Systems for play by post/play by forum

Arminius

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Are there any systems that are particularly well-suited to forum or postal play? Note, I’m thinking of fairly traditional forms of RPG, not epistolary games or whatever they call them where you pretend to be characters sending letters to each other. That said, a fair amount of newfangled narration-trading could be worth the offense to my traditional sensibilities, if it helped overcome the glacial turnaround cycle that seems to afflict PbP/PbF.

To jump-start discussion here are my notes from a few minutes’ research and noodling.

Spaces of the unknown (a version of Searchers of the Unknown)

Storium

Follow (Ben Robbins)

Overview article: http://abominablefancy.blogspot.com/2017/03/reviewing-rules-for-play-by-post.html?m=1 Favors:
  • Into the odd
  • The Black Hack
  • Maze Rats
Code of Unaris (actually for chat; hard to come by)

Warriors Adventure Game (link to website rotted but might be retrievable)

The Pool

CORPS (so also EABA?)

Risus?

Story Engine

Primetime Adventures?

Mythic (my own suggestion, and the only game on the list I know at all well).

I saw a lot of recommendations for *World games but (a) that seems to happen no matter what you ask about, and (b) I’m not too crazy about the system, although I may be persuadable.

It occurs to me that Heroquest could be a possibility but I didn’t take to the 1e rules.

The Solar System/TSoY also might fit but it may have too much back-and-forth in resolution.

T&T (purely because it’s supposed to be so fast)
 
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EmperorNorton

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Chuubo's was designed with Play by post in mind. But honestly if you can figure out how to play it, get back to me cause I'd love to figure it out myself. (I've read that book multiple times and I'm still trying to understand how it was intended to be played).
 

Arminius

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Yeah, given that it’s by the same person as Nobilis, which is famously opaque, I excluded it out of hand from my personal list. But it deserves mention.
 

Vargas

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I've found Marvel Heroic to be very amenable to PbP.
 

Baeraad

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Barbarians of Lemuria is pretty good. All the heroes usually go in no particular order before all the baddies in the turn order, so there is rarely any mucking about with initiative. And attacks are against a static defense, so there is no need to stop and ask the player to roll to parry or similar.

It's not entirely perfect, because there are still some things a player can do when it's not his turn - for instance, you can auto-defend against an attack by spending a Hero Point and having your weapon break - but it's certainly one of the games that I've tried that has run the most smoothly.

Chuubo's was designed with Play by post in mind. But honestly if you can figure out how to play it, get back to me cause I'd love to figure it out myself. (I've read that book multiple times and I'm still trying to understand how it was intended to be played).
I actually bought some play examples just to figure it out. I think the answer is, with a rather special group of players and while employing a rather special set of assumptions of how roleplaying works and what it's for? The idea seems to be that the GM sets the scene loosely but the players embroider on it and look for ways to expand their characters' specific stories within the loose context of it (ticking off all those plot points on their sheets). And then you sort of... sit around and groove on how enlightenedly unbound you are by traditional story structure, I guess? :tongue:
 

Arminius

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Hm, BoL I like, at least on reading, but I’m not
sure I’d even want that level of detail in combat. On one hand, when combat happens, people like detail and control, so it may be fine to just not have very much combat whilst zooming in when it does happen. On the other hand, I’ve been envisioning a game where combat rarely goes more than a round or two—some kind of group roll-off to decide winner, followed by consequences like retreat/pursuit or surrender.
 

CRKrueger

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Barbarians of Lemuria is pretty good. All the heroes usually go in no particular order before all the baddies in the turn order, so there is rarely any mucking about with initiative. And attacks are against a static defense, so there is no need to stop and ask the player to roll to parry or similar.

It's not entirely perfect, because there are still some things a player can do when it's not his turn - for instance, you can auto-defend against an attack by spending a Hero Point and having your weapon break - but it's certainly one of the games that I've tried that has run the most smoothly.



