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Posted by Chris Davis on 2012-10-05
After taking a hiatus to be a player (Dark Heresy), I returned to game mastering a few months back. While it's an in person game (not online), I wanted to try to enhance the in between game time using online tools. I'm a fan of Google+, and a heavy google services user, so it was a natural choice for me. Most of what I outline below can probably be done on facebook, Obsidian Portal, or other social services. So here's my short guide to using Google+ for in between sessions in 3 easy Steps. This assumes you have already set up a Google+ account and understand the basics (circles, etc..). If you don't use Google+, check it out, there a very active role playing community there.

Step 1: GM Page

Don't use your main google plus account, create a new Page specifically for your campaign. This makes it easier for you and your players to filter and find posts. When you post from your GM page, they know it is game related and some not random comment. Also, the GM page makes a good hub for posting links to all online resources your players might need. Here's what mine looks like.

Step 2: Player Circle

Create a circle for your players and share it with them, choose the option of including yourself. Now everyone has a circle for just posting and filtering in game posts.

Step 3: Post (with Images!)

Now start posting. And please, post with images! That's half the reason to use a social site is that you can attach media to the post. Use google images search and be specific. You'll be surprised what you find.

But what to post? Here's the things I post about between games.

Monologues - There's often I time after or before an adventure when an NPC is going to speak at length. Perhaps it's a long adventure introduction or maybe your party has just finished off the main villain and he's spilling his guts. Either way, posting the monologue gives all your players the opportunity to read it at their convenience. It's also a good way to handle extended Q&A with the bonus of having a record of it for future reference.

Location information - Often players will end or begin an adventure in a new town. I like to post all the details of what is in the town as well as what can and cannot be purchased. Then players have the opportunity to do stuff in the town that is not combat related. This can save a lot of time at the beginning of sessions.

In between game events - sometimes I try to run it in between events. Sort of mini adventures that are designed specifically for play by post.

Experience and other rewards - Often it's too late to calculate experince or divide up treasure. I'll post the info the next day and players can discuss how to divvy up the spoils.

Between game trade: - Handling all the selling and buying in between game saves a lot of wasted time on game night.

Bonus: Player Character Pages
If your players are willing, have them create pages for their character, and create your circle with those pages instead the player's main account. Then they can customize their icon and other info, plus all your in game post are neatly organized on off your main stream.

Bonus: Use Hangouts
It's hard to get together for the in person games. People are busy. Some groups only get to play once a month (or less). Supplement your games with shorter sessions using hangouts. It's not as good as getting together at a table, but it's the second best thing. Try using a few of the online game tables that use goolge+ hangouts suchs Table Forge or Roll d20.

A Google Doc of this blog can be found HERE. Feel free to comment on it.

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