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Barnum

Barnum's DnD Experiment

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Okay, maybe "stunk" is too strong of a word, but in the final analysis the players were ready to move on to something else after just a few weeks. They just weren't having that much fun. I know I'm not a great GM, but I usually keep these people reasonably entertained (or rather . . . give them plenty of opportunities to entertain themselves), but not this time. I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what the problem was, and I think I may have figured it out: I wasn't giving them any opportunities to entertain themselves.

This was everyone's first (or second) try with DnD, so we played a pretty straight forward "kill the monsters and take their stuff" mission. The characters were reasonably well made and interesting, and the players were active, interested, and interacting with one another. But I think it was the "we move on to the next room" repetition that just did the game in.

So that got me thinking . . . how to fix that. The obvious solution is to find a better GM who can weave a complex tale of wonder and intrigue, but that's not me. On a good day I'm a simpleton when it comes to that stuff, so we're back to plan A: give them the opportunity to entertain themselves.

Here's what I want to know from you guys: How do you think a set-up like this (FC:PbP) would work with DnD? I imagine something like Waterdeep and Undermountain (saw it in the bookstore last night). Play would happen in two ways: delving threads and city threads. In the delving threads DMs would lead serial-style expeditions into the Undermountain, and in the city threads, the characters would hang out, fall in love, start their own businesses, get in bar fights, etc. DMs could help with that too, but city threads would mostly be in the hands of the PCs (so they can entertain themselves).

To those of you with DnD experience, does that sound interesting? I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of DnD and I'm not a big fan of fantasy, but that sounds like great fun.

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Okay, maybe "stunk" is too strong of a word, but in the final analysis the players were ready to move on to something else after just a few weeks. They just weren't having that much fun. I know I'm not a great GM, but I usually keep these people reasonably entertained (or rather . . . give them plenty of opportunities to entertain themselves), but not this time. I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what the problem was, and I think I may have figured it out: I wasn't giving them any opportunities to entertain themselves.

This was everyone's first (or second) try with DnD, so we played a pretty straight forward "kill the monsters and take their stuff" mission. The characters were reasonably well made and interesting, and the players were active, interested, and interacting with one another. But I think it was the "we move on to the next room" repetition that just did the game in.

So that got me thinking . . . how to fix that. The obvious solution is to find a better GM who can weave a complex tale of wonder and intrigue, but that's not me. On a good day I'm a simpleton when it comes to that stuff, so we're back to plan A: give them the opportunity to entertain themselves.

Here's what I want to know from you guys: How do you think a set-up like this (FC:PbP) would work with DnD? I imagine something like Waterdeep and Undermountain (saw it in the bookstore last night). Play would happen in two ways: delving threads and city threads. In the delving threads DMs would lead serial-style expeditions into the Undermountain, and in the city threads, the characters would hang out, fall in love, start their own businesses, get in bar fights, etc. DMs could help with that too, but city threads would mostly be in the hands of the PCs (so they can entertain themselves).

To those of you with DnD experience, does that sound interesting? I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of DnD and I'm not a big fan of fantasy, but that sounds like great fun.

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Okay, maybe "stunk" is too strong of a word, but in the final analysis the players were ready to move on to something else after just a few weeks. They just weren't having that much fun. I know I'm not a great GM, but I usually keep these people reasonably entertained (or rather . . . give them plenty of opportunities to entertain themselves), but not this time. I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what the problem was, and I think I may have figured it out: I wasn't giving them any opportunities to entertain themselves.

This was everyone's first (or second) try with DnD, so we played a pretty straight forward "kill the monsters and take their stuff" mission. The characters were reasonably well made and interesting, and the players were active, interested, and interacting with one another. But I think it was the "we move on to the next room" repetition that just did the game in.

So that got me thinking . . . how to fix that. The obvious solution is to find a better GM who can weave a complex tale of wonder and intrigue, but that's not me. On a good day I'm a simpleton when it comes to that stuff, so we're back to plan A: give them the opportunity to entertain themselves.

Here's what I want to know from you guys: How do you think a set-up like this (FC:PbP) would work with DnD? I imagine something like Waterdeep and Undermountain (saw it in the bookstore last night). Play would happen in two ways: delving threads and city threads. In the delving threads DMs would lead serial-style expeditions into the Undermountain, and in the city threads, the characters would hang out, fall in love, start their own businesses, get in bar fights, etc. DMs could help with that too, but city threads would mostly be in the hands of the PCs (so they can entertain themselves).

