Time for your weekly check in! Place a comment below letting us know how you are holding up. Now, more than ever, we need our communities and relationships to help us weather the tumult, and we have an awesome community. Speaking of awesome, our Online Region venture-officers stepped up to the call for support! For the past few weeks, as the Friendly, Local, Game Stores shuttered due to government mandates, the online venture-officers helped their physical region counterparts move games, and entire conventions, online. The online VOs ran training sessions, compiled resources, and answered questions. They are the experts, and as such, I asked them to guest author today’s blogs. Due to the length, we split their responses into two. This blog focuses on play-by-post (PbP) benefits and experiences, as well as ways play Pathfinder Adventure Card Game online. Tomorrow’s blog focuses on virtual tabletops (VTTs) and general links and resources. If you missed Payton’s blog about home gaming options on Tuesday, I recommend you check it out, as it is a great overview of the online resources available to gamers!
I’m turning the blog over and will see you next week for our first of the month Spotlight blog.
From Jesse Davis (IronHelixx), Regional Venture-Coordinator, Online Region:
Watching the virtual gaming space adapt, evolve, and grow over the last thirty+ years has been an interesting and exciting experience. It's grown from simple, kludgy, rudimentary tools to realistic 2-D, and even 3-D, tabletop experiences rivaling its analog progenitors, and even exceeding them in certain aspects. The virtual tabletop has allowed friends and family spread wide-and-far to continue, or even begin, their campaigns that otherwise would never have happened; its allowed people from all over the world to “sit” at virtual-tables together in ways impossible in the past; allowed those with no access to game-spaces to play when they would otherwise be without; and extended opportunities for those unable to attend conventions to finally take part in such events from the comfy confines of their own homes. Watching the org-play opportunities explode online over the last decade has been even more exciting to watch. The online world is now a vibrant 24/7, 365 community filled with gaming opportunities, for every system and style of play that you can imagine. We look forward to where it goes from here - and look forward to you joining us and becoming part of the virtual gaming community we love so much.
One of the best kept secrets Pathfinder is the Online Community. Not every community or individual has an established group of players or Lodge within a reasonable distance of them. This is what led me in search of online Pathfinder games several years ago. I came across Play-by-Post on the Paizo website and a very helpful and fun community. With games more than 2+ hours away from my home I was able to easily find games within the online Play-by-Post community. While they may take a bit longer (One post a day) than a traditional face to face game I can put more effort into the actual roleplaying aspect which helps enrich the purpose of our games. At first it might seem a bit overwhelming, but it is incredibly easy, and we have a great and wonderful community that will help guide you each step of the way. Come and join us for a game during these trying times. Locations can be found below:
PbP Lodges (Play-by-Post):
- PFS 1E Flaxseed Lodge
- PFS 2E Cottonseed Lodge
- SFS Castamir's Flaxseed Station Lodge
- RPG Geek Lodge
- Mythweavers Lodge
— Derek Larsen (Tyranius), venture-captain PbP
Play-by-post gaming was the one thing that kept me playing Pathfinder and roleplaying games in general. It started about 15 years ago when I moved away from the metro Boston area. I left a land of plenty when it came to game stores and places to engage in my favorite hobby to a place where few opportunities existed. So, I started getting into virtual tabletop games to satisfy my need to play. Then I started to have a family, one child then two, the third and fourth followed. Now with a full family and more responsibilities in my career, the time to set aside four or five hours at a time was no longer there. Play-by-post gaming which I had dabbled in before seemed like the natural solution. I found the Pathfinder Society group on Myth Weavers and jumped right in. Played a few games to get my feet wet, then tried my hand at GMing when I was ready. Fast forward a few years and our first VA had to leave his post and that when I was picked to step into the VO corps. While I play and GM on Paizo as well, my focus is on the smaller lodges. There may not always be a game mustering when you get there but stop in some time at RPG Geek or Myth weavers and say hello. Tell us what you are interested in playing and maybe someone will be happy to help you find a game. We’ll certainly be willing to show you the ropes. Figuring out the post formats may take some getting used to, but we'll guide you along until you get used to it.
— Michael Hallet, venture-lieutenant PbP
If a face-to-face roleplaying session is like exploring the set of a big-budget movie, a Play-by-Post or PbP game is akin to living inside the pages of a great book. PbP evokes the literary roots of fantasy gaming. And just as you are unlikely to digest an entire book in one sitting, you can play a PbP game as much, or as little, as you like throughout the day and weeks. The text format and slower pacing allow time to experience vivid, detailed descriptions, deep, internal monologues, and shrewd, sharp-witted negotiations. When I play via PbP, my bards' songs are more lyrical, my androids’ computations are more analytical, my clerics are more prayerful, and my gnomes are more playful. My insightful envoy can readily pick up on the thoughts in the room. My crazed, mad witch usually has a song running through her head. My incompetent witchwyrd spy always finds his well-planned schemes becoming thwarted by his more savvy, fellow party members. My pompous, scholarly wizard spouts out facts with Wikipedia-like knowledge. And whenever someone speaks to her, my wise-cracking ysoki always-- always-- has the perfect, instant comeback. Indeed, if one didn't know any better, they'd almost think that she'd taken several hours, perhaps even days, to come up with it.
