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Pen & Paper Games - Kickstarting Pen & Paper Games
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  • Kickstarting Pen & Paper Games

    First, no, I don't mean actually doing a Kick Starter campaign -- aren't there enough of those already?! What I mean is that Pen & Paper Games has been coasting along as it is for a couple years now with not much in the way up updates, innovation, or to be frank, involvement from myself to move it forward.

    And, I want to change that. But, I think P&PG needs to figure out what it is going to be. A lot of the focus of the original site was on connecting players through the Player Registry, but this in and of itself isn't enough to create a vibrant and active community. So, I tried to create a place for gamers to not only meet, but a space where they could chat and exchange ideas through our forums. Since I started up P&PG though, social media has changed a LOT. Facebook has become one of the biggest sites (maybe the biggest?) on the planet, and "tweeting" has become an integral part of our collective lexicon.

    The way we communicate online continues to change -- enough so that I'm not even sure what role traditional Forums such as this one have... I looked down this barrel a long time ago when things moved from local BBS's -- some of you are probably too young to even know what that is -- and now I find myself looking down that barrel again. As I see it, P&PG has two choices if it has any future. It has to embrace the old and become the best at it that it can possibly be; competing for audience among sites like RPG.net and ENWorld. OR, it has to evolve, and to be honest, I'm not really sure what that would look like.

    So, I put the question to you. Though we have many, many members, if you are reading this, you are probably among a much smaller group that visits these forums on a regular basis. So, I am wondering, what is it that brings you back? What is it that you feel like P&PG offers that you can't readily get elsewhere? And, what do you think this site could do better? ... If this was your site, what would you do with it?

    I'm open to any ideas you all have. Hit me with it, because I do want this site to succeed and not simply fold up and disappear into the digital ether as so many others have.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Kickstarting Pen & Paper Games started by Farcaster View original post
    Comments 49 Comments
    1. Soft Serve's Avatar
      Soft Serve -
      Intelligent conversations in the chat and the ability to host play-by-chat games there. All of the regulars I can name, I run into in chat with the exception of Nijineko.

      If this were my site, I'd put emphasis on what the community is creating. Putting spotlights on homebrew RPGs or settings, and making an upgrade to the ability to host games by chat here. Part of the appeal of RPGs is that it's something you created. A place where anyone can get their projects 5 minutes of fame doesn't exist. Put high rated creations on the front page or in their own category or what have you.

      Maybe a panel of reviewers, a collaborative effort with Roll20, or anyone else I could get a hold of, since it can't hurt to ask. More is better.
    1. kkriegg's Avatar
      kkriegg -
      Funny you mention that. I do come back because of the lack of a "social media" feeling to the site. The internet has changed a lot, but not really for the better. I do like reading forum posts that span several paragraphs of thought, even if I find those thoughts disagreeable. I do like popping into the chat room to see what's going on, instead of reading random chatter milked out of a user to fill up an advertiser's database.

      But of course, I'm not everybody. The second part of the question is really the tricky part. If it were up to me, I'd keep everything the same, except make it bigger. I remember a time when this place was bursting at the seams. But... how that's supposed to be done is beyond me.
    1. MicahWedemeyer's Avatar
      MicahWedemeyer -
      Very tough questions, but I'd say it probably comes down to what you want. Unless you move things in a direction that you are passionate about, it's doubtful that you'll have the drive to see it through the hard times to a conclusion.

      Letting the community guide decisions like this doesn't usually work (imho), because the community isn't the one spending their nights and weekends doing the work.

      What keeps you coming back? What are you excited about in the RPG realm? Are you more interested in a community site (ie. ENWolrd/RPG.net) or a specific feature set (the player registry)? It's okay not to do it all. Much better to focus on one thing and do that well.
    1. Matt James's Avatar
      Matt James -
      I love coming here to read about the games that people are playing. It really helps me out as a designer. You are broad enough that you are targeting a specific game (like specialty sites: EN World, et al.) but are targeted towards tabletop games. Find a specialty and hammer that home. People should think about that specialty and then immediately have PnPG come to mind.

      I'll try to be more active in posting. I browse all the time.
    1. Slipstream's Avatar
      Slipstream -
      Hey Farcaster,

      Long time no see. I have to admit I've fallen away from active use of the site awhile back, I think mostly because of involvement with gaming elsewhere. I at one time hosted a PBP game here, but due to time constraints, we collectively had to shelve it.