To those of you with DnD experience, does that sound interesting? I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of DnD and I'm not a big fan of fantasy, but that sounds like great fun.

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As someone who's run/played several play-by-post games (three of them being D&D), I can most definitely say a set-up like this would work fine ;)

And what you propose does sound quite good. Have on forum (possibly with sub-forums) for the actual adventuring (the "roll-playing" aspect), another forum (again, possibly with sub-forums) for more... social aspects, the bits where a DM isn't strictly needed. One could be an Arcane University where folks can have discussions on magic and monsters (or even hold lectures), one could be the Inn where most adventures begin, one could be a Castle for noble intrigue, and so on. When/if the interactions become bloody and the dice come out, the discussion's moved to the roll-playing forum.

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As someone who's run/played several play-by-post games (three of them being D&D), I can most definitely say a set-up like this would work fine ;)

And what you propose does sound quite good. Have on forum (possibly with sub-forums) for the actual adventuring (the "roll-playing" aspect), another forum (again, possibly with sub-forums) for more... social aspects, the bits where a DM isn't strictly needed. One could be an Arcane University where folks can have discussions on magic and monsters (or even hold lectures), one could be the Inn where most adventures begin, one could be a Castle for noble intrigue, and so on. When/if the interactions become bloody and the dice come out, the discussion's moved to the roll-playing forum.

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As someone who's run/played several play-by-post games (three of them being D&D), I can most definitely say a set-up like this would work fine ;)

And what you propose does sound quite good. Have on forum (possibly with sub-forums) for the actual adventuring (the "roll-playing" aspect), another forum (again, possibly with sub-forums) for more... social aspects, the bits where a DM isn't strictly needed. One could be an Arcane University where folks can have discussions on magic and monsters (or even hold lectures), one could be the Inn where most adventures begin, one could be a Castle for noble intrigue, and so on. When/if the interactions become bloody and the dice come out, the discussion's moved to the roll-playing forum.

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That would work just fine, but I was thinking more along the lines of setting it up like this board. (I'm kinda fond of the setup here :) )

Administration Forums

-Rules, News, Characters, etc.

A City Forum

-Subform1 (for places around the city)

-Subform2 (for places around the city)

-Subform3 (for places around the city)

-Subform4 (for places around the city)

. . . etc.

Delving Forum

-Subform1 (For GM A's Dungeon Delve)

-Subform2 (For GM B's Dungeon Delve)

-Subform3 (For GM A's 2nd Dungeon Delve)

. . . etc.

Or, if the delves were short enough, just put the delving threads (each delve would have 2 IC and OOC) in the same forum.

Something like that, I think.

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That would work just fine, but I was thinking more along the lines of setting it up like this board. (I'm kinda fond of the setup here :) )

Administration Forums

-Rules, News, Characters, etc.

A City Forum

-Subform1 (for places around the city)

-Subform2 (for places around the city)

-Subform3 (for places around the city)

-Subform4 (for places around the city)

. . . etc.

Delving Forum

-Subform1 (For GM A's Dungeon Delve)

-Subform2 (For GM B's Dungeon Delve)

-Subform3 (For GM A's 2nd Dungeon Delve)

. . . etc.

Or, if the delves were short enough, just put the delving threads (each delve would have 2 IC and OOC) in the same forum.

Something like that, I think.

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That would work just fine, but I was thinking more along the lines of setting it up like this board. (I'm kinda fond of the setup here :) )

Administration Forums

-Rules, News, Characters, etc.

A City Forum

-Subform1 (for places around the city)

-Subform2 (for places around the city)

-Subform3 (for places around the city)

-Subform4 (for places around the city)

. . . etc.

Delving Forum

-Subform1 (For GM A's Dungeon Delve)

-Subform2 (For GM B's Dungeon Delve)

-Subform3 (For GM A's 2nd Dungeon Delve)

. . . etc.

Or, if the delves were short enough, just put the delving threads (each delve would have 2 IC and OOC) in the same forum.

Something like that, I think.

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That would work just fine, but I was thinking more along the lines of setting it up like this board. (I'm kinda fond of the setup here :) )

Administration Forums

-Rules, News, Characters, etc.

A City Forum

-Subform1 (for places around the city)

-Subform2 (for places around the city)

-Subform3 (for places around the city)

-Subform4 (for places around the city)

. . . etc.

providDelving Forum

-Subform1 (For GM A's Dungeon Delve)

-Subform2 (For GM B's Dungeon Delve)

-Subform3 (For GM A's 2nd Dungeon Delve)

. . . etc.

