HollisOataheir
 member, 1 post
Mon 24 Jun 2019
at 22:02
Hi. And what systems work best for play by post?
Hi. I'm new to this site. Not new to roleplaying games, by a long shot :).

I'm intrigued by the concept of playing by forum post. I've had a look around, and this seems like a robust community.

I'm familiar with, have played, and own quite a few different RPGs. Having never played by post before, does anyone here have advice for which systems work best in this format?

Thanks in advance for any light you can shed.
Isida KepTukari
 member, 278 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Tue 25 Jun 2019
at 01:26
Hi. And what systems work best for play by post?
D&D and Pathfinder are popular on this site, particularly 5e D&D.  Nearly any system can work, but the cruchier your system, you have to be willing to either take on extra work as a DM/GM/ST or get your players to do more.

Example - a regular game of D&D the player might declare their action, the DM will set a difficulty and tell the player to roll, the player rolls, and the DM then describes the result.  As that could be four separate posts over the course of a week, you could see how that could bog things down.

Be ready to have your players make preemptive rolls, and be ready to quickly make some rolls behind the scenes as a DM/GM/ST in order to keep things moving forward.  A slow pace will kill a PbP game faster than anything else.

So, with that in mind, while D&D/Pathfinder are very popular on here due to their popularity in the general gaming world, and you can certainly have a lot of fun with them here, you may find systems that are less rules-intensive to be simpler to run.  But the more obscure the system, the more difficulty you may find in locating enough players.  When in doubt, try the "Game Proposals, Input, and Advice" to check for interest in a game/system before committing.
HollisOataheir
 member, 2 posts
Tue 25 Jun 2019
at 02:18
Hi. And what systems work best for play by post?
Isida KepTukari, thank you for the thoughtful reply.

D&D and Pathfinder are certainly popular games everywhere. I've been mostly playing one shot games at comic book shops, the local game store, and conventions the past few years - and those two systems are also popular in those venues.

It does make sense that more complex systems would require more work (either by the GM or the players or both) to pull off in this format.

Simpler systems like Mini Six, or Mythic D6, or Tiny D6, or BRP seem then like they'd require less work by the players/GM.

I'd thought that systems with heavy reliance on meta-currency (e.g. Fate, Cortex+, and maybe a lesser extent Savage Worlds), and games whose dice rolls require heavy interpretation (AGE system with it's stunt after roll mechanic, the FFG Star Wars/Genesys with "narrative dice" mechanics, etc) would be the hardest to pull off in a play by post format. Does that track with anyone's experience?
horus
 member, 790 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Tue 25 Jun 2019
at 06:56
Hi. And what systems work best for play by post?
There are, as can be seen, many schools of thought, including Old School Revival (aka OSR).  You are as likely to encounter games that are "rules-crunchy" as you are to find "rules-light.

Everyone has their personal preferences, so I won't be ashamed of mine.

For SF games, I prefer Classic Traveller, aided and abetted by Traveller Plus.  Task-oriented mechanics that are, at core, dead simple:  meet or exceed a difficulty rating with your task throw and you have succeeded.  Average task difficulty is 8 or greater (shown in rules as 8+) on a throw of 2d6.  I use this combination for one of my games that I'm re-tooling.

For Fantasy gaming, I'm fond of The Black Hack and it's Tekumel variant, The Petal Hack.  These have  the virtue of being simple, fast-paced systems and of being available at no cost other than the bandwidth to download them.  I actually use The Petal Hack here in another game.

Another Fantasy game I'm fond of is Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  Think of this as Old D&D without all the nasty hobbitses.  It's reasonably cheap as a PDF, and also plays quickly (across a table, anyway).

I'm intrigued by Fate Core and Fate Accelerated Edition, but have never actually had a chance to play beyond the game development phase, so take my mention of these with a Small Siberian Salt Mine(pat.pending) in your hip pocket.

We are alive in a post-golden age of RP gaming - there are systems in unending profusion out there, including some indie games that are quite good.  Lots of great suggestions here by others are also worth a look.

Whether you're runnin' a game or playin', here's hoping the dice are reasonably kind to you.  Hit Community Chat if you want to hang out or have more general questions to ask.

As No. 2 might say, "Be seeing you."
pdboddy
 supporter, 682 posts
 EST/EDT [GMT-5/GMT-4]
Thu 27 Jun 2019
at 16:32
Hi. And what systems work best for play by post?
I think many RPGs lend themselves fairly easily to PbP gaming for a few reasons.  One is that time is less a factor, in that it's a little bit of work each day or few days, and you don't have the pressures of face to face gaming.  It's an IV drip of roleplay.

And if you take the time to write out everything, it's all in one place.  You can't lose your notes because they're right there in the game.  I can be horribly disorganized and RPoL makes that bit easy.
HollisOataheir
 member, 5 posts
Thu 27 Jun 2019
at 17:48
Hi. And what systems work best for play by post?
pdboddy, thanks for that insight. I'm a disorganized person - so the fact the entire game is in one place sounds like a net positive for play by post games.

I really like the analogy that it's an IV drip of roleplaying. That puts it in good perspective.
pdboddy
 supporter, 683 posts
 EST/EDT [GMT-5/GMT-4]
Thu 27 Jun 2019
at 17:54
Hi. And what systems work best for play by post?
Yeah, that's how I explain it to friends and such.  Face to face, and places like Roll20, are the Red Bull of roleplaying.  You get everything in a rush.  RPoL is more of an IV drip because it's a slow, constant stream of roleplaying. :)
facemaker329
 member, 7094 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Thu 27 Jun 2019
at 23:23
Hi. And what systems work best for play by post?
Every system I've ever tried on here has had the potential of working pretty well...with some modifications to speed up the mechanics of the game.  The one I've seen that works best (but is also perhaps the most work for the GM) involves the players just stating what their actions are going to be, writing them in the same way they do their dialogue, etc...and then the GM decides whether it requires a roll, and if so, makes the roll (unless it is a super-critical, life-or-death-of-the-character roll...GMs generally have the players make those rolls, so there's no question about the results if the roll goes badly).

It lets the player focus on playing, rather than spending four days resolving a combat round...

I've also been in a few semi-freeform games that have worked pretty well...but that really requires the right chemistry to work out.  It's easy to get players who decide that, since the game is freeform, they're going to steer it to be what they want it to be, and not every GM is ready to intercede and say, "Nope...this world doesn't work that way..."

That's the thing about PbP...any system CAN work...and any system can be corrupted and fall flat on its face.  RPGs are, in my experience, more reliant on the chemistry of the players and GM than on the system or setting, in order to be successful.
Gaffer
 member, 1564 posts
 Ocoee FL
 40 yrs of RPGs
Fri 28 Jun 2019
at 18:32
Hi. And what systems work best for play by post?
In reply to pdboddy (msg # 7):

And who doesn't like a nice IV drip?
horus
 member, 792 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Fri 28 Jun 2019
at 18:52
Hi. And what systems work best for play by post?
On that note, might I suggest a possibly better paradigm?

Tabletop play is like slamming beer until one no longer cares about one's shoes.

RPoL is more like sipping on a cool drink of one's choice while lounging in a bentwood rocker on your front porch in the cool of an autumn evening.  Much more relaxed in character.