PBeM Storytime coming to BBB

I wanted to say a few words about what I’m going to be adding to this blog starting tommorow.

Before this blog, before World of Warcraft, heck, going back over 18 years ago, I played Dungeons and Dragons, GURPS, Champions, RIFTS/The Hero System, all sorts of table top RPGs.

One day I was brainstorming ideas for a new story hook, and had this vision pop into my head of this utterly cool, ‘M. Night Shyamalan‘ style WTF moment when the player characters would see the end of a storyline that would rock their worldview and change their understanding of what they’d been doing up to that point.

I started with that end result in mind, and started writing storylines, a world setting, and eventually created on paper an entire timeline that incorporated all the events that could lead up to that moment.

I have since, over the years, run various different groups through stories in different eras or locations in the world setting. I’ve even run two different groups through a lot of the first book. Manny was in one group, but not, I think, in the group that actually reached the end of Book 1. Damn, it’s hard to remember.

I stopped doing face to face RPGs, as an adult with a career and family, it had become a big pain in the butt to try and organise and keep momentum.

So a few years back I contacted Manny and we picked up with a play by email take on the game.

I set up a story in the world setting that would fall before the events of the main book storylines, in a different part of the world. Very much like a prequel. Manny created a character, and we took off.

The format chosen was an interactive story. After Manny created a solid character based in part on my custom character rules and background of the world provided, he would tell me what he intended to do, and provide me with electronic dice rolls in advance (which can be done without cheats through a web based application) and I would take his detailed intent and incorporate it into a story. I would write until I ran out of what he had told me, or came to a critical decision point. I would let his detailed personality and background (and the GURPS charcter traits and quirks) drive the minor little decisions.

As time went on, we both settled into it quite well, but I felt it was very draining. I was writing a LOT for each turn.

After a couple months, I got my friend James into the game, as a completely seperate character in an intersecting storyline. Now I had two players playing two characters in different parts of the game world… and Manny was two months ahead in the story, so I had to get James caught up… by writing even more.

Eventually, I petered out. I wasn’t happy with the quality of my writing in the first place, and the mountain of catch up I needed to do was just a wall I finally didn’t want to tackle.

The game went on ‘temporary’ suspension… and we picked up WoW so we could play THAT together. Let someone else be the GM for a while.

I’ve been writing this blog for nearly a year now. Maybe more, I really don’t know. But in the back of my head was always the intention of returning to writing the play by email game.

I think that time has come. I think I’m ready, and the game turns sure as hell ain’t gonna be harder to write than any other of my long blog posts that require research.

So what I’m going to do is have each Friday be another episode of the PBeM game.

Again, the PBeM world is of my creation, the majority of it written over 18 years ago. It is not WoW lore based, although gee, there are Orcs and Humans, oh my. A fantasy world with Orcs and Humans, how original.

So, I wanted to give you a heads up. I’m going to be posting segments of the story each Friday until it gets caught up, and then I’ll be doing new episodes each Friday as new game turns get done.

For those of you that visit this blog specifically for WoW info and Druid info, please avoid Fridays. I’m not looking for your criticism or negative feedback, thank you very much. I’m looking to boot myself back into the demands of creative writing in a PBeM, it is something that I want to do, and I’m looking forward to returning to the world we created together.

And as this is my blog, which my friends already read, and which is hosted on my website… it is the logical place to put it.

I’ll admit I’m curious to see what, if any, reaction I’m going to get. I would hope that I either get a few ‘interestings’, or have it just be completely ignored by everyone except for those of us actively involved in the game.  

But I wanted to give you  fair warning that, from now until the forseeable future, Fridays will be non-WoW related fantasy storytelling.


27 thoughts on “PBeM Storytime coming to BBB

  1. Interesting. /wink

    Really though, creative writing is something that can keep us sane. I fully support anything that keeps BBB’s creative juices flowing. Am I disappointed it’s not about WoW? Eh…maybe. I’ll get over it. /smile

    Here’s to looking forward for the first snippet of the story!


  2. Awesome, can’t wait! If you ever need help deciding on a particularly unfortunate fate for people who fail their roles, you know where to find us. 😀


  3. Hey BBB, I’m sure I speak for about 95% of your readers when I say that it sounds like a great idea and we’ll all probably read most of it. Good luck with your writing, I know I’m looking forward to it!



  4. Oh, Itsnotsoeasy, BBB will tell you that there is a certain consistency with every character in every game of his I have played. As part of my character creation process, I tend towards fairly elaborate backgrounds. These backgrounds invariably include multiple opportunities for a GM to totally screw with my character (which BBB in particular has taken great delight in exploiting). So BBB will not need your help, thank you very much. hehe


  5. Even if I don’t get it, I’ll still read it. Besides I would have never seen the inside of Kara with out what I have learned here.
    Keep writing and I’ll keep reading.


  6. It’s your blog bro, write about what you choose. I am looking forward to seeing what you have to say and the game you have created.



  7. Speaking as an old table-top veteran, I can safely say that I’m definitely interested in this turn of events. I’m actually lucky enough to have a group of friends who are still interested in playing these games face to face, albeit sporadically. (D&D 3rd Ed, and a little something we discovered called Aberrant, mostly…)

    For a while though, (when my local group were in a bit of a downturn, circa- Starcraft and Unreal Tournament era) I did frequent Rondak’s Portal for my RPG “fix”, and was involved in a number of what were essentially play by e-mail games, only the site provides a mini-forum of sorts, so there’s an easily accessible archive.