Or, if the delves were short enough, just put the delving threads (each delve would have 2 IC and OOC) in the same forum.

Something like that, I think.

I think this sounds like a good idea, but there are ways you can incorporate some of the stuff Dr Archeville suggested (greetings, Doc!); if the city is divided into quarters, each quarter can have a theme, like the Temple District, Merchant's Quarter, Red Light District, Wizard's College, etc.

I think another good idea is not to just limit the adventures to dungeon delving - wilderness adventures can be a nice change of pace, especially for druids and rangers, so some sort of 'Lands Around the City' sub-forum would also make sense.

If you're looking for help, I would be more than willing to pitch in; I'm trying to limit my actual online GMing time quite a bit, but setting up regions of a town, providing plot thread ideas, stating major NPCs and the like I'd be totally down with any time of day or night (well, not when I'm sleeping). What setting and rules edition are you using? I would also love to play in such a forum as well.

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That would work just fine, but I was thinking more along the lines of setting it up like this board. (I'm kinda fond of the setup here :) )

Administration Forums

-Rules, News, Characters, etc.

A City Forum

-Subform1 (for places around the city)

-Subform2 (for places around the city)

-Subform3 (for places around the city)

-Subform4 (for places around the city)

. . . etc.

providDelving Forum

-Subform1 (For GM A's Dungeon Delve)

-Subform2 (For GM B's Dungeon Delve)

-Subform3 (For GM A's 2nd Dungeon Delve)

. . . etc.

Or, if the delves were short enough, just put the delving threads (each delve would have 2 IC and OOC) in the same forum.

Something like that, I think.

I think this sounds like a good idea, but there are ways you can incorporate some of the stuff Dr Archeville suggested (greetings, Doc!); if the city is divided into quarters, each quarter can have a theme, like the Temple District, Merchant's Quarter, Red Light District, Wizard's College, etc.

I think another good idea is not to just limit the adventures to dungeon delving - wilderness adventures can be a nice change of pace, especially for druids and rangers, so some sort of 'Lands Around the City' sub-forum would also make sense.

If you're looking for help, I would be more than willing to pitch in; I'm trying to limit my actual online GMing time quite a bit, but setting up regions of a town, providing plot thread ideas, stating major NPCs and the like I'd be totally down with any time of day or night (well, not when I'm sleeping). What setting and rules edition are you using? I would also love to play in such a forum as well.

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That would work just fine, but I was thinking more along the lines of setting it up like this board. (I'm kinda fond of the setup here :) )

Administration Forums

-Rules, News, Characters, etc.

A City Forum

-Subform1 (for places around the city)

-Subform2 (for places around the city)

-Subform3 (for places around the city)

-Subform4 (for places around the city)

. . . etc.

providDelving Forum

-Subform1 (For GM A's Dungeon Delve)

-Subform2 (For GM B's Dungeon Delve)

-Subform3 (For GM A's 2nd Dungeon Delve)

. . . etc.

Or, if the delves were short enough, just put the delving threads (each delve would have 2 IC and OOC) in the same forum.

Something like that, I think.

I think this sounds like a good idea, but there are ways you can incorporate some of the stuff Dr Archeville suggested (greetings, Doc!); if the city is divided into quarters, each quarter can have a theme, like the Temple District, Merchant's Quarter, Red Light District, Wizard's College, etc.

I think another good idea is not to just limit the adventures to dungeon delving - wilderness adventures can be a nice change of pace, especially for druids and rangers, so some sort of 'Lands Around the City' sub-forum would also make sense.

If you're looking for help, I would be more than willing to pitch in; I'm trying to limit my actual online GMing time quite a bit, but setting up regions of a town, providing plot thread ideas, stating major NPCs and the like I'd be totally down with any time of day or night (well, not when I'm sleeping). What setting and rules edition are you using? I would also love to play in such a forum as well.

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I don't think I can help much, but I'd be glad to let you guys use some of my space here for another forum. If you are looking at getting younger people, I'd suggest using the latest edition, even though it ain't my favorite. I'm sure when 4.0 comes out in a few months, people will be willing to try that as well.

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I don't think I can help much, but I'd be glad to let you guys use some of my space here for another forum. If you are looking at getting younger people, I'd suggest using the latest edition, even though it ain't my favorite. I'm sure when 4.0 comes out in a few months, people will be willing to try that as well.

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I don't think I can help much, but I'd be glad to let you guys use some of my space here for another forum. If you are looking at getting younger people, I'd suggest using the latest edition, even though it ain't my favorite. I'm sure when 4.0 comes out in a few months, people will be willing to try that as well.

