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[Merged X3] PBP Tips & Tricks Megathread

brahnamin

Will GM for Beer
Validated User
Recruiter: I'm pretty open with who I take, and have only got really burned once, and really flaked off twice (if the player retires from the game with any sort of message I don't consider that a flake, just the cost of PbP). But at this point, my games have waiting lists, which helps as a filter... you have to really want to play, because it might be a while before you get in.

Recruitee:I'm very, very picky... I'd pretty much have to be point blank invited to join a game as a player. I'm just not that good of a player, and I'm not actually really interested in being a player. I'd be really, really happy if I could just run games for folks all the time. The need to eat and support others precludes this, unfortunately. :)
Curse your sudden but inevitable food habit! :cool:

My biggest problem with connecting in PBP is it's rare I see games I actually play start up. I can't even think about getting picky before that.
 

zedturtle

Maker
Validated User
My biggest problem with connecting in PBP is it's rare I see games I actually play start up. I can't even think about getting picky before that.
The only games I've run here have been The One Ring (relatively popular) and Everway (which did get me some odd looks, but I think went really well, at least with the folks who could get into the diceless-not-really-a-system-more-of-a-set-of-loose-guidelines nature of the rules).
 

Aikireikinu

Tsundere Cat
RPGnet Member
Validated User
So, I continue to play around with tables, to make use of the forum as a visual medium, not just a textual one.

My latest experiment is what I guess might be thought of as 'Visual Novel Style Character Text Boxes'.

Kirana Shurga
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

You can make is a left or right anchored text box, depending on what fits the flow. If I had multiple characters in a post, I'd probably alternate left and right.

Kirana Shurga
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

If you have two characters reacting at the same time to the same event, you could do a double-ended split box.

Kirana ShurgaKirana Shurga
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum."

The idea is to to make each character's response visually distinctive is a way that can be hard sometimes in plain text (in games I run, I generally ask players to bold the first instance of their character's name in their posts, and to always write in the 3rd person, for ease of identifying the character).

Managing this sort of formatting takes a little organization, as copy and pasting within the forum software between posts and making edits can be tedious. What I use at this point is a GoogleDoc with the skeleton of each character's dialog box, that I can copy and paste from, and then just fill in the actual text as needed.

Naturally, I don't require my players to do this sort of insanity, but I like GM posts to be distinctive so that they're what the players need to be able recognize as something they need to react to.

However, right now I'm mainly experimenting with these as a player. I also feel that whether to use them or not needs to fit the sort of story-style that fits the game.

If you're running a more print novel style game, then it would probably be more of a distraction than an enhancement. For example, in my "Two Swords in Spetsygav" game, I'm going for more of a 'Fahfrd and the Grey Mouser" meets "Japanese-style Light Novel" feel, and I'm avoiding visual elements that would feel out of place in that sort of medium (except for necessary game elements, like the battle and status trackers I mentioned earlier in this thread).

Likewise, in the comic-book style game I ran, I used comic book style narration and speech boxes rather than visual novel style ones.
 
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The Wyzard

An overwhelming surplus of diggity
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
RPGnet Member
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That kicks ass. If I ever run a game that I want to feel visual-novel-ey, I'm going to use that.
 

Aikireikinu

Tsundere Cat
RPGnet Member
Validated User
That kicks ass. If I ever run a game that I want to feel visual-novel-ey, I'm going to use that.
:eek: Thanks!

To elaborate on my motivation some. I like to engage with the games I run as works of fiction, that are connected to specific media and genres, and I like to use visual or other elements to set the game within those media and genres, and to signal to my players what sort of fictional universe their characters live in.

If I'm going for a book/novel type medium, I'll have distinct named chapters, maybe with a pithy quote to accompany them. If I'm going for a TV show/anime type of feel, then the game will be divided into episodes, which start with an opening theme and end with an ending theme, episode titles, and sometimes a repeated opening 'scene'.

