So for a while now I’ve been running a roleplaying game with a couple of friends. I’ve been running it over email, since one of the players is on the other side of the world–literally, he’s in Japan–so we have differing timezones. Getting together hasn’t been particularly easy.
The email system started out just fine. More than fine. I finally whet my appetite for storytelling. I got a lot of writing done. Vivid imagery was had by all. And I imagined this particular game–played out before, many years ago–in a whole new way. It was awesome.
Then, for many reasons, it stagnated. Updates stopped happening. I stopped pushing, players stopped pushing, we just…
We just… stopped.
I figured the real way to get this done was to have a forum. A bulletin board system, where we could post stuff, and everyone would get email notifications, and that would somehow fuel the game. Somehow a forum would give our game the proverbial “kick in the pants” it needed.
I searched high and low for something I could use that was already built. Software I’d used before, new stuff, easy stuff, hard stuff…
All the things I had to install myself made big promises that completely failed to get fulfilled.
One promised this simple interface that was all “Web-two-point-oh-ish,” easy to use, easy to read. I used a production version of it, it was awesome… but completely exploded when I tried to install it. For reasons that completely baffled me.
The next one was an “oldie but a goldie,” one that seemed pretty simple back when I’d previously used it. It seemed like I could just set it up, configure some permissions, and go… and after a week of fiddling with permissions and settings and having locked myself out more than a few times, I gave up.
So then I tried taking a really simple piece of code for forums and modifying it myself. “Hey,” I thought to myself, “this way I can tie it in with TTORP directly! Total win!” Nope. I tried a couple of them, but they both required a monolithic amount of work to get the minimal amount of functionality that I required.
Right now, I’ve got a forum setup that my users were supposed to use. And it’s imposed limitations on the game that I didn’t foresee: I can’t set any sort of permissions, so either you can see the forums–all of them–or you can’t. That means I can’t have separately stories going for each player that others can’t see.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do to fix this yet. Maybe I’ll go back to email. Maybe I’ll try to perservere with the current forum. Or… maybe… something else.