View Full Version : Play By Post, A how to guide?

03-06-2015, 06:49 AM
I created this thread to discuss Play By Post(PBP) game format and rule.

What systems work well?
Do you mind homebrew systems?
What post rules work or don't?
How can you keep the game moving even though it is a slower format?
How do you get a stable group?
What game world setups work best?
for example on the last one
a Game where you run a guild of thieves
a Game where you play a single PC
a Game where you play a party
That sort of thing

03-06-2015, 06:50 AM
I Was thinking a system similar to Marvel Universe RPG (MURPG) which was a diceless system. I’m leery of Diceless cause it just feels…Wrong, to pen and paper without dice. The system runs by bidding energy points from your characters pool up to a maximum set by your skill rank. Free points are added for things like a high stat or an item being used.
Example: With a Melee combat attack you add strength points or points for a weapon
Energy blast might have an option to add stat or you might have a source of nearby energy to use granting free points or the enemy might be weak against that energy granting free points.

The individual skills were very customizable, with lots of options to choose from when buying each skill and a steep cost curve chart. You would start to pay drastically more for high ranks. Adding a bonus like above energy blast option to add a stat bonus might add ranks to the cost of the skill but not to the usable skill.
Example: Energy blast rank 6 with agility bonus (3 ranks) is a 9 rank skill for cost but still a 6 for usability.

I like the General Idea but not their totally diceless approach. What if you got a dice for (1)free points unless it is an (2)unaware or surprise in which case you get half the dice value. (3)Stats have Dice values so when they are used it is rolled as well.

Example (1): Sword 1D8 bonus to Melee attack skill rank 5. Roll 1d8 = 5 + 5 = 10 energy attack
Example (2): you get ambushed in an ally you have Dex(D6), dodge 5 and Perception 4
Enemies hide biding 2 points and rolling a d4 roll = 3 + 2 = 5 vs perception 4 = hidden
Then they attack with a bow(d6) and bid 5 roll = 4+5 = 9 vs dodge 5 +3(half the dex dice) =8 they hit
Example (3): D6 Dex, D4 Str, D4 Con, etc…

What do you think would this system make it better or worse?

Matt James
03-22-2015, 07:39 AM
I'll try to reply later, but I like this kind of post. :D

03-23-2015, 07:58 AM
I generally like to tinker in the mechanics of games, create new systems or simplified rules, etc... I have been designing several games for sometime many are close to done and I'm looking for a future project.
In this case there aren't a whole bunch of systems out there designed specifically for Play by Post games. I was thinking if we could wrestle one up with user input from the site maybe we could speed the whole PBP thing up a bit. My trouble with it is, you get to a battle and the format dies because systems design battles to be a more drawn out thing. If you could accelerate the battle a bit doing several rounds at once that might make it far more appealing. Conversely if you just made battles decided by only 1 roll it seems unfair. Additionally, If you make them far more brutal where each round isn't decided by hp or whatever but a degree of injury you might find a more rp centered game since starting a fight might result in missing limbs or quick death, you know like real life.
So a PC Thiefsees a group of guards coming closer and about to spot the groups elicit activity they might decide to talk there way out or create a diversion rather than battle it out with them. I have in the past broached the idea of using a chat server for battles, but this seems a little to cross platform for a lot of the PBP users who like the lethargic post style of PBP. So instead just match that style with a lethargic battle system. Maybe make several actions at one time each round is decided by the number of successes and style of combat.

An example would be a thief fighting a guard. The Thief uses a short sword so his style is far more defensive and opportunistic. The guard is using a spear so his style is aggressive yet balanced to offense and defense.( he wants to go home tonight not die in an ally)

The spear does more damage and is piercing so a person is apt to having sever perforations by battles end where as a short sword is both piercing and slashing so the victim might end with missing limbs or perforations. Roll several rounds at a time and use that to decide 1 turn. Each turn tallies hits and determines wounds. if the guard hit 3 times and 1 was critical and the thief hit 2 times we might determine that the guard struck the thief repeatedly and he is now badly wounded and the guard has mostly superficial wounds. We could have a chart and compare 3 hits with critical 1 in 1 turn might equate to 5 hits and the chart might read something like incapacitated with sever wound to limb or moderate wound to chest.

Any comments? Do you hate it, love it, think nothing of it?

Matt James
03-23-2015, 11:01 AM
I love it. Would you be interested in drafting a document for PPG? We'll toss it up as an article. I think this is great.

03-23-2015, 12:05 PM
I'll work on that, Shouldn't be too hard.

