Google Plus + Dungeons & Dragons: Post #3

Posted 8 years ago by Games

Previously: Post #2 in our Google+ D&D Experiment

It’s been a very educational week in the land of Google+.  We’ve learned quite a bit about running a campaign within the G+ infrastructure.  Some good lessons, some bad.   Let’s get to it!

The One Where Google Hates Me

Last time I told you about the use of custom hashtags to help separate your D&D posts from your animated .gifs of cats.  They still work great…if you remember to use them.  Sometimes in the heat of an adventure it’s very easy to forget to add your hashtag to a post, meaning it can easily get lost among all the other posts or if players only use the saved search to find the latest game posts.  As I suggested before, if you could create an exclusive Circle, where the only posts that would appear in that Circle were meant for that Circle alone, then we’d be in business.  Sadly, Google developers are not hanging on my every word yet, so that feature hasn’t made it into the latest round of updates.

So, I thought of another solution to this problem: Have everyone create a separate G+ profile only for D&D.  I doubt you could use your character name – I’m sure the folks at Google would recognize “Rothar the Destroyer of Worlds and Lover of Puppies” as a fictitious name – but there are plenty of ways you could come up with a name that would pass inspection.  This would allow you to create a campaign Circle and then every post would be game-related.  You could even create multiple campaign Circles if you’re a hardcore player.  Although if you have a friend that is playing in more than one campaign with you, his/her posts will show up in both campaign Circles, so it’s not a perfect solution, either.  However, if you’re only playing one campaign at a time, or you play with completely separate groups of people, this would be a pretty good way to do things.  But if you get caught by the Google Detectives for having a fake profile, leave my name out of it.

It’s All About the Story

My method for telling the story in a G+ campaign has been to have the DM start every thread.  I usually start a new thread whenever we change locations, which means my descriptive text serves as a sort of anchor.  If you’re familiar at all with writing movie scripts, it’s like putting the scene indicator (SCENE VI: Ext – Daytime) at the top of a scene.  Under that, the players post about what they’re doing, including attacking an enemy or attempting to pick the lock on a door.  This allows them to maintain a constant context of where they are, what they’re doing, and it’s easy for them to scroll back through previous posts to see what’s in the room that might be useful.  This is a great way to play, but, as I’ll point out later, is not without its flaws.

As you can see in the screen shot below, there are 21 comments on this post, so quite a bit happened in this room (We had our first encounter!  And no one died!  Well, except for a zombie…) before I posted a new thread after a player decided to go through Door #3.
Read More

Google Plus + Dungeons & Dragons: Post #3

Posted 8 years ago by Games

Previously: Post #2 in our Google+ D&D Experiment

It’s been a very educational week in the land of Google+.  We’ve learned quite a bit about running a campaign within the G+ infrastructure.  Some good lessons, some bad.   Let’s get to it!

The One Where Google Hates Me

Last time I told you about the use of custom hashtags to help separate your D&D posts from your animated .gifs of cats.  They still work great…if you remember to use them.  Sometimes in the heat of an adventure it’s very easy to forget to add your hashtag to a post, meaning it can easily get lost among all the other posts or if players only use the saved search to find the latest game posts.  As I suggested before, if you could create an exclusive Circle, where the only posts that would appear in that Circle were meant for that Circle alone, then we’d be in business.  Sadly, Google developers are not hanging on my every word yet, so that feature hasn’t made it into the latest round of updates.

So, I thought of another solution to this problem: Have everyone create a separate G+ profile only for D&D.  I doubt you could use your character name – I’m sure the folks at Google would recognize “Rothar the Destroyer of Worlds and Lover of Puppies” as a fictitious name – but there are plenty of ways you could come up with a name that would pass inspection.  This would allow you to create a campaign Circle and then every post would be game-related.  You could even create multiple campaign Circles if you’re a hardcore player.  Although if you have a friend that is playing in more than one campaign with you, his/her posts will show up in both campaign Circles, so it’s not a perfect solution, either.  However, if you’re only playing one campaign at a time, or you play with completely separate groups of people, this would be a pretty good way to do things.  But if you get caught by the Google Detectives for having a fake profile, leave my name out of it.

