About Monty Haul
Current Games I'm running:
Games I ran which didnt work out:
Some information for prospective players in my PBP games:
I don't really mind how you do it - I am happy to trust people if they prefer rolling at home. For my part, I use invisiblecastle although I don't always provide a link to the roll unless it directly affects one of the players. I generally get players to make all rolls except for initiative which I roll purely to speed things up when a combat begins.
Another exception where I may roll for a player is if we are waiting on a group of players to all make a roll (like "everyone make a perception check" or somesuch.) In that situation, I will sometimes make the check for the last one or two players, to keep things moving.
Frequency of posting:
I generally prefer people to be able to post once per day. I check the board at least twice and usually more often than that each day - occasionally I will remind people if I think it perhaps wasnt clear that a response was expected. In certain situations (especially if the group is deciding between several courses of action) if a substantial amount of time has passed without input from one player I will just move things along and treat them as "going along" with what everyone else has decided.
Occasionally, you may come back and discover that I've moved on from where you wanted to interject something relevant, in which case I'll just ask you to accept my apology - it seems to me there is a need for DM intervention to keep things moving in PBP games, so sometimes I may err on the side of action when perhaps I should have waited longer.
I think third person, present tense is the most readable. (As in - Monty Haul enters the tavern and looks around for someone matching the description of 'mysterious stranger'.) I will generally post like that although will occasionally refer to 'you', especially if it's something more than one character can see.
I would encourage you to invent colour and/or detail as you see fit in your posting. If you're making a local lore roll and want to include a paragraph or two of interaction between yourself and a previously unknown NPC then go for it. All I ask is that you not invent too much without giving me a chance to be involved. It's fine to have a distant cousin turn up who deals in the trade of rare items, I'm not so happy if you roleplay out a whole scene where he sells you a highly desired magic item dirt cheap...
Combat is obviously slow in a PBP setting, however I personally believe that it's central to how D and D is designed - many (if not most) of the traits/feats/abilities of players are geared towards tactical combat and avoiding such situations doesnt really seem feasible to me.
In general, I will include (badly drawn) tactical maps and use map references (the bad guy moves to square B7, provoking an attack of opportunity from the fighter as he wallops the mage...). I'll update the map at the start of each combat round. Again, as per the "Frequency of Posting" spoiler, I will keep things moving and if we are waiting on one player I may move things on by deciding on how they'll act and rolling for them. Similarly, if I am unclear as to exactly what you meant, I'll make some interpretation and run with that rather than seeking clarification.
Towards the end of combats I may take shortcuts - if the battle is basically won except for a six vs one slugfest that the NPC is destined to lose then I won't roll it out (since such an undertaking could take a week or more and is not particularly tense or exciting, in my view). However, early on I will roll everything - you never know when even an "easy" opponent is going to get lucky, plus it gives those with a combat-focussed character a chance to shine.
As well as usual experience points for defeating enemies plus story awards I will allocate bonus points every 500 posts. Not a lot, but I hope enough that it provides an incentive to keep the threads ticking over. The result is going to be that characters advance at an "unrealistic" rate with respect to game time - I just ask you to suspend your disbelief in that respect, given the glacial nature of PBP I think it's a necessary evil to ensure things are visibly progressing and developing.
I think RPGs are all about telling stories and I think providing the story is pretty much the primary job of the DM (second only to making sure the game is fun) and consequently I will be driving that side of things. Having said that, I am very happy to incorporate how you want your character to develop. Please feel free to let me know the kinds of things you'd like your character to do or to be confronted with - my suggestion is either via the game's discussion thread or else by email on email@example.com. The story will be more compelling to you if I'm pushing it in a direction you want to go.
I'm pretty new to PBP and happy to take criticism. If there's something you dont like about how I do it, please feel free to comment - especially if you have some suggestion on a way to improve. The worst that can happen is I'll disagree and keep doing it the way I always have, hey?
If you have any other questions, please ask them.
Some information about Bastion, my homebrew campaign:
Life in Bastion
Bastion is a brutal place to live. It is a large, militaristic city ostensibly ruled by a barbarian warlord and his tribe. The real power though is held by the church of Hextor. Their priests and soldiers keep the populace cowed through harsh laws and swift punishment. Slavery is common as are press-gangs who sweep through the poorer areas of town garnering volunteers for the never ending holy war to extend the influence of the church of Hextor.
The social structure in Bastion is tightly regimented. At the bottom of the heap are the slaves – they are the property of their owner and there are no laws governing their treatment. In general, they are a symbol of power and a means to wealth, so in general people take at least rudimentary care of their slaves. Nonetheless, there are many examples of brutality and mistreatment.
Slightly above slaves are foreigners. Visitors to Bastion who choose not to make it their home are denied almost all rights. They are technically allowed through most city wards, however face frequent interrogation and harassment. In the interests of supporting trade at some level, there are laws against attacking or robbing foreigners. Nonetheless, it would be a desperate foreigner who turned to the local authorities for help.
The next class is the most numerous in Bastion. Known technically as Good Folk of Bastion, they are universally referred to as Low-lifes. They are granted “third class freedom” which entitles them to some nominal protections. Nonetheless, life is tough for these people – patrols through their districts are few and far between and they are regular targets for the military press gangs, not to mention other more sinister random acts of violence and degradation.
