Play-by-Post: Intra-Party Email Etiquette

The subject has come up recently on the proper etiquette and expected actions of intra-party emails during a Play-by-Post event.
In short: less chatter, more splatter.

First and foremost, let me start off by saying that the primary reason Play-by-Post exists is to provide valuable experience and testing for Fourthcore Team Deathmatch maps in tournament play. It is an artificial construct designed to gain information for use in the real deal. And for that, I am extremely grateful to all FTDM PbP participants for their help in this. I see a lot of tweets and emails extolling the insanely high level of fun everyone is having, and it lightens my heart. Play-by-Post, however, has to be different from live play in a number of ways due to its very nature. I strive to minimize these variances as much as possible, but there is only so much that can be done.

What I would like to do is have everyone involved in the Play-by-Post games start voluntarily cutting down on the strategy talk during the game. In the live events, there's barely enough time to glance at your character sheet in between turns, let alone formulate hypothetical builds of every member of the opposing team. In fact, common conditions that are normally represented by a marker or colored ring, such as bloodied, are just shouted out and left marker-less due to the sheer breakneck speed at which everything is changing. I would like to strive closer to that ideal state by eliminating as much intra-pary communication as possible. Realistically, the Dungeon Masters simply can't police your inbox; so, I leave this entirely at your discretion. I do think you'll find that you enjoy the game more if you let go just a bit and let the chips fall where they may.

Were I playing, I would simply refuse to engage in any "strategy talk" at all once the game started.

The level of communication, nitpicking, and hypothesizing that has been going on in the Play-by-Post matches is both distorting the "validity of the experiment" and causing a lot of unnecessary headaches as people have been waking up in the morning to dozens of back-and-forth emails everyday.

That said, building characters together before the match, on the other hand, is heartily encouraged. Formulating a coherent strategy in the days leading up to a tournament is, at least for me, a really fun activity. Part of the novelty of the tournament is seeing how your carefully laid plans either fall apart or unravel to destroy your enemies brilliantly. But once the initiative dice get rolled, it's time to shut up, nut up, and post as lightning fast as possible!

Also, don't be afraid to email/post discussions about rules F-ups. That happens all the time, as anyone who's tried running a match will attest to. We want to play by the rules as written and have a level playing field for everyone.

Thank you all, and good hunting!


  1. I'm game. Here's my thought: send the "here's my plan" email, then post in half an hour.

    Gives enough time for the snap "What the hell are you thinking!?" responses, but not the "Here are eight different options, with full statistical spread" responses. (that's seriously what I was doing... "64% to hit CTF, but 87% to hit Ugarth")

    That kind of weirdness has toned down considerably already, but that's mostly because my attention's on two matches. I for one will endeavor to simulate "ring-side" behavior.

  2. Angille... dude, spreadsheets???

  3. No spreadsheets... but do reverse-engineered copies of everyone's sheets count? With the exception of some Oath of Enmity attacks, the numbers were done in my head. OoE is weird!

  4. Angille has an uncanny talent to look at one round of a person posting, and figuring out their character sheet almost perfectly. It's uncanny.

    It is his gift, it is his curse...

  5. Yeah I was doing the same thing; and someone in our team did decide a spreadsheet was the way to go, so we had a whole thing listing everyone and their dog toto too (and what feats toto had.)