We’ve talked about some of the challenges in running a play-by-post roleplaying game. This week we’re going to talk about how you can make things easier for yourself when you plan and set one up.
- Plan it out ahead of time. Seriously. Just because you have more time to decide what happens next, doesn’t make improvisation any easier. In fact, I’ve found that there’s more of a tendency to procrastinate because the immediate pressure is less. But if you don’t have an idea for what you’re going to do or where it’s going to go, having to decide mid-game doesn’t get much easier.
- Set player expectations. This is related to the above. Let the players know what they’re in for before they submit characters. Let them know what they’re going to be doing, how often you expect them to post, what your policies are for absenteeism, etc.
- Don’t hinge the plot on any one player because that player will be the one to drop the game first. Trust me.
- Plan for players to drop out because it’s going to happen and there’s nothing you can do about it. Work in players leaving/more players replacing them into the game’s premise.
- Prepare solid notes for potential players if you have multiple threads available, make use of them. Otherwise make sure your OP contains the info the players need to know. What the setting is like, what kind of characters you’re looking for, any house-rules in effect, what sources they can draw from, etc.
- Start with a bang get players in the mood by starting with action. This doesn’t have to mean a fight, but it’s a great way to build in player investment.
- Be picky when choosing your players if you don’t know them. Make sure they’re on the same page as far as tone goes. Make sure that they can write, at least well enough that your eyes aren’t going to try and escape their sockets. PbP is a textual medium, so you’re going to be forced to read a lot of posts.