      While the net appears to be shifting towards social media, I still believe there's definitely a need for message boards. They provide logs of conversation that aren't easily accessible in places like FB. If anything, I'd say Google+ seems to be the rising star right now among gaming and tabletop discussion. I've yet to truly dive into it, simply due to time and privacy concerns (same goes for FB). Forums I believe are integral for gaming communities and will be for years to come.

      All I can think of is keep making the site look sharp. Combine more like forums that look stagnant when separated. Work with Obsidian Portal (since that partnership is already in place) and streamline the Players/Games Seeking Players/Games functionality. They are in the middle of kickstarting their site's look and feel. I believe that, the PBP forums, and general industry/community discussions are the three pillars this site shines on. Stick to those and make them strong.

      Also, I'll try to hang out more often as I can. Esepecially since I plan to run a Pathfinder campaign soon, I'll be needing to come to you all for support and tips.
    1. nijineko's Avatar
      nijineko -
      the cat always comes back.

      (even in chat, if only very rarely....)


      personally, i like the non-spammy feel that this site gives over more media-centric sites, ads notwithstanding.

      however, the social-internet is a big deal. and i think we do need to adapt, or we will become a backwater (not necessarily a bad thing, but farcaster has to justify paying the bills somehow!) on one hand, it is the sheer volume of people who visit sites like rpgnow, enworld, and wotc that keep those sites going. on the other hand, that has some serious downsides in the quality of community.

      i've thought about this for a while now, actually. a few more months and i might have independently pitched farcaster on some of my ideas. goodness knows, he puts up with enough *pokepoke* type emails from me as it is. ^^

      so here are some of my thoughts:

      adapt, NOT adopt. social media hooks provide a quick and easy way to draw new faces, and raise awareness of our presence; however, this needs to be done in a way that integrates subtlety, not remakes the face of the site and floods us with who knows what, per se.

      shelters. portions of the site that are relatively free from social and advertisement spamming. member options for better control over the non-sheltered portions of the site with regards to social and ads. for example, the pbp game threads and the announcement threads are good candidates for auto-shelter. personal blogs and member pages for member optional sheltering. this could be accomplished by text-only adds instead of the big graphical ones. remember, farcaster has to pay the bills.

      i really liked the idea of adding to the gamer database (obsidian portal). it would be wonderful to pursue expanding the database by adding integrating with more sites... we have a few international members, wonder if they could hook us up with foreign-based gamer groups and sites. would be pretty sweet if we became the true international pen and paper game premier site. even if it is niche sites and games... after all fans of such things tend to be strong-stick-around types. i noticed that the rpgdesign alliance site is looking for a new home and supporters....

      one of my BIG WISHES for this site is to integrate play-by-text into the play-by-post. i would like to see a system where each thread in the play-by-post section gets a special tag, the site has a "number" which can be texted, the tag is used to parse incoming texts and posts them as if you had done a quick-reply. also, when a thread is subscribed to, a text option is there so that whenever any post is added, it texts the addition out. a checksum will have to be done to make sure they fit within sms size limits, or auto-split it up into multiple texts outgoing.... in any case, this would be a unique offering that i haven't seen anywhere else. it would also be an interesting approach to using social media in counteracting the bane of pby - lack of response / dropping out.

      along with the play-by-text idea, and possibly in place of if it is not feasible to pull off play-by-text, an app (android/iphone) which is specific to the site and allows posting. maybe text only for lightweight data transfer and display.

      a facebook and twitter presence would help presence awareness, especially if RSS feeds displayed updated threads.

      another WISH of mine is site-based mapping support. it would be so awesome if the flashchat could be expanded to included a shared whiteboard, even if it is fairly small scale, or if a whiteboard could be launched concurrently with the flashchat - as in one page, two interfaces. with option to save to your file storage allotment so that you can reload it later. perhaps a non-flash based purely html-css with export to a text file, much like the wotc released dnd mapper program that was on the old 3.x portion of the site (i downloaded a copy and still have it. the tiles are pretty small, but it works great.

      (i have more ideas, but let's stop here for now)


      after all, this is the pen and paper games support site - i think that should be our focus, our theme, and we should really support all aspects of it! let this site become the table that we all play our pen and paper games on!
    1. jdbailey's Avatar
      jdbailey -
      Well, I've actually had better luck finding players/groups on meetup.com perhaps because it is so locally oriented. But I like the feel of P&PG better, which is why I keep coming back whenever I need to check for a new group or player. Perhaps better filters for game locations might help, and forcing people to actually provide location information before a post is made. Maybe filtering OUT profiles that haven't been active in xx time, so that it's easier to search among the players that are more active. But in terms of a whole-site overhaul? I have no idea what to do. I'd like to see this site continue and grow stronger though because it's a damn good idea.

