[PnP] New Players Wanted

Scott Adams longshot at darktech.org
Sat Aug 25 06:52:12 CEST 2007

At 12:29 PM 8/24/07, you wrote:
>For those of us who don't know, could you explain what your PBEM Adventure is and how you run it?  i.e. How do you run it?  Do you use direct voice communication over ICQ or some other program or do you meet in a chatroom or something?

A PBEM is Play By Email.  In old days it was Play by Echomail.
I've run PBEM games since the '80s on my BBS.  Its done by email or rather a mailing list just like this one.  It would be highly difficult to do via direct voice or chat room. Due to time zones.  We have one player in Alaska and the other in Europe.  We are taking what? 12 hours.  Hard to arrange such a game.  I do chat live almost nightly with 2 players via ICQ and that's fine for questions and actions.  

Thanks to Wout I use a mailing list which is just like this one goes out to everyone in the game and I get and post actions from it or private email.  I do 2 Updates a week due to my and other schedules.  I work on game updates Monday and Thursday night for Monday (technically Monday though Tuesday) and Friday releases.  I could arrange a chat session I'm sure but again arranging such schedules would be difficult.  This is why PBEMs are nice in that regard.  You can read and reply to the posts at your leisure.  Some folks tend to be more active than others so theres plenty of things going on to keep it active most times.  
I tend to run it Free Form in between adventures allowing you to do things you want and these periods could be 3 months between adventures (game time).  Most use it to get expertise in skills and spells or build ranches or such :) Then for the actual adventures I tend to move the game as a GM from part to part.  This has to be done as if I allow folks to do what they want they could spend an afternoon in a tavern carousing and brawling in a table game that could take 5-10 min but in a pbem that could take 5-10 weeks.  So I move the party usually with npc help from part to part and it seems to work fine.  

There are good and bad parts to PBEMS.  Table games allow for fast play a month of game tme might last a afternoon session.  But in a table ame a month could be 3-4 months of real time.  Table games allow for good voices and the role playing aspect but in a PBEM your telling a story and introspection, dialogue, scene description and other aspects can be 10-20x more detailed than in a table game.  So in the end its almost like reading a story book rather than some emails.  I'm no writer but I have fun doing it.  

As a player you only do actions for your character.  Who do you fight?  What do you say?  What spells to cast?  What dialogue to say.

As GM I do all the rolls and then give the results in a Update for all to see.  Aside from maybe some secret emals on secret actions.

I have a game website that shows all the updates and some refernece material.  Like right now i have 2 images of the bad guys recently encountered.  Maps, reference materials like treasure or people.  Etc.

We are more or less based in Marentia.  
Adventure #1 was in Clima and lasted 6-7 years.  The reason for the length is one player didn't understand the rules and argued alot and finally separated from the party only to die later myseriously.  Also had a lot of other problems in life at the time.

Adventure #2 was in the Zen'da plains (Ga'fel) with the home tribe of one of the old players investigating some possible war invasion plans by L'p'nth and Bova and a vampire and his minions.  This one only lasted 20 months.

Adventure #3 currently takes place in the Pavassa forest another homeland of a player character and some visions from #2 about the forest dying leading to various Campaign aspects.  This one is 98% over and started last December so only 9-10 months.  

As you can see I've shortened the length.  It does require some time for players to get used to the length.  In game terms the entire 3 adventures took about 2 years in game time.  (1.5 I think).  But the nice thing about PBEMs is you can come and go when you need to.  If your on vacation others can do stuff while you are in npc mode or plan your future actions.  Or you might bow out of some adventure and join later.  That's all fine by me.

Adventure #4 and 5 will continue the Campaign aspects intially started in #2 and will be in other lands. :)  

Currently we have 10 Characters playing.  Since I've had 17 before (all active posting daily back in the day in my Gamma World PBEM - which I'm still known for in some circles :)) 10 is no big deal.  
1 Druid/Elf, 1 Bard, 3 warriors, 1 shaman, 1 Faerry, 5 are magic-users.
But likely Faerry and 1 MU will not be in #4 as they bow out for side things in their characters.  

I accept anything but as you can see 50% are MUs and the Bard and Druid are the first v2 I've used this adventure.  I am using v2 rules and each time I look at the rules seem to learn something new as I've not read it cover to cover yet.

I don't mind the race mix as where the party tends to travel its not a problem.  Now in #5 it could be a issue ;)  That'll be fun. :)

How I run it?  Well I allow folks to role play something even table games have gotten away from.  It comes down to fun rather than worrying about tedious rules and such.  Some players only need to read the update (5-10 min  max - 20 min a week!).  Course I do bulk of the work since some combat can take 3-4 hours I spend some 4-8 hours a week on the game.  I'm in ICQ nightly so can take questions. 
But int he end I am a Balance guy.  I don't go out of my way to kill characters unless you do something stupid.  "So you really want to run REALLY REALLY FAST over that lava so you can get to the gold chest right?" Stuff like that.  As characters get better and better and this group certainly has I have to balance it with making it more tougher and tougher missions.  Some like toys with tons of magical toys and protections so they don't fail in actions or spells.  But I balance it in various aspects by making it possible to fail even with toys.  Nothing is a sure thing.  But those who may only have a dagger and loin cloth may be lucky compared to the person with plate and magical armor.  The loin cloth dude is balanced by bravery and luck compared to toys.  I don't go out of my way to target the plate mail guy but I don't make it easy either :)  If you understand.  This last combat we almost lost 2 characters but one lived by luck and the other by a npc's magic.  Close but balanced.  
Think of it this way if a person with 30 magical items, armor and wepaons is standing by a guy with no magical items the prson with magic is a bulls-eye for magic sensing/mana sensing creatures and thus the more "powerful" and thus a target.  With great power comes great responsibility (oh dear will I get sued by Stan lee for that?).  Balance.
But in the end I try to have fun.  

In the end check out my game site.  Proof is in the pudding.  
Check out the work.  The first 10 or so links at the top detail what a pbem is, faq, how to join and other things like campaign summary. detailed player/npc descriptions among other stuff.

Then check out some typical actions from players then my updates.  Pick 1 or 2 regular updates and then see how a combat update is done.  That's how its done.  Then if further questions ask them.

Maybe my players will chime in here and complain..err I mean glorify me! (right players?).


It has adv#2's site there. #1 is archived and is over 1 meg of text which would be about a 800 page novel :)


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