Right, before I start here, I’d like to thank everyone for reading my blog over the past few days. I’m not saying I’m internet famous, but there does appear to be slightly more interest than there was the week before, I’ve got you guys to thank for that, cheers. Nice to get some acknowledgement.

I decided I’d write something on internet gaming since, if you’ve perused the glorious links above my page, you’ll see at least one of them is an internet campaign. There might even be another one after the weekend is out, I’m just that busy soulcrushingly bored.

I’ll be speaking mostly for real-time gaming because unfortunately, I have yet to get into a solid play-by-post game, I’m certainly not saying those are bad, but when I do sign up for one they tend to fall on their face a bit quickly, which brings me to the first, most important point about internet RPG’s.

1. PREPARE FOR DISAPPOINTMENT.

Did that sound a bit harsh? I didn’t really mean it, honest. However, if you are trawling the 1nt4rtub35 for games, then, yes, be prepared for disappointment. The reason for this being that nine out of ten games are going to fall flat on their faces. Some are going to die in the looking for players phase, some are going to get strangled by international timelines others are going to get tantalisingly close to actually running and then the GM or half the players are going to fall off this plane of existence. (I like to play games with myself at this stage and imagine what horrible crime they have commited that has forced them to flee into dark corners of the world.) But to put it plainly, don’t get excited until your actually sitting in front of the computer, playing the game. Even then, see above, prepare for disappointment, because a lot of games tend to go screaming in flames into the deck after only the first session. The best way to prevent this is:

2. Communicate with EVERYONE.

The more you get along with everyone, the better the game will run. Endeavour to communicate with your GM at least once via voice chat before the game itself runs. Get his e-mail address so you can harass his ass when he doesn’t show up. If you are the GM, harass everyone else in return. Leaving everything on a forum seems have a horrible death knell of “Oh we were about to run the game then I disappeared off the face of the planet for six weeks, LAAAAAWL.” See about setting up some communication for the sake of character gen and JUST GET TALKING. This is easy enough for someone like me, because as everyone who knows me knows: I am an incurable loudmouth. I know some other people might not like the idea of shouting at others, but it’s what a  lot of other people go on to the internet specifically to do, so you will have to overcome your inhibitions somehow. Neither am I saying you will be shouting, but talking is going to take up a huge amount of this game, so get into it. Also, if, like me, your too cheap to pay for video feed on multiple channel conversations on Skype, then you’ll find yourself talking over other people a lot so getting over your first game nerves will be interesting. Speaking of Skype…

3. Use ALL the tools!

You’ll obviously need some kind of chat… thingy to make this thing work, but don’t stop with just that, because there is potential for you all to get a lot more out of your games by using the various tools that are out there and some of them are really great. You can see our group has an Obsidian Portal page, those are great for doing after game shenanigans and write ups and fluff for your character. If everyone has maptools then you can run a game that’s heavy on the gridboxes like D&D or pathfinder. There are loads of other tools that you can use as well, the most immediate that comes to mind is Fantasy grounds, but bear in mind you and the other players will have to pay for it, I’ve put the stuff I know about down below.

Obsidian Portal.

Maptools

Fantasy Grounds.

Added to this are the rake of online dice pool rollers, character sheet files and rolling verification sites, basically, if you want to run a game and you’re thinking, maybe I don’t have the facilities, or certain parts of this game will be more difficult to run over the web, chances are someone out there with infinitely more skill with computers has created a program to do it and is probably offering it on the web for free, or at least for half nothing. What are you doing, not supporting indie computer development? Get out there and buy some of their stuff before Bill Gates and Steve Job’s ghost take over their brains…

In conclusion…

Internet gaming like this and play by post games are likely to really develop in relation to their face to face version since getting groups together can sometimes be difficult, especially with the wide variety of systems out there, how do you know your system will be the one that anyone nearby will have. I responded to the initial advertisement for a game because I couldn’t find anyone to play wfrp3 with, anywhere throughout Ireland. Now there is a slowly growing community, (which I like to think I played a part in encouraging, checks made out to cash please FFG) but I still love my online campaign. I think most RPG developers are going to have move into future with the idea that a lot of the players playing their games will be doing so over the internet featuring strongly in their planning. I don’t like to boast* but our current game has players from three continents. So, take heed of the above, stay the course and you’ll finally get that game you were looking for…

I’d like to ask anyone that read this if you know any helpful applications or websites that can be used for online RPG’s, if you’d like to stick a link in the comments, that would be great. Cheers.

Aido.

**Edit: I haven’t done this page justice without mentioning the ocean of forums that support pen and paper gaming and huge LFP and LFG functions, get your lazy butt out there and check them out, they are leading the charge with these things.

The tangled web. (Personal favourite, spiders, yadayadayada)

Pen and paper games.

RPG.net

That’s a brief smattering if you want more, post me some suggestions!

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