Play-by-Blog?

edited January 2008 in Story Games
I'm thinking of starting a health-related blog together with my wife, and this has me thinking about bloggish matters. I'm wondering if anybody's every played an RPG online by blog. You could make each scene a new post, and then hash things out in the comments section, then update the original post and start a new one.

More exotically, you could play a Lexicon-like game, using the blog metaphor instead of the encyclopedia metaphor, and using linear time instead of the letters of the alphabet to move things forward. Agree on a common premise for the blog, say that it's the development blog for a cyberpunk software firm, or that it's the blog for a political journal covering the week that the Glorious Revolution started, and just keep moving forward, commenting and building off of each other's posts. It might have a bit more of an RPG feeling to it, if each player takes on the persona of a fictional blogger.

This could be very cool, or it could be just a communal way to create bad gaming fiction. I'd like to try it sometime.

Comments

  • Have a look at Allen Varney's game, Noteworthy. That's a play-by-blog game.

    Graham
  • I know of a few Harry Potter games played on Livejournals. Its mostly shared fiction with moderators to inject plot and keep things even. Each character has a journal which is their own secret thoughts on things and a community is where play out in the open happens. Its kind of interesting to watch.
  • Rich, can you provide a link to one of these you like?
  • Posted By: DannyKThis could be very cool, or it could be just a communal way to create bad gaming fiction. I'd like to try it sometime.
    95% of all online roleplaying since the year 1997 has been in the form of rolling play-by-post blogs and the like. Back in 2000/2001 over on RPGnet there was a thread where we were exploring that sort of thing (realizing that this kind of stuff was going on, basically roleplaying in fan fiction), and discovered that there were no fewer than five Yahoo Group mailing list/play by posts where the members took on the roles of members of the 80s band Duran Duran. I shit you not. Many were just "normal" (band issues, travel, etc) and one was about how Duran Duran are here to save the world from some alien menace.

    So, it's out there, and it's popular as heck, and so there's probably a lot of good or bad communities to watch and base your methodology upon.

    -Andy
  • Posted By: DannyKMore exotically, you could play a Lexicon-like game, using the blog metaphor instead of the encyclopedia metaphor, and using linear time instead of the letters of the alphabet to move things forward. Agree on a common premise for the blog, say that it's the development blog for a cyberpunk software firm, or that it's the blog for a political journal covering the week that the Glorious Revolution started, and just keep moving forward, commenting and building off of each other's posts. It might have a bit more of an RPG feeling to it, if each player takes on the persona of a fictional blogger.
    That sounds really cool. I've been thinking about doing a fictional blog like that, but just me. And I've heard of a lot of play by blogs. But I never thought of combining the two into awesome.

    I have a bunch of friends who are in a popular blog type called Nexus. The premise is that the setting is a Nexus of worlds. So, any character from anywhere can appear. I think they have Abe Lincoln, a bunch of anime characters (I think they have something like 20 Goku's*), characters from Babylon 5 and Farscape, and a cybernetic Care Bear in their game, to give you an idea.

    *This is the biggest reason why I've never explored this mode of play.
  • edited January 2008
    Ask an ye shall receive Jason.

    The Cold War

    Its on hiatus for the moment while one of the mods finalizes her move but all the info and journals are intact.
  • Given that I have some gaming friends scattered across the continent, I'm starting to look into what form of online gaming to go with. I've played in IRC games, but not all of my players are fast enough with their keyboards. Play by email is always an option. But I'm thinking blogging might be the way to go. I don't really think blogger is suitable because of the way the comment system works. Wordpress might also be out for the same reason. The Insane Journal (the one The Cold War is on) looks suitable as you can have multiple user blogs called Asylums. Livejournal Communities looks like it would work well.

    Any others?
  • Interesting responses. I'd be up for a game of Blog-i-con, if anyone is interested.

    The Project Donut website is a good example of a what an ongoing game might look like, except that it's one player only.
  • Blogs have some interesting traits:

    - Asynchronicity - this means conversation where everything is written out is a game-killer.
    - Comments, sometimes in trees, sometimes flat
    - Aggregators - even a livejournal friends page is an interesting snapshot of 'what is happening one step away from this blog'

    There are rating systems which I don't know too much about.