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I think this sounds like a good idea, but there are ways you can incorporate some of the stuff Dr Archeville suggested (greetings, Doc!); if the city is divided into quarters, each quarter can have a theme, like the Temple District, Merchant's Quarter, Red Light District, Wizard's College, etc.

That kind of division would probably work better than just East Waterdeep, West Waterdeep, etc. More location driven than geographically driven. *thumbs up*

I think another good idea is not to just limit the adventures to dungeon delving - wilderness adventures can be a nice change of pace, especially for druids and rangers, so some sort of 'Lands Around the City' sub-forum would also make sense.

That could work. My personal preference would probably to keep anything outside the city limited to "campaigns," but if the players wanted it, I think it would work just fine.

If you're looking for help, I would be more than willing to pitch in; I'm trying to limit my actual online GMing time quite a bit, but setting up regions of a town, providing plot thread ideas, stating major NPCs and the like I'd be totally down with any time of day or night (well, not when I'm sleeping). What setting and rules edition are you using? I would also love to play in such a forum as well.

Consider yourself "pitched in." :D If I decide to do this, then I have 2nd quarter 08 (end of March/first of April) as a goal (to have everything ready by then). I'll probably take the rest of this month to decide.

I don't think I can help much, but I'd be glad to let you guys use some of my space here for another forum. If you are looking at getting younger people, I'd suggest using the latest edition, even though it ain't my favorite. I'm sure when 4.0 comes out in a few months, people will be willing to try that as well.

Yeah, we'll be keeping it simple, I was thinking 3.5, core only (since it's the only DnD I and my group have access to). As for setting, probably some generic "fantasy" setting and leave the "lands beyond the city" as open as possible to allow for lots of creative backgrounds (kinda like we do here).

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I think this sounds like a good idea, but there are ways you can incorporate some of the stuff Dr Archeville suggested (greetings, Doc!); if the city is divided into quarters, each quarter can have a theme, like the Temple District, Merchant's Quarter, Red Light District, Wizard's College, etc.

That kind of division would probably work better than just East Waterdeep, West Waterdeep, etc. More location driven than geographically driven. *thumbs up*

I think another good idea is not to just limit the adventures to dungeon delving - wilderness adventures can be a nice change of pace, especially for druids and rangers, so some sort of 'Lands Around the City' sub-forum would also make sense.

That could work. My personal preference would probably to keep anything outside the city limited to "campaigns," but if the players wanted it, I think it would work just fine.

If you're looking for help, I would be more than willing to pitch in; I'm trying to limit my actual online GMing time quite a bit, but setting up regions of a town, providing plot thread ideas, stating major NPCs and the like I'd be totally down with any time of day or night (well, not when I'm sleeping). What setting and rules edition are you using? I would also love to play in such a forum as well.

Consider yourself "pitched in." :D If I decide to do this, then I have 2nd quarter 08 (end of March/first of April) as a goal (to have everything ready by then). I'll probably take the rest of this month to decide.

I don't think I can help much, but I'd be glad to let you guys use some of my space here for another forum. If you are looking at getting younger people, I'd suggest using the latest edition, even though it ain't my favorite. I'm sure when 4.0 comes out in a few months, people will be willing to try that as well.

Yeah, we'll be keeping it simple, I was thinking 3.5, core only (since it's the only DnD I and my group have access to). As for setting, probably some generic "fantasy" setting and leave the "lands beyond the city" as open as possible to allow for lots of creative backgrounds (kinda like we do here).

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I think this sounds like a good idea, but there are ways you can incorporate some of the stuff Dr Archeville suggested (greetings, Doc!); if the city is divided into quarters, each quarter can have a theme, like the Temple District, Merchant's Quarter, Red Light District, Wizard's College, etc.

That kind of division would probably work better than just East Waterdeep, West Waterdeep, etc. More location driven than geographically driven. *thumbs up*

I think another good idea is not to just limit the adventures to dungeon delving - wilderness adventures can be a nice change of pace, especially for druids and rangers, so some sort of 'Lands Around the City' sub-forum would also make sense.

That could work. My personal preference would probably to keep anything outside the city limited to "campaigns," but if the players wanted it, I think it would work just fine.

If you're looking for help, I would be more than willing to pitch in; I'm trying to limit my actual online GMing time quite a bit, but setting up regions of a town, providing plot thread ideas, stating major NPCs and the like I'd be totally down with any time of day or night (well, not when I'm sleeping). What setting and rules edition are you using? I would also love to play in such a forum as well.

