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When to Post?

When to Post?

I am considering (and hoping) to get a Play By Post D&D game together, and so am going about gleaning what precious information I can from various locals. Something that has been wearing on my mind however, is how best to have the players (and myself as DM/GM) time their reactions and actions.

See, I've played around with what I suppose was just Interactive Storytelling in the past, and I find that when you're in a group, things can happen rather suddenly; sometimes right in the middle of when you yourself are preparing to act. What I absolutely hated was spending time writing up a response to what someone else said or did, only to find that as soon as I hit refresh on the page, another character had since come out, written a few lines of their own response and suddenly the whole scene was carrying off into the sunset without me.

So I wonder if maybe having a Posting Order is the ticket. Basically treat it as Initiative, in that everyone writes to a certain order. However, I realize that that could slow down things immensely and get terribly frustrating for those waiting in line who are able to post right away, but cannot until someone else did. But isn't that the way to do things for combat? I'm still fuzzy on how to handle that as well.

Any insight to this dilemma of mine would be much appreciated, thank you.

Let people post when they want, but not as often as they want. Typically one response per DM post works best.

Then the next DM post should be considered the start of a new "round" per se. Works for me.

To be honest, I am totally against the "one response per round" idea. I prefer it when players post when needed, as needed, and as often as they like. I am one of the slower players who can't be around as often as I'd like, so when needed, I simply back post. That is, I take snippets of posts that I plan to respond to and reply to them in one bigger post.

Sometimes it requires a little finesse to have a conversation that happens in the past, but it also allows for more of a free flowing atmosphere in the game that lets players chatter and interact back and forth, rather than passing along information in single blocks of text.

I agree with jabberwock. Limiting the freedom of the players in the way in which they respond and interact with each other and the world seems counter-intuitive to me. Besides, it's just more fluid in a normal conversation to allow back-and-forth between all relevant parties.

Once upon a time, I had a game (with some great players) where we managed, I kid you not, a posting rate of something approaching 10+/day, for each player. What we did then to avoid the problem of one player preparing a post and the other "ninja'ing" him, was that when a player started to reply, he just posted with a blank "Work in Progress" post, and then edited it into the full thing when he was done. That way, other players knew to wait before starting their own stuff.

Coming from a background of MUDs where pose order was pretty strictly enforced, I don't really see a forced order as all that limiting. It's actually kind of nice in that the slower typists, wordier writers, or people from odd time zones don't get left in the dust. However, at the slower pace of PBP, I also don't think it's necessary, since the odds of you being ninjaed are pretty low. Even if you are, it's almost always a very quick fix.

First off squeeku, I'll direct you here for your new PBP GMing needs. That will teach you pretty much everything you need to know to run a successful PBP game.

Next, to answer your question:

I have a set of house rules that goes like this:

Originally Posted by World of L_Tiene View Post
Posting Rule Alterations

If the GM asks you to wait, you must do so.

If you are in a scene with many players and NPC's, do not post more than 3x in a 24 hour period to allow that other players will have a chance to participate before too much significant time passes and they miss an opportunity that they should have been afforded. This rule does not apply IF all parties in the scene (including the GM) have responded, meaning the spirit of the rule is not to outpost others in a scene by more than 3 posts within 24 hours. *(The GM may see fit to alter this according to whim, but don't ask for it)

If you are in a scene with you and only NPC's or just one other player, you post as often as you like, be warned though, some of it may be retroactively altered by the GM due to being too far ahead in the time line. This also applies if you jump 6 hours ahead, etc. So that we may maintain timeline congruency.

If a retroactive change occurs you are not given any consolation, sorry. Whatever you thought just happened, didn't. Thus far we've been good about this and no real issues of this kind.

This rule is designed to do as little retro-changing as possible, while still advancing the game and keeping minimum wait time for the players that are proactive and post regularly. Again, if you post less than once in 2 days the GM will move you forward, most often this will be done passively when possible.

