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 ?