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Running an RPG on a Forum

posted Sunday, September 16th 2012 by Jonathan Drain
Dungeon Mastering Advice

Long-time readers will remember my advice to use Google Calendar to find out when your friends are free to organize an online game. Recently, I’ve taken to an alternative solution: running the game on a message board.

Why a forum?

Previously, I ran games in real-time over IRC or virtual gametable software. The big challenge was finding a time slot amicable to all the players, who at one point were spread across four continents. When a player quit, we could only replace him with someone who could make the time slot, despite having a wide online community to draw from.

Last year, I started a new game in play-by-post form on a message board. Play-by-post dates back to play-by-email games in the 1960s, and even older “correspondence chess” games from at least 1804 where players sent their turns through the post.

Running D&D in this format has its own drawbacks, but it’s quite feasible. I’d like to share some of the lessons we’ve learned in the past year.

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