Here in ENWorld the players around the table is enormous, and everyone seems to have a portfolio of characters already. So my question is would it work if it was more stream lined. Having one DM (me or someone else if they had a game they really wished to run), and every player having his own portfolio of characters in a main RG ready to pull out when it was time to run a one and done.
I'm just looking through these old Dungeon magazines (reminiscing-oh how I love this game), and want to play some of these adventures. Tallow's Deep does anyone remember Tallow's Deep?? Great dungeon delve. Or The Menagerie?? great side trek. There are so many. And I would like to play them all if only the time were mine.
My thing is I don't think players would want to invest time on a character for non campaginship style games. I don't blame them. So maybe if they can come back that character, and, and newbies who join could come along for a game.
(adding my 2cp to this old thread, because I noticed it's been updated last week)
IMHO the whole PbP idea should actually be more adequate one-shots than long campaigns. PbP are quite simply a huge drag, and they would probably work much better if everyone was less pretentious about their PC (or fantasy world, in case of a DM) and more focused on getting things going.
IMXP the majority of PbP games suffer because players and DM spend too much time chatting about house rules, perfecting their character build, or detailing their fantasy world and adventure. If it takes more than one month to start the game, there are good chances that people's enthusiams has already waned off. PbP games are really not the best place for the "character building" own hobby. So, as you say, having a few PCs already designed and posted to a rogue gallery would be a great help.
Then running the adventures always takes a huge time. I only ever DMed a single PbP game, and it took 2 years to run HALF of a Dungeon Magazine adventure. IIRC we covered a single small dungeon (~10ish rooms) and 5-6 combat encounters during that time. As a player, I've tried at least half a dozen PbP and none of them went past the 2nd encounter...
So IMHO to make a PbP work it is of paramount importance for the players and the DM to understand that every effort should be concentrated on keeping the game going, and avoid replicating the depth and investment of tabletop gaming.
Things that would probably help:
- short adventures (mainly to help the DM to avoid long preparations, but for the players it probably doesn't matter)
- no house rules or very few and clear ones
- clearly defined set of allowed character material, or allow everything (to avoid "mother may I" discussions)
- minimize the character sheet, do not calculate anything until you need to use it, strip off the equipment!
- minimize narrative requirements (one of the worst DM's mistake is to require players to write a long background history or fill-in personality details and similar)
- don't take turns, don't wait for players, move along...
The last one may not be easy at all to pull off, but it has to be attempted at least.