Is A Blog Right For Your Game?

by Wimwick (Neil Ellis) on February 21, 2009

The advent of technology has had a large impact on the RPG community. I can still remember several years ago pulling my laptop out for my regular Sunday night game. I explained I’d found a new mapping program I wanted to use for the game. That was the beginning of Maptools for my group and we haven’t looked back.

It seems everyone is getting in on the digital action. Even Wizards of the Coast has jumped on the digital initiative with DDI. It simply the next step in gaming. 

Blogging is all the rage on the Internet. I personally contribute to six blogs including this one. My favourite blog to post to is The Rise of the Phoenix which belongs to my main gaming group.

So is a blog the right fit for your gaming group? There are several reasons a blog could improve your gaming experience and we’ll look at them individually.

Communication

A blog is a great way for your group to keep in touch with one another. It gives the DM a forum to recap what happened during the last game and provide new or additional details before the next one. The DM can also list the treasure and experienced earned. This is helpful if your last session ended in a rush and some players were unable to jot down the experience awarded. Alternatively, the DM may not have had everything calculated out ahead of time.

If a rule debate occurs the blog is a great forum to discuss how to handle the rule moving forward. The DM is also able to list any house rules on the blog, so there aren’t any surprises.

The blog provides a solid tool for communication and acts as good permanent record.

Character Thoughts

Often as a player my character has reactions to in-game events. However, the forum of table top gaming doesn’t allow me to always express my character’s thoughts and feelings. However, the blog does! I can now write a post detailing my character’s reaction to being slighted by the Princess he just rescued. The blog has become a great tool to flesh out the personality of the character beyond the gaming table.

Magic Item Wish List

As players we love our magic loot. The blog provides players with a form of communicating what item we’d love to see in the dragon’s treasure trove. As items are discovered the post can be updated.

Adventure Log

The blog is a great way for players and DMs alike to chronicle the adventure. It keeps the adventure alive beyond the gaming table. It also allows for players to react to each other’s posts in character. In short a blog can actually increase the amount of role playing that occurs in your game.

An additional benefit of the Adventure Log is it keeps players who missed a gaming session current as the plot advances. Should a player be on vacation or miss a session due to personal reasons they can begin the next game knowing all the relevant story details.

Character Details

The players can create a page for their character that keeps the DM informed of new power and feat selections. It also allows the players to see what builds each other are selecting. By familiarizing themselves with these powers they become a more effective force on the battlefield. Additionally, if the Cleric can’t make it one night and the healing will be needed the PC’s stats are on the blog allowing another player or the DM to run the character as an NPC.

Other Resources

Finally, a blog allows you to quickly and easily link to other resources on the Internet. Whether it be character sheets, power cards, maps or another blog.

Negative Aspects of a Gaming Blog

Like anything in life blogging has drawbacks. First it works best if everyone is participating and using the blog. If only half the players in your group read the blog with any frequency you may be asking yourself what’s the point. While the blog is a great way to share information without long email chains, if it isn’t read then players won’t know about the announcement for tonight’s game.

Time is another factor. Being a DM is already a time consuming process. Some DMs spend two hours preparing for every one hour of play. Writing and maintaining a blog on top of that could become tedious, especially if players aren’t fully participating.

While I enjoy the experience of having a blog for games I participate in, it isn’t for everyone. How useful the blog is will depend on how your group embraces it. In my experience having a gaming blog is a great experience and I wouldn’t want to play another long term campaign without one.

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