    Then WoW happened, and it devoured my soul.


  8. Man, this sounds awesome. I’m a sucker for well-written fantasy worlds. And I’ve just started reading your blog, too, so this’ll hook me real easy. 😛


  9. Awesome idea!

    Takes me back about a long time ago when I first fell in love with role playing games. As a kid, someone gave me a copy of a little guide called Chainmail by some guy named Gygax. Then I ran across a copy of a new game in a hobby store by the same guy called Dungeons & Dragons and really got excited (I still have all the books after a million moves and one territorial cat who added his own unique odor to some of the pages).

    I didn’t know anyone who owned minatures or played D&D, so I really only ever gamed in my mind.

    But I bought 4, 6, 8 and 20-sided dice. Just in case.

    And the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and the Player’s Handbook and the Monster Manual when they came out. And campaign modules. And Traveller, GURPS, and a pile of other games.

    I devoured copies of the “The Dragon” magazine and fanzines run off on mimeographs, and mountains of fantasy and sci-fi books. I ended up making my own maps and backstory for a world that cobbled together bits of Burrough’s John Carter of Mars, Tolkien’s elves and orcs, Lieber’s Fafhred & the Grey Mouser, Howard’s Picts and Solomon Kane, Moorcock’s runeswords and Chaos Lords, and Vance’s Dying Earth magic. I wrote some stories and drew some pictures and no one ever saw any of it, but I had such a blast doing it.

    I even joined a PBM game someone advertised in one of the zines, but it folded after a couple turns (I imagine my character remains frozen still, gawking at the glowing portal that suddenly appeared in the middle of his sleepy village. Would he have stepped forward to investigate or run away in fear? Would something have come out…ah, the possibilites…)

    Computers finally gave me the chance to actually play the games I always loved (“It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.”). And the Internet revolutionized things again, linking me virtually to people all over the world with similar interests.

    WoW is probably the closest thing to the daydreams I had as a teenager, of being able to fully experience an imaginary world. Sure it’s still just a computer game with all its limitations, but I love the “sandbox” quality of its virtual world where the load screens and invisible walls are all carefully disguised to give the illusion of boundless freedom to explore, and where I’m off the rails and can set my own goals for what to do in-game. The fact that I get to play with a great guild filled with people who are in reality scattered across the US and as far away as Australia, Hong Kong and Iraq, boggles my mind when I think about it. Who would have ever imagined…

    But, as much as I love WoW and reading about WoW in great blogs like yours, a little old school gaming — with a real GM and lots of imagination — sounds like a blast!

    I look forward to the chance to “peek” over your shoulder and watch you play.

    See you tomorrow 🙂


  10. I’ve always wanted to play table-top RPGs, but I still don’t know anyone that I would play them with.

    Commenters should be allowed to make characters and play too 🙂


  11. I love the idea BBB and if you get ambitious and put out a web call for the fanbase… I am so there. I have done this in the past. Various things have got in the way, and I drifted away from the group, but it is something I would love to start again too. i have played Shadowrun, Earthdawn, Champions, GURPS, Mechwarrior, Star Wars, and of course pretty much every flavor of D&D to include the latest 4th. My son and I were at the D&D games day recently and we had a good time. I long for the day when my sons asks Dad… thats me… to run a game.

    I am a true “Jack of all trades” or in this case… “geek of all games.” 40k, Warhammer Fantasy, Chainmail, Magic, Pokemon, etc… yep… you name it I have touched it.

    Look forward to Friday BBB, keep up the good work 🙂


  12. Sweet! I’m so excited. Can’t wait to see how it turns out. I’m too young (22) to have played any table tops, so watching this will be a wonderfully *interesting* new experience. 😀


  13. Wow, that brought back a few memories.

    I can still tell you the exact date I got the old D&D basic set. The one right after chainmail and before they had such things as color printing, even the covers are blue.

    I was taken into a Waldenbooks back in August of 79 and told to find a good birthday present for myself. I came home with the basic set and a set of dice in a little plastic tube.

    By the next birthday I had a group of friends that I gamed with every friday (ironicly) after school. Myself and one other took turns as GM, running two seperate games so we could both play as well. I still remember getting the blue boxed expert set for that birthday (woo hoo! we can level up to 14 now!)

    Fast forward a few years and I find myself gaming with a new group af friends, ones I found in the service. Amazing how a few books and dice can take your mind off the horrible boredom that 75% of a deployment was made up of.

    After I got out we worked on a play by mail type game for a year or so, it was an absolute blast but we drifted away from it…..

    Then came Wow. While I could not create my own adventures there were so many already there that I hardly seem to notice. Grouping with people from all over, sharing not only the quests and challenges of the game but bits of our lives outside it is what keeps me feeding gamecards into my computer.

    All in all it’s been a hell of a ride. It was not your intention, but thanks for making me stop and think. I have a few old friends to call after work now, I have a few ideas……


  14. I met my husband in a D&D game. He fell for me when I managed to defeat him in a battle of semantics so he couldn’t turn my wish (provided by an NPC as an AWFUL trap) against me.


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