What Is Play By Post Role-playing?

Play By Post Example
Play By Post Example
Play By Post Example

Play By Post Explanation

Play by post is a method of role-playing where a bulletin board / forum is used as the medium of communication to play a game normally played around a tabletop. Usually, role-players like to play Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder or Traveller (as examples) with friends who meet at a set location such as a designated home, game shop or game club, however co-coordinating everyone’s time for a number of hours may be difficult because of real life constraints. This is where play by post, or PBP for short,  comes into the picture because it is asynchronous (does not require dedicated time).

Comparison of Tabletop RPGs, Video RPGs, Play by Post RPGs and Text RPGs

What Are The Advantages Of Play By Post?

Using play by post as the method of role-playing allows you to:

  • Play anytime with anyone from around the world
  • Be far more detailed with what your character does / says
  • Allows you to have a record of what everyone is doing
  • Fits in your schedule so you do not have to set aside long hours

How Does Play By Post Work?

Play by post is merely the way role-players communicate their character’s actions, therefore the Dungeon Master may start a “post” (a typed message you can see on your screen) to explain the game and rules. Players see this message and act on it by replying with their own posts. Thus a game has started. Of course the above example is the most basic representation of play by post but it is more elaborate than that.

What Do You Use For Dice In Play By Post?

In an elaborate Community like International Discussions they have coded into their forum an embedded dice script that can be used along with the posts you make describing your character’s actions. Just like the real dice you can roll with your hand you can choose a dice range from D2, D4, D6, D8, D10, D12 all the way to D100, assign bonuses and the amount of times you want to roll. There is even an anti-cheat feature as well to ensure because of an unfavorable outcome you do not roll and  try to change your character’s actions at the same time.

What About The Character Sheet?

Again, in the International Discussions community there are custom coded character sheets made for ANY game system. Players can create multiple characters and keep track of as much information as they want about them. This is all part of what is called the Text RPG Character Creator, an easy to use free online system where you can input character data and store it as needed.

Is Play By Post And Text Role-playing Connected?

Yes and no. Text role-playing (Text RPGs) and play by post (PBP) role-playing both have the similarity of using text to play the game, however Text RPGs focus more on solo play where an adventure is already made for you. In PBP the focus is on group play and the adventure gradually unfolds just as it will in live role-playing. In Ruler of Kings II Text RPG Solo Play by Post there is a combination of both Text RPGing and PBPing. You can choose to play alone or interact with other players. Here is a good video that explains the various methods of role-playing and how PBP fits in:

Do You Have Examples Of Play By Post Games?

Yes, there are many in the D&D / Pathfinder PBP RPGs Board but here are some specific links you can look at:

Author: JB

I'm an old school DM. I code / write to help my sons on the Autism Spectrum. You can learn more about me at: JeanBorde.com or some of my other sites on our international network.

One thought on “What Is Play By Post Role-playing?”

  1. I’m very late to comment, but I found this post while researching ways to coordinate a role playing gaming session for very busy people. I’m an old fella and committing to organized, in-person play has always been a challenge for me.

    So maybe PBP is the way to go.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.