Interest in Atlas Play by Post?

How interested are you in having Play by Post games on the Atlas forums?

  • I'm not at all interested in Play by Post.
  • I'd probably read through the posts once in a while, but that's about it.
  • I'd read the posts religiously, but wouldn't want to participate in a game.
  • I might want to play in a game, but I'd have to think about it.
  • I'd DEFINITELY want to play in a game!
  • I might want to GM a game, but I'd have to think about it.
  • I'd DEFINITELY want to GM a game!

0 voters

In our staff meeting today, we kicked around the idea of hosting Play by Post games on the Atlas Games forums. This is something I've been thinking about for a while, actually ... I know that many fan sites do this, and it might be a great way to bring together the Atlas Games fan community. But, of course, it'll only work if YOU, our fans, are excited about it. So, I've set up a little poll here to gauge your interest. Please take a moment and let us know if you think this is a good idea or not.

Also, we'd love to hear some advice on how you'd like the Play by Post games set up, if we decide to do this ... for example, should the games be open to non-players to read/post to? Should the GMs have moderator power on that forum? Any ideas on how to make this as automatic as possible, so it doesn't unduly distract the Atlas staff from actually producing games? Many of you have more experience with these than we have, so what things work best? Which don't work at all? Maybe even suggest some links to good Play by Post sites for us to check out as exemplars.

Thanks for your help!


this is right up my alley since I run a Podcast devoted to Play by Post games. Also the Site associated with the podcast is devoted to PbP.

is one of the best PbP sites I know of which is why my Podcast, which can also be found there, is part fo the site. Give it a listen and check out the site...

I am all for PbP game getting started all over the internet

Hey Thayan! I've actually checked out Groovygamers before ... that's what gave me the idea! Can you explain a little bit about the technicalities of how the Play by Post games are run over there? Are there any special needs that the games have that we'd need to change our forums to accomodate? Thanks!

Well the Main thing is a New section. You have Games, and Administration. I would add a New Categroy called Play By Post.

Then it becomes a matter of tastes. There are really 2 main schools of thinking. The easiest way for You the Admin to do it is thenc reate 2 forums.

1 Being a Recruiting Forum where GMs and players can look for games recruiting. The Next being a Game forum where the GM would create a game thread and everything associated with that game goes in there (Ussually the create a In character and an OOC Thready)

  1. What we do at Groovy is a bit different. We have a Recruiting forum AND when a GM recruits a game then our Admins create a subcategory under teh GMS name a a new Forum under the Games title. That way a GM may create as many threads as they want to to run their game. ANd all the threads are in one location. Its a bit more work from teh admins because of Forum creation ...but I find it makes for easier to find games and easier to run games.

How it works is a GM will post a recruitment thread giving details of the game he wishes to run. Following this basic format

Our full recruit rules can be found HERE

I personally prefer option #2 but I can understand why a site not devoted to PbP would opt for Option #1. If You need better explanation or any more questions please let me know and I will answer them as quickly and promptly as i can. Also if you have any feedback for the show I appreciate it...:slight_smile:

I'm not sure whether opening up such a subforum here is a great idea or a bad one (as there are sites dedicated to PbPs and thus able to better provide for such games). At any rate:

IMO, the threads could be left as normal threads (viewable and editable by anyone). People are generally polite and responsible enough so that won't be an issue, and it's simplest. GMs need no special privileges (this helps, but again isn't really needed if everyone is playing nice).

I've played in PbPs in ENWorld, which utilizes three forums for this (an OOC forum, an IC forum, and a Character-Sheets forum). I like ENWorld's simple and useful operation. I also played very shortly on RolePlayOnline, which opens a forum for every game with extensive options for GMs within it (including the options to set up groups that can have access/can see certain threads), have each member have an avatar unique for the game and having the GM capable of using different avatars (for playing different NPCs), having direct access to a character's public profile from the player's PC/GM's NPC post, and more - all in all, a very feature-heavy site, I was impressed. I wasn't impressed with the actual forums themselves, however, which showed me that having slick easy to edit and read forums was more important than all the bells and whistles.

I would note that the capability to use attachments greatly enhances a PbP game, a feature that this forum lacks. Another useful tool is the use of spoiler-boxes, to shorten posts, and various font colors (including spoiler/background) and size - not sure how much of this these forums implement. Having certain threads not appear to certain players and so on is another useful functionality, but can be done without IMO.

Having each game in its own subforum would be great, but unless you can automate this somehow will be very work-intensive for the admins. Opening new forums for PbPs is vital, but I'm not sure of their number. Given the relative small size of the boards, I would suggest even a single PbP sub-forum might be sufficient. Different threads could be marked by their title, e.g. "[RECRUITMENT] The Theandric Saga", "[OOC] The Theandric Saga", and so on.

A sticky thread on the forum can explain it all for the uninitiated... :slight_smile:

Good idea, always easier said than done!

