How to Play D&D Everyday! Hybrid = Live + PBP [Video]
You should try Play by Post (PBP) RPG Gaming in addition to doing your Live Sessions. This is called a Hybrid Game. You can do both, and it can make your TTRGP games even more awesome!
Watch my previous Video: Learn about Play-By-Post for D&D or any RPG
Plus, even more about PBP: No time for D&D? Too busy? How to Easily Play any RPG Online for Free with Play-by-Post
View a collection of Meme’s that prove Play By Post is the best way to game!
I think we can all agree the WORST part about Playing D&D, or any TTRPG, is the long time between when we get to play. Or maybe worse than the delay between sessions is the anticipation leading up to a game night only to have it cancelled!
I’m here to share my favorite way to game, and it’s so simple and easy you can add this to your current games to play a little every day between real time sessions!
Rather than playing only in real time, I’m suggesting a hybrid approach.
By hybrid I mean adding in play by post, or PBP for short to your existing game.
Play by post is absolutely my favorite way to play now and I did a whole video about it. Here I want to discuss the hybrid approach where you do both live action sessions (whether in person or virtually) mixed with asynchronous interactions via play by post.
A quick overview of play by post:
It’s asynchronous, meaning you aren’t all together at the same time.
It’s text based. Although I suppose with technology today you could do video posts. To each their own.
It can be really fun!
How does this apply to your TTRPG?
You can easily add PBP to your current game and really increase the amount of play time you get, while also potentially being able to dive deeper into your characters than you ever thought possible.
One character talking to an interesting NPC leaves everyone else sitting around, waiting and bored. But with play by post you can deep dive into a conversation and not waste anyone’s time!
PCs getting to know each other while traveling from place to place usually feels awkward around a table. But writing out the banter can be incredibly fun!
A hybrid game could change your campaign from a 90 minute motion picture into an epic series with an unlimited number of seasons.
How can you add Play-by-post (PBP) to your game?
You could add the first PBP interaction into your game simply by one player and the narrator texting each other! Another narrator on our Ptolus discord did exactly this. They texted a layer asking them how they wanted their character to go about following up with an NPC. This was a conversation between one player and one NPC, so it was perfect to handle over some quick texts. But think about expanding that even further for your game. Think about all the scenes you would love to do, but simply do not work around a table with a group of people.
A lot of people are already using discord for game discussions. It would be so simple to add a PBP channel to your discord and start role playing right there.
Personally I use the website rpol.net due to the site’s many benefits, and the fact that our writing tends to be long form. But you could do this over email, discord, text messages, several pbp websites, written letters sent by carrier pigeon, basically any technology that works for your group.
You also don’t have need every member of your group to engage in PBP. If only a few want to, that can be totally fine. Even if it’s just one. My first PBP campaign started as just a duet campaign, a single player.
Obviously more engagement is better, especially when you start handing out rewards (XP, treasure, whatever) for events that occur in PBP interactions.
One of the most rewarding parts of PBP for me as a narrator is when the characters are talking to each other.
Being able to mix and match character involvement is another awesome aspect of PBP. Rather than leaving someone out at the table, two characters could go off and do their own thing without wasting anyone’s times.
Hello unlimited side quests and downtime activities!
Does PBP make the DM/GM do a ton more work?
That entirely depends on what you do in PBP. If you exclusively engage in conversation and downtime activities driven by the player, then there should be very little extra prep required for narrators.
If you want to run combat and write entire side quests for each individual character, then absolutely the narrators work load will increase.
But this could also be a chance for players to become narrators. One player could GM a combat for another player and the main DM just supervises! How great would that be?
Narrating a small side quest would be an awesome way for a player to learn how to narrate without the stress and pressure of running a full game, in person, on the spot.
Speaking of fights…
How do you handle stopping a live session mid fight?
Well, you’ve got a few options.
Keep the fight going in PBP. The whole point of this video is introducing the idea that your game doesn’t have to stop when everyone leaves the table. If you’re using a VTT then the combat could easily continue via PBP!
You could also pause all PBP until the fight is resolved in person. But I don’t recommend this, as it will stifle this exciting form of RP.
You could act under the expectation that everyone survived the fight, and have the posting activities resume after the fight is ended.
This last one can become crazy confusing and brain twisting, but you can also have your asynchronous posting activities happening under a different timeline. Typically this is done with the PBP actions covering things that happened prior to the live session rather than after.
For example, all the players want to discuss the life story of every NPC they met in the town before heading to the nearby dungeon. During the live session you all start AT the dungeon, then when you leave the table mid-fight your PBP interactions cover all the role playing in town and during travel. This way if someone does die during a fight you don’t have some crazy back to the future broken timeline action where they were talking after dying.
So I’ve sold you on Play by post and you want to start? Excellent! Now what?!
First, talk to your players. Ask them how they feel about PBP. Send them this video and tell them if they like and subscribe you’ll give them a bag of gold… Whatever.
Second, choose your technology. Discord. Text messages. Chat app. Email. PBP website. Whatever. Decide what you’re going to use.
Third, decide on your first interactions. So, you’re in a tavern… Haha. Always a classic start. I bet there is already an NPC one character wanted to talk to but didn’t want to waste everyone’s time around the table. Start there. Maybe two characters wanted to talk more during travel time, let them play that out over PBP. The sky is the limit. Let it start out with your players driving the narrative and asking questions you as the narrator just have to respond to. I bet it’s going to snow ball and play by post will rapidly become something everyone loves!
Here are Some more Examples of great PBP interactions:
Something I love to do, and that my players seem to enjoy, is when I give information in secret to only a single player and then they get to share that with the group. This could be the result of something their character learned during downtime or solo PBP time. Or maybe you simply tell them something in private that only their character would know.
- One on one conversations between a PC and an NPC.
- Downtime Activities
- Class Specific Training
- Secret Society meetings and interactions
- Roguish Behind the Back Dealings. These shouldn’t be done in front of everyone.
- Research in a Library
- Playing out flashbacks of events in the character’s past.
The possibilities really are endless. I really hope you give a Hybrid game a chance. I love play by post, my players all love it, and I bet you and your group would as well. You can add a whole new dymanic and level to your game.
Until next time, stay out of the shadow of the spire.