With another burst of interest around online games of Anima, I've begun thinking about a play by post campaign on this forum (again).
The problem most pbp campaign suffer is that a game system that's made for a number of people sitting at the same table in real life does not translate well to an environment where several people are sitting at computers in various parts of the world and communicate in written paragraphs with many hours of delay between sentences.
Both discussions between player characters as well as combat become a rather tedious and drawn out business, which takes most of the fun out of it.
There are other options for online RPGs. Using IRC and programs like Maptools etc or meeting up with other chat programs works fine. The problem the International forum faces here is the time difference an finding a time and date for sessions is already hard enough if you are playing with friends who live in the same building.
Besides, I don’t want to dismiss the idea of play by post game so quickly. I don’t have a reliable time table right now, so a game like that is pretty much my only option to play the RPG at the moment.
So here are some steps to take that would make a play by post game here on the international forum possible:Step One – Ask permission
On other forums, some mods + admins didn’t like Rpgs. They require at least two threads and members gather a significant amount of posts from simple OOC discussions and ramblings. Here things like post count aren’t important because (thankfully) no one applies the “They have lots of posts – they know what they are talking about” rationale.
So I guess that won’t be too much of a problem.
Step Two – Find a willing Game Master and players
Willing means willing to commit. Keeping a play by post game alive takes a lot of dedication. Players and the GM would have to post at least twice or three times a week to keep it going. To these posts would come a bit more work, as I’ll detail below.
Most of this workload will probably be on the GM, but that won’t be news to most GMs out there.
A play by post game also requires a minimum of trust between players and GM. This forum has no code for dice rolls, so we either trust each other or use an online dice rolling site (http://invisiblecastle.com/
)Step Three – Additional effort for Discussions and Combat
Longer conversations among PCs or between PCs and NPCs can take many days in a play by post game. The same goes for combat. A simple encounter between the party and a group of guards could even take weeks, which removes a lot of the spontaneity of the Anima combat system.
To fix this, I’d suggest arranging “internet dates” (for want of a better term) where the respective players and/or GM meet in a chat room or by using a chat program to have their characters talk or fight. If the conversation is relevant, they simply post the chat log in their next in-character post.
Same goes for combat. The GM and as many players as possible meet up and the chat log gets posted later.
If a player can’t make an appointment, he allows either the GM or another player to take control over their character. So if one or two players can’t make it, it doesn’t hold up the whole group. That kinda sucks, but I think it is one of the compromises we’d have to make for such a game to work.
Step Four – Reducing Combat
Along with the arrangements in Step Three, I think it would be necessary to reduce the combat encounters to a minimum. I GMed a campaign for a few sessions where we only had a maximum of one encounter per session. It works, Anima lends itself to campaign like that and it put the more important roleplaying and drama in the spotlight. This would require more work on the side of the GM, but that’s the Game Master life, I guess
Those are my thoughts so far, I’d love to hear some comments/thoughts/input on this, as well as some idea of who would actually be up for something like that.