Virtual Tabletop Gaming Tips?

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
So, I just started running a new campaign on Fantasy Grounds II and while I had alot of fun, we had some definite hiccups that made it not go as smoothly as it could have. We are using text only.

The main issues:

1) Multiple characters posting at the same time.

2) Related - Multiple conversations (PC + PC), (PC + NPC) happening at once.

3) Players spending more time whispering to the DM/making "knowledge" rolls/whispering to NPCs, causing long gaps of "non-action" to the players that are waiting for the next action/npc interaction/whatever.

4) There were several times that a player would get an amazing streetwise or history check, I'd spend 3-4 minutes typing up all that they knew/learned and then they wouldn't share it with the group. Then a few minutes later, another PC(or two) would make the same roll, requiring me to re-type a modified(by check result) version of what the last player(or two) asked.

5) Players(or the DM) missing that someone is talking to them, causing more delays and confusion.​

I've thought of a couple ideas already:

Whenever a player speaks, have them say who they are talking to in parenthesis. Ex: -Suri- (Lord Enki) "Good question. (The Group) What does everyone else think?" That should help with 1) and 2) and 5).

More DM prep: When a player makes a history check, have the relevant info available to just copy-paste whisper back. Should help with 3) nad 4), just requires more DM prep-work(that some DMs probably do already, I'm just usually not that type of DM).

Encourage players to share what they learn on "knowledge" checks or just state them publicly to the whole group(as usually it happens in a RL game since there usually aren't "whispers"). Should help alot with 3) and 4).

Some of 5) can't be helped, with players getting up to use the bathroom, getting phone calls, being distracted from the game in general, etc.

Due to some of the issues above, some of the players(ones who were whispering a bunch usually) complained about other players being inactive and some of the "inactive" players complained about long stretches where they couldn't see anything going on.

Any FGII (or other Virtual Table Top) veterans out there with some advice for a newbie? Thanks!
 

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Masquerade

First Post
If it's the source of most of your problems, why not try eliminating whispering entirely? I've been DMing via VTT for about a year now and we very rarely use whispering to communicate.
 

heruca

Explorer
Adding voice chat would greatly reduce a lot of your problems. Is there some reason your group is avoiding VOIP?

Pre-written text macros would also help, but as you say, those generally add to a GM's prep time (but not much).
 

Ruslanchik

First Post
Adding voice chat would greatly reduce a lot of your problems. Is there some reason your group is avoiding VOIP?

Pre-written text macros would also help, but as you say, those generally add to a GM's prep time (but not much).

I agree. It sounds like voice communication would solve a lot of these problems. It would also save you the trouble and time of typing everything out. You'll make yourself crazy trying to type out everything that players might ask about in advance.
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
I guess I don't really have a good reason to avoid VOIP, I suppose using Skype would work since we don't have a Vent or TS server...

I wanted to avoid it the first few sessions to attempt to get a little group anonymity(most of us have been playing together for 10 years and wanted to help people play their characters TO the other characters, instead of playing themselves TO the other players. It didn't work too well since we had to use Hamachi to get it to work and people's Hamachi names gave them away immediately.

Probably would have figured it out just by the sort of characters everyone played so it was pretty much a pipe-dream anyway.

Thanks for the tips, I'll try to cut down whispering in the next game and talk to everyone about VOIP.

Thanks for the advice.
 

heruca

Explorer
Skype is a good choice to start off with, since it's the easiest to set up and use.

Eventually you may want to try out Ventrilo. You can run your own Ventrilo server for up to 8 users for free. Its push-to-talk feature helps limit extraneous noise, and it allows you to privately message a particular user without the rest of the group hearing what you say.
 

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