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Shadow
For a long time I have wanted to put toghether a set of edequette for PbP. Some people feel like there isn't any, or shouldn't be any and that just twists in my guy. I found this over at Order of the Stick. And while it was writen with 3E in mind I think it fits nicely into any PbP game.

Please add your own thoughts.

QUOTE
What is a PbP game?
A PbP, or play-by-post, game is any game that is normally played face-to-face or on a tabletop played by posting to a web-board.  For these boards, that's exclusively going to be RPG type games.

There are two basic variants of PbP games.  Free-form games lack formal rulesets - the GM of the game determines what is possible and what is not depending on the situation and what the player's tell him.  In short, free-form PbP is sort of collective story telling.

The second form is the one favored here on the Giant in the Playground boards - PbP that uses an existing ruleset for tabletop gaming.  On these boards, this primarily means d20 systems, especially D&D 3.5.

How do you play?
Simple: the GM explains whatís going on, and then you post to the game thread explaining what your character is doing.  PbP is just tabletop gaming expressed through the medium of the forum.

Other Characters This is really important. DON"T DO THIS
In PbP, there is a temptation to include the actions or reactions of other characters, PC or NPC, in your own post, in order to move things along in the story.  Do not do this.  It's quite frankly very rude.  It may take a while longer, but waiting for another player to compose their own characters response is generally worth the wait, and the slight acceleration of the plot is not worth the trouble.  Also, let the DM resolve anything that needs an opposed die roll.  In order to speed things up, its usually okay to post probably actions your character will take depending on what happens next - a sort of "if, then" statement.  Don't go overboard with this.

The exception to this rule is if you have permission from the DM and another player to control another character's actions, or if a DM has taken control of a character from an absent player.

The rest of this guide is generally geared towards running a game, though the last section is on post formatting.  I suggest reading a few currently ongoing games to help get a feel for how things work, in addition to reading this guide.

Timing
One of the benefits and curses of PbP games is that there is no formal meeting time for games.  Players post whenever they are available to check the boards.  However, this also extends the time it takes to work through adventures quite a bit.  It could take several hours, or even days, for every player to post to a single combat round.

Given this, a few suggestions can make the game run more smoothly.  First, state how often you expect players (and yourself, as the DM, in particular) to post at a minimum - once a day, three times a week, whatever works best.  If you particularly prolific posters in your game, especially if the rest of the players don't post as often, establishing a maximum number of posts might be a good idea as well.

Finally, establish a couple limits for non-response from players.  For example, if a player doesn't post for two days, the DM will decide that PCs actions in order to keep the story moving.  If the player doesn't post for say two weeks without warning, then the player is dropped.

Absences
The previous paragraph brings up another potential problem of the expanded time span of PbP - player absences.  Players might have to leave for a week or more due to vacations, family concerns, work, school, or any of a myriad of reasons.  Generally, if the player contacts the DM, that player should be able to return to the game when they get back, without penalty - though, if the absence is going to be especially long, it might be better for the player to leave altogether.  Also, its often standard-practice for another player to handle an absent player's character while they are gone.  This should only be done with the player's permission, and the DM should make sure the absent player's character doesn't get, well, screwed, while the player is gone.

If you as the DM are going to be away for a while, itís a good idea to post to both the IC and OOC threads, and let people know when you'll be back.

Dropping and Adding Players
Players end up dropping out of games regularly due to outside concerns.  This is problematic in PbP due to the extended time span the game progresses through.  Ideally, having a couple alternate players to call on should a regular drop is a good idea.  Otherwise, adding a new character should proceed the same as starting a game (see below).

Dice Rolling
The DM should establish the method used at the beginning of the game and stick to it.

Roleplaying
The nature of PbP tends to promote heavy RP games.  The players have longer to compose their thoughts and responses, and heavy "roll" games tend to go quite slowly, so extra RP helps keep things interesting.
nezumi
Wow, I could write at least a page on just 'selecting players' (or, alternatively, 'being choosey with GMs). I've noticed that carefully choosing which players you let in in the first place is a *HUGE* boon.

Also, list all house rules and pertinent information on how the game will be run clearly before players even apply to join. Make sure they're clear on how things will be run and the punishment for their non-compliance.
Paul
Not a bad basic guideline, you could obviously change somethings as you advance or get more comfortable as a group-but I think that's a pretty decent and brief summary.
SL James
QUOTE (Shadow)
The exception to this rule is if you have permission from the DM and another player to control another character's actions, or if a DM has taken control of a character from an absent player.

This is called puppeting, BTW.
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