Just to get this out of the way, I think play by post is a great medium for playing RPGs. You can do it while having a full work day, and you can play with people who live nowhere near you. I’d highly recommend it, but it is not for everyone. I’ll explain more below.
What is it?
Play by post (PBP) is the act of playing a table top RPG using a forum of some sort to write out what your character does. This is different than playing via Google Hangouts live with people. This article is talking about playing slowly and posting something whenever you can. This can be achieved multiple ways. The first and oldest is some sort of online forums. More modern ways of doing it are via Google Hangouts, Google +, Google Docs, or any other program of the same type. For a while Google Wave was fantastic for this but that got taken down a while ago. I don’t know if anyone picked up that project. There are plenty of online dice rollers that people use to link their rolls, but that doesn’t have to be used. In the game I’m running I just trust the PCs to not lie to me.
Why is it fun?
Some people have a hard time coming up with what they want to say quickly. PBP allows those people to think about what they want to say and give them some time to say it well, without holding the game up significantly. I know I’ve said some dumb things due to wanting to rush ahead and keep the game moving. PBP can also fit into a busy schedule. It works great for those of you who have internet at your work place. Productivity goes down but honestly it’s probably going to just take up some of your reddit/imgur time. The biggest reason it’s fun is simply that you get to play an RPG.
Who’s it for?
This type of play is not for everyone. If you have a hard time remembering to log on once a day at least, or can’t get to the internet on a somewhat regular basis, you should probably not do it. Nothing bums out a DM more than a whole game being stopped because someone disappeared. It’s especially hard when the game in question is D&D or anything like it where everyone has to take a turn before the next round can go on. Another facet is interest. If you’re the kind of person that prefers a one shot to a long running game, then avoid PBP. You’re probably going to get bored with it quickly and drop out. I’m not saying that you should never try PBP if you fall into one of these categories, but you have been warned. Best thing to do is just be open and upfront with the GM if things come up.
I’m running/playing in some Dungeon World PBP and having a blast. I’ve never done it but I imagine FATE and any system based off of it would work well. If you have a system you’d recommend leave a comment and tell us about it.
I’ll be posting the game I’m running as the sessions finish up.
Thanks for reading mates.