      Maybe market or buddy up to a couple Virtual Table-Top companies? Or to some of the current big gaming sites, like Paizo or Pathfinder SRD? I personally don't like to click on ads, but I give in when it comes to A LOT of the ads on Pathfinder SRD, mainly because I get curious about yet another awesome RPG tool! (Dun dun dun....!)

      Anyway, whatever you do, good luck. I hope this site sticks around.
    1. I. J. Thompson's Avatar
      I. J. Thompson -
      Thank you for asking!

      I love the site as-is, and wouldn't really like to have my gaming here interconnected with Facebook or anything like that. That said, I really like Soft Serve's ideas about finding ways to feature the content that the users are creating. It's being made anyway, so why not find a way to make it one of the attractions of the site?
    1. trechriron's Avatar
      trechriron -
      To make this more of a hub of information, I think P&PG games should expand!

      1) What happened to the GM council thing? This was a fun idea. Get guest GM's and bloggers to provide advice articles with a corresponding forum discussion.
      2) Articles! Maybe integrate with a CMS of some sort, and create a team of content providers. Non everyone wants to start up their own Wordpress site. Reach out to people who want to join a force of RPG enthusiasts writing articles. With the right CMS, submitting, reviewing, editing and publishing articles can be handled via the system (I'm partial to Joomla...).
      3) Fan Site Central! I've tried to start up a "social" fan site in unisystemfans.com, but it didn't get much involvement. Instead of having special sites, P&PG could provide "skins" and "forums" and article sections and house any fan site for any game! Maybe provide unique urls like unisystem.penandpapergames.com. Also, this should facilitate user-submitted downloads.
      4) Game Day Central! Have you looked at Warhorn? It's not very elaborate. Not only have a player/GM database but have a place where you can house your Game Day site, create and schedule slots, game descriptions, and run events.

      P&PG would be your one stop shop! Read up on news, some articles on gaming, kibitz with your fellow fans on your fav RPG, start up a game day and run it all via this one interface.

      Other sites have crowd funded development, I'm sure you could convince those of us with development skills to pitch in for a share of the bounty. :-)
    1. jpatterson's Avatar
      jpatterson -
      I agree with the sentiment to focus on the members' creativity, rather than serve them common things they feel like they're quite proficient at finding on the net if they want it. Fan resources and materials, creations, settings, sharable uploads and downloads, rules adaptations, etc. is something I've always wanted to find since RPGArchive/RPGLife went belly up for all practical purposes, years back.


      You could upload things you made, like adventures, character sheets, rules add-ons and supplements, into various categories, and search and find things made by other people, in various categories. Strolen's Citadel is very similar but anyone who has been there well knows, and I have been told in clear terms, that they are only interested in ideas, seeds, basically narrative bits of writing, for items and characters and such, not actual charts or rules or things like that. There is no more specific site that works similarly to Strolens, that I've found, since the sort of fizzling of RPGArchive, which functioned as a clearinghouse for fan material.


      A more unified member blog or site blog with submissions from users, would also be a possible change or improvement. I do like the specific blogs and forums each member can make, for their own particular group or game - that is a terrific feature. It seems like that could be expanded upon.


      A complaint I've seen a number of times by regular and new members in chat is that it isn't an IRC style chat. I can see their point to a large extent, though I've been to places like TheTangledWeb and while the software chat environment there is pretty solid, it is somewhat spartan and so many people seem absent or very elitist - I don't know if that's something that may just be specific to that site or those chatters or that is something to do with IRC connected chats.

      Either way, as a regular user that really ONLY uses this site for chat, currently, and run a game in here every Sun since Feb 2011, I think the chat page/room itself needs overhauled, probably to something different altogether, a different flash chat at least, though being able to make rooms to play, which I do a lot, is a terrific feature, as is the dice rolling (which could also use exploding rolls). There is also still no way to bring up a chatter's site profile with the right click in the current chatroom software.

      If there were someway to advertise current or pending chat events or games, like a signpost or list of announcements, so people could come into the chat and see a list of games or rooms with different topics or something, that could help with that part, if you were going to do anything with chat.


