Gauging interest in a SDMB Play by Post DND Game

Since a number of posters over in the “Woke D&D” thread expressed interest in a play by post game here on the forum, I figured I’d start a thread to discuss this. I’d be down to run something or play, though given time limited it would have to be play by post rather than live (either here on the Dope or by some other medium).

Alternatively if someone else wants to run a game, that’s cool too! I would play.

I’d be willing to run a 5e game (or 3.5 if people would rather do that, but honestly 5e is very nice these days). Total beginners welcome!

If we get some interest I can pitch some ideas for settings or campaigns and we can pick one.

I’m more interested in a live game, but play by post may be a more realistic goal, and I’m interested in that, too. I am not qualified to DM. I’ve never played 5e, but happy to give it a try. There were a bunch of things I disliked about 4e, but from what I’ve heard of 5e I would like it.

Is Zoom gaming a possibility?

I know there are platforms for online DnD, but I don’t know much about them. I participated in a game once and there was a place to enter all of your character’s stats into, roll dice, and so on. I don’t remember the particular platform. The DM went AWOL after two sessions so that was ultimately an abortive attempt.

I would be interested, either by post or any other platform, but I’m an absolute DnD novice so some patience with me would be required. I understand not all people have the time for that sort of hand-holding. I’m coming up on my last term of undergrad so I may not even have time for it anyway, haha.

It certainly is, as is Skype, Discord, etc; but not for me with my current schedule at the moment.

Sounds like Roll20, and it is certainly effective. Can be used for live games or play by post!

I’m certainly not opposed to DM for a total newbie, and 5e is pretty easy to pick up on!

Yeah it was Roll20. I was able to log in and the chat log from that 5-year-old game is still there. “Another bushel of chest hair defeated.” I don’t know what we were getting up to.

Since it seems like at least a couple of people are interested - what sort of setting would you guys be interested in?

Faerun - your classic sword and sorcery fantasy setting. Stereotypical D&D for the most part. Knights in shining armor, powerful wizards, etc…

Eberron - the uses of magic in a society are explored a little more fully than your standard D&D setting resulting in something more like a noir setting. Shady “corporations” in the form of Dragonmarked Houses with monopolies over different aspects of society; great metropolises like Sharn, which uses air magic to build massive skyscrapers; and the shadow of the Last War (a continent rending conflict that only recently ended) hanging over it all.

Planescape - the most different and unique setting compared to the others. Centered around the great multiplanar city of Sigil, the City of Doors, with portals to all the other planes - the heavens, the hells, the elemental planes, and so many more.

I haven’t played d&d in forever, and i think I’d like to ease back in with the basics. So I’m most interested in Faerun

I don’t think I’m up for playing, but I’m happy to help out with keeping things running smoothly in terms of helping players with rules/builds or bouncing ideas around with the DM. I’ve done a fair bit of PBP gaming (both playing and running) and know some of the pitfalls and so on.

I’d like it. I’ve not played a RPG for 20 years, and never play by post, but I’d like to give it a try.

I’m not all that interested in playing, but if it was play by post I would probably view vicariously, like I do the LOTR D&D campaign that is played by post on this site.


I’m a novice who might be interested. Can someone explain how play by post would work, and what sort of time commitment it would be? Also, how would we roll up characters?

Certainly! For play by post, I’ll post things - from what other characters sat to what is happening to requests for dice rolls [[with Out Of Character stuff in brackets, like so]]. We will either post here in Thread Games, or in a Discord chat.

For a battle mat, we will use Roll20, which gives us a grid with icons on it representing the characters and such - the DM can move them all, and I can give you access to your own character’s icon, so on your turn you can move it there. You can also roll dice on Roll20, so that’s probably where we will end up doing most dice rolls - they stay up in the chat history, so you can roll at your convenience and I can pop in to see the results at mine.

To keep the game moving we will probably want to agree on a rough schedule of posts ahead of time, especially for combat - so we might say you should be trying to take your turn in a fight within a day, or within a couple days, for example.

For rolling up characters - there are a number of sites that store character sheets online and let multiple people view them, like MythWeavers. We can also store most of the character info right in Roll20, which gives you the ability to for example click the Longsword hotlink on your sheet to roll a longsword attack and damage.

And that’s basically that!

