Play-by-Post Games
aka: Play By Post

They're Role-Playing Games and they're online. How cool is that?

Commonly referred to as an RP, or a forum roleplay, since the majority are played in online message boards.

These aren't MMORPGs like World of Warcraft or EVE Online. They don't have fancy graphics. Instead, they rely on the imaginations of the players. Quite simply, you're taking an online bulletin board and you're running an RPG on it. Some are free-form, others use systems like D20, or GURPS (or create their own system based on one of these).

If dreaded Real Life takes the GM into its clutches, depending on what manner of game it is, the game may survive. If it's an open-ended world, then the players will just play, with the players enforcing the rules (so long as there isn't a Small Name, Big Ego running a massive crime organization/cult/paramilitary group amongst the experienced players; he gets his way) and disciplining the newbies who break them. Also, you have the benefit of being able to ignore their posts if they refuse to change. Alternately, someone else might take over as the GM.

However, if it's a set story with a predefined goal or you're in combat with the Dragon Guardian of the Lost Treasure of the Order of High Knights of the Crown, and the GM disappears, then you can pretty much decide that the game's done until the GM comes back.

Postal gaming predates both computers and role-playing games, incidentally — long-duration play-by-mail chess is an old tradition going back at least to the medieval origins of modern chess, if not further, making this at least Older Than Steam. If you ever see an old movie with a rich guy standing next to a mid-game chessboard with no opponent, he's probably got a postal chess game going with an unseen character. Play-By-Email (PBEM) obviously, is the electronic version of Postal Gaming, and is easily as prevalent as Play by Post games using bulletin board software.

See also Journal Roleplay, which is essentially the lovechild of Play by Post with Character Blog.

In addition to all the various Tabletop RPG tropes, you see a few others prevalent in Play-by-Post Games, including:
  • God Moders and Munchkins: Since Play By Posts are more likely to have informal or diceless systems, or sometimes no systems at all, godmoding (using out-of-character knowledge to make in-character decisions, or calling the actions of something controlled by another player) can pop up at times. Playing on a poorly-regulated forum RP is one of the few times you'll wish for Min-Maxing — since on some forums, there's no minning required.

    These terms mean very different things in these games. A Munchkin tends to be a Heinz Hybrid or a God-Mode Sue in games where numbers don't matter. God Mode is when a player writes the other character as reacting in a certain way or acting in a certain way without their consent. The former is bad writing, the latter is a breach of etiquette.
  • Long-Runners:
    • Hogwarts By Night was founded in 2003. It closed in 2011 for a 6 year hiatus and is now back refreshed and ready for new players. The game is Harry Potter combined with Call of Cthulhu based in White Wolf's Old World of Darkness.
    • Valucre was founded in 2004 and has been going on for twelve years (and counting!). Not an easy feat considering the roleplay's setting literally encompasses an entire planet, ranging from the macro scale of entire continents to the micro scale of legal firms and taverns.
    • The Global Guardians PBEM Universe was begun back in 1994, and continued until 2006. You can count the number of these games that have lasted twelve years on one hand, and you'll have fingers left over.
    • Aelyria forum boards. The game was formed back in 1989 and since then has crossed between three different boards to keep up to date. It now has its own site and is still running strong twenty-one years later.
    • Souls RPG has been going since 2001, through no less than four different forum software types. 'Souls is a play-by-post, post-apocalyptic werewolf and werecanine game set in Maritime Canada.
    • Freedom City Play By Post is five years old as of October 2012.
    • Halcyon Days is a Bleach RP that has existed in one form or another for almost 8 years. Though both the name, the website, and the people in power have changed, it is still running strong, with new and returning members coming in frequently, despite the lack of any canon characters.
    • Engi No Jutsu is a hypothetically Naruto related roleplay quickly approaching ten years old as of this writing, having been first made in 2004 and continuing strong to this day.
    • Celestial Refresh had it's origins as Celestial Eruption on Invisionfree back in 2006, until it moved to Celestial Refresh, which is now on Zetaboards, and has been going strong since then. It's an impressive feat as considering its stat based system and heavy paragraph with lore intensive roleplay can be a turn off to some newcomers to the roleplaying scene.
    • US Gov Sim is a long running game based on American politics. The game originally began on AvidGamers before moving to its own IPB Forum. It has been running continuously since the early 2000s and is in its 12th "reset", or round.
    • Dino Attack RPG, hosted on BZPower.com, ended on December 21, 2012 after seven years of a single continuous story. More remarkable is the fact that it was inspired by a half-year Lego line and was kept alive by less then a dozen players.
    • Haven City born from a site called Shinya, Haven inherits members and staff from a site that has existed since 2008. For five years this forum has existed before finally moving to a new location for a fresh start. However, the community is still welcoming to new members.
    • The Vast Empire is a Play By Post game based on a player-created Star Wars Expanded Universe Galactic Empire splinter faction. The Vast Empire has been running continuously since 1998 on its own site.
    • Realms of Hyrule is a The Legend of Zelda RP that is currently on its sixth incarnation. Its first incarnation started way back in 2003 and it's still going strong.
    • Thar Shaddin is an original fantasy setting which has been active for over a decade now. Its 10th anniversary occurred July 2015
    • Azure Wyrm is a light-hearted exaggeration of Earth's pollution and populated by slimes. Remarkably, even when the sites or threads it is on vanish, it continues elsewhere and often keeps the same players. It first started in 2004 and is still gaining new players.
    • Campus Life is a Massively Multiplayer Crossover RP that was founded back during 2007 and, as writing it, is quickly approaching its 10th year anniversary. Although it briefly died due to bad blood among current roleplayers, the series has undergone a Continuity Reboot by some of its original roleplayers.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Visions of Destiny has been going since 2012... and as of 2017 has not even taken its players past the halfway point of Kingdom Hearts 1.
  • Orphaned Series: Online GameMasters seem a lot more prone to dropping their campaigns without warning than people who game in person; or perhaps its simply that records of the dead games persist in forum archives. The average lifespan of a Play By Post game is around three months. The lucky ones last a year. A tongue-in-cheek guide to creating a Pbp forum stated, "Once you get your first post in an IC [in character] area, it's time to close up shop. Be sure to blame the members for being annoying and unfaithful."
  • Webcomic Time: after a fashion. Face-to-face RPGs tend to be played for several hours at a shot on a regular basis; Play By Posts usually get much shorter updates whenever their players and Game Masters are available. A six-second combat round can take weeks if someone doesn't log in regularly.

Examples:

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    Play By Post Games hosted on the TV Tropes Fora: 

    Off-site Play By Post Games: 


Alternative Title(s): Play By Post Game, Play By Post, Play By Email

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PlayByPostGames?from=Main.PlayByPost