Tuesday, July 12, 2011

IRC RPGing

Recently my play tester group has gotten shaken up with scheduling conflicts, and in addition I have two of the main players who are about to leave the area.  So given the difficulties with scheduling locally, I am thinking about trying to run my game on IRC.   I tried this before a few years ago, and it went reasonably well, though I think I overcomplicated the effort with too many rules for managing the IRC channel.  That was long ago, however, and things have probably changed since then.  So I'm looking for the most effective modern way to handle IRC RPGing, and am hoping to get some advice on how to get started the right way with it.   I went to MagicStar and asked in the #RPGNet channel and got some good starting advice.   This is the summary:
  • Use Google Docs Drawing for White Boarding - Some experimentation shows that you can import images, such as a gaming map to White Board and create icons to move around.   You can share the Drawing with your friends, and that should be good enough as a game board.  
  • Conversely, there are applications such as Map Tools that can be used for the same purpose.
  • Use Yahoo groups for between-game communication, scheduling, and file storage.  
  • Conversely there is Obsidian Portal which is reported to be quite good for helping to maintain game info.
  • OOC in parens in the main channel is ok.  That is, it turns out, probably less confusing than created a separate OOC channel for Out Of Character conversation (which is one of the things I tried before).
  • Use die roller script for rolling in the IRC Channel.  You can find die rolling script information at http://www.d20source.com/roleplaying-tools/dicebot
  • Feel free to say, "Ok, guys, I'm a bit overloaded, can you slow down a sec and let me think?"
  • Make use of Private Messaging to give players info only their Characters would know, but keep PMing to a minimum to help keep players engaged.
  • Keep to Small groups.
  • Keep your plots small.
  • Realize that IRC is slower than in person play.
  • You can solicit for Players in IRC Channels related to RPGing.  A list of such networks and channels would be nice.
All of this seems like good advice.  I'm wondering if anyone else has advice, and/or better yet a website that gives a good old run down on how to get up to speed on this in the right way.  Something along the lines of "IRC RPGing For Morons" would be great.  The questions I'm looking for opinions on are: What are the best cheap/free tools for IRC RPGing?  How and where to solicit IRC RPG Players?  How to maintain a long term campaign?  How to handle Player Character absences?  And any other advice anyone cares to offer.   

Thanks!

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