— Lysle Kappventure-agent PbP
I first became involved in RPGs several decades ago though I did not have my first Organized Play experience until August 2017. I had a great local community to play with and within a year I had GMed my first game, attended my first PaizoCon, and discovered Play-by-Post (PbP). The online community was just as welcoming and supportive, and I discovered PbP provides the ideal environment to improve my roleplaying and GMing skills. It also provides an opportunity to play with others in very many areas of the world and without needing to commit a significant single block of time or share a time zone. I have since begun to enjoy the different benefits of online VTT (virtual table top) play, also with an international group of players. I am happy and honored to be a part of the team that helps provide structure for our Online Organized Play community.
— Katrina Hennessy, venture-agent PbP
Though I didn’t participate in my first Play-by-Post under the Organized Play umbrella until 2015 I’d discovered the format nearly a year and a half earlier by random chance and pretty quickly fell in love. Some of my fellow Venture Officers have already laid out many of the wonderful advantages to be found by playing online such as flexibility, convenience, and expanded opportunities for roleplay. Yet the one that has been the most meaningful in a personal sense is that Play-by-Post has allowed me to find my own voice and tap into a sense of creativity that I never knew I had, all through the power of writing and cooperative storytelling. It allows me to be the things I want to be and express myself in a way that I’ve always had a difficult time doing at face-to-face tables. The feeling this gives me is something that I wouldn’t trade for the world - and it’s a feeling that I’d love to share with others. So, if Play-by-Post sounds appealing to you, please drop in at any of the lodges and say hello! We’d love to meet you and help you get started.
— Kristin Wilhite, venture-agent PbP
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
While our colleagues over in the roleplaying game space have many options for where and how to run their games, the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is understandably more constrained… after all, PACG cards don’t fall under the Open Gaming License. Despite this, Paizo has been more than willing to work with those of us who don’t have the time or opportunity to meet in face-to-face space to play this game that many of us are very passionate about. Over the past year or so the online PACG community has been consistently growing. To handle that growth an online system, which can be found at acg.orgplayonline.org, has been created to allow for games to be played through play-by-post on the Paizo forums. This system is still in its relative infancy, but it allows games to be run by a “box runner” (or BR), with that BR posting updates to the forums and players posting their actions and a summary of their current hand. You can see an example of one of these games, where BR AAUGHWHY has been running myself and others through all 6 adventures of the Season of Tapestry Tide here.
For more info on how this all works, check out the second half of this blog post which gives a high-level overview. If you’re interested in trying out one of these games, I recommend checking out the Flaxseed On Deck Lodge. There we have instructions on how to get involved as well as other resources that can help you get started with building your character deck to play online.
In addition to our play-by-post system, we’ve been authorized for the time being to allow for other methods of play. Some of our player base has had luck with running games using web cameras, with players using the PACG Wiki to reference cards they acquire and may not have physical copies of. We’re also looking into additional options, so please feel free to post in the Flaxseed On Deck Lodge discussion thread if you’d like to propose or ask about other options.
We very much look forward to having you join us in playing PACG online!
—Tyler Beck, venture-captain online ACG
I got involved in Play-by-Post for Pathfinder Adventure Card Game a few years ago because my schedule does not always allow me to take large blocks of time to play with my local group. That makes it difficult for me to attend regularly and complete a campaign with them. What I like about play-by-post is that it can be done anywhere, and it takes less time out of my day spread out over a week rather than all in one afternoon. Basically, it's been a convenient way to get a little dose of ACG on a regular basis without straining my schedule. Another part of the online play-by-post I have enjoyed is that it allows players to connect from all over the world.
Something somewhat unique to play-by-post for the card game is that some players choose to roleplay their turns. This is not required by any means but is sometimes a nice way to add flavor to turns that I have never seen at a face-to-face card game session. Here’s an example from Amaryllis meeting a Treachery Demon, or Lem fighting a Cultist.
We have many helpful players so don’t be afraid to check out the resources Tyler provided and ask questions as needed. We were all new to the online format and/or card game at one point or another!
—Race Dorsey, venture-agent online ACG
A huge thank you to Online Regional Venture-Coordinator Jesse Davis and his team for assisting our community and sharing their knowledge!
See you tomorrow for the second half. Until then – Explore, Report, Cooperate!
Organized Play Manager
Guest Blog: Online Region Resources part 1
Thursday, March 26, 2020