For example, in the dark magic girl game I ran, I used the below as framing:

"Dreams and restless thoughts came flowing to him from the river, from the twinkling stars at night, from the sun's melting rays. Dreams and a restlessness of the soul came to him."

~soundtrack~

A spotlight shines down from the darkness. Six girls on stage, in magical girl costumes. Kirika on lead guitar. Akasuki on bass. Mitsuko on cello. Suzume on vocals. Hoshiko on drums. Souka on keyboard.

They begin to play, becoming mere silhouettes against the screen behind them.

Tomoe stands atop a hill, her banner flapping in the breeze, as she directs her forces. Her army clashes with an army of Youma as...

Miyuki stands atop a telephone pole, her arms held out to her sides, her phone in one hand. Data flies through the air and swirls around her, reordering reality to throw the Youma in disarray as. . .

Hotaru wafts through the air, carried on the wind like a leaf. Flying Youma try to hem her in, but are swept away up by whirlwinds in her wake. She spins and extends her staff a mile, sweeping them from the air as...

Chizuru in her magical girl outfit stands, her hands outstretched. A military jet fllies overhead and dissembles, combining with a car on the street, forming around Chizuru as a giant clockwork mecha. She takes out her watch and inserts into to the control console. Words appear on the screen Ego sum ergo cogito. The machine roars to life and fires a continuous beam, annihilating countless Youma as...

Chise wades through the Youma, flitting from one to another, ripping them to shreds. Her beasts of shadow and blood finish off the ones she merely wounds as...

Amaterasu floats in midair, her back to the Sun. A rainbow mandala surrounds her, eclipsing the Sun and focusing beams of sunlight downwards, ripping through the Youma.

The image changes to a giant oblivion seed, floating in a storm-ridden sky. The World is chained to the seed, her hollow face in shadow. The face of Asura One appears to the right, and Nadie Sombra's to the left.

Tomoe, Miyuki, Hotaru, Chizuru, Chise, and Amaterasu face off against Asura One and Nadie, weapons at the ready.

The image fades as the spotlight shines down, illuminating the band. Kirika, Akasuki, Mitusko, Hoshiko, Suzume, and Souka step forward and bow.


Magica Mima Umbra Puella
These Empty Dreams...

And then the episode closed with:


Episode 11: Exposure


(of course, the danger of using youtube links is that they tend to break over time).

Using the game's wiki, I could track the episodes, and organize them to form something of a thematic whole (not very successfully in the case of this particular game, but it gets the idea across).

https://wiki.rpg.net/index.php/Magica_Mima_Umbra_Puella#Episodes
 

Gojira

in a rubber monster suit
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I was thinking the same thing recently. Do you mind posting the BB code you used for formatting? It would be a useful starting point for a lot of people I think.

Edit: well duh I can do the same thing with just the Quote button.

Code:
[ TABLE="class: outer_border, width: 100%, align: left"]
    [TR="bgcolor: pink"]
        [TD="colspan: 2"][B]Kirana Shurga[/B][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
        [TD="width: 80"][ IMG]http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z330/alicesara/Characters/kirana-head_zpskxbkx0pc.jpg[/IMG][/TD]
        [TD]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
        [/TD]
    [/TR]
[/TABLE]
 
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Aikireikinu

Tsundere Cat
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Yep! At least until this thread gets locked one day, people can just quote to see the code. I'll try to remember to do future things in code blocks along with the display version.
 

Logar

Registered User
Validated User
Just wanted to say thank you for all the info posted here. I'm going to start a game on here for my friends that often travel and have conflicting schedules, so all of this is really helping me develop a plan.
 

Mr Blobby

Registered User
Validated User
I think this thread contributed a bit to the pbp column they're doing here now. As far as I know, there's not actually much guides / how to / advice on DM'ing with this format - and like a novel being turned into a film, attempting to run a game written for tabletop in pbp requires some adaptation...
 
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