Roleplaying in the CWBP.
As I mentioned in another thread, I had a convo with Ravs a few days back and we got excited about the prospect that we might actually play some RPG in the CWBP. The idea was to use the forums to post updates for the characters and basically run a play by mail system.
So this thread is to talk about that, what we need to do it, ideas about how we might actually go about it and whatever else comes up.
I have been thinking it over and I reckon that we have some amazing potential to do not just a great PbP system but to really take it forward and make this a very strong way of playing casually / non real time.
Firstly, we have a wealth of great mappers and alongside we have a whole forum of creative writers in the Fantaseum Alliance. All I think were missing is some mechanics to actually run the game and were away. Thats something that I can help out with in a number of ways.
Already I have been collecting the maps up and generating the overview of the world / Ansium and I have been writing a web server to enable anyone to fetch any part of the world for their campaign or VTT backdrop.
Beyond this I have the members map. If that map were Ansium or another region then we could plot the pin location of any party running in the world. Instead of adding a new member we could use a password system to move the pin to a new location as and when required. The pins could link into the wiki for the party and links in there could go to the character stats.
Ok so on to actual play. This is where I have been having some ideas and since I have never played a PbP system then I am interested in experiences of those that have. When sat around a table with a GM the play is very interactive so your constantly dealing with actions in the now. With a PbP system it seems to me that there would be either a huge latency playing in the now or else you have to expand the now into a bigger period of time. What I was considering was that if the characters have a list of future aims or a will list then the GM could consider them all and decide on the players behalf what they did based on their desired list. I thought too that each item on the list should have a determination factor too from a 'dont care' through 'make a reasonable attempt at' going up to 'fanatical devotion to'. These aims would be listed and maintained for very near events, not too distant stuff and beyond right up to life time achievements.
So for example say party is at a stuck dungeon door, character Able the Fighter says I want to open this door and I am pretty determined to do it. Thiera the Thief says she would like to listen if possible but is not too fussed if not and is not bothered whether she goes through this door or the next. Clarence the Cleric has been told that there is a feeling of ill will from the door and is adamant that he does not want to open it. Willy the Wizard states that if Thiera hears movement then not to go in but if Able bashes the door then to ready a spell and prepare to go in. Either way not fussed.
Ok so what can happen. The possibilities are numerous. GM might say Thiera cant hear over the noise and Ables attempt to bash it in. Then again she might. Able could succeed or fail to bash the door. Clarence might try to prevent Able from doing it or they could talk it over and decide either for or against it and go with a plan. This is where I think the GM should have some lattitude to make a call based on the preferences instead of endless PbP rounds of "Ok so whats it to be ?" chit chat. Would it be that bad for the GM to make the call given that he knows all the intentions ? Does PbP just normally get real slow or is some degree of control wrested from the players in order to get some momentum. As a player I would not like a list of options to choose from tho as that seems to go past the constructive role playing thing.
I was also thinking of dividing the now and past into historical fact that cannot be changed and close to the present history that is somewhat mutable where players can retroactively adjust what they were doing so long as it would have been reasonable before knowing the current present knowledge. So Thiera was not allowed to listen, Able smashes the door in, Clarence moves away from the door and the front three see a pair of gnolls. GM says that Willy gets out spell components for a Sleep. Now back to the players and Willy might say that he would have gone with a Magic Missile instead. That seems reasonable so its no problem to allow it. But Able cant say, no I think ill leave the door alone or even complain that he would have let Thiera listen because he was determined to open it.
Anyway, I was thinking that it would be possible to write a little script thing to maintain the intention list and current state of fixed, mutable history, and current situation text and a) FTP it to a web page b) keep a log of it and also c) perhaps use the Twitter API to send all three out for people to keep track on and maybe make interim responses on. The fixed history log could be posted to the wiki now and again to keep it moderately up to date.
The map server is the perfect way to get at all the world maps, a wiki is the perfect way to hold the knowledge of the world and Twitter is the ideal broadcast medium to get the updates out to peoples email, phone and so on. I dont think we have ever been so pampered with great technology to do this.
Ideas about any of this ?
This is an interesting idea, I would probably be very interested in watching (or reading) adventures unfold. I probably would not participate myself, for a few reasons. First, I only referee in my own lands , for familiarity sake(counting me out as a ref). Second, I'm stretched pretty thin between RL, trying to map out new lands, and the two online games I currently participate in (one of these, however, is sinking fast). I would like to see it happen without volunteering to be among the first group, just in case time to participate becomes available to me in the future. The resources of the guild would be a great asset to an online RPG, but I wouldn't want the site to become inundated with people who weren't here to map. (Does that sound bad?)
