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Karma in forum games - specifically on the Welcome to the Shadows board.

I have been dabbling in GMing there. It is fairly fun, and adopting to the different medium has been an interesting challenge.

But I have yet to come up with a good system for Karma awards.

I mean, the BBB/tabletop way, no one will ever get any karma. The idea of awarding karma at the completion of a run assumes that
(A) the campaign is built around conventional "runs", which most of mine has not been until recently.
(B) the "runs" are completed in any sort of reasonable RL time frame. Near as I can tell, even a very small run with a short, simple objective and a limited number of players can take a month or more to get through on these boards. A more involved "full" run with several players - well, never seen one completed, although I have heard that in a few legendary cases it happens.

So basically, no one would ever get "paid" and you will have faithful players posting day after day but achieving no game-terms character progression - one of the key pleasures of the game. Is that pleasure to be surrendered just because one is playing by post?

Watching other games, I have seen weekly awards based on post frequency.

I have seen awards given to people for GMing (don't know how that one works, but I like the sound of it!)

I have seen awards at the completion of "chapters" of runs.

I have seen awards at arbitrary intervals (when the GM got around to it) based on BBB individual award standards.

And I have seen games where there were never any awards even after goals were reached/small runs completed.

Over the past ten months, I have experimented with combinations of most of these methods, but have yet to find anything satisfying. Either I feel that hard work and great play are going unrewarded, or that I am being way too generous a GM. Never was a problem in my zillion years of tabletop GMing, but this forum thing has me stumped.

Would appreciate any comments.
I've got a few games going on the forums ATM. I've been giving out karma at intervals in the game. My own little intervals that I have set before hand. So faster posting is it's own reward, but you don't get karma just for posting.

Here, this is how I've set mine up. Not saying it's the best way, but maybei t'll give you some ideas. I award more over pbp than I would over a table top becuase of the slowness of play.
Lady Door
As a player in a couple forum based games, I can say that the sloooooooow doling out of karma is incredibly frustrating. Giving out karma at the end of the "chapter", as it where, takes foever since not everyone can post one right after another and there are often lags of days or even weeks while you wait for someone to say something.. anything.
My preference (hint, hint Fist3.0) would be for karma doled out throughout the game... i.e. if a character did something karma worthy, let them know right then. It gives them a chance to gain karma throughout and is a nice little morale boost for when the game starts to drag.
It doesn't have to be a lot.. even one point here or there for a smart move or funny one-liner (if you're like our gaming group and hand out karma for comedy)... with a final karma award at the end of the game for the actual run itself.
Just an idea from the other side of the... err.. "table". smile.gif
Just don't award any. Forum players don't deserve karma.

Lady Door
Hate. Lots and lots of hate.
on Shadowland, we tend to award karma on a per-scene basis even in private campaigns (which is where most runs occur, or at least are organized). this is because a given GM's story arc can take a while, and the cast of players might change.

in general, i award double or even triple the karma i'd award in tabletop, simply because forum games take so much longer to play. 3-4 karma seems like a pretty crappy reward for two or three months' worth of pitched battle. getting 8 or 10 karma for a single battle might sound like a lot, but it allows characters to advance at a reasonable rate. i've been playing my main character for about six years, and he's going into semi-retirement soon with 200 earned karma.
Thanks very much for the comments so far.

Seems there is a consensus on total karma being higher on the forum-based games - makes me feel better since I am sure I have given out probably 5X the karma in my forum games as I would have if the same amount had been done table top.
But the flip side of that, I think, is that if the same amount had been achieved table top, even a good group of role-players would not have turned in even 5% of the amazing character development I have been privileged to see so far in my game.
So in the end, maybe the karma actually isn't unjustly inflated (in response to the slowness factor).

Jury still out...still hoping for more great comments....
My runs generally take about 9 months to complete, but involve less intensive actually play. I increased karma awards by about a factor of 1.5 or 1.8 and cash by about the same.
I agree with the most here that giving a bit more karma for the adventure would be in order due to the time and all. Role-playing tends to get better when people have time to think about their doings, too. Receiving the karma along the way in small bits sounds good as well.

This was a completely different game, but I thought I'd share. In the game, there was one battle whose completion took well over a YEAR. Yeah, one single battle. Dang, were we glad when it was over!
Okay, consensus is strong that overall karma per adventure will be substantially higher.

What about standards for awards? Is it valid to use karma as a motivator for frequent posting?


and good posting.
My Gm is handling it thusly

Karma will be awarded once per "scene". I plan on each scene taking between a week to two weeks. Awards will be on a case by case basis, mostly for taking actions that move the plot forward. Everyone who posts at least once over the course of the scene will recive two karma just for posting, even if it is just your character saying "I agree". Karma can be spent during any downtime that comes up which will usually coincide with new scenes. Karma can also only be spent on skills you've actually been studying. This is mostly just to encourage a greater connection with your characters, "studying" can be as simple as "Bang sets his gun on the fireing platform and walks away from the range when the com-call comes in so he can hear over the other officers fireing." or "After getting home Merric starts pouring over the hacking program he's writing." Naturally skills that you acutally use during the course of the game count too.

Currently I've gotten 10 Karma. I love.gif Karma
Wounded Ronin
I suggest very low karma payouts as threat of death in forum games generally seems pretty low due to less balls-to-the-wall tatical combat.
Maybe for forum games there should be 2 catagories of things to spend karma on and two types of karma awards. The primary pool of skills and their related attributes would become off limits until the game "finished". It would be individual for each player but people would choose their main form of attack and other stuff agreed to by the GM. And then throughout the rest of the game as they get karma they can spend it on anything thats not in the primary list and no attributes or skills can surpass the ones in the primary list.

So you cant have a primary of pistols 5 at the start of a mission and then end up with Long arms 6 by the end of it. Then when the game ends you give a fat pool of karma and let them raise whatever including the primary stuff.

Thats really complicated but it sounds like a balance between having to little and having to much.

Other than that maybe just straight rewards on the things that happen in game. Battles = X amount, down time = x amount, advancing the story to a battle = x, finishing the mission = x.
Haven't you seen the 13th Warrior!? You can get better in the middle of the game! It's character development! biggrin.gif
All you need is a montage!
Wounded Ronin
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