      As far as the forums themselves, the in-line dice rolling is awesome, but could also be improved, for people that run play by post forum games, as I've done (though it doesn't have much popularity here if it isn't an already established game, like Umiushi's game that has more posts in it than all the other threads in the forums combined).


      I think we all support any ideas to change and improve PPG, whether we're paid members or not, and we enjoy various aspects here because it doesn't have that "corporate feel" to it, like it's still aimed at and run by someone who understands and appreciates and is a gamer.


      I like most people have a Facebook and some other things, a Twitter account, which I don't really use, a couple of Blogspot blogs, a Youtube channel, etc. I try to make a little bit of money if and when possible, on some of the things I do in my spare time or as part of my interests, and sometimes it works. Have you considered having full blogs, hosting them for example, similar to blogspot? Or at least articles? You let people write and share and advertise their full PPG blog and put ads like Adsense or whatever on it, and give people who write articles or blogs a share of whatever money you make from their article? That could help some.
    1. nijineko's Avatar
      nijineko -
      yeah, i would use chat more often if there was a chatbox/shoutbox columned next to the forums. ^^
    1. Farcaster's Avatar
      Farcaster -
      Quote Originally Posted by MicahWedemeyer View Post
      Very tough questions, but I'd say it probably comes down to what you want... Letting the community guide decisions like this doesn't usually work (imho), because the community isn't the one spending their nights and weekends doing the work.
      What I want at this point is to do what I can to keep this community alive and vibrant. It's that or fold it up. But, it needs new and fresh ideas, and who better to turn to for feedback for those ideas than the user community themselves?
    1. Farcaster's Avatar
      Farcaster -
      I really appreciate you all taking the time to chime in with you thoughts. I've seen some good ideas in here so far.

      Quote Originally Posted by Slipstream View Post
      All I can think of is keep making the site look sharp. Combine more like forums that look stagnant when separated. Work with Obsidian Portal (since that partnership is already in place) and streamline the Players/Games Seeking Players/Games functionality. They are in the middle of kickstarting their site's look and feel. I believe that, the PBP forums, and general industry/community discussions are the three pillars this site shines on. Stick to those and make them strong.
      Cleaning up the forums is definitely on my list -- as is freshening up the design. On that note, if there are any graphically oriented people out there who would be interested in taking a whack at it, ping me and let's talk.

      Quote Originally Posted by nijineko View Post
      the cat always comes back. (even in chat, if only very rarely....)
      I was in the chat room just last night -- for a couple hours even. You just missed me



      Quote Originally Posted by nijineko View Post
      shelters. portions of the site that are relatively free from social and advertisement spamming. member options for better control over the non-sheltered portions of the site with regards to social and ads. for example, the pbp game threads and the announcement threads are good candidates for auto-shelter. personal blogs and member pages for member optional sheltering. this could be accomplished by text-only adds instead of the big graphical ones. remember, farcaster has to pay the bills.
      Advertisement spamming? I'm not aware of anything like that going on, so you'd have to give me a bit more information about what you mean. As to the advertising banners, P&PG is part of a network of RPG sites that share advertising space. I don't think our provider actually uses text links, and there is a very good reason for that. They're not terribly effective or attractive to advertisers. That said, anyone who contributes as a community sponsor has all advertising removed everywhere.

      Quote Originally Posted by nijineko View Post
      i really liked the idea of adding to the gamer database (obsidian portal). it would be wonderful to pursue expanding the database by adding integrating with more sites...
      I've been doing a little work on this front, actually. I'll let you know how it pans out.

      Quote Originally Posted by jdbailey View Post
      Perhaps better filters for game locations might help, and forcing people to actually provide location information before a post is made. Maybe filtering OUT profiles that haven't been active in xx time, so that it's easier to search among the players that are more active.
      The rate of people providing geographical information and setting up a profile is actually quite high. That said, the sole purpose of the site is not just the player registry, so I can't see forcing people to fill out more details happening. But, the profile filtering you suggested is actually quite easy for me to setup. I'll work on that.

      Quote Originally Posted by I. J. Thompson View Post
      Thank you for asking! ... I really like Soft Serve's ideas about finding ways to feature the content that the users are creating. It's being made anyway, so why not find a way to make it one of the attractions of the site?
      You're welcome, and I'll put that on the list of possibilities.


