I am totally casting Magic Missile! RPG help!
January 12, 2011 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Help me satisfy my new found enjoyment of tabletop RPGs!

Over the holiday, I participated in my first ever table top RPG (pathfinder, with minimal house rules, Kingmaker module). A friend who was in town over the break is the GM (her husband is one of the players as well) and we managed to get in 5 fantastic sessions while they were here. This is intended to be an ongoing game that we will play when they visit the city about once a month.

My question is two fold:

1. What is the best way for us to continue our campaign between face to face sessions? We are open to different ideas, but would like feedback from folks who've tried them. Also, any tips on how to make them work well. We've talked about play-by-email scenarios, or using webcams in some fashion. There is the GM and one player in Saskatchewan, and five players here in Winnipeg. The 5 players can easily gather at one person's home, so we are talking two sites.

2. What is the best way for me, personally, to get my RPG fix. I am looking for the best way to play a tabletop RPG online, without this group. I am open to video games (I play lots already, not too interested in MMO's though), MUSH / MUD type games, play by message board, etc.

Thanks to all who have any suggestions!
posted by utsutsu to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: What is the best way for me, personally, to get my RPG fix. I am looking for the best way to play a tabletop RPG online, without this group.

At the risk of not really answering your question, have you considered trying to find a real-life meatspace group to play with? My girlfriend got me into a meetup.com gaming group that has been a lot of fun. I am not the kind of person who generally frowns upon online stuff but a lot of the charm of tabletop gaming is the Mountain Dew drinking and dice rolling that doesn't really translate online.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:47 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

+1 on meetup.com

I run a group on meetup for a sport, and I have joined groups for RPGs and social groups and have generally had a blast. You will always find people that you do not enjoy, but that's part of life.
posted by zombieApoc at 1:51 PM on January 12, 2011

Response by poster: I am certainly open to that, though this is basically what I have going right now... but unfortunately we are limited to meeting face to face once a month.

I am hesitant about finding an IRL group that isn't at least partially composed of friends or folks I already know. Mostly because I am stressed out at the thought of going to a stranger's house to game with a group of strangers. I realized that maybe I shouldn't be.

In my head, I'd like something to do while sitting at home in my undies on a relaxed weeknight. I don't know if I'll find exactly what I'm looking for though...
posted by utsutsu at 1:51 PM on January 12, 2011

Best answer: What is the best way for us to continue our campaign between face to face sessions?

IRC (or whatever multiplayer notepad variant you prefer) is a good one, my friends have definitely used it between sessions when everyone went away to college. Especially if you can get a dice rolling bot so you can do interaction-based rolls (bluff, intimidate, etc.) without cheating.

Also, if it is only two sites, you can Skype it, as you suggested. The only trick will be setting up the camera in the 5-person site to encompass everyone so you don't have to constantly move the camera around for the benefit of the 2-person site.

I am looking for the best way to play a tabletop RPG online, without this group.

Meetups! Also, see if any local universities have a RPG club that you could somehow join.
posted by griphus at 1:54 PM on January 12, 2011

In regard to how to continue your campaign in between actual sessions, I found the best way was to set up a message board. Something about that format really encouraged asynchronous communication, and we developed whole side stories revolving around the campaign.

And while playing tabletop RPGs online is fun, it doesn't compare to the real thing; I second burnmp3s' suggestion of getting into another group. Nothing brings people together like killing orcs and saving kingdoms.
posted by MrVisible at 1:54 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

there are lots of websites and such that you can use to to your gaming - they take care of the dice rolls and the like - openrpg is one, but if you search "tabletop rpg online" you'll get a list of options.

through these services, sometimes they run forums for people looking to do exactly what you want to do - tabletop gaming online.
posted by nadawi at 1:57 PM on January 12, 2011

I found the best way was to set up a message board.

This is a great idea as well, depending on the nature of your campaign. If you're running a cinematic/action-heavy/wargaming campaign, what the message board will be used for is going to be quite different than if you're running a story-heavy, WW-style game.
posted by griphus at 2:13 PM on January 12, 2011

Expanding on what griphus said about IRC -- DarkMyst IRC has a GameServ channel option that is pretty awesome. I use it pretty regularly for the purposes of Dark Heresy (Warhammer 40k RPG) playing.
posted by Heretical at 2:17 PM on January 12, 2011

Best answer: Nearby Gamers if you do decide to find some other local folks to play with.

