Listkeepers - Joe King - Star Trek RPG PBeM

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What is a PBeM?

- A PBeM stands for Play by e-mail. It is a Role playing game whereby players assume the role of a character created by themselves. This means that they can participate in stories created either by chance or deliberately included. The characters interact by writing e- mails called 'Posts' which describe a scene that their character is in and what their character is doing, what their character is saying and so on. Its up to other players to reply to this and add their own posts. This creates an interaction between the characters.

When you're setting up a game how do people choose their characters and character traits? Are they pre-scripted and people just choose from a list?

- I have created a list of categories that players must write about for their character e.g. eye colour, what they're like etc. The players are free to write what they want for each category as long as it is within the bounds of the game. Players in a Star Trek PBeM must use the alien races discovered in Star Trek and cant create their own. This makes the game fun and fair!

Does a game get "full" or can you expand the number of players as you like?

- It is easy to expand the game, but it will get more complicated if you add too many extra people. At the moment I have allocated a limited amount of space for my game. I could expand if necessary, but usually the game doesnt fill up due to people dropping out or a lack of players.

When you're setting up something like the USS Empress game from scratch, what do you have to do?

- I started by creating the Star ship itself. When I was younger I used to draw star ships and play with my brothers and sisters, acting out life on this star ship. I created the USS Empress (I drew a lot of pictures!) and fell in love with the idea of this ship. It was like a second Enterprise. Many years later I decided to create this PBeM game using the basis of the USS Empress. Once the site was finished ( I visited several PBeM sites and put ads on them asking for players to join. I would recommend thinking about the adventure before you create it. This way you can create a brilliant PBeM!

Is a game like this essentially open-ended or are there quests that are fulfilled and then you're done?

- This game will essentially run forever! You never just finish unless you specify an end date. There are many missions to undertake and hopefully new ones will continually be generated allowing the players characters to evolve in the game. Of course if the USS Empress was destroyed that may call an end to the adventure, but Im sure it will carry on into the distant future. :)

Can you tell us a little about the USS Empress PBeM and what will happen?

- Well, the USS Empress is a brand new PBeM set in the Star Trek universe around the same time frame as Captain Picards USS Enterprise. I am hoping that the Empress PBeM will allow characters to experience Star Trek just like the series and films show. Many Star Trek adventures focus on blowing things up and shooting new aliens. Whilst the Empress will have an element of action, I want a game focused on the exploration side of things, much like the original series or the Next Generation series.

Is there special mail software you use to run the game?

- There are special mail groups you can create whereby mail is delivered to all members of the crew. However at the moment I don't need to use such a group as I am handling all the mail myself. It can be easier if all of the mail is sent to one person so that he/she can read it and check that the players story fits into everything else that is going on. If my PBeM was to expand I may consider using a mail group, but at the moment I should be able to keep it going!

Is running a game a lot of work?

- You certainly need to keep ahead of events occurring in the game. I often update my web site regularly (at least once a day) and you need to constantly check your mail for applications to join and messages from members. Another task for any Game Master is to make sure the story is moving along smoothly and create new missions and adventures for everyone. Personally I love PBeM (especially Star Trek ones) and running one is fun and exciting and if you don't want to run one then join one!

Thanks Joe.

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