Sunday, June 19, 2011

Table top gaming and the internet.

Alright it seems my Keeper for the night is too depressed to run his game from what evidence can tell. So I'll make a legitimate topic now. Topic being internet table top gaming.

First of I'm not too experienced of a roleplayer for in face interaction. I did some in highschool which were a lot of making a character and playing for a few hours as it's too late then forgetting we ever did it. I can think of 4 separate times this has happened even in some systems we just made up. What it did teach me though is that getting ground rules and figuring out what you were doing was important.

So here comes the internet. Wonderful tool that allows you to contact people at nearly half the speed of light depending on your connection material. Play with people all over the world in many different walks of life and all that, wonderful right? Not really, it seems there is many features in real life games that help alot. One is you don't get as much creepiness in real life, being in slapping distance probably influences this along with the fact you actually know the person. While I am a creepy bastard at times I know some games do not need that sort of horrible twisted or perverse things in it and thus hold back, it seems other people don't so you have genetically altered little boys posing as girls and wondering why no one loves them in military magic themed games. Another part related to this disconnect with people is turnover rate. You know how there is an empty chair that could use filling in tables for D&D, in online games you could have only one person left playing after a week with no notice from the rest and that is the norm. Email is easily ignored, calling someone up or bumping into them at the store is not.

Now beyond the personal gap causing creepy or disappearing people (this may be more related than one thinks) is actual game play. A round of combat from what I've seen in real life after people understand which is a d12 and which is a d10 goes decently quick. Online, combat is a grind. Combat can take a few hours for a few rounds, though I have seen it sped up when people are fully at attention. Viewing youtube, checking mail, looking at images are pertaining to cats is the main cause of slowing down combat. I can understand this and do it myself, if there is some rolls going on I'll tab to something else. The secondary part is people typing up what they are doing because this is where irc gaming does shine. People do not like to plainly go  "I attack the orc". They want to "With a howl rush the orc with crazed eyes and swing the sword at it's head!". Which takes a bit more typing. Typically this enthusiasm wears out as time goes on in the battle but the first few rounds always look like they're trying to make the simple attacks as entertaining as possible. Now this is great, but somewhat time consuming especially if the person doing it is a slow at typing. With this and even being interested in the game more often than not gets me to look for a new youtube song to listen to even though I shouldn't.

After all those problems what are some pros? Information sharing. Using multiple irc rooms you can split the party every way and pass notes that other players can't even begin to meta on. It's wonderful to have a player off doing things that are effecting the main party and they don't even know it. Or even just mysterious visions or one of the players spot roll being higher then the rest so they notice a certain detail which they can easily choose to keep from the party, wonderful thing that I have seen work in game a few times.

Personally I find online games more enjoyable. Face to face is a bit intimidating to me and the fact you hear the other players voices doesn't get me into it. Seeing text and imagining the voices does a lot more for me. It's a personal taste and probably more influenced by never feeling comfortable in groups.


  1. I think that you raise some very interesting points. The one at the end about imagining is a huge one in my opinion. It is the reason why I always enjoyed reading books rather than listening to audiotapes of them being read. Using your imagination to conjur up voices and images of characters is super useful.

  2. I don't think I have the imagination for real rpgs