    Avatars! A picture for every post...

    Anything else that makes blogs their own thing?
  • edited January 2008
    Posted By: JDCorleyBlogs have some interesting traits:

    - Asynchronicity - this means conversation where everything is written out is a game-killer.
    Why is that the case? What about it kills games?
  • Because it means that even a single conversation can take weeks even if the players diligently post multiple times a day. I've seen conversations take months, while the rest of the game rots, waiting for Jimmy and Sheila to get to know each other.
  • What if you added the option to slip into a synchronous conversation form (IM, etc.) to advance private scenes in a relatively fast manner? I'm imagining a chat plugin like we have here, except with a "Post this conversation" button.
  • You could, but that means coordinating times, which can be a problem for people in the same time zone, much less in a different time zone (or even on the other side of the world). And it still means the IM probably will happen days from "now" in some of the best conditions, so you still have to wait however long until that chat interaction can occur.
  • I think the thing to do is not to have line by line conversations. Have someone actually describe a good chunk of the conversation in length and then toss it to the person who can fill in the rest.

    For example, imagine police interrogating a suspect. The player shows he's got the dice to back up that the suspect breaks and will tell all. The player might post a back and forth:
    Cop: Jimmy, your buddy Vince gave you up. He said that you did it. Not only that, he said you were involved in that drive by shooting from last week. That guy died Jimmy. Murder is serious, serious stuff.

    Jimmy: I didn't have anything to do with that! I've never shot anyone. I'm not part of a gang.

    Cop: Well that G you shot has a lot of friends in prison. It's not going to be pretty when you end up in the general population without anyone to watch your back.

    Jimmy: I told you I didn't kill nobody! I've never even used a gun.

    Cop: Why should I believe you about that if you won't even tell me the truth about breaking into that woman's home? Where's the locket Jimmy?

    Jimmy: That wasn't me neither.

    Cop: Well, Vince gave you up. He said he stood guard while you broke in. And that you were the trigger man in that drive through. If you don't tell me about the locket Jimmy, I'm going to have to charge you with that murder. And I might let it slip on the street to some of the Westsiders that it was you doing the drive by.

    Jimmy: No! They'll kill me. I have nothing to do with those guys.

    Cop: Well, Jimmy, as it stand that's how it's going to go down. Any reason why I shouldn't tell the Westsiders that it was you?

    Jimmy: Fine! I did it. I broke in and took her jewelry.

    Cop: Where's the locket Jimmy?

    And that's when it gets passed over to the player who knows the answer to the question (probably the GM). He'll write the next section of dialogue. In a play by post game of any sort, I can't really see why you'd even want to attempt line by line dialog between too parties if you don't have to.
  • The main reason in play-by-forum/play-by-blogs games that I have seen is that many, many of them are based on media properties (Harry Potter, soap operas, Duran Duran, etc.) where possession of and celebration of a character is the main buy-in for the game, not the narrative.
  • I think play by post/play by blog is probably not suited for the type of game where you cover everything. Where it's all about where your character goes, each word he says, what he buys, what he does. You know, the typical "What do you do next" style of RPGs. Instead of simulating the experience of the character through all the parts of his life, you'd want to simulate the genre or explore themes.

    I've been reading different people's play by post games and I'm beginning to think that some of the "indie" games that have come out over the last few years (or are coming out shortly) will likely work quite well. Anything where you have all participants doing more than actor stance. In a Wicked Age might be well suited, as an example. Perhaps Donjon?
  • edited January 2008
    Posted By: M Eryesen

    In a Wicked Age might be well suited, as an example. Perhaps Donjon?
    Since no one has dropped this yet:

    In a Wicked Age: The Schwarzwald

    There's an interesting Wordpress theme where you can comment on a paragraph level -- could be cool for a game:

    CommentPress
  • I haven't played any blog-game, but I have had a fair share of forum-games.

    I think playing by blog would mean a lot more trouble. I'd say forum would be more practical and flexible, while blog would mean more control (and work) for the GM.
  • Jason: One of the people writing about online freeform games for Push 2 talks about Harry Potter livejournal games here. She played in one of the more famous ones, That Was Then/This Is Now.
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