I’m thinking really hard about starting one for a few friends who have been scattered across the US and rarely get to game at present, but am concerned with the rules revolve around Session beginnings and endings. Does anyone have experience with Torchbearer PbP? How did you handle it?
I’m naturally inclined to cut a session at the end the first scene that surpasses a set page count. Has anyone done transcripts of their sessions to get at an approximate page count that way? Or alternatively, how many scenes should one go through/how much shit should get done during a single session?
We’re doing one now, but haven’t gotten to the point of answering the session break question. It’s one I was considering bringing it up last night, and suggesting that you do it by a total turn count. This would mean that camping a lot would slow down the prologue bonus, which probably works out fine. An average session seems to run about 8-10 turns (plus camping, instinct tests, etc) based on my limited experience so far. You might consider bumping the counter up by 2-3 instead of 1 for each conflict, given how slow they are likely to play out on PbP.
Other things that challenge PbP: waiting for people, either to offer their help die and explanation, or for people to post in the “right order” for intitiative in a conflict.
We ended up assuming that people will help unless that say they won’t, and will post their help explanation with their next post. We are “blocking” on correct posting order for a conflict exchange, however.
You could set the session break to be every time they return to town, after they stock up. That gives the recap a good feel, though it means they don’t get the recap advantages that often, and encourages they to return to town early. You could also set a number of turns that they have to get through in order to earn a session break, and then the next time they camp they get the break. What’s the average number of turns per session? 8-12? More, less? I still haven’t played (except in my mind)
You could call for end-of-session rewards after every camp phase, or just make judgement calls when the players accomplish something major. I don’t’ have experience with play-by-post games, but I’d assume going into one that four turns plus a camp phase would be enough to constitute a session.
EDIT: It appears that a few of us are seeing this similarly.
I’m running one now that hasn’t gotten past the first set of stairs. From what I’ve been reading so far, people seem to get through about four “rooms” per session. It’s been my plan to end a session after the PCs have explored four rooms/areas.
I’m not so sure I would advocate the automatic help. If everybody is cool with it, then fine, but it puts characters on the hook for failure.
I think much like being at a table a long pause would indicate no help. Yes, that makes tests quite slow, but that may be the nature of the beast. What is your group’s expected post rate?
As for the order of scripting actions, I see a couple reasonable answers.
Hardcore- If someone posts out of the captain’s given order, THEY GO OUT OF ORDER. And tactics fly out the window.
Kidgloves- Regardless of their order, they act in the order given by the captain. You know their order from what the captain said, you know your order, it shouldn’t be terribly hard to see what matches what.
As a helpful suggestion for either option, have them title posts with the action number they are taking. Also pair up opposed actions visually somehow, quoting in true PbP or maybe columns with a shared doc.
Thank you EVERYONE for the quick replies, if you would be so kind as to reply with a number of posts/pages when you do get to your session breaks, I would certainly appreciate it.