I meant to talk about addressing the six points in Friday's post, having had the weekend to think about them. So here goes.
1) Pace. The question is, why not simply assign an evening and run the game on skype or some such? I had considered that, but the fact is the time I have is usually bits and pieces during the day, and the time I do not have is a given evening, even once a month. Moreover, once a month, or even once every two weeks, doesn't provide me with a distraction on an ongoing basis ... which is something I really liked about the online campaign. The possibility of thinking through a particular problem once per day, and then enjoying being able to put it off if there was no immediate solution. Sometimes, I took a day or two to research something that I suddenly invented, and being online gave me the chance to do so on the fly. This I cannot really do during a real time session.
The slowness of the campaign was not, in itself, a problem. The problem that I saw was when a character would spend a week doing nothing of any special interest. I think this would be solved in great degree if the players had specific goals, thereby pushing them to come up with something for their characters to do which moved the game along. The journey into Switzerland and back did not seem to drag overmuch, except at points where I tried to get clever. My 'cleverness' is usually a problem in every game I play, whenever I propose a problem no one seems to be able to solve (the Serefina = frightened portion of the campaign). I am trying to stop myself from doing it.
In a way, doing it in the online campaign, where solving/not solving it took the whole day, I really began to understand what a bad thing this was of my gameplaying. I've been resolved to stop doing it ever since.
2) Missed Opportunities. I guess I'll have to put a much bigger red flag on top of everything. Rather than saying, "You see a cliff face that extends a thousand feet upwards from the road towards the mountain peaks," I'll have to say instead, "You see a cliff face, exactly the sort of habitat that you know kobalds really love to dwell in whenever there happen to be caves which cannot be seen from the road, extending upwards from the road to the mountain peaks, where dragons are often known to dwell."
It is kind of infantile, but whatever it takes to make the game move a bit more. Frankly, I hate this sort of thing ... the whole 'rumor' mill that players are supposed to tap into upon entering a town that fuels the adventure machine. On some level I really feel that if players want to stumble ignorantly and blindly through a world for session after session, then like people who aren't proactive in real life, they should just age and die. Maybe I'll institute a rule that says whenever players spend a day without any actual plan, a week or a month of game time goes by. (For my offline games, this might be one of those awful hours spent as a DM when the players all sit around saying, 'I don't know, what do you want to do?' ad nauseum). One way or the other, I can see pabulum-feeding may be in order.
3) Exhaustion. Since I'm not likely to cut down on my exposition, as this is an important part of the game for me, my only real solution to this is to pace myself a little better. Like Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, I may take every third week off or something when I am feeling pressured. Alternately, I may push for more hands on DMing ... maybe turning to a live interaction when a lot of information could be relayed more quickly, or when a question-answering session is in order. This would be spontaneous I think, and not an attendance requirement ... but it might help get things moving a bit better in places. Jeez, I suppose that means google + (shudder).
4) Lack of Engagement. Okay, this is the player's problem. The best I can do is toss people who are clearly not trying. I worried quite a lot about this, since it is cold and heartless, and therefore not comfortable for a big fuzzy teddy bear like me, but the poll more than clearly indicates that people would prefer cold and heartless where it comes to their games as opposed a forgiving attitude. There's probably a post I could write about how people don't want to work as a DM because the game is 'fun' but they're more than willing to be assholes when it comes to telling players how to act or pick up their feet. But I'm not going to write it today.
The best I can do beside this is to create a questionaire that selects people according to their willingness to write a lot, research shit that they maybe don't already know, answer questions about AD&D issues and sociological qualms they might have about being booted. Put the fear o' Gawd in'o 'em, an' flay 'em fust afore lettin' 'em in.
5) Timing. I'm sorry, but it is going to have to be full 24-hour access to a computer and the power to post on that computer. The game can drift into certain times of the day and certain habits, but there's just no way to play around someone who can't get on the computer for 10 hours of the day. Get a cell phone and learn to text, and then at least you can squeeze in a couple of lines here and there; make arrangements to get that information somehow online so it can be viewed by one of the other players who can be a proxy for you when you yourself don't have a computer. Call in by phone and spend hundreds of dollars if you have to, but make it so. If you have a job that is physical and you don't even see a computer for most of the day, you have my sympathy but it just isn't doable. We can manage around meetings, your workout, a bad day at the office, sex with your partner for five hours at a time and a dozen other issues, but absolute non-existence for two thirds of every day, including sleep? Sorry. Let me know when your circumstances change.
6) Lack of Purpose. This is the killer. I know not every player can have the same purpose, and most of you won't get to do what you want, but the rules are going to be as follows:
First, that you have some purpose you'd like to accomplish before playing.
Second, that you are absolutely willing to try somebody else's purpose.
In other words, have an idea, but don't get married to that idea. I'm going to need a party that all wants to do the same thing at the outset, so be prepared to negotiate. That's all I'm saying.
Those are the points. I'm still figuring out the questionaire, so any comments on that or any of the above points would be helpful.