Not a subject to be treated lightly, so, with apologies as to length...

Most of my experience has been on RPoL and the currently defunct (but returning soon?) GoAnd boards. RPoL is written specifically for PbP RPG's, and so has many bells and whistles that are extremely useful and desirable, but not strictly "necessary"; GoAnd did just fine without many of those, and iirc used a (modified?) phpBB as its platform, as does this site. (GoAnd was sold to a group not interested in supporting the RPG aspect.)

There are many "policy" decisions that you need to make- questions of autonomy, moderation, GM/Player "rights", what sorts of stories one can tell (ie, do all stories/language require an "All Ages" rating, or can some mature games include a "Warning: Graphic Language and Violence", etc; I'm guessing you don't want to invite truly deviant stories- that opens an ugly door*.) How games are advertised, how Players are recruited/selected, and such are also considerations that should be addressed, but again, largely, any practical policy is fine so long as its clear and enforced/enforceable. In general, a forum for advertising, another for chat, and another for the games themselves would be a minimum, with additional forums depending on traffic load/demand. (I'd be happy to discuss such topics at more length, not to tell you what is "right/wrong", but share some issues I've seen raised elsewhere.)

(* Laws are different in every nation, and this is an international community; however, it's not a publically owned site, and community standards still apply. The best policies I've seen allow such to be "mentioned", but not dwelt upon. Nor can a story be based purely on such - for example, torture was a reality of this historical period, but Ars Magica is not a game "about" torture, and the sagas should not be either. Some players would abuse a policy any less stringent.)

Many PbP boards only allow the User Name to be used in posting- thus, if I were playing a Magi, a Companion, and 3 Grogs, they'd all be posted as "Cuchulainshound", and only in-text labeling could distinguish between them. RPoL takes a diff approach, allowing any number of "characters" to be owned within a single game by a User in that game; thus, each character gets their own name (and their own avatar/icon/picture, but that's another can of worms.) And likewise, the GM can create any number of distinct NPC's - it is far easier to read a thread when each character's post, PC or NPC, grog or mage, is made by that character, unique and distinctly so, and not all by the same controlling User Name.

Multiple threads are almost a necessity for any one game, and as such, a GM should be able to create threads in their own game as they need them. (Whether those threads can be further "nested" or not is a policy issue, and a matter of personal preference and style, but imo as a GM it'd be very useful.) RPoL allows "private" threads, which can only be viewed by certain "Groups" of players- the GM can decide which players can see which groups, and so on- this is a great option, but hardly a necessary one. PM's could suffice, but the GM should have the ability to control that.

And, as mentioned above, an ability to insert jpegs into threads for visual aids, battle maps, or just mood is a huge bonus- not strictly necessary, but so much better than not.

Likewise, a GM should have some Moderation abilities for the threads within their game. If a post is made that is unacceptable (as some players have been known to get badly confused, or just plain go off the deep end!), deleting or Editing a post before others respond is a nice option. If possible, GM's should be able to choose who can/can't post in their games, since uninvited posting is, well, just that.

(RPoL has a special PM link within games for requesting to speak with the GM for a given game, but that's necessary there since a User can create a pseudonym for their public "GM" persona (and all players) - there's no way to tell who's running a game, or in one, if they don't want you to..)

Lurking/reading by either non-players or visitors to this site is, I believe, a desirable thing, tho' if technically possible it could be made optional. Open threads achieve 3 important and desirable results: more community interaction, more general inspiration and impetus for tabletop games, and community moderation- anything truly objectionable is more likely to be noted and reported.

Overall, I think this could be a good thing.

Would games be available to people who have no knowledge of Ars Magica?
In terms of running some Demo games is what i mean here.
Is actually having access to a copy of the Rules a prerequisite to playing in any game on offer?
Any online game would need to include a dice-rolling program.
One i have seen , logs the rolls made by players so they can be checked if needed.

One question: do we have to be running Atlas' own games? Much as I love Feng Shui, it doesn't work well for my preferred style of PbP game. I run free, online-available systems.

I've been running PbP games for a couple of years now on RPGnet, and to be honest I don't need anything more sophisticated than the very boards themselves. I don't need multiple threads, dice-rollers, logs or any of that guff.

What works for me is just three threads, and preferably two fora. One Meta/Recruitment forum for advertising games people wish to run, and players looking for games. Each game is allowed one Meta/Recruitment/Interest thread to gather the people interested. Then the actual Play forum itself, where each game has two threads: the Out of Character one for admin and chat, and the In Character one for the play itself.

Personally I'm happy enough for everyone to be able to read everything, but only the players can post in the IC thread, and perhaps limited posting from spectators in the OOC thread. Given you can't report threads on here, it might be a good idea to give GMs some kind of powers to delete posts from their threads. While I'd like to believe people would simply behave accordingly and not go posting willy-nilly in games they're not playing in, I'm not sure that's workable.