Yes that is a concern I would share too. One of the things that has happened with the CWBP is that there is very little activity of mapping within it. I think that having an evolving story within places in it would give some more incentive to map those areas. I reckon the biggest incentive to map something tho is when you need it to play in that area. So I think its a double edged sword. You would get a lot of non mappers waiting for new maps to be made by others which is not really very constructive but I think you would get a lot of mapping done at character level which is where its needed the most. Ok so we might not expect that all the maps would look great but I think even if we had rough pencil maps of houses, cave systems and so on then it could be used as a template to make that into a better map.
I think the wikipedia is a good example. Almost all of the people who edit it have no interest in making encyclopedias and only the tiniest fraction of people who look at it would want to contribute to it and also of all the contributions, most are pretty bad to start with and get refined progressively. But its still a great success despite it all.
I guess it depends on what each sees the target of the CWBP to be. For me, I would like to see it as a complete living world where its constantly being added to, updated and used.
I reckon if it were played in then I would hope that many non participants would follow some of the groups within it too.
Heres a question to throw out there... is anyone currently using the CWBP as a campaign region ?
I'm only a new member, but there is a co-operative fantasy roleplaying worldbuilding project currently occuring for the Fantasy Hero System that I'm involved with. It's a generic system able to simulate any genre of fantasy. The project is concerned with the tropes of the genre and making a generic setting and could well do with a look by members of this project.
The thread on the project is here- http://www.herogames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73066
The wiki set up by the creator of the project (Killer Shrike) is here-
This does sound like a good idea. I would suggest that it not run IN the CG, but beside it. Maybe on another site linked to it. Another part of the Alliance maybe?
I am not sure if that is what you have in mind RR, or how much work that would take to set up, but that that is what I was getting from the intro.
Like the idea, like I said, but not too sure how much time it will take up. I am also on a time budget.
Not currently, but I have been toying with the idea of transitioning my current 4e game into the plotlines I was building up in Groam before Real Life caught me in its net.
Originally Posted by Redrobes
I wouldn't mind playing in a forum-based game based in Ansium, though I certainly don't have the time or energy to GM. And it might even, as you think, induce me to make a map or two.
Your proposed decision system is interesting and similar to the informal process I used in my first successful PBeM. I don't know that I ever thought about it quite that deeply, but it's essentially what we were doing.
Play by Post does tend to go really slowly, but setting a time limit on taking actions does wonders to prevent analysis paralysis. I had a policy that I would post no sooner than 24 hours after my previous post, but once I did, whatever was being discussed at that time became what actually happened. It encouraged everyone to be very decisive, since there just wasn't time for too much dithering about options.
Nowadays, 24 hours is probably too fast a schedule for most people around here. I'd say something on the order of the GM posts turns twice a week is good. Or weekly if it's a heavily narrated game.
If you want a look at a very well-executed PBeM I once participated, cruise by here: http://www.cityofveils.com/pbem/ It was unfortunately very short-lived, but while it was going on, it was one of the best I've ever encountered. I played Reidjai.
Hey curufea! Small world eh? Welcome to the Guild! I haven't visited the Hero Boards in any formal sense in forever. Life got in the way it seems. Anyway, just wanted to say hey. :)
Originally Posted by curufea
I have some experience playing in PbPs for 4e D&D, and I have to say it works very well. Now, that might not be the case for a more free-form experience (which is what it sounds like you guys are going for here), but I imagine that, depending on the system you choose, a PbP could work very well. One of the things I generally find very cool about PbP is that you get people who don't particularly like to RP when sitting at a table with other people, but being able to type out your speech and actions removes some of the embarrassment factor from saying things like "forsooth!" and whatnot.
Thanks for that. I dont have any preplanned ideas about what style to go for. I was looking for experience from others about what works. I would be cool with a free form style tho but I could imagine that others might want a more rigid - by the book approach.
I was estimating making a statement per day or so with a sort of pace of about a room per week kind of thing. Perhaps a touch faster but I cant see how it can be done unless you make statements every few hours. Would be good if you had this sort of thing running in your day job but I doubt that many people could do that. At a max I could make maybe three statements per day so if a player I might be able to move, attack and kill an opponent, choose and move to the next one and attack them in one day. Maybe I could pre plan to search the bodies and room afterward and hint at which exit to take too. All that is assuming the GM can keep up with that. Else as a GM I think that maybe one round of combat per day from the 3 statements to various people. Is this sort of pace normal ? Maybe the whole thing would be too slow. But how did people cope in a play by snail mail set up ?
Sounds interesting. The "Wants" Stack might work well enough to let it go with five or more rounds per day.
Another option that seems to work well is to do general story telling and character development in the forums, and then move to a VTT system one night a week for more traditional 'encounters' or combat.
This does kind of remind me of a project I had started back in first year of university. A VTT system with a programmable AI GM that could handle combat encounters from scripts listing the number of enemies, or even randomly rolling encounters. I should get back on that sometime, but i don't really feel like making a full VTT from scratch anymore.