In response to “Speeding Up Item Management,” Jason pointed out that handling game-related activities over email doesn’t tend to work well for more than about a month. I thought this was a very good point, and it got me to thinking about the perks and pitfalls of using the net for your game.

For day 7 of the Blogging for GMs project, I’d like to pose a two-part open question to GMs: what are some good ways to use the internet for your game — and what are the most common problems that come up?

I’ll start things off with a couple of lists. The first one offers a variety of ways to use the net for your game:

  • Play your game entirely online (play by email, play by post, via chat, etc.).
  • Run a campaign website or wiki (see “Running a Campaign Website” here on TT for some ideas).
  • Have a messageboard (or blog) for your group.
  • Schedule game sessions.
  • Do research and download material for your game.
  • Handle item management between sessions (“Speeding Up Item Management“).
  • Post XP and deal with out-of-game activities like levelling up.
  • Use generators to create NPCs.

…and the second covers some of the common problems that tend to crop up:

  • One or more players doesn’t have regular net access.
  • Not everyone checks their email (or visits your site, or board, etc.) regularly.
  • Keeping a website or blog up to date for your group can feel more like work (and less like fun).
  • It’s easy to spend more time dealing with game-related things online than you expected (or is that just me?).

Most of the problems I can think of are related to the group-oriented activities (like having a campaign website), not to the more individual ones (like doing research). This is largely because while the individual stuff is pretty discretionary — there are lots of ways you can do research without the net — things like keeping up a messageboard involve more buy-in on the part of the whole group to make them worthwhile.

Do you use the net for your game? Which approach (or approaches) do you take? What problems have you encountered, and how have you solved them? And lastly, I’m sure I’ve left things off of both lists (maybe even something blindingly obvious!) — if you have anything to add to either of them, include it in the comments!