03-31-2015, 12:47 PM
So, I've been working on it and I've come up with 5 rounds as 1 post. Simply put it was the most I felt could be conveyed in a single post and be relevant. I have a stat driven system where the stats depict the dice. You roll each stat 1 time per post and all contests for that 5 turns use that one set of rolls. I have an exploding dice option and class options they are not necessary but they are a nice twist. I'm working on a list of descriptions for abilities and advantages.(Always the longest task.) I'm going fairly vague with the descriptions but I am trying to keep the game mechanics portion fairly specific. The system is a fairly basic dice add with a max rank of 10 in anything and each skill will have specializations that go with it to make it better and more versatile allowing for 5 enhancement ranks and if you need more then you reduce the maximum rank of the skill. With dice for stats and weapons (any "free" points are diced) The combat system has 3 basic aspects and you are asked to divide your energy for the round among them, Action(attacks, spells, item use), Defense(Dodge, block, run away), Move (destination and speed of movement and tasks like changing equipment) There are special rules for some things but that is basically it.
A post entry should look similar to the following.

The below character has 10 energy per round to spend.
1: If I have a clear line of site I will charge the orc chief with my spear: Action:5, Def:2, Move:3
else I will attack the closest orc but defensibly : Action:3, Def:6, Move:1
2: If I am injured or surrounded I will evade and escape Action:0, Def:5, Move:5
else continue attacking target: Action:6 Def:4 Move:0
3: as 2 if I have 2 or more enemies in my arc I will use a sweep attack: Action:7(cost of sweep)Def: 3
4: If I am injured or surrounded I will evade and escape:Action:0, Def:5, Move:5
If I am escaped I will Heal with 2 potions of minor healing 1d6+heal skill:Action:4(2 per potion), Def:6, Move:0
else continue attacking target: Action:6, Def:4, Move:0
5: If I am still hurt I will heal using my Wand of healing: Action:4, Def:4, Move:2 (draw wand)
If Chief is target attempt to scare using mask of fear Action:6(cost of mask action), Def:2, Move:2(draw mask)
else attempt to scare crowd of orcs :Action:6(cost of mask action), Def:2, Move:2(draw mask)

Questions for the Thread
What do you think of the above?
Does that make sense even to someone not familiar with the system?
Would this make a PBP game run smoother or not?
I was just hoping to get some good ideas for abilities, any takers?
Also I could use help for possible skill enhancers, any takers?

04-25-2015, 08:05 PM
So i have boiled it down to a system agnostic version. A token or % based effort system that would work with most systems. Just decrease or increase the effort in the three fields of Agro, Defense, and Movement to determine how much effort has been put into each. This system works by decreasing and increasing the rolled values based upon the tokens. You still use the if then statements for actions and roll once for the whole 5 rounds. The damage is averaged and modified by result. A D8 +2 is 5 damage average a D8+3 is 4.5 round down after effort and damage modifier is figured.

So if in 3rd dnd standards you roll a 16 have a +4 melee and put 3 tokens in Agro. You get a result of 30 for that roll. 3 tokens is 1.5 times the roll as each token is worth 50% of the value of the action. If your opponent has an AC of 16 and 4 defense tokens you get an ac of 32 and basically you fail. If he had only 2 tokens in defense, his AC is 16 and you succeeded by 14 points. Since that is close to double you deal double your average damage in other words a crit. With this system PBP combat should be very quick and brutal. Speeding up the game somewhat to make the PBP not breakdown at combat. It's a bit of math but if you just calculate the base 50% of your rolls and AC and such. Then your multiply that by the tokens its simple math. 5 rounds of combat at once is a lot to handle. So posts will be long and your effort is the fall back. If your "if then" statements aren't up to par just use the general tokens and go from there.

04-25-2015, 11:31 PM
I created this thread to discuss Play By Post(PBP) game format and rule.

What systems work well? well, you either need to have an in-forum system for storing your rules, values, characters, and notes (something i wish this forum had) or you have to make the system simplistic enough to work with the written php style and not take too much look-up for this value and that value (again, unless you can store it in an easy format / easy to access method on the forum itself)

Do you mind homebrew systems? nope.

What post rules work or don't? anything that requires complex look-up doesn't work.

How can you keep the game moving even though it is a slower format? ​communicate outside of game. become friends, swap stories, build an extra-gaming relationship with your players.

How do you get a stable group? practice, persistence, and patience. for example, i'm in two campaigns right now that have been running for more than 15 years. there have been occasions that we miss a few months here or there due to RL. but we never give up.

What game world setups work best? with pbp, you have time to be descriptive and not worry about taking up everyone's time. be lavish.
for example on the last one
a Game where you run a guild of thieves
a Game where you play a single PC
a Game where you play a party
That sort of thing

​i've actually been working on an rp game specifically designed for storytelling. it would work quite well in a pbp setting. i even have some alpha testers lined up. see my "to my chagrin" post.