The Good and the Bad of PBP

jedion357's picture
April 11, 2013 - 5:24am
 I've been handling the refereeing of the classic SF module run thru campaign since the founding ref had real world issues and stepped out for awhile.

and was thinking about the good points and the bad points of PBP games. Feel free to post your thoughts on whats the good and the bad of PBP style of play

Number one monkey on my back is record keeping- i have to actually set myself a date and get to it. Update EXP and items found and stuff that should be tracked. You'd think it would be easy to do this in a PBP game but its a bit of a pain.

Number one positive is that you can explore character motivation more in a PBP game vs a table top game.
Because the format is written its less of the free flow of just making moves at the table. To be fair there are people in the game who seem to be less inclined to write than I am and thats fine- purpose of the game is to have fun and as long as everyone is having fun then game on but I have revelled in exploring the character motivations of the character I developed. Of course I have to back off from that a bit as referee as its bad form for the star character to also be run by the referee.

Just recently a combat wrapped up and I explored the decision making process for my character in choosing a life enemy. He's a yazirian from a clan of doctors and scientist who felt like his life was destined for something more so he became a priest of the Fo1. Due to some back story circumstances he found himself defrocked and expelled from the ranks of the Inquisitors and the priesthood. The leader within the Inquisitors that had an ax to grind with my character leaned on his clan and for the sake of the clan he accepted banishment and being stripped of his honor.

Worried that the Inquisitors might not settle for all of that he fled the Yazirian colonies and found himself drunk and destitute on Pale when a certain survey mission was looking for memebers. Being a Doctor with psych training he had a valuable skill set and joined. Plus his "crisis of faith" (he's very devoted to his religion even though his religion has turned on him) was driving him to flee as far as possible from yazirian space and lets face it a survey mission on an uncharted planet pretty much is as far away from Guna Garu as you can get.

Upon learning that the pirates that had marrooned him on Volturnus had killed an acquaintence of his, as well as trying to kill him, and it turned out that they were preying on the primitives as well as kidnapping and enslaving citizens of the UPF my character came to a realization that these pirates were worthy of death but also that he was just a doctor, councilor, and some time priest. he wrestled with the implications of the One spirit of yazira bringing him to Volturnus and decided to name these pirates as life enemy and take up the warrior's call of yazira. He had always believed that he would name a disease or social ill as life enemy and quietly spend his life laboring to defeat that but it would seem that Yazira does have a greater purpose for his life and he will embrace being a warrior and right the injustices of the pirates on volturnus.

Now that was fun.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
April 11, 2013 - 11:30am
I think the big downfall of PBP games is the unavoidable trend of waning participation. Case in point, I just got through a 13 day work week and my participation has been minimal as such.

Once that momentum starts to drop, the rest tend to participate less as well. You go from checking every day, to every other day, to every week...regardless of the reason the participation started to fall.

Which reminds me, I need to check the game again.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
April 11, 2013 - 12:28pm
Waning participation is a problem, I didn't encounter it in my first game as that game was played on yahoo groups which have an email notification feature and with the setting set to daily digest your get one email/day if their was any activity. The referee of that game always posted a turn advance sometime around early sunday morning my time so I alway was up early on sunday making coffee and reading the long game post. It was just the nature of the  beast with the yahoo game that I never really felt like it waned until the referee essentially quit. but then I cant blame him too much as the same happened to a game I was running 3 years ago when I lost one job and had to take one with a new schedule that interfered with running the game at that time.

I probably should set the forum to email me whenever someone posts for this game.

I should also develop a regular schedule for turn advances so that they could be counted on. However when I'm working and have hurry up and wait time I usually use the smart phone to check email, forums and games and occassionally post updates to stuff so its inevitable that I would break any schedule.

So I'm curious what does the Shadow like about PBP games because I've witness you as a participant in a good handful fo them. That suggests that you do like them unless its simply a case of "If I had a consistent local and weekly group then PBP be damned, I would just play at the table top."
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
April 11, 2013 - 11:39pm
jedion357 wrote:
 unless its simply a case of "If I had a consistent local and weekly group then PBP be damned, I would just play at the table top."

Yep, that one.

Still, I try to milk any PBP game for what I can. It's all gaming no matter how you slice it. 
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

OnceFarOff's picture
April 12, 2013 - 7:35am
Hey Jedion. 

I don't have a lot of experience with pbp, but am involved in a great game over at RPGnet. The DM over there will get an idea of what a person's combat preferences are, and kind of push through the battles so they don't drag on for days. It results in less crunchy action, but IMO the battles are usually secondary to the plot of the story anyways. That seems to work out for us. 

That game also has a post per day kind of expectation on everyone. Real life stuff is fine, but the clock keeps advancing, with the absent players getting NPC-ed. It works for that game anyways. 

I for one am glad you took that game over. I check back frequently to see where things are. I guess the posting rate kind of creates a 'death spiral' of sorts? I would totally keep playing that game if there was interest. I may not do the whole character development side as well as some of you writer types, but I'm also fleshing out a massive campaign for my kiddos, so a lot of my time is going there, making scenarios, creating new races, etc. I do really enjoy it though.