      Quote Originally Posted by trechriron View Post
      What happened to the GM council thing? This was a fun idea. Get guest GM's and bloggers to provide advice articles with a corresponding forum discussion.
      Well, a couple of reasons, but it boils down to it is hard to ask people to put in a lot of time and effort to write up an article when they aren't paid or rewarded. That and I didn't keep pushing. So, basically a failure in the model and in leadership.

      Quote Originally Posted by trechriron View Post
      Articles! Maybe integrate with a CMS of some sort, and create a team of content providers. Non everyone wants to start up their own Wordpress site. Reach out to people who want to join a force of RPG enthusiasts writing articles. With the right CMS, submitting, reviewing, editing and publishing articles can be handled via the system (I'm partial to Joomla...).
      It's a sound idea, and I'd consider it, but see above. The model would have to be as such that it encouraged involvement and didn't require (or expect) a lot of editing support.

      Quote Originally Posted by trechriron View Post
      Fan Site Central! I've tried to start up a "social" fan site in unisystemfans.com, but it didn't get much involvement. Instead of having special sites, P&PG could provide "skins" and "forums" and article sections and house any fan site for any game! Maybe provide unique urls like unisystem.penandpapergames.com. Also, this should facilitate user-submitted downloads.
      Hmm. There are some licensing issues with vBulletin that would interfere, and I doubt that these fan sites would want to plop down $180 for a license. It could be supported with social groups, perhaps though. It wouldn't be as robust as the core forums though.

      Quote Originally Posted by trechriron View Post
      Other sites have crowd funded development, I'm sure you could convince those of us with development skills to pitch in for a share of the bounty. :-)
      So... Did I just hear you volunteer for some free labor?

      Quote Originally Posted by jpatterson View Post
      I agree with the sentiment to focus on the members' creativity, rather than serve them common things they feel like they're quite proficient at finding on the net if they want it. Fan resources and materials, creations, settings, sharable uploads and downloads, rules adaptations, etc. is something I've always wanted to find since RPGArchive/RPGLife went belly up for all practical purposes, years back.
      I like this idea.


      Quote Originally Posted by nijineko View Post
      it would be so awesome if the flashchat could be expanded to included a shared whiteboard, even if it is fairly small scale
      Quote Originally Posted by jpatterson View Post
      I think the chat page/room itself needs overhauled, probably to something different altogether, a different flash chat at least.
      I'll look into updating chat. It has been a while since I've explored chat room software. Maybe there are some better options out there now. To get something quality though will probably be expensive. I might have to take up some donations to make that happen, since I don't really want to front the $500 fee all myself.

      Quote Originally Posted by jpatterson View Post
      As far as the forums themselves, the in-line dice rolling is awesome, but could also be improved, for people that run play by post forum games, as I've done.
      Do you have a wish list for the dice plugin?

      Quote Originally Posted by jpatterson View Post
      Have you considered having full blogs, hosting them for example, similar to blogspot? Or at least articles? You let people write and share and advertise their full PPG blog and put ads like Adsense or whatever on it, and give people who write articles or blogs a share of whatever money you make from their article? That could help some.
      It's a thought. I'd consider it, but it would require a lot of management on my part to parcel out revenue. If there were some automated solution that wouldn't result in butchering the site's security, then maybe.


      Quote Originally Posted by jpatterson View Post
      I think we all support any ideas to change and improve PPG, whether we're paid members or not, and we enjoy various aspects here because it doesn't have that "corporate feel" to it, like it's still aimed at and run by someone who understands and appreciates and is a gamer.
      Thanks, J.
    1. Soft Serve's Avatar
      Soft Serve -
      I was on another vBulletin site that allowed moderators to design different skins based on user preference. They only changed colors and the banner appearance.

      But it could be done for P&PG. A theme for sci-fi, D&D, generic fantasy, horror, etc etc. I know nothing of how this process works, and have very little artistic talent in the field of visual / graphic design, but I know it can be done.

      Unless when "Skins" were mentioned we were talking about something else entirely and I missed it...
    1. Umiushi's Avatar
      Umiushi -
      What is it that brings you back?
      Talk of the site going under is always a good way to get me jumpy. The pbp forum game I'm part of has nearly 7000 posts and over four years of various players' time invested in it. Rather than bringing me back, it's not something I could walk away from any more than I could walk into orbit.

      In the worst case scenario, is there some time frame we're looking at, and also, is there some way to collect/store/archive all those posts?