One step up from low-lifes are the Residents of Bastion, granted “second class freedom” by the ruling powers. This includes successful tradesmen, merchants and a few labourers who have been rewarded (typically for informing on criminal actions or serving the state in some other way).
The final class are the Citizens of Bastion, who enjoy “first class freedom”. This class is restricted to the very successful merchants, priests of Hextor, Nerull, Erythnul or Wee Jas and the Warlord and his barbarian cohorts. They enjoy a privileged status over the other classes of the city (including such things as increased rights to bear weapons, a presumption of truth in any public utterance, etcetera).
The City of Bastion
Geographically, the city covers a large island at the mouth of a large river as it empties into the ocean. It is built around an imposing bluff, atop of which is the heavily fortified citadel of the Upper City where only the most wealthy and powerful citizens are allowed. The rest of the city is divided into several wards:
The Holy Quarter is built on the edge of a great plaza, dominated by the imposing cathedral to Hextor, but with most other Gods having temples or churches there as well.
The Royal Quarter lies at the foot of the bluff and is home to successful merchants and those born into wealth and influence. It is the most commonly patrolled ward and is also closed to most residents and especially to lowlifes unless they can show good reason for visiting (typically only if working for a noble house or merchant).
The Race is the largest ward within the city and is where most businesses are based. It also contains many homes, the docks and the daily market. Most residents live in the race, though there are a few down-on-their-luck citizens and a small neighbourhood of lowlifes near the docks .
The smallest ward of the city is the Foreign Quarter. This is devoted primarily to the needs of visiting merchants and contains many inns, businesses dedicated to the needs of travelling caravans and so on. It is only lightly patrolled as, under Bastion law, foreigners have very few legal rights and are expected to look after themselves.
The final ward is the slums. Here is where the majority of the city’s population lives. Almost exclusively populated by low-lifes, life in this ward is desperate and hard. People eke out a living working the surrounding farms, the mines in the hills to the west or in some other low-paying job.
Churches of Bastion
The leading religion in Bastion is Hextor. Other dominant religions are Nerull and Wee Jas. Erythnul is also venerated by the warlord and his barbarian tribes and as such is granted special privileges. These four are rumoured to have enormous temple complexes in the upper city, as well as maintaining temples and cathedrals in the Holy Quarter.
Other churches with temple complexes in the holy quarter are:
The holy quarter also contains a ruined temple to Pelor which has been almost completely destroyed. A defiled temple to Heironeous is also preserved, littered with the now skeletal remains of his highest priests.
A small shrine to Ehlonna is maintained by the faithful in the slums, there are also small temples to Corellon Lorethian and Yondalla, legal under Bastion law, but not granted the right to maintain a full complex in the holy quarter.
Worship of Pelor and Heironeous is outlawed and punishable by a life of slavery. Worship of Boccob and Vecna is also outlawed, as Wee Jas claims pre-eminence as the god of magic. Any followers of Boccob or Vecna discovered face immediate execution.
Magic in Bastion
Magic use is outlawed in Bastion without being ordained as a lay-preacher and follower of Wee Jas. The only legal way to trade in arcane magic of any description is through their temple. For spellcasters who are not willing to submit to Wee Jas, it is necessary keep their arcane talents secret.
There is an underground movement of arcane spell users called the Cabal. Organised into small groups, they meet in cognito, wearing hoods and long robes, with only the leader of each cell being known to the others. The churches of Boccob and Vecna are both heavily represented amongst the Cabal and do not always work in unison.
Organisations in Bastion
Besides the churches, there are a few well-known groups operating with various spheres of influence.
The warlord and his barbarians are ruthless followers of Erythnul. Hell bent on conquering more and more of the outside world, in general their depredations are focussed beyond the walls. Nonetheless, sometimes boredom will set in whilst resting in the citadel and this has given rise to the practise of “hunting”. Groups of four or less(sometimes one barbarian on their own) will rampage through the slums in the dead of night, hunting anyone who is out and cutting them down in the name of their dark god. Relationships between the warlords troops and the followers of Hextor are strained at best, nonetheless the barbarians remain at least the notional rulers of Bastion and are usually treated as being above the law.
The cabal are a secretive group of underground wizards and sorcerers. Closely allied with the forbidden churches of Boccob and Vecna, they often have cryptic goals and seem to work towards mysterious ends. Feared by most of the residents of Bastion, this group is often blamed for unexplained mysteries or unusual phenomena.
The Family is a ruthless, criminal syndicate. They hold a virtual monopoly on illegal activity through The Race and the Royal Quarter, a situation they work to preserve with murderous enthusiasm. Their primary sources of income are smuggling (both of people and contraband), robbery, extortion and blackmail. Rarely venturing inside the slums directly, they nonetheless have many contacts through the gangs and smaller criminal operations which do operate there. Their reach is broad and their ruthlessness legendary.
Gangs arise frequently throughout the slums. They rarely last more than a year or two before splintering or running afoul of a newer, more vicious gang. Their primary source of income is extortion. In fact, given the sparse nature of official patrols through the slums, they do perform something of a service to most citizens. The exact relationship they have with their neighbourhood varies based largely on the personality of the leader. As a general rule, though, they are tolerated as a necessary evil.