Technicalities of running an online game

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  1. #1
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)

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    Technicalities of running an online game

    I've run some games over ICQ, but I'd really like a system that allows die rolls as well. I've never used IRC, so I'm a complete loser when it comes to knowing what to do with that.

    Can anyone chime in and tell me about the various options, and how they work? I've looked over OpenRPG a little bit, and wonder how it compares to running in IRC with dicebots. I'm also wondering how to run games in IRC with dicebots...

    "I realize that I am generalizing here, but, as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care." Dave Barry


  • #2
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    I run four PbP games over at my message board, and there's another two games being run...we all use the same method. Trust the DM. I guess its easy for us since we trust each other fairly well, and it seems best for the DM. Rolls can be hidden when needed. Only problem is the DM has to jump in every other post or so to give result of the roll. It would slow down a chat type game a bit more.

  • #3
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    Acolyte (Lvl 2)

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    IRCs pretty much the only way I fly. There are a billion and a half free servers, so finding a space isn't a problem what-so-ever.

    Good things?
    • Thanks to the /me command (a command that makes whatever comes after the /me a verb, ex. Dave: /me shoot a rocket. becomes - Dave shoots a rocket.) lets players show actions quite easily.
    • It's really easy to do dialogue/descriptions with just liberal use of those friendly quotation marks.
    • You can pre-prepare descriptions in a text editor, and just cut and paste. Though, some IRC clients have a few kinks with it, as far as spacing is concerned.
    • Logging is a beautiful thing. I just look at the logs of sessions to do story hours, and even copy dialogue directly.
    • Dicebots are also beautiful, easy, and simple. You can even run private instances of them for secret rolls. I'm sure some higher level bots might just ICQ/AIM you the results, too.

    In short, you can't go wrong with IRC.

    As far as the how? Check out It's the most common, and highest quality client around - and more importantly, FREE.
    To resist despair is what it is to be free.

  • #4
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    Acolyte (Lvl 2)

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    ° Ignore clark411
    Open RPG. I believe

    free, make yer own server, make yer own character sheets with built in buttons. there are rollers.. supports macros with hot keys... has a map/drawing area and allows people to import minis / images. The only complaint I can think about it is that it isn't glitch proof... it is however, superior to pretty much anything else I've found out there despite this.

  • #5
    Hey Joshua,

    First of all, great General Conference this year, eh? Now to your question. I've played in some IRC games in the past and I find them a bit tedious, but if I did not have a regular group, I'd surely look into it again. I recommend using the server that houses the official EN World chat channel. It is server: and you can use ports 6660 through 6669 to connect. You can create a channel to run a game and if you talk to a server op or the server owner who goes by the handle "bynw" or the server head admin person who goes by "thatdarncat" they may be willing to set up some special semi permanent channel deal, but then again, they may not be able to. As far as dice go, there are a couple of bots that are on the server at almost any given time. My favorite is "Golem" who you can bring into your channel if you create it and are the operator by typing: /invite golem [enter] There is another dicebot named "boxcars" that works just as well but doesn't have the fun personalized triggers. If you have questions or want to check out the server connect to it and join #dnd3e. That's the official ENWorld chat channel and it usually has a live operator or two as well as some friendly folk who can maybe help you. I hope that's a good start for you.

  • #6
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    The biggest problem with IRC is response time.

    I know in table-top, sometimes a disaster can be averted (or caused) by one person interrupting another's action. For example:

    Private Joe: Hmm, the shelling stopped? Okay. Joe is going to peek over the ridge of the trench, looking for the -

    Sgt. Smith: What? Sgt. Smith grabs Joe as he starts to raise up and shoves him in the dirt. "What the #$%! are you doing private? Trying to get yourself killed?"
    In an IRC game, you lose that fluidity. Private Joe's player will get his whole action on the screen before anyone knows what he's doing. And the DM and Sgt. Smith's player are both writing their responses at the same time.

    What if the DM writes that Joe is attacked by a sniper from a nearby ridge, and Sgt. Smith's response comes two seconds later? Which action takes place?

    Was the DM a better typist? A faster reader? Had a shorter response? Or just a better Internet connection?

    So, be sure to pace things a bit. Let the slower readers/typists have a chance to act, and be careful everyone gets their turn. Also, beware fast typists who constantly interject before anyone else can act, hogging the spotlight.
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  • #7
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    ° Ignore Impeesa
    I've run my D&D game for a few sessions now over IRC on it works fairly well, I'm thinking of switching over to OpenRPG though. The ideal situation, though, would be some sort of multi-user voice chat, like those programs that Quake players use to communicate. That, and OpenRPG for mapping and stuff... mmmm...


  • #8
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    I've been DMing for the past 2 years over WebRPG, then IRC, then OpenRPG, and then MSN messenger. Why MSN? Convenience mostly. Dice rollers aren't a major issue cause I trust all my players (and if they're cheating, they suck badly at it), and MSN has the fastest response time in my experience. It also doesn't need any specifc dll libraries like Java or Python, so it's good there too.

    Basically, use whatever you're most comfortable with. Experiment with all the free ones to see which one best suits you and your group.

  • #9
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    Originally posted by Kesh

    So, be sure to pace things a bit. Let the slower readers/typists have a chance to act, and be careful everyone gets their turn. Also, beware fast typists who constantly interject before anyone else can act, hogging the spotlight.
    Which may or may not be intentional.

    I've played games in IM but most of these problems were avoided by having all three players use one computer/keyboard. They apparently had fun with "Keyboard Fights".

    There are problems with it of course. No way to keep something secret from the other players, only one person can say something at a time, sometimes you don't know who's doing what. And big groups would be impossible.
    -Lela, Dweller in Story.

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    Can circumvent or hinder or control
    The firm resolve of a determined soul."

    -Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1855-1919

  • #10

    Hey, a subject I can Chime in on

    IRC games are great.

    1. <B>Ease of Finding Players:</B> People I've met on line have always had contacts that they know are good gamers. Its not difficult to find the cream of the crop gamers.

    2. <B>Dice bots are cool:</B> The one I use (and the DMs of other games I play) - - have quick, easy rules. As a bonus ... the name can be changed to assume the persona of an NPC so that the DM can still keep his nick the same.

    3. <B>Flexible hours:</B> A game can be run when ever you like.

    4. <B>Cut/Paste:</B> As mentioned above, preparing an adventure in a text editor allows for easy posts.

    5. <B>Online Aids:</B> Visit geocities or some other site and badaboom, you can create a Primer for what ever adventure you are running, a blank map, campaign docs, pictures of NPCs, etc.

    6. <B>Availibility</B>IRC has many servers all over the place. Recently, a couple of my games went over to

    1. <B>Users:</B> IRC has massive numbers of users. If you don't take the proper precautions when creating a room, every Tom, Dick, and Harry can walk right in ... sometimes disrupting play.

    2. <B>It's online:</B> IRC servers do crash. Its easy to switch servers, but when you do, all room settings you had before are lost.

    3. <B>Distractions:</B> Computers are now very fast and allow for multitasking. Some players are easily distracted by out of game conversations, browsing the Internet, or playing a game.

    4. <B>IRC Itself:</B> There are a lot of finer points in the IRC that can be obscure for new users; however, there are many comprehensive web-aids which can help users solve their problems.

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