      What else brings me back? I read most of the forums, and the news feed, as well as some of the forums, is a really valuable way of providing central distribution to a lot of different rpg interests. These are some things I couldn't find by searching, because I wouldn't have known what to search for in the first place. I learned about my favorite online comic through this news feed.

      What else? The chat. I don't regularly run games on it, but even when I don't, it's a great central meeting place before heading off to a game, and it's simply nice knowing it's there. The community in the chat can be a great and valuable resource, too.

      What else? The private mail system, without which running a pbp game in the forums would be much more difficult.

      What else? The blogs. I've only made a few posts, but I love having a tool to self-publish just lying around.

      What is it that you feel like P&PG offers that you can't readily get elsewhere?
      All these things, the forum, the private mail, the chat, the blogs, the news feed, none of them are perhaps that useful on their own, but where else can I find them all together? It's like sitting down with the newspaper: you've got a front page, business section, local news, weather, features, and so on. For me especially, the private mail, the forum, and the blogs form an invaluable trio when running a pbp game.

      The other thing that I find helpful is the visibility. However high the ratio of one-time visitors to lurkers to active participants, I still get a slow, steady stream of unsolicited player requests. If my game was buried in a wiki or some kind of single-thread service with up-votes and down-votes, who would ever find me? If I go somewhere else, I'll have to go about learning how to get visible all over again, assuming it's even feasible.

      As someone who plays one or two particular games, but who has played and has an interest in a large variety of rpgs, I find the balance of this site, allowing for a single focus while presenting a wide variety of information, very comfortable. Other sites have struck me as tending to focus on a more limited set.

      Also, I'd like to say a word about forums in general. Many of the popular social media constructs provide one-dimensional threads of activity to post on. The fact that we can manage multiple threads in a forum allows for activity to easily get divided into multiple subjects. At the other end of the spectrum, a wiki, while useful, does not provide an easy means to view sequential activity that a thread does. I couldn't imagine running my game on, say Facebook, where every post has to be congested into a single thread, and one that might not even be viewable in chronological order, but is subject to whatever ordering whims strike the fancy of the Facebook administration for that particular year!

      What do you think this site could do better?
      Frankly, while I've visited numerous sites, this is the one site I stay on and participate in. It fits my needs so well that it's difficult to come up with suggestions for improvement, especially since a lot of good ideas are already getting talked about, but here's a small list.

      The new (maybe not so new now) WYSIWYG text editor isn't all that WYSIWIG. The prior version we had a couple years ago wasn't as fancy, but at least what I put on the page is how it would appear. Now there's random lines and other white space inserted, in almost every post it seems, and when I change text colors, sometimes it changes the text I want it to change and sometimes it doesn't. I can go in and edit in Source Mode, but I feel I shouldn't have to do that in the first place.

      One area this site (and discussion/news sites in general) lack is a means to create a sense of mastery and accomplishment in users. Games excel at this, but common approaches to create a sense of competence tend to be either ineffectual (contests) or fraught with pitfalls (bragging metrics, artificial game-like challenges), so it's a most difficult area to address. I don't have any particular suggestion in this area.

      If this was your site, what would you do with it?
      Sort of like my wishlist? No warranty concerning practicality, though:

      I'd be tempted to add that Obsidian Portal-like functionality, but it's a real question how much I'd use it. The net that I've written in my Obsidian Portal account is probably less than the length of this post.

      I'd also add virtual tabletop functionality. That's the main reason I run my chat games using maptool when possible. It's nice to be able to provide visual, token, and macro support in chat games.

      I might try to broaden the base interest a little bit. That would be if it were my site, though. I'm sure lots of people would object if exclusivity were loosened, but in terms of growing the site, there are only so many pen-and-paper rpg'ers out there. Among them, just as there are pen and paper players who turn up their noses at computer rpgs, there is a large segment of the population that won't consider a site like Pen and Paper simply because it commits the sin of being online. What is the pool of uncommitted people out there? Unless it's limitless, one must eventually turn to the other options, which are to directly compete for share with other sites or expand the base somehow.

      In one sense, this is my site. I'm sure everyone who bothered to post here feels that to some extent. It's a site we've all invested in. Though not to the same extent as you, some of us have put in money, effort, and creativity over the years, and all of us, even the lurkers, have certainly paid in time. We're all invested in seeing this site continue, but at the same time, we want its continuance to include the activities that we've come to value. In my case, it's the games I conduct here, most of all, the pbp game.
    1. Farcaster's Avatar
      Farcaster -
      Quote Originally Posted by Umiushi View Post
      Talk of the site going under is always a good way to get me jumpy. The pbp forum game I'm part of has nearly 7000 posts and over four years of various players' time invested in it. Rather than bringing me back, it's not something I could walk away from any more than I could walk into orbit.

