Would it be stupid, I wonder, to attempt to play D&D through a blog?
I have no doubts that others have tried it. The problems are immediately evident: commitment, commitment, commitment.
Because everything would be so slow, with only a few basic decisions being made per day, any in depth combat would stretch out interminably over a period of at least a week. Character design might be managed in a day…but I would expect most who might try to play would lose interest in less than a month, making all the effort up to that point worthless.
Still, I wonder.
I mean, I can sit and write and pundit about D&D forever and a day, but really what I’d rather be doing is A) playing D&D; and B) actually preparing my world for play.
Off hand, here is what I think I’d need.
Five extreme nerds. I don’t see a lot of women commenters online, but I really don’t care about that. I’d need people who had a lot of time, or knew how to make a lot of time (I work two jobs and yet I’m always writing). People who don’t get bored, who rush to check their blog five or six times a day for responses (or their email inbox). Adaptable people who could play my system and not get hung up on proposed rule changes…as a five day dispute about…well, whatever…would be impractical.
I say five because that’s a place to start. I probably wouldn’t consider trying anything with less than three people, and I might be able to manage as many as twenty—but I wouldn’t want to start with that number.
I would need people who could roll their own dice and be trusted to roll their own dice honestly. Now, how would I know? I wouldn’t. I don’t see any point in running if I’m rolling all the dice, and I can’t be bothered with the inconvenience of online die rolling systems (so please don’t suggest any links, I won’t follow them). What I might do would be to go over the last forty or fifty rolls and notice things like a player never rolling less than 7 on a 20-sided or having an overall average of 15.2. Honestly though, I just don’t care. If you are the sort of person who needs to cheat to feel successful, and gets a thrill out of thinking that no one thinks you’re cheating, then you won’t last long in my campaign anyway. That sort of smug, smarmy behavior will get you killed, no matter what you roll.
People like that always seem to expose themselves, anyway.
I could run the campaign on a blog—but not this blog. I’d simply make up another one on blogspot, and use it to upgrade the pictures for combats as necessary and run most of the moment-to-moment events through the comments. If people failed to post their decision before the end of a given period (say a day), then they’d lose their turn and I’d just do the monster side. That would likely get rid of any malingerers pretty quickly.
As far as fluff goes, well, this blog might suffer as I did some lengthy descriptions elsewhere. I think I’d try to keep the excessive fluff to a minimum, since…after all…a thousand words are equivalent to only 8 minutes of talking.
I suppose I’d have to get back on some kind of system for chat, so that if a specific time were arranged most of a combat or a session could be managed through an open room and general discussion. I’d leave it up to my players to figure out how to communicate with each other while I wasn’t specifically online…but there are so many options (including the phone) that make this far easier now than ten years ago.
Other problems…well, only about a hundred, most of which I can’t dream of now. Mostly, however, I think its possible. The game would have to be somewhat open—such as providing players with a general map of travelled-through areas rather than having to describe them over and over again until my fingers dropped off.
But what do any of you say? I’ll provide my end for free, and if any of you want to give it a try, we’ll make a go of it. You’ll have to surrender some of your privacy (I’ll have to surrender some of mine); but if it goes well and its exciting for others who might drop in to read of your exploits your characters could all get famous.
Remember that I run a highly adapted version of first edition AD&D. If I get deluged with volunteers (and I don’t expect to be), then I’m sorry I won’t just take the first five who answer. I’ll consider it for a couple of days and see who bites.
And for the record, if it is just simply beyond me, I reserve the right to quit—but I will give it my best for at least three months.