Aaaactually... This is one of those points where one of the available Virtual Gaming tables might come in rather handy.

For where there are things that might need to be resolved by the dice I mean.

Ironically, I did just fine running a PbP with the barest of minimums - a message board for posts, a private e-mail list for table talk, and ICQ to chat with players live, if need be. It helped that most of us had decent writing skills, which made avatars/accounts for individual characters unnecessary.

I find that too many bells and whistles distract, and that you can get by with the basics, just fine. Foxcourt (ironically, an Ars Magica 4th Edition Saga) ran for 3 years on Townhall, and another year as a Play-by-Email game before the dreaded "Real Life" claimed the storyguide as it's victim... :slight_smile:

At the very least, some basic dice rolling functions, and a separate recruiting / announcement area. Separate Story and Table talk forums for each PbP. Story area publically readable, Table Area should be members only.


I really don't see the need for separate fora for each and every game. Seems wasteful to me, especially since most would only have a handful of not-especially-active threads in them. Not to mention that most PbP games die fairly quickly, meaning a lot of hassle for whomever is administrating the forums. It's a recipe for confusing fragmentation, not to mention the hassle of browing through lots of different fora to see what's about if you're reading.

End of the day what difference does it make if people are reading your threads? Just announce in the opener whether or not it's open to spectators comments and you're done.

Dicerollers and the sort are a matter of taste. I just let my players roll their own, if they cheat they're cheating themselves. If it really bothers you, the GM can do the rolling themselves, players just say what they're rolling.

You talk to much about dice rolling.
I know this is an action movie roleplaying with lot of dice rolling, but ROLEPLAYING for me means that you emphathise your character (see golden comeback) and play all his quirks with accuracy. And simply that way you can have fun, I have been there before when three berserkers belch the alphabet and each other names, this was another system but it was funny and feng shui can bring the same fun to your pc. Of course you need a plot and a GM but you do not neccesarily need much rules and dices, instead you need to describe your characters actions as cool as possible. Meet your friends and role dices and when you have no friends at hand the internet is another platform to have fun.-FUN FUN FUN :smiley:

That would kind of be the point, yes. :wink:

Ah, count me out then, I'm afraid. Like I said I love Feng Shui, but the Shot Counter is poorly suited to PbP play, in my opinion.

Pretty much. You have to keep a pretty tight tab on who posts their particular shot when you're running a fight in PbP, because people's plans for their particular shot will get preempted by those with a higher initiative, which is bad news if everyone isn't on the same page and someone's plans for a particular situation get messed up by someone, for example, fogging up the entire area in order to keep the mooks from gunning down the innocent bystanders, forgetting that there are gunbunnies on the good guys' side as well. Not fun at all.

One of the reasons for a Company to host games on its site
would have to be to generate interest in its product.

This would hopefully translate into increased sales of RPGs ,
but is unlikely to provide a significant boost in profit.

Well I totally disagree. Sorry. My presence at the Atlas Forurms has dropped dramatically since I was introduced to I've been spending a lot of time there and have participated in a Feng Shui game that is running quite well. In fact to date, I think FS is the game I've found that is best suited to PbP.

The shot clock lays out in a very clear manner the order of combat.

Play by Post allows people to figure out their actions in a very easy manner. If I go at 14, I can deduce the my other shots and lay them out all at once or one at a time. I can lay them out before or after the other people and the GM simply reads them, puts them in order, and delivers results.

Here's a sample from RPOL. I always liked this particular fight: ... &msgpage=2

One fight took you twelve days to resolve. PbP moves slowly, but I prefer systems that can resolve major conflicts much quicker and more fluidly than that. Going at the rate of a Shot-per-GM-post is far too slow for my tastes.

The only time I've seen it work at all was when the GM handled the mechanics, with the players giving their intentions for 3 shots at a go. But that means a lot of work for whomever is running it. Not something I'm prepared to do, personally.

I just read on and I was wrong. No, not twelve, more than twenty days! And counting. I've had more complicated fights in simpler systems done and dusted in a matter of three or four days at most.

I handled all the combat for Foxcourt off-board - players sent me thier actions, and rolls, and the narrative of combat was posted within 24 hours. We'd never have a fight last longer than 2 rounds (amazing what teamwork can accomplish), and take more than 3 days to post.

I didn't find it all that difficult to handle.

The main problem with Play by Post is that people are expecting it to run at Play-by-IM (ICQ/IRC/YIM/MSNM) or even worse, Tabletop or Real Time/MMORPG speeds. Sorry, just doesn't happen that way. Player's need to be a little patient when complex matters need to be resolved.

For a fight that takes 20 days to resolve, that's typical when the GM has to keep track of everything going on inside the 3 minutes the fight rages on. As to how it was resolved, that's the GM's choice.