It looks like there’s enough interest on both ends to make a G+ Community-based PBP viable in theory. The unfortunate thing is that there are way more people interested than I can possibly manage without setting up multiple groups, and I don’t want to do that – firstly, I’d like to make sure one group is doable before scaling up, as even one successful PBP group is a bit of a unicorn; secondly, it’s hard as hell to keep one’s dungeon design ahead of multiple groups even in a PBP, as players are bastards and do unexpected things. But I’m terrible at making cuts, and many of the people who want to play are people with whom I’ve gamed before and with whom I’d like to game again right now.
I feel like the first baby step should be a group of four to six players, which is manageable even with a reasonable number of hirelings along for the delves.
The default mode would be for me to either deliberately or randomly select six players from the interested folks, which allows for the usual rate of player attrition in PBP.
Last night, Aaron Funk (who’s been sagacious as fuck lately) told me that some other referees have tried something different, as follows:
- Everyone who’s interested gets on the list and goes through the chargen process.
- At the start of play, and prior to every discrete delve, six players are randomly selected. Their characters get to go on that delve.
- After that group either returns to the surface or is slaughtered to a man, GOTO 2.
Pros and cons have occurred to me, and I’m sure the hivemind will detect some I’ve overlooked.
The first and most obvious con is that while one group is (hopefully) having fun in the subterranean hellscape, the majority of interested players are durdling on the sidelines. I don’t think this is particularly tragic for them, as most people on G+ have other gaming outlets, but stagnation is death in PBP and if players aren’t continuously engaged, they tend to wander off. It may also be an unexpected pro, as maybe players will be more active when they’re tagged in – the initial posting period of any PBP is always the most active, and this is built-in crop rotation.
The second con is inherent to the kind of game I want to run – long dungeon delves can be hard to sustain in PBP. Since dungeon delving is what I want to do, there’s no real kludge for this.
The third con is that if players are enjoying themselves, they may tend to prolong dungeon delves longer than they normally would, especially as their access to resources increases. This keeps other players on the bench longer, and raises the probability of the active group overstepping their capabilities and being wiped out. Again, not much I can really do about this.
The fourth con is that because of the (relatively) small pool and sample size, and the vagaries of variance, the dice will land on some people quite often and on others more rarely, which leads to both power disparity (not too worried about that) and some people not getting to play (fairly worried about that). There’s probably some gimcrack system to resolve this, perhaps giving people who didn’t participate in the last delve a significantly higher probability of being selected for the next – doubling their straws, so to speak.
The big pro is that everyone gets to play at some point. Another is that one isn’t roped into the damned thing in perpetuity, and can easily bow in and out as one’s schedule and level of interest fluctuates.
Like I said, I’m sure there are unintended consequences of this system that I’m missing.
So, if you’re interested in the game, feel free to weigh in on what you think about this. I’ll end up doing whatever I’m going to do, but I’d definitely like input.