Have questions? Curious to know how play-by-post games work? Want play in a game, or start DMing one of your own? You've come to the right place! Check out the FAQ inside.

Moderators: DM Sirine, DM Guildmaster, PMiller


Postby DM Sirine » Sat Jul 15, 2006 7:56 am

What is roleplaying? Role-playing is taking on the role of a character who participates in story. Unlike a regular story, the character's actions are not pre-determined by an author, but rather by you, the player, as the story is played out. A Game Master (also called a Dungeon Master) directs the action, speaking for some of the other characters in the story (Non-Player Characters, also known as NPCs) and rewards your character when you successfully complete quests, battles and acheive other goals. When participating in a game, the goal of role-playing is to think and act as that character would in that world, and in that situation. For more information on the mechanics of role-playing and role-playing games, check out the Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook.

What is play-by-post roleplaying? Play-by-post, or message board roleplaying, is a type of gaming that uses internet message board forums to play out a campaign. Instead of sitting around a table with friends, players log into the website at any time, enabling players from all over the world to play together. It doesn’t matter what time zone you are in, or when you can post. Typically, a game will start off with a DM’s description of the action—“You’re in a tavern, and it’s a dark and stormy night outside—” and then players will follow up with a post describing their characters’ actions in response. It is a form of collective storytelling, almost like a group of people writing a novel together.

How old do I have to be to play on UnlimitedRPGs.com? All players must be 18 years or older. There are no exceptions to this rule; even if you are under 18 and your parents give you permission to play, we are still going to have to turn you away. Though there is no explicit material on this site, some of our games have mature themes (akin to what one would see in an “R” rated movie) and because of this, we ask that you be at least 18 to play here.

What kinds of games are available to play? Right now we offer Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 ruleset Forgotten Realms campaigns, as well as d20 Modern games, though we are always looking to expand our selection and welcome all game systems.

How do I get started playing? Feel free to browse our “Game Info and Listings” section here which lists every DM’s campaigns, gives a game synopsis and DM contact info, and notes which are open or closed. If you see a game that interests you, feel free to contact the DM. Most DMs have their email and/or IM information listed, but just in case they don’t, feel free to post in our out-of-game (OOG) area here.

Once you contact the DM in question, it’s up to him or her to approve you for his or her game, but once you are approved, you can go ahead and register your character. Every individual character should have their own account, and you should register with the character’s actual name, not an internet handle. Please note that due to spammer accounts being registered on this board, your character’s account will not be activated until the DM approves your character and asks the Administrators to activate it, so please do not register early.

As an additional note, even if you see a game you’re interested in is listed as “Closed,” go ahead and contact the DM anyway; it doesn’t hurt to ask. Some DMs have a waiting list for their games and will be happy to put you on it.

How often should I expect to post for my games? This depends on the game and the DM in question. If the DM does not have this information posted in the “Game Info and Listings” section, please ask. Many games are fairly fast-paced and will require you to post at least once a day. Other games are more relaxed and will only require a post every two or three days. Some other games are extremely fast moving and will allow you to post several times a day. It’s best to choose a game that will be realistic for your schedule, as you don’t want to be either left behind or held up if the pace is different than yours.

What if I go on vacation, or get sick, or something else comes up? Of course real life is more important than playing games on an internet message board. Just inform your DM how long you anticipate being gone so he or she can cover your absence.

How many games can I play in at once? We do not have a set limit of characters you can have on this board, but we do ask that you be realistic about how many you can handle. It’s easy to be enthusiastic and sign up for several games while on summer vacation, for example, but you need to be sure you can handle the post load even when vacation is over. Playing in fewer games and making rich, quality posts in each will be more enjoyable to you in the long run than playing in a lot of games and only having time to post one sentence in each.

Most players find a good number to be five characters or fewer, but other players with more time on their hands can handle a greater number. The upper limit we suggest is no more than around ten or so, however.

Can I play an iconic character, like Drizzt, a character from a book or movie, or a real-life historical or contemporary figure? No, we ask that you make original characters only, though you may see some canonical D&D characters or real-life people as NPCs.

How do I become a DM? We’re always happy to welcome new DMs! Please contact one of the administrators and let them know about your interest. They’ll ask you a few questions about what type of game you intend to run, what your previous experience is, and how often you’ll be able to post. It doesn’t matter if this is your first time being a DM as long as you are committed and have a strong campaign idea. Once you are approved, you can decide on your “DM Name” and create your DM account. The administrators will get your account activated and make sure you have the proper access levels. Then you can post your new game in the “Game Info and Listings” section and start recruiting players.

How many games can I DM at a time? We do not have a set limit of games one DM can run at once, but again, we ask that you be realistic about how many you can handle. For some DMs, one is more than enough, but others can handle more. A general rule of thumb is no more than three, however.

What if I want to play, but I don’t own the rulebooks? For some systems, there are SRDs (System Reference Documents) which give you the complete ruleset online. These are both free and legal to use.

The D&D 3.5 SRD is found here.

