The Online GM: Part 1

Sorry for the lack of updates for the last few weeks, I’ve been sick and I haven’t been back in the chair since the Tomb of Horrors wrap-up and you did have my review of the module (which I think is one of the few on the blogosphere).  But I haven’t been away from DMing altogether, some of you maybe aware of the online Tomb of Horrors game I am running. The game that started before my regular group and is still in the first encounter. So it looks as if it’s as good as time as any to look at online gaming again, and unlike last time it’s from the perspective of the GM.

Yes, I did look at online gaming before with the Star Wars campaign, but that died just before Celebration V and it wasn’t going for long enough for me to know what I was doing. Now, I’ve been running this for what is close to three months now, we’re still in the first encounter but I am much more optimistic of success.

Though whether my players will face the final encounter and defeat Acererak remains to be seen.

So, lets take a look at the dynamics of online compared with what I discussed last time, and then add something new to the mix.

Looking back…

Last time, I said that there was the chance of people dropping out of games without warning or warrant, and this is still the case. When I finished the sign ups for Tomb of Horrors I had eight players, and now that we are well into the first encounter I have five, the three drop outs being without warning and included the party wizard. Well, losing a controller is a great way to make the game easier for the DM, and harder for the players. No wonder until now I was “winning”.

There’s also the length of time it takes people to post, and people in this game are no way near as prolific as the guys from Enworld are. It has been better of late, with a round taking two days instead of four to six, but there is one guy who always posts very early in the morning my time. He hasn’t posted yet and I’m giving him to tomorrow morning before I tap him on the shoulder, though I did give him a real pounding last round.

With character sheets, I have managed that rather well thanks to Character Builder. I asked the players for the Summary if they had Character Builder, or else a page on the Mythweavers site that I could transfer to builder. The players all have a PDF of their sheet on my PC, along with every other character of every player in my group, that I can quickly refer to when I take my turn.

And finally, dice rolls. The forums have a dice roller in the actual coding of the forums, but it’s a mixed blessing. As a DM, I’ve actually found that there are some rolls that depend on others, not just recharging monster powers but things I will only get the monsters to do if I succeed. And since the anti-cheating mechanism means I can’t go back and edit the dice roll or add another, I have to do about four posts in a row sometimes for a single round.

It actually used to take me ages to update, several hours in fact. Now, I can do it in about an hour and it would be shorter if the boards did not go down at 7pm my time every night and I did not get so many 500 errors.

I didn’t actually intend this to be a two parter, but the length convinced me otherwise. Next time I’ll go into details about tools and mapping.


~ by katanageldar on November 1, 2010.

2 Responses to “The Online GM: Part 1”

  1. […] of Net access and the news, I’m back on track for the second part of my look at Online GMing. Last time, I was looking at logistics and differences in gameplay itself, this week it’s the actual […]

  2. […] in my mailbox? To date, we have finished the first chapter, had a joint campaign and started an online campaign (which is still stuck in the first dungeon). And now, as of a few weeks ago, we have started the […]

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