Play by Post

This method is not very common anymore. Video chat is everywhere. However it has advantages and disadvantages.

Experiences, advice, recollections, complaints? Tell us.

PbP is all I do. I’m in nine campaigns, GMing two of them (pathfinder1 & 2 and D&D5).

I prefer the style of PbP. I can do it when I have time during the day, rather than having to be ‘on’ and creative during a ~4 hour window, I can be creative when the juices strike me. There’s no way I could find time in my schedule for NINE ~4 hour games a week. But doing it on breaks, in the morning before work, casually on the weekends… well, that works for me.


I used it exclusively when I was between actual tabletop games. I was once in 20 games at once at Big disadvantage is its very slow. 2 days game time could actually take a year. I see a lot of PbP games at Mythweavers, Giant in the Playground, and the Tangled Web that never even got off the ground due to the pace. I never apply to any of them any longer because the DMs have these expectations that you have a complete backstory, character motivations, etc, in your application, and then they may not even choose you, and when they do, the game never gets started because the DM ghosts the game. It can be extremely frustrating.


Before I got really, really sick, I tried out Unseen Servant. That seemed to work pretty well for PbP games. Need to go check that forum out again as well.

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Slow is a real issue, and the amount of front loading for the GM is pretty heavy. I did one for a while on PP&P. The GM died of plauge (me). I just burned out.

Slow; add a player, double time between moves unless the GM is a participation Nazi. That has it’s own issues.

Jay and I are happy at a fairly slow pace, we are comfortable with each other and run from 5 to 7 threads at a time between Star Trek and Bureau 13.

Go too slow you get a reminder.


Oh, and if anyone here wishes to start up a play-by-post campaign, would be more than happy to host that space.

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I have been running a 10+ thread pbp GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game over on rpol dot net since 2013. The most infuriating thing is unannounced player loss, and there has been some burnout on my end.
rpol has a good diceroller and an accessible character sheet function, but loading images can only be done if they are hosted somewhere., or at least it seems that way to me with my limited html skills.


Jay and I use e-mail, so images are simple. We use Google groups only because we get a constant thread and archive that way. Die rolls are infrequent and a matter of trust. The game is all but systemless.

We have had weeks long hiatus because life was getting in the way, but it is only two of us so it is an easy matter to understand.

This is an awesome approach, and I desperately wish I was capable of it. But I’m very much not a multi-tasker. I need to be fully engaged with that one activity for a committed time.
I’ve tried pbem and pbp wargames as well, and even that is a struggle to stay connected with. Every time I come back to the next turn or move, it’s such a struggle to reconnect with the situation and material that I lose interest.

I hear you CarlZog. I’ve had players who were not as wise. They’d be great for two or three posts in an afternoon, but unable to ‘keep up’ with the general flow. They, and you it sounds like, do not do well in this environment.

I’m with Euan on this. Folks need to be on per an agreed schedule (once a day, once a week, whatever) so it keeps moving, but you’ve got the freedom to get on anytime and respond/post. It is super slow though, but that’s an expectation going in I feel.

My biggest things with them as always been player agency and god moding. Someone wrote actions for other players (without getting pre approval) that are sometimes in and sometimes out of character. Or they wrote their characters doing amazing things and never failing.

I always have a lot of fun with them though and wouldn’t mind getting into one again. Maybe something Firefly related?

With more than two people that is a must. Fail to do this and it will peter to a halt at some disagreeable spot.

I ran a PbP back in the old PPG days. I had 3 to 4 players and it was a sort of murder mystery set in Ravenloft. I was actually very pleased with it as we were each able to take our time writing responses and adding our own bit of flavor and descriptions, which made it very creepy and horrific at times. It worked very well with that particular adventure. Unfortunately, when I tried to move on to the next adventure, the group fell apart.

I’m wondering if there is a way to get a copy of that game ( like a transcript). I went back to a few times years later and reread the whole thing and found it to be an enjoyably read. But with this new version of PPG, I no longer seem to have access to it. Perhaps this is a question that @Farcaster can answer.

I took it upon myself to save my PbP threads offline years ago before the site went down. Hopefully, @Farcaster still has access to the raw database or has an archived copy somewhere.

Apologies I didn’t archive the entire site.

Nothing is ever really deleted online. If the site admin doesn’t have it you could try something like the way back machine.

As with all RPGs it takes the right group of folks and perfect timing to pull together.