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What works best for PbEM games?

Sabermane

Proud Fianna knight of hope and peace
Validated User
Since that's about all I do anymore, I figured a system that works well for normal table top AND PbEM wouldn't be a bad thing.

Any ideas? It seems simpler is better here, but I'd like to hear from other folks with other experience.
 

Destriarch

Sane Studios
Validated User
Best Internet-based RPGs I ever played didn't bother with any kind of system, we just made it up as we went along. No dice, no rules, if the GM thought it sounded sensible then it worked, no questions asked.

Personally, if I had to pick an actual game system to play by email, I'd go for something diceless with very few tests. The only thing that springs to mind which comes close to being a good fit is 'Nobilis'. Oh, or possibly 'Solipsist', that seemed pretty well-structured for this kind of play.

-Ash
 

ntharotep

Cthulhianic Dragon
Validated User
Simple is better. I wouldn't necessarily say that you have to go completely diceless, Invisible Castle still brings the fun to that aspect of the game but a system that generates rules for Players determining their own outcomes would be ideal. I've seen a lot of people do this in PbP games regardless of the system they are playing in.
Example: GM "You are fighting 5 goblins, they have 8 hps each with Armor 5 and Initiative 10"
DM "Goblins roll 5 and 13 against Beefy, 17 and 11 against Maria, etc...."
Player 1 "OOC: I roll: 6, 15, 12, 8, and 19; IC: Beefy the Barbarian swings his axe desimating a goblin, and repeats the process as they try to bite into him with crude swords..." etc etc

You could expand such a system to include the Players narrating the battle more or less from their character's perspective. Assign enemies to each player and let them know the rolls of the bad guys and then let them narrate.

Another approach is to simplify combat down to very few dice rolls. Have Victory Points and Defeat Points instead of hit points. If your Defeat Points (rolled by yourselves) outnumber the number of people in your party then you lose te fight... or something like that.
 

Destriarch

Sane Studios
Validated User
Hm, couldn't follow that, Ntharotep. Think I'd need to know more about the system.
Personally I'd say if any individual player needs to send more than three emails to decide a combat, it's too long.

-Ash
 

APN

Registered User
Validated User
I play exclusively via PbP these days. Though the rest of the game was firmly rooted in street level supers, the old GW supers game Golden Heroes has a round system that plays fantastic by post - it really flows. Basically roll 1D10 per side. The difference between the rolls determines how many actions the winning side takes, then the losing side takes all theirs, and the winning side finishes up with any remainder actions. Combat really flies alonge rather than the usual grind of you go, I go.

Another good (again supers) game is Marvel Universe RPG. Diceless, just allocate effort to actions and that's it.

Tunnels and Trolls combat system resembles a cloud with fists and swords poking out, but gets a 'winner' every round so damage is usually inflicted, and group combat is just a case of lumping each sides scores together and comparing.

Combat is the sticky point in play by post, I find. Anything else just needs a single roll or role playing through.
 
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