It’s All About the Story

My method for telling the story in a G+ campaign has been to have the DM start every thread.  I usually start a new thread whenever we change locations, which means my descriptive text serves as a sort of anchor.  If you’re familiar at all with writing movie scripts, it’s like putting the scene indicator (SCENE VI: Ext – Daytime) at the top of a scene.  Under that, the players post about what they’re doing, including attacking an enemy or attempting to pick the lock on a door.  This allows them to maintain a constant context of where they are, what they’re doing, and it’s easy for them to scroll back through previous posts to see what’s in the room that might be useful.  This is a great way to play, but, as I’ll point out later, is not without its flaws.

As you can see in the screen shot below, there are 21 comments on this post, so quite a bit happened in this room (We had our first encounter!  And no one died!  Well, except for a zombie…) before I posted a new thread after a player decided to go through Door #3.
Read More

Google Plus + Dungeons & Dragons: Post #2

Posted 8 years ago by Games

Previously: Post #1 in our Google+ D&D Experiment

Our adventure has officially gotten underway!  The three main characters – Finora the Wolf Slayer (Fighter), Oraine (Ranger) and Gerrex (Cleric) – have met with the head of the largest shipping company in the port city of Enathal, a man by the name of Suzdal Razin.  Razin’s daughter, Kythera, was snatched off the streets along with some of her handmaidens, and thus far, all signs point to the Blood Diamond Clan as the most likely culprits.  Local legend holds that the Clan has a secret mine where they harvest precious gems.  To supply their workforce, rumors say they kidnap unsuspecting citizens to use as disposable slave labor.  Could Kythera have become the latest victim of the Clan’s nefarious operation?  Or is it all just an urban legend meant to add to the Clan’s already dark reputation?  The adventurers are heading to the Clan hall now to look for clues and to meet up with Tyrion the Monk to complete their party.

As someone who hasn’t DM’ed a game in over 20 years, it’s been so great to get back to storytelling.  And thus far, Google+ is holding up pretty well as a method for playing.
Read More

Google Plus + Dungeons & Dragons: Post #2

Posted 8 years ago by Games

Previously: Post #1 in our Google+ D&D Experiment

Our adventure has officially gotten underway!  The three main characters – Finora the Wolf Slayer (Fighter), Oraine (Ranger) and Gerrex (Cleric) – have met with the head of the largest shipping company in the port city of Enathal, a man by the name of Suzdal Razin.  Razin’s daughter, Kythera, was snatched off the streets along with some of her handmaidens, and thus far, all signs point to the Blood Diamond Clan as the most likely culprits.  Local legend holds that the Clan has a secret mine where they harvest precious gems.  To supply their workforce, rumors say they kidnap unsuspecting citizens to use as disposable slave labor.  Could Kythera have become the latest victim of the Clan’s nefarious operation?  Or is it all just an urban legend meant to add to the Clan’s already dark reputation?  The adventurers are heading to the Clan hall now to look for clues and to meet up with Tyrion the Monk to complete their party.

As someone who hasn’t DM’ed a game in over 20 years, it’s been so great to get back to storytelling.  And thus far, Google+ is holding up pretty well as a method for playing.
Read More

Google Plus + Dungeons & Dragons: Post #1

Posted 8 years ago by Games

As a wee lad, I rolled my fair share of 20-sided dice while battling imaginary monsters at slumber party sessions of Dungeons & Dragons. As with many first gen (or arguably second gen) gamers who started playing after they got their hands on those famous red books, D&D has always informed who I am, but has not always been a driving force in my life.

I lost interest in wizards and warriors in high school, it completely dropped off my radar in college, and I tried to play a campaign with some like-minded dorks in my 20’s, but it never really came back full-force like when I was 12 years old. Instead, I’ve gotten married, became a father, have a full-time job (and a couple of part-time ones, too), so D&D simply cannot be as important to me as it once was. But that doesn’t mean I want D&D completely out of my life, either. And I’m not alone.

Recently there’s been a real resurgence in D&D as older fans have started to feel nostalgic towards gaming. Most of us have kids and playing is not only a great way to spend some quality time with them, but it also gets them off the internet, the iPad/iPod, or to put down their DS, and do something that requires a little bit of imagination and creativity for a change. Some OG gamers who may not have kids simply want to get back to something that was a great excuse to hang out with a group of friends and have some fun. Unfortunately, with my busy lifestyle, I don’t really have time to schedule a live session with my nerdy friends once a week. So, for me anyway, play-by-post is a better solution.
Read More