The d20 Modern SRD is found here.

How are dice rolls handled? This may vary from DM to DM, but generally, all dice rolls are made by your DM either with an online dice roller or by hand-rolling the dice. If your DM uses a roll method for character generation, it can be done on the honor system, or with an online dice roller, such as Invisible Castle. Be sure to check with your DM for specific instructions.

What sourcebooks can I use for character creation? This depends on your DM. Usually, the DM will give a list of acceptable sourcebooks in the character creation section of his or her game listing. If you’re not sure, just ask your DM.

What format should I use for my character sheet? Again, this depends on your DM. Some may request a specific format, but if they do not, a basic sheet 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons sheet can be downloaded here and a basic d20 Modern sheet can be downloaded here. You can also find character sheet templates at sites like RPGSheets.com.

What do I need to write in my character background? Most DMs will require you to write a character background. Generally, this is a short written history about your character which gives the DM an idea of what the character is like. Some players like to write more elaborate backgrounds or even write a short story about a specific defining event in the character’s life. Creative and thorough backgrounds are often awarded bonus XP from the DM.

How do I get an avatar for my character? Avatars are the picture below the character’s name which gives the other players a visual idea of what the character looks like. Avatars need to be cropped to no larger than 100x100 pixels in size, and you will need to host them online yourself using a image hosting site such as Photobucket. Please make sure that the artist has given permission for their artwork to be used as avatars. Many only ask that you give them credit or possibly a link back to their website in your signature. You can find many free and legal image sites by doing a Google search.

What style should I use when I describe my character’s actions? Generally, posts are written in third person, present tense, as in “Davros walks into the cave, sword drawn.” Descriptions should be like what one would find in a novel, and dialog should be indicated by quotation marks (“”.) Please try to avoid using punctuation such as asterisks (*) or colons (: ) to indicate actions, as in, :walks into cave: or the like. Though no one has perfect grammar or spelling, please make the effort to write understandably. Writing your posts in a word processor and spell-checking and making sure to click the “preview” button to review your posts before submitting them is a great way to catch any mistakes.

Within these guidelines, there are a lot of ways to find your own unique style for your posts. Some players like to put dialog in a specific color or make it in bold face, or type thoughts in italics, or other various things.

What are OOC comments? “OOC” stands for Out of Character comments, which are usually set off by brackets []. Usually players will put information that deals with actual game mechanics at the bottom of their post, offset by brackets. So in the example above, “Davros walks into the cave, sword drawn,” the player could follow up with a bracketed message like [Spot/Listen +4.] Although the DM will have your character sheet, it is much easier if you post the relevant modifiers after your action so the DM doesn’t have to look it up each time.

What are private messages? Private messages, or PMs, are a way to communicate with other players and DMs by sending them a short note through the site. In your profile, you can choose to be notified via email whenever you get a new private message in your inbox. These messages are completely private and cannot be read by anyone other than the person you send it to. If you wish to have a private conversation or inform your DM of secret actions, PMs are usually the best way to go. Some DMs will ask that if you are secretly conspiring with another character to do something in-game that you send them a copy of the PMs so that they know what is going on.

What should I do if I think my DM has made a mistake? First, try not to be angry—no one is perfect. Sending a polite message to the DM pointing out the error will usually help clear things right up.

What should I do if I'm having problems with another player? Try to determine if the problem is between your characters—i.e., the other player’s character doesn’t like your character—or if it really is between the players. Sending a message to the other player might resolve things if that person was unintentionally offensive. However, if you are genuinely having trouble with a player, or feel uncomfortable dealing with that person, inform your DM right away or bring it to the attention of the administrative staff.

What does metagaming mean? Metagaming is something you want to avoid. It is described in the DMG on page 11 as being, “Any time the players base their character's actions on logic that depends on the fact that they're playing a game.” If you say, “I’m going to set off the trap because I know the DM won’t kill us before the final confrontation with our enemy” you are using your knowledge, not your character’s. Before you post, try to think about if your character would actually know what you are going to post about. Sometimes separating in-character knowledge and out-of-character knowledge can be hard, but with a little practice, it will come naturally and helps keep the game exciting.

How can I help support UnlimitedRPGs.com? It does not cost anything to play on the site, but if you want to assist, you can you can help UnlimitedRPGs.com pay for hosting, domain, and advertising fees through our PayPal link here.

What is Living Reth? Living Reth is a persistent shared world unique to UnlimitedRPGs.com. In the same vein as the RPGA’s Living Greyhawk, Living Reth is meant to be a shared game open to any Forgotten Realms character registered on the board. Characters from any FR game can mix and mingle in the Tavern, or fight each other in the arena, or look for work in the adventurer’s guild. Characters who have lost their groups can also play here, as both freeform roleplaying and moderated roleplaying will go on in the setting.

Is UnlimitedRPGs.com affiliated with Wizards of the Coast or any other gaming company? No, we are not affiliated with the companies that own the rights to the game systems we use.
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DM Sirine
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