After a personal hiatus from role playing games through most of high school, my first game back was a Play By Email (PBEM) game of D&D that organically evolved as my friends and I experimented with better electronic communication and collaboration software. Email had obvious disadvantages and was quickly replaced by daily forum posts and weekly IRC chat games. Now, ten years later, I find that my in-person pen-and-paper games have evolved to include a number of web tracking tools.
While it may seem obvious, the value of a good group email list for coordinating games can’t be understated. Google Groups is my favorite due to its ease of management.
While I have not gotten players to contribute heavily to the content, I find wiki’s to be an excellent poor-man’s Content Management System (CMS) for keeping track of in-game people, places, and things. However, in an intrigue heavy game I find that it is very easy for the GM to let too much slip in writing that I when summarizing subjects in the game. It is the player’s job after all to piece everything together! I haven’t really found a favorite wiki platform yet. One issue has always been the difficulty in exporting the data or preserving the site in an offline manner. Link
Extra easy to set up and maintain a blog is a natural fit for posting game results and XP awards. WordPress is easily my favorite due to its ease of skinning and plugin features and how easily it installs on my hosting provider. Link
In my Delta Green game, I keep track of all the locations visited by players in the game in Google’s “My Maps” feature. This fits very nicely with the spy motif of the game by providing a Geospatial Intelligence spin on the resource. The data stored in Google Maps can be exported as KML, a standard XML file for offline storage, which I especially like. Link
Calendar and Scheduling
I am still searching for a good RPG scheduling tool. Most invite tools seem to only really work for singular events like parties and meetings rather than a regular and reoccurring gaming session. The corporate world uses centralized services through Microsoft Outlook or similar software, but I have not yet found a workable solution that spans my set of friends.
Dennis Detwiller, co-writer of Delta Green has an excellent post over at his blog on running Delta Green games. His major points:
• A-Cell are Assholes
• DG is NOT Benevolent
• No One is Your Friend
• The Mythos Cannot Be Understood or Stopped, Only Stalled
My Call of Cthulhu game in the Delta Green setting finishes the content published in the main Delta Green rule book this weekend when they complete Delta Green: New Age. A rekindling of an earlier game, this chapter of the story has been about investigating and confronting Majestic-12, a clandestine though official government agency dealing with aliens in the United States.