My D&D group is so hungry for content that we actually play via email between games. Sometimes it’s just the characters talking amongst themselves, other times it’s more of a structured skill challenge. I tweeted an example yesterday of one of our exchanges and I got a lot of feedback as well as questions. I thought I’d respond to some of it here rather than trying to tweet back to everyone individually.
First of all, here is the example I posted.
-Why do you write so much for your players? As a DM you should never tell your players what their characters do or say.
I got this quite a bit and I understand it comes from a different style of play. I think everyones game is different but my players actually really like it when I write up little stories for their characters. I describe these email skill challenges as being akin to a quick time event in a video game. You provide the most basic sort of input (A button press at the right time or in this case a skill roll) and the story and the action push on. Obviously you can see that my players are free to RP as much as they like. IF they know what they want their character to say they say it. Maybe they are at work though and only have time to log in a quick roll. Well they still get to see their character take part in the action.
This is just how we do it.
-Can you release the online rolling app you use?
I will talk to my friend about making the app available. I’m not a programmer type guy so I have no idea what would be involved. It’s a nice program though and if he’s willing I’ll try and get a version of it posted.
-Wouldn’t Google Wave be a better system for this sort of thing.
Yes I am sure it would. Sadly not everyone in the group has access to Google Wave.
-4e is an abomination, you should play X, that’s the real version.
“X” in this case is everything from 3.5 to Pathfinder. I have no opinion on these games as I’ve never played them. All I know is that my group is having a blast with 4e.
-Do you award Xp for these email challenges?
Yes I do actually, but only if the entire party participates. I’m not looking for each character to right a novel but everyone does need to contribute to the overall story for Xp to be awarded. If that happens then I give them Xp equivalent to an encounter of their level.
-Wouldn’t this kind of thing be better done at the table?
I think it works both ways. I know that my players actually like doing RP via email because it gives them more time to think about how their character would respond. The way our games work tends to be that RP happens between games via email. Then when they sit down at the table it’s almost like entering an instance in WOW. They spend the week talking to people and picking up quests. Then on Monday night it’s combat and usually one skill challenge.
Again, this is just how my game works. I only share it because I know how much inspiration I’ve gotten from other DM’s blogs.