Consider yourself "pitched in." :D If I decide to do this, then I have 2nd quarter 08 (end of March/first of April) as a goal (to have everything ready by then). I'll probably take the rest of this month to decide.

I don't think I can help much, but I'd be glad to let you guys use some of my space here for another forum. If you are looking at getting younger people, I'd suggest using the latest edition, even though it ain't my favorite. I'm sure when 4.0 comes out in a few months, people will be willing to try that as well.

Yeah, we'll be keeping it simple, I was thinking 3.5, core only (since it's the only DnD I and my group have access to). As for setting, probably some generic "fantasy" setting and leave the "lands beyond the city" as open as possible to allow for lots of creative backgrounds (kinda like we do here).

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I think this sounds like a great idea. The dungeon crawl was fun, but having all these elements would be much more fun for me. Especially if the player could establish themselves in the city.

How were you planning on doing advancement, and gold and such? MnM only has two ways to reward people (PPs and HPs). DnD has XP and Gold. The Refs would need to be fairly uniform on the distribution of both.

You would also need to keep a tight reign on recruitment. I'd say take 5 players in a "group," and no more groups than the DMs can continuously manage.

As long as the SRD is all we'll need to play, you can count me in.

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I think this sounds like a great idea. The dungeon crawl was fun, but having all these elements would be much more fun for me. Especially if the player could establish themselves in the city.

How were you planning on doing advancement, and gold and such? MnM only has two ways to reward people (PPs and HPs). DnD has XP and Gold. The Refs would need to be fairly uniform on the distribution of both.

You would also need to keep a tight reign on recruitment. I'd say take 5 players in a "group," and no more groups than the DMs can continuously manage.

As long as the SRD is all we'll need to play, you can count me in.

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I think this sounds like a great idea. The dungeon crawl was fun, but having all these elements would be much more fun for me. Especially if the player could establish themselves in the city.

How were you planning on doing advancement, and gold and such? MnM only has two ways to reward people (PPs and HPs). DnD has XP and Gold. The Refs would need to be fairly uniform on the distribution of both.

You would also need to keep a tight reign on recruitment. I'd say take 5 players in a "group," and no more groups than the DMs can continuously manage.

As long as the SRD is all we'll need to play, you can count me in.

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I think this sounds like a great idea. The dungeon crawl was fun, but having all these elements would be much more fun for me. Especially if the player could establish themselves in the city.

How were you planning on doing advancement, and gold and such? MnM only has two ways to reward people (PPs and HPs). DnD has XP and Gold. The Refs would need to be fairly uniform on the distribution of both.

You would also need to keep a tight reign on recruitment. I'd say take 5 players in a "group," and no more groups than the DMs can continuously manage.

As long as the SRD is all we'll need to play, you can count me in.

Good questions. And I don't have all the answers yet. Here's what I was thinking:

-XP is awarded based on posting. I want RP, drama, intrigue, love, and life to be as equally important to the game as fighting monsters and taking their stuff, so I think that XP should be based on activity not accomplishment (like it is here). I know that will produce some crazy combinations (a 6th level warrior who spends all of his time drinking with the wenches and never drew out his sword), but with enough "hand waving," we can overlook that. Probably something like 1 standard award (1/14th of the XP needed to make it to the next level) per 5 posts (tallied each month), with a maximum of 6 standard awards per month. That way really active posters (people who post every day) will level up about every 2.5 months.

-Gold is awarded based on delving into the undermountain: The only way you can gain gold (which is incredibly important to DnD) is by campaigning. That way that the love-sick fighter might make it to 6th level and never go adventuring, but he would still only have the clothes on his back and his starting equipment. The GMs would have to follow pretty rigidly the "recommended gold per level" and award based on that to keep things fair, but it could be done easily enough.

-Award some kind of "Influence" based on city activity. Influence points could be "spent" to increase your reputation, set yourself up in the city as a merchant or politician, stuff like that. I'll look around to see if there are any rules for something like this already, so we don't have to reinvent the wheel.

You would also need to keep a tight reign on recruitment. I'd say take 5 players in a "group," and no more groups than the DMs can continuously manage.

I like that. Keep the "cohort" of players limited to GMs. We could have . . .

-Senior GMs - over an area of the city *and* run "delves" (campaigns) into the undermountain.

-GMs - just run delves.

Once a GM has run a delve(s) for a few months, if they think they can take on another group, then we recruit 5 more players . . . so if every player wanted to go on a delve there would be enough GMs to manage it.

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