There's a lot of online programs people use to play Pathfinder and other D20-descended games with, and you won't do wrong by asking around on the Pathfinder boards, or, even the Wizards of the Coast D&D Boards.

As far as rpg fixes... well, it depends on what you like! Is it fantasy, is it having crunchy tactical decisions, etc? Depending on what you're into, different games might also appeal to you!

If you like D20, the Star Wars Saga Edition is pretty cool.

Memail me if you want more out there, indie games, I have a ton of recommendations.
posted by yeloson at 3:43 PM on January 12, 2011

What is it you liked most about Pathfinder? IIRC, the Kingmaker module is one where you're building up a region of the world and defending it from things, always keeping in view the larger events of what's going on in the world. The only thing quite like that I can think of for you is the forum-based Romance of the Three Kingdoms Simulated RPG, which has been going on a long time and may require a lot of background study.

But if you could say, broadly speaking, whether you most appreciated the tactics, the story-telling / character building, or the experience of immersing yourself in a world you didn't create, you'd probably get recommendations that were more on point.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 3:51 PM on January 12, 2011

Do the five in Winnipeg have time/energy to run their (your) own separate game? Five is definitely enough people to have a good time, assuming that everybody else wants the RPG fix as well, and it might be good experience for others to try out the GM role.
posted by epersonae at 5:11 PM on January 12, 2011

Best answer: Just be aware that if you do start canvassing for a group to play with in meatspace, it can take a while to get a good group together with a good dynamic. There are as many different types of gamers as there are people. I've played with fools who want to "win" the RPG, others who view loot as an analogue to computer-game points, some who play for the luls and will drop Monty Python quotes during tense, atmospheric moments, drama queens, rules lawyers, munchkins, dudes who will try to pick up any gamer with a vag, enthusiasts who will defer sleep to game yet still fall asleep in their chair, you name it. Stick with it. I've got an excellent group of fantastic players now, people who I can suspend disbelief with for weeks at a time and really immerse ourselves.
posted by Jilder at 9:19 PM on January 12, 2011

For planning purposes, I would suggest meeting people at a local-ish gaming convention (or other type of convention that often includes gaming, like fantasy/scifi cons). That's another way to meet up with gamers and actually game with them while you're there, perhaps feeling out social interactions for people who mesh with your style or preferences. Test runs. Try out other games. I found a "Central Canada Comic Con 2011 Wizard World Convention" slated for October, but that's it for Winnipeg. Downside--cons do cost money.
posted by Ky at 9:44 PM on January 12, 2011

Response by poster: I hadn't thought about using meetup.com to find a gaming group, also never heard of Nearby Gamers, so thanks for that.

Most of us already use IRC so that might work, though for text based stuff I'm thinking a message board would work best. For actual playing at the same time, I think we'd rather use something with voice at least, and preferably video. I will try and look into using Skype for this.

re: what do I like about pathfinder? I am enjoying playing a d20 system in general. I've played lots of rpg video games, but never something that actually retained that style of turn based combat and didnt just hand wave away all the dice rolling. I am also enjoying the mix of tactical turn based encounters and the in between RP sessions and exploring.

We haven't got far enough in Kingmaker to get to the real nation building stuff yet, so really at the moment I am more interested in this sort of "open world" style of campaign where we have goals but no firm direction. Reminds me of Oblivion in a way. I am enjoying being part of a party where I don't have direct control over my companions.

If the five Winnipeggers where to start our own game, I'm sure the task of running the game would fall to me, and I'm not sure I'm ready to do that yet.

I've been reading a few forum posts of folks telling stories of the worst games/players/dm they've experienced and I'm thinking maybe I got really lucky with my first group. I went to the comic con here last year and will likely go again in 2011, though I'll definitely be more interested in the gaming that's going on.

Thanks all, hopefully I'll have time today to check out some of these links. Please continue to chime in if you have anything to add!
posted by utsutsu at 7:20 AM on January 13, 2011

Response by poster: Just an update for any google searchers...

We ended up using Gametable as a table top for encounters, and otherwise just using Skype conference calling over three cities for a few sessions now and it's been working great.
posted by utsutsu at 8:49 AM on February 17, 2011

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