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Valuable things learned about play-by-post games

Things learned about play-by-post roleplaying games

The popularity of OngoingWorlds as a place to roleplay is growing, with more games being setup this month than ever before. Unfortunately some of these games are badly conceived and don’t get popular, but the good ones stand out and it’s clear they’re being played by experienced roleplayers and great writers. One of these great games is Colony World, and the member MnMike emailed me with these great lessons he’s learned from play-by-post games.

It’s been a while since I participated in play-by-post RP.  The last one was years ago on a Harry Potter forum.  However, now that I am involved in Colony World here on OngoingWorlds it brings to mind some things that I learned those many years ago.

1) Game Owners should appoint competent moderators only after they have proven themselves as players first.  Not only will this relieve some of the work on the owner by having others introduce and monitor new material to their games, but it will prevent problems involving player disputes with the mods.  Inexperienced or uncreative mods often do more damage than good to a game.

2) NPCs are a GM’s (owner/mod) friends and very useful for steering player characters in the direction you would like the game to go.  Feel like the game needs some action?  Have an NPC stir up some trouble.  Want some romance introduced?  Use an NPC to hit on a PC.  The character may not accept that NPC’s proposal, but it may stir another player character into action.

3) Encourage in game relationships.  This doesn’t necessarily mean romantic ones.  Simply having some player characters who are best friends, relatives, or even the worst of enemies can really add some dramatic flair into the game.  Again, NPCs can fill in here if need be, but encourage your players in this regard and it means less work for you as a GM.

4) Finally, if something isn’t working in your game.  Chuck it out ASAP.  Dragging out a subplot or developing a character that nobody cares for (this means the players, not their characters) is a sure way to kill a game fast.  Players will simply stop posting in order to avoid what they do not want in their games.

MnMike, see his profile here

If you’ve got some tips to share, or want to write an article for this blog send us an email here (it can be about your game, or roleplaying in general).

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