I actually bought some play examples just to figure it out. I think the answer is, with a rather special group of players and while employing a rather special set of assumptions of how roleplaying works and what it's for? The idea seems to be that the GM sets the scene loosely but the players embroider on it and look for ways to expand their characters' specific stories within the loose context of it (ticking off all those plot points on their sheets). And then you sort of... sit around and groove on how enlightenedly unbound you are by traditional story structure, I guess? :tongue:
Sounds about right.
 

Gringnr

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T&T because it's so damn easy.


Golden Heroes because of its structure.
 

Arminius

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Golden Heroes because of its structure.
Can you explain more?

I've found Marvel Heroic to be very amenable to PbP.
Ditto.

The really simple games’ advantage for PbP is obvious, I think. But structures that facilitate PbP aren’t self evident.

Another general type of game structure I could imagine, like the extreme simplification of combat I envision above, would be one where players (and NPCs) all declare actions and intentions simultaneously for a given scene, with some method of then deciding which gets resolved first and what happens to actions that interfere with each other. ISTR that Sorcerer had something a bit like this but the game actually seemed rather fiddly and interrupt-driven. I’d sooner make use of GM adjudication or limited narration trading to streamline things.
 

Arminius

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Incidentally, I’ve updated the link for The Pool to the DTRPG entry. This isn’t an endorsement, but the price is $0, so it’s not a big commitment to look at it..
 

dbm

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Genesys might be useful to look at:
  • It uses zones and range bands, so no need for precise combat maps
  • The ‘Narrative Dice System’ uses special dice with three groups of symbols on them and can potantially result in three outcomes from one roll. Because each roll has so much potential information you can condense a usual encounter into a smaller number of rolls
  • There are add-on books for fantasy, cyberpunk and gonzo science-fantasy
  • You can get an app for the dice rolling, and I am pretty sure there are online dice rollers, too, these days.
The system isn’t perfect (which system is?) and our experience was that it has quite a flat ‘power band’ that it supports, so a poor fit for classic D&D style fantasy but an easier fit for other genres.
 
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TristramEvans

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Theatrix, certainly. This is an old OOP game, but if you can find it I recommend it even just as an exploration of diceless designwork. In many ways this was inspired by Amber, but it expands upon and refines that premise toapply as a "universal" system.
 

Gringnr

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Can you explain more?
Golden heroes allocates each PC four "Frames" in which they can act. Most actions require 2 frames, though some only take 1. There is a sheet for tracking frames, like literally ticking off boxes. Same sheet lets you track power supplies, duration of effects, etc.

Initiative is 1d10 vs. 1d10 Winning side gets a certain number of frames first, based on how much they won by, losing side then takes their frames, then winning side uses the remainder of their frames.
 

chuckdee

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There's the obvious choice of Amber games and its ilk. That's most of what I play in pbem.
 

Jenx

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Anything that has a 'you go I go' type structure will suffer with play by post because some people can't post every day and so on. As mentioned in previous posts T&T is pretty good because combat has a 'cloud with fists and feet sticking out of it' feel and Golden Heroes because you can accomplish several actions before your opponent and then their go and so on. Played both, enjoyed them and for what they do (GH is low-mid level supers and T&T is dungeon crawling). Marvel Universe Role Playing Game (MURPG) the diceless version is pretty good for play by post but has too many flaws to completely recommend. The writing is muddled, the system can be min/maxed and the lack of a random element soon boils down to being great on round one and gasping for the remainder of the fight.

I run a DC Heroes play by post with house rules and can rattle off a multi combatant fight in one post but it takes (sometimes) an hour or more of my time to resolve, mostly through typing and description as the mechanics really zip along when you lose the DC Heroes tables (nothing to look up/no columns to count etc).

I think the way to make play by post to work for you is to take your favourite game and see what you can strip from it whilst still retaining most of its features. House rule in other words. face to face, play as written, play by post, adjust the game to cope with the 1 post/day (sometimes more, often less).
 
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