Play reports, Hangouts, and Chat-based games

Peter posted a note on who’s doing play reports on Dungeon Fantasy games. In the comments section, +Mark Langsdorf notes that my play reports for +Nathan Joy‘s Jade Regent game were sporadic. +Peter V. Dell’Orto noted that he mostly saw me posting on Pathfinder, which I play with +Jeromy French and others.

I thought about that, and came to a conclusion on why:

The Pathfinder game uses Google Hangouts, webcams, and Roll20. This means most of my actions are verbal. “Pel notes that he’s going down the hall.” “I attack the bug-eyed fish monster.” Whatever.

This means that my fingers are mostly not occupied except while I am typing in roll commands into the die roller. I can transcribe, almost blow-for-blow, what’s going on in the background and still uphold my obligations to the group by being an active participant in the fun.

On the GURPS game, we play on MapTool with Skype, all chat, all the time. In order to keep up with what’s going on, I have to keep close tabs on two different chat windows. I therefore have a harder time doing real-time transcription, and thus often don’t get around to going back to it retroactively. Time is precious, etc. Everything I do is text, so when I’m interacting in the OOC window or the game window, I’m not transcribing.

I honestly much prefer the video feed. I find it more social, more fun, and more like the gaming experience I wish to have. I do prefer MapTool to Roll20 for GURPS, by far – actually, I like the MT abilities a lot, and the provided critical hit stuff and the way it does rolls works well for GURPS.

But anyway, that’s the skinny. I’m sure I could scour the game chatlogs and turn it into a play report. No interest in that. I like my free-form commentary. So the Jade Regent reports will continue to be sporadic.


11 thoughts on “Play reports, Hangouts, and Chat-based games

    1. Alas, I cannot. I can type wicked fast, but my recall is limited by the fact that I play games to unwind, so my focus is purposefully, um, unfocused. Plus, there's the alcohol factor . . .

    2. Heh.

      I have a lot of practice – I used to train with a trainer, and I'd have to log my own workout after I went home. So I taught myself to keep a mental visual log of what I did in what order. I do that while we play, too, so I can re-wind it while the memory is still fresh, type it in, and then I'm done.

  1. Time is precious, indeed. I kindof go to town with reports, but I find it a really enjoyable part of GMing. Time is something that I have plenty of, being on sick leave. I'm not sure that I could afford reports if I was living at a normal pace.

    I do it from memory, with a recording of the Face-to-face session as a back-up. I never used them: whatever should be told should be what's memorable enough to be recalled. I write a structured list right after everybody leave, which I use later to write the encounter with. Blow-by-blow accounts are not as interesting for the casual reader, unless the reader is really interested in getting a feel for the game's mechanics.

    Whatever gets posted, I enjoy going over. GMing should be fun, not a chore.

    1. On the flip side, one of the reasons I like to include some blow-by-blow stuff is when I had questions on the rules. Ever now and then, someone who knows things really well pops in and clarifies . . . like when Kromm popped into a previous play report and said that yes, you absolutely can use your step in between blows of a Rapid Strike!

  2. Doug, I wasn't complaining that your updates were sporadic. It's not like I've been posting actual play reports or doing more than minimal updates on the wiki. I was trying to give Peter an excuse for why he might have forgotten them.

    1. Oh, not at all. I didn't take your note as complaining, it just was accurate. I'm better at Pathfinder play reports than Dungeon Fantasy, and you made me wonder why. I think that I get more involved in the webcam gaming, as well as being more tuned to conversation. Also, my fingers are otherwise occupied when doing chat-based gaming, so the transcription is harder, as I noted.

  3. I generally do write ups afterwards as the GM for players that missed a session. As DM no time during play to record what the players do. I do give XP bonus (10%) to the players for a two paragraph write up and some even wanted space on the campaign blog to record their activities.

    1. I'm very, very sure that were I the GM I would not do even periodic transcription, and I do know I've suffered for this in the past. I do keep a notebook when I GM, of course, but sometimes I don't write stuff down, being caught in the GMing moment.

      The game log, for online games, or having a player or players provide their version of transcriptions would be a real boon in this case.

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