You can tell who is in your scene by reading who is listed at the top of the GM's post in bold.
There is also minor rule about combat: You CAN post out of initiative order, however, if you do your action is decided, which means that if something alters the event your action is dedicated regardless. This means you might cut down a fleeing enemy with their back turned or kill someone accidentally or attack a dead enemy (accidents certainly happen in combat).

I have found these rules to work satisfactorily for every game I play in.

What I like to do for combat is average the initiative of the NPCs. Everyone with initiative ahead of the monsters goes in any order, I post the results and all the actions for the monsters, and then everyone else posts. Actions happen in the order they are posted, not in the order of initiative rolled. Repeat until combat is resolved. Yes, it makes initiative slightly less important mechanically, which might be a turn-off for some people, but it does speed things up a great deal without anyone wasting their actions or altering the timeline.

And yes, WLT's out-of-combat rules seem reasonable (not that his combat ones aren't.)

Just to specify, what I posted above does not apply to combat. When you're time slicing down to six seconds per action (or whatever) then it does make sense to slow it down so everyone has a chance to react before the next action is posted.

What I'm talking about is the free form roleplay that occurs everywhere else. Like Silverkiss, I was also a player and a GM of a large game (multiple GMs and upwards of 30 players from all around the world at any particular time) and we would literally have 20+ posts per day. By necessity, we allowed people to post as they wanted, up to and including posting sprees, which involved several players realizing that they were all on at the same time and passing 10 to 12 posts between themselves in the space of half an hour. None of which would have been possible if they had to wait for the guy living in Japan to post before they could do so again. People learned to roll with the punches and catch up when they could.

Edit: One thing that might make a difference: the games I play tend to be just as heavy on the character interaction (if not more) than on the action. Perhaps a more action oriented game may require more stringent rules on post rates, in order to prevent some players from taking more actions than other players.

As long as it's not a bunch of one-line posts, I don't mind frequent posters. I do encourage my players to be a bit more verbose, but I acknowledge that sometimes, a character might not have much (or anything) to say.

Limiting them to one RP post per DM post would inhibit good RP, methinks. I haven't tried it, however, so I can't speak from experience on the matter.

I use *UPDATE IN PROGRESS* as a DM, and if my players choose to make use of it for their posts, I'm fine with it. It makes for a better-flowing conversation, with less confusion and retconning. This is made of win, in my eyes.

Originally Posted by World of L_Tiene View Post
There is also minor rule about combat: You CAN post out of initiative order, however, if you do your action is decided, which means that if something alters the event your action is dedicated regardless. This means you might cut down a fleeing enemy with their back turned or kill someone accidentally or attack a dead enemy (accidents certainly happen in combat).
Obviously you seem to have success with this rule, but as a player who's never run into a DM that uses this sort of rule, I have to say that it seems extremely limiting and unintuitive.

As it stands, PBP is slow and cumbersome. To make it go by quicker, many DMs have rules in place to facilitate interactions, especially combat. These rules usually encourage out-of-order posting, for the sake of speeding things up, then reordering them properly by initiative when he updates the scene.

A lot of players are aware of the stress DMs go through to keep a coherent game running that they are willing to put situational text in their combat messages (Use maneuver A, unless the target dies, then use maneuver B.), but sometimes it's just not possible to map out every possibility. And punishing them for that really isn't fair.

Take this combat situation: You have a party of 5 players, and they're ambushed by a large, albeit weak, group of goblins. 4 of the players roll well on initiative, but the last one rolls dead last. So every round goes like this:

Sorry, you just hit a corpse.
Sorry, you just hit a sleeping target, he is now awake.
Sorry, there is no longer a goblin in that square to target.

Simply due to being last in initiative, every post by that person boils down to "I attack a living enemy. No, I'm not going to specify which one, just pick one that's still alive when my turn comes up." Spellcasters are especially crippled, because of the potential of wasting their finite allotment of spells on hitting nothing but air.

It's a simple issue to change attacks to an appropriate target if the original target isn't viable once the player's initiative comes up. I just feel that your rule, as it stands, stifles in-combat creativity and roleplaying.


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