Friday, January 31, 2014

Running Roleplaying Games Over IRC Part II

Some more thoughts on running RPGs over IRC, to round up the overview begun in the last post.

Some more things IRC does really well:

5: IRC is self documenting. The autologging feature of most IRC client programs is pure awesome! Everything in the main channel(s) is logged by the post time, so you have a complete record of what was said. It makes a lovely real-time resource for finding the name of that alien with the squeegee or the address of the bomb-maker. With some mild cleanup - typos and sequential overlap problems - it's a comprehensive actual play record. This is just GOLD!

6:  Nicks! Nicks are nicknames. You can change them at will, so long as no-one else is using it, so it's not the player's name there but the character's. It aids immensely in the immersive gestalt when it's not BobJones but MirkoTheHeretic selling you a riding griffon. Also, MirkoTheHeretic can disappear with a quick command when Waranda_Lanargi enters the scene. Great for players, awesome for troupe play.

7: Dice bots are wonderful creatures specific to the server network you are on. The better ones can give you any type of dice result from linear (1d20) to additive (3d6) to dice pools (4[1d10]). The results are there in the open, with results shared. There are also ways to make private dice rolls - useful for some GM rolls.

8: You can walk away from the game to visit the bathroom, have a smoke, or even go to the store for necessities without bothering others. They can go on without you, and you can scroll back and see what you missed when you return.

Like any electronic gaming platform, you can game with people around the world, given time zone issues. I played with a player in Europe and another in California at the same time. Remember to allow for these issues in scheduling.

Expect occasional no-shows. To limit this, remind the players a day or two before the game, and again the day of the game. It is *really* easy to forget about the game completely. I have done it myself, as the GM! Be forgiving with those who occasionally miss a game. Real life sometimes gets in the way of games, sometimes unexpectedly.

One problem specific to IRC is a NetSplit. This is a strange situation where the players may be on different servers of an IRC network, and the servers lose communication with each other. If a player suddenly goes silent and unresponsive, it may be a NetSplit. They may be sitting there, staring at their screen and wondering why *you* have suddenly gone quiet! The best solution for this is to all log onto the same server. Luckily, it very rarely happens nowadays, though it used to be much more common.

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