Playing a Forum Game Well (In My Opinion)

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Playing a Forum Game Well (In My Opinion)

Post by The GM on Sun Aug 07, 2016 6:16 pm

6 PLAYING A FORUM GAME WELL (IN MY OPINION)

What follows are a few bits of advice I have picked up from running and playing in forum games. I think you’ll have more fun if you follow them, but each to their own.


  1. Be bold and proactive; don’t fear death: Particularly at the start of a forum game, you may not know what to do, and figure slowly building up your power is most sensible. Perhaps it is, but it’s not as fun. Furthermore, because replacement characters are a thing, it throws away an early opportunity to make your mark.

    When I played in Laura’s forum based Black Crusade game, I played a character whose first action (literally on the first day) was to go into a notable gangster’s criminal haunt with a suicide vest attached, blow the gangster’s head off, and walk out. It was a risky thing to do, but it worked and it was awesome. If it had failed, it would nonetheless have been really fun: and I would have just generated another character, merely a day behind. Plus, I had no shortage of plot from there!

    By comparison, another player (mentioning no names) decided to spend the first week finding a place to live (hilariously, they ended up living in a sewer: success!). I’m sure Laura made that fun with its own challenges as well, but I suspect my experience was more fun.

  2. Post long rather than often: Now, I’m not going to tell you that you shouldn’t post often: the game will be better the more people post. However, you shouldn’t post often at the expense of longer posts.

    It’s just sensible when you think about it. The GM is dealing with two other players, some of which may be making long posts of their own. If you make a short post consisting of one sentence that your Heretic has said, then the rate of play slows as you have to wait for a sentence by sentence response from the GM. Using a strawman by way of example, consider the following set of posts:

    PC: I enter the room with a swish of my cloak. “Hello,” I say, with a smile.
    GM: Your guest smiles in response. “Greetings,” they chuckle. “And how are you?”
    PC: “Well, yourself?”
    GM: “Yes, well, well indeed. So why am I here?”

    As I noted, this is a strawman example. But it’s illustrative: what the above doesn’t show you is that each post was ten minutes apart. That’s thirty minutes of play.

    The solution is to make lengthier posts, with conditional sentences. It gets to the meat of the roleplaying more quickly, and gets you more roleplaying for your time:

    PC: I enter the room with a swish of my cloak, greeting my guest with a smile. Charming him with etiquette and witty small-talk, I bide my time before driving to the real subject of his visit. However, if he seems impatient, I will endeavour not to waste his time.

    “So,” I chuckle, “We simply must discuss these rumours… [etc.]

    From there, the first response from the GM will immediately move the story along.

  3. Interact with other players: Again, this might seem quite obvious, but in my experience it is often overlooked. The most fun you can have in this game is when other players are involved. As such, seek them out and cause havoc (or, you know, help).

    What forum games allow you to do best, other than play at long distances to a flexible schedule, is plot. You can prepare plots in secret and spring them on others. But plots are no fun without the springing. And your plots aren’t going to be sprung very effectively if the first time you meet another player character is when you’re about to betray them. They’ll just figure that the reason you haven’t said hello sooner is that you’ve been working on a plot to betray them.

    I think the reason players fall into the trap of avoiding one another is because player characters are the most dangerous. Well, yes. But, to direct you to the first piece of advice, you shouldn’t fear character death to the point where it makes your game [i]worse[\i]. Firstly, replacement characters come with the same XP, and though they’ll have less Infamy, that isn’t the biggest deal in the world (if you care so much, spend some of that XP on Infamy). Secondly, don’t forget that it’s actually super hard to kill player characters. When a Black Crusade character dies, they can burn 10+1d10 Infamy to stave it off and get out of there safely. Not to mention all the XP you’ve spent on being better at the whole not dying thing, along with Infamy Spends for dodging, etc.

    It’s a Black Crusade game. Embrace the chaos, and perform capers.

  4. Corruption isn’t bad: This one is specific to Black Crusade games, but in my experience it isn’t well known. In other games, Corruption represents a track in the direction of bad (albeit often entertaining) things. In Black Crusade, certain uses of Infamy Spends are only available once you reach certain levels of Corruption.

    For example, you might not know that you cannot use an Infamy Spend to reroll a result unless you have 21+ Corruption. Moreover, you cannot use an Infamy Spend to immediately recover from being Stunned unless you have 61+ Corruption. Check out p.305 of Black Crusade for more details.

    Of course, getting to 100 Corruption results in becoming an unplayable Chaos Spawn. But 100 is a lot of Corruption, and you're unlikely to reach it in an 8 week game. Also, mutations in Black Crusade are typically mechanically advantageous (and excellent fun). So blaspheme, murder and ritualise in the name of Chaos.


That’s all I can think of for now. Hope you find them helpful.

The GM
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