I would be interested. I am DMing a campaign on Roll20 right now, it is easy to use. Might I suggest using the Beyond20 Chrome plug-in. It allows you to use DnDBeyond with Roll20. Do we know whether Roll20’s servers have been beefed up? Last year there was a lot of lag, so my group has been using Discord for chat/video.

Regarding DnDBeyond, I do have one empty campaign with content sharing set up, so we could use that. That way, players would be able to access most all the source books.

Whoever DMs, if you want to purchase a module on Roll20 (the pre-purchased modules are easy to use, and come with all the tokens), I would be happy to Venmo something to go to the purchase price.

And no, I would not be interested in DMing (not that anyone asked). I am running one game currently, prepping for the return to live play, and have three kids.

I should also list as a possible setting Athas, the Dark Sun campaign setting- a post-apocalyptic world due to harmful magic use, full of mutants, city states ruled by sorcerer dragon kings, and gladiators.

I have a Discord server where we are meeting up. Feel free to PM me with your Discord handle and I’ll invite you.

I’ve been playing online for the last year and the best arrangement I have found is to communicate in Discord.

It looks like a play-by-post situation will work best, so I don’t see a need for Roll20 at this point, but that can always be added if the DM wants to.

Discord can import character sheets from DNDBeyond through the Avrae bot, which can also be used for dice rolls.

Play by post games tend to concentrate more on role play through written posts, encouraging players and the DM to be descriptive and creative in their actions Dice rolling tends to be more sparse. indeed, I often let my DM roll on my behalf to avoid any delays in the story telling.

Roll20 is still nice for PBP as a battle mat (though I can also just post screenshots of it if that’s easier) and because it keeps the rolls visible (and let’s you roll so just you and the DM see if needed) but with discord that is less necessary.

We can also kick things off with solo prologues if people are interested to get the hang of the format and learn the basics for the newbies.

Pure kibbitizing from the peanut gallery. Feel free to tl;dr it.

Definitely correct. The single most important thing about a PbP game is maintaining momentum. Everything can be kicking along just fine and then out of nowhere, boom, there’s a tiny little bump and everyone stops posting. So you do whatever you can to keep the wheels greased, so to speak.

I’ve been running a game on Roll20 for, oh, roughly one global pandemic and am interested to see how it works with a PbP. It could definitely be useful as a repository for character sheets and whatnot, but it’s not quick to load and could be frustrating if you’re just wanting to post and make a quick dice roll in a five-minute break. A lightweight site like lets you make rolls and then generates bbcode that you can easily paste into the thread.

One thing about play by post - everything takes five times as long as you thought it would: combat in particular. A single round of combat can easily take a week or more, especially if you’re keeping stuff in initiative order. It can be effective to make player actions all happen simultaneously and generalize some stuff a bit.

I think taking advantage of in-line images is an excellent idea. You can post a new screenshot at the top of each round showing the battlemap situation, let everyone narrate their actions and make their rolls, adjudicate them all at once, do all the monster actions, and then post a new “top of the round” screenshot afterwards.

It’s also very helpful to give the players certain pieces of information and even let them do some monster rolling. So I might have a monster that I present this way:

AC: 12
Current HP: 13
Saving throws: +2 dex, -1 wis, +0 all others
Special: EBEOG will get a free attack (+3 to hit, 1d8+2 damage) on any character that moves into his melee range.

The players are allowed to roll for the monster if the roll is in direct response to something they’re doing. So if I cast entangle on my turn, I can immediately make EBEOG’s saving throw (since the saving throw is rolled as soon as the spell is cast). Now I know whether he slipped free or if I can describe the vines clutching at his evil limbs and holding him down. If I move into melee range, I can immediately make EBEOG’s attack roll against myself. And when I make my own attack, I’ll know whether I hit and whether I killed him.

This may be a bit much for newbies, but the benefit is that it gives a lot more narrative freedom when constructing posts. Instead of “I charge forward and swing my sword and…???” you have the space to think about the outcomes of your actions. It helps to keep things moving at a good clip. That’s also why I like to give monsters “special” actions that trigger during player turns. It all gives the players a little more grist for the mill and keeps combat from devolving into, “I swing my sword, tell me what happens.”

Looks like we’ve got a nice handful of us on the Discord Acsenray made.
@Peter_Morris @Tabco @eschrodinger – you three also said you were interested – let me know if you still are – I think 4 to 6 players will work great, so we are getting close!