Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Calm...Before The Storm I Was Telling You About, sorry about that last post. I've just been very surprised lately at how often I and other bloggers mention games and no one seems to have played them. Its disappointing to me because I've enjoyed so many different games and I think a lot of them don't get the coverage they deserve. I always attributed it to people not liking them as much as I do. Now I think that its more a situation where not that many people try out multiple games. I'm guessing most people find a game and if they like it they stick with it and expand it. I do that too but I can also say I've done it to at least a dozen systems and settings.

To each their own.

Now once more, before getting into the post I've been thinking about since early this morning, I have one more idea I wanted to talk about.

Last night, Erin Palette and I were discussing running tabletop RPG campaigns over the internet. We talked about her running a campaign and me playing in it and vice versa. About halfway through the conversation I pressed a secret button on my desktop computer that would send men in white coats over to her location. Playing a regular RPG over the internet? Obviously she'd gone mad. After a few moments I was intrigued enough to call off my lackeys. Besides, I couldn't sleep at night if I committed such a lovely lady to Arkham Asylum for the rest of her life now could I?

My questions to you out there in blogger land are simple:

Has anyone done this?
How did it work?
What was the format and who hosted it?
Is Obsidian Portal any good? Why?

Any opinion on Google Wave?

I don't have the first clue how to pull off an online traditional RPG. I seriously can't imagine how to do it. Perhaps its the last vestiges of old school flesh and blood in me that have yet to be replaced by clean, crisp new school bioware but if I can't see my players' faces, they can't see mine, they can't see my hand gestures or props or hear the weird voices and sound effects I just seems to reduce the cool of what makes an Adam game an Adam game by about 75% minimum

Maybe I am old school deep, deep down. Or maybe the coolest experience ever is waiting just over the horizon...

Barking Alien


  1. Many many options and approaches for sure.

    the above link is a hybrid online/tabletop campaign I ran briefly. Rules were basically all in-town/downtime stuff was handled online, leaving the tabletop games for straight up adventure. Worked not too bad.

    We started using google wave and switched to blogger after awhile. It worked alright, but I'd recommend obsidian portal to be used as a straight up reference wiki.

    Google wave is awesome, but I think it would be ideal to set up actual times when everyone games because play by post is slow, even over google wave.

    One thing we've been experimenting with is using skype in combination with wave. There are a few approaches to take for sure, you could run the game over skype, and use wave as a shared notepad. You could use wave to run a live play by post game, using skype for both ooc and in character purposes.

    We actually had a game session where we all used laptops at the table and ran the entire game over skype. That was actually a lot of fun. It had a different feel though, sort of like collaborating on a fictional story.

    The nice thing about blogger, is that you can actually embed waves onto blogger which is what we did to organize our current waves and also for presentation reasons. We abandoned the idea when we heard wave was being canceled, but revived it recently after news that wave will be around, at least until hosting wave servers becomes feasible.

  2. Wow. Thanks for the info. That is a lot to look into and think about. I'll be honest you lost me toward the end. I'm not all that up on 'embedding waves' and 'wave servers' and the like. More research is needed.

  3. no prob and no worries sir. the last part was basically about the future availability of wave, and the possibilities of using wave and blogger.

    Here's a quick post I threw up as an example, just more ideas to process I guess. I'll stop now haha.

  4. Raggi did a Skype game recently. I'm going to be getting into one soon on reddit I hope. Patrick W. of Bugbears for Breakfast had, I believe, some good experiences with Obsidian Portal.

  5. @Barking Alien:
    Online games don't work too well, imo, but they work well enough if you're just wanting a game. Slow(especially if by post[channels are somewhat better, streaming of course can work ok]), clunky, voice/video software reliability issues, and of course, the fact you're not actually 'there' together detracts from the experience. Better than nothing, I'd say. Or for someone separated form the main group to join in for games. Of course, in this virtual day and age, some shy people prefer this option.

    'Maybe I am old school deep, deep down.':
    A healthy skepticism of technology and human nature(tempered with cautious optimism) is a Hallmark of Old-school Trek! ;-)

    'Or maybe the coolest experience ever is waiting just over the horizon...':
    I think RL is already here! :-) But the digital realms are pretty fun.

    @Abberant Hive Mind:
    'We actually had a game session where we all used laptops at the table and ran the entire game over skype.':
    8-/. I try to get away from too many digital distractions(no laptops, cells[turned on for emergencies, and so forth], PDAs, thin clients of any sort, etc.... at the table), this would be unthinkable for me!(Need downtime from my job, ya know... Traditional games are awesome for that) We're already together, people. Alienation and atomization seem like a reality in the face of an anecdote like this. But, I'm sure it was just some kind of gimmick, prop experience, right?

    Google Wave:
    Google Wave was more or less abandoned for Google Docs. Less than 50,000 people petitioned Google to continue with the project. It was counter intuitive, confusing, and unnecessary to many people, but there's still a niche, of course(thanks Internet!). It's mainly corporate interests that are seeking to continue development of this Insta-forum blaster media, from what I've seen. You never know....

  6. If you're looking for how to run a live game over the net you could give it a try with something like Ventrillo and a webcam - kind of an online analog approach where everyone could talk and see a map or a picture at the same time. I haven't done it - I have enough games to run in-person that it hasn't been worth the effort - but I would bet there are ways to do it. That approach would probably be easiest wit ha game everyone already had individually already for looking up rules etc.

    I will say that if you give it a try I'd probably be up for it if you need players.