party has just entered a large cave complex; a new area is created called Cave 1: Entrance in the Area category. I include and story elements that are important as well as a description of said area. From here the players ask questions, search and do RPG stuff. As the DM, once I am ready to introduce an element, like a mysterious smell, I can add that to the discussion at any time.
If a NPC is found in Cave 1: Entrance, I will post a new NPC to the NPC category called: Bob Jones and include a little back story or description for him. A reply is posted to the Cave 1 Area discussion directly to the NPC for players to ask questions.
If a Monster is found in Cave 1, I will add to the discussion something like, “A trio of goblins attacks the party from the rear of the cave!” I would then post a new discussion in the Combat category called “Cave 1: Combat round 1” and add a link to the area Cave 1 directing the PCs to that combat discussion.

Rolling Dice

This is critical for Role-playing games. You have to be able to roll dice and get results with a little hassle as possible. For this I use Dungeon Dice. I create a game in Dungeon dice then invite the players to sign up their characters (it’s free). Then I am able to request rolls from the players where they don’t have to login at all! From the DM screen in Dungeon Dice, I can request rolls via email. Once everyone has made the requested roll, I post the results in the proper discussion post.
For Example:

For combat, the first thing in D&D is to declare you action. Then roll initiate and modify it as need.

The player, Kith-kannan, gets an email roll request. In his email he is instructed to follow a link and roll. Roll page

Once each player has made their roll I post the entire roll summary on the post:

Initiative Order Results

Jorah rolled 1

Farin rolled 3

Morwen rolled 4

DM Events of this area (5)

Kholaran rolled 7

Dannus LeToreque rolled 8

Perilot rolled 8

Theirry rolled 8

Athas rolled 10

Everyone else goes last

Conclusion

That’s all there is to it. Seem a little complex, but once you get into it – it makes a lot of sense and moves  quickly – faster I think than a forum run game.

If you have comments, or suggestions – please post a comment!

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