      In the worst case scenario, is there some time frame we're looking at, and also, is there some way to collect/store/archive all those posts?
      It's not going under. I have no plans at this point to take it down or change it in a way that makes it unusable for pbp or chat gaming.
    1. nijineko's Avatar
      nijineko -
      one thing i really like about this site is the ability to be a mod over your own sub-forum for the game threads. few other sites do this, that is a big plus, and should be an advertising point. plus, the game groups.

      what would be really interesting is if one could skin the game thread and game group pages, much in the same fashion that we can customize our member pages.

      again, a virtual tabletop would be a big plus for the site, especially if it could save map files to local computers and/or to our alloted space on the site. one option would be to make available a customized version of Vassal - which would be a great tie-in for this site, as they are THE board and card game software. they have permission for more tabletop games than any other site i've seen. we could even create a PNGP module for Vassal which might save some hassal - less coding, less time/cost.
    1. Umiushi's Avatar
      Umiushi -
      Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
      It's not going under. I have no plans at this point to take it down or change it in a way that makes it unusable for pbp or chat gaming.
      Thanks for clearing that up. It's a big relief to know that such functionality is sticking around! Also, since I haven't got into other sites enough to start anything, I wasn't aware until Nijineko pointed it out that Pen and Paper Games' forum moderation ability is unusual. That is a big plus!
    1. jpatterson's Avatar
      jpatterson -
      Wow I wrote a lot last night. Hopefully some of it was helpful. In reply to your question, FC, about dice mods for chat and forums, I think the most requested things I've seen mentioned are somewhat sophisticated but should be doable system-specific dice mechanics. World of Darkness, Shadowrun, and Fate/Fudge are the common ones, and HERO is a special case that even most VTT's don't do fully, because it has a couple of different criteria - one where the roll total is Stun as rolled but then for Body you also read the same roll as: min on a die results in 0, max results in 2 and in-between results in 1 (6d6s for Stun dice maybe), while the nearly impossible to do "1/2 die" is a d6 yielding 1-3 Stun and 0-1 Body, which would be d6: roll/2 for Stun, roll/4 for Body, rounded down to a minimum of 0 and a max of 1.


      Exploding dice seems like would be a not-terribly-complicated idea though, where if a die rolls its max, it rolls again and adds the new roll to the old. I've seen some codes used that make sense, like 2d6f5, which rolls two six-siders, and each explodes on a roll of 5 or more (a5 being "explode ascending/up", b5 being "explode backward/down" because "d" for descending is used in dice notation already).

      Similarly, 2d6o5 ("o" being "equal to or over") would roll two dice and count successes, and 2d6u5 would do the same for rolls of 5 or less ("u" being "under"). You could have another, "h" (higher) and "l" (lower) for at least one additional up/down pair of TN criteria. I'm not sure about static bonuses (+1).

      For my own slightly extended suggestion - I run Savage Worlds, so one thing that almost nobody anywhere has is the "best of x rolls" notation, such as rolling two (or more dice), all of which can explode, and then also picking the highest single exploded total from among all the rolls. For example, roll d8-2, d8 and d6, all of which can explode (the static mod for the d8 should be applied after so you can still roll 8 on d8, THEN the -2 is applied), and then you take the best, so if you got: d8-2 (11 exploded total), d6 (5 unexploded) and d6 (10 exploded), it would then pick the 11 as the final single roll.


      Some links to dice notations for examples: http://forums.rptools.net/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=18836 and http://lmwcs.com/rptools/wiki/Chatice

      Again on the chat, I was just told by another member here that the flash chat excludes people with android and IOS devices (whatever those are).
    1. Farcaster's Avatar
      Farcaster -
      Quote Originally Posted by jpatterson View Post
      Again on the chat, I was just told by another member here that the flash chat excludes people with android and IOS devices (whatever those are).
      I've looked into a chat software that I think would be good and I can confirm that it supports iOS and Adroid. It also has an option to use HTML5 instead of Flash. The minimal license is $300 though. I've put up a donation box. Hopefully some folks will be interested in helping out to get it.