OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


PBEM terminology: "Post"

I wanted to do an article explaining the basic terminology used in a PBEM/PBP game, as it might not always be clear. This article starts right from the basics with the word:


A post is an item of the story that a member submits. A post will continue the story that has been told so far, usually from the point of view of the character of the member who has written the post.


A post

A post is a short story which a member writes, it pushes your story forward

The post is usually written from a 3rd person perspective, and usually tells a sequence of events that directly relate to a member’s character, but the same events will also happen to any other characters who are with the character. It’s possible to have separate story threads in a PBEM/PBP game when the characters are split up, so different things might happen to different characters.

Length of a post

The post can be any length, something which is usually specified by the group. The average length of a post is about one or two pages, so that the reader doesn’t have to scroll too much through it. If the PBEM/PBP game is played via a forum, it might be okay for a forum to be just a couple of lines of dialogue, with little or no descriptive text. This would make this type of PBP game a lot like a chat-based roleplaying game.

Other types of posts include:

*Action* posts: usually written by the GM or the person running this story. An *Action* post will set into action a series of events which will affect all characters in the game. It is usually a way of introducing or pushing along a story to move it quickly to a part which is most interesting for the members.

Back-posts: A normal story post, but this is set in the past. A back-post will usually occur if a member or GM has pushed the storyline of the game forwards, but the individual member still had something they wanted to write in that time period – but missed their chance. If a post is labelled as a “back-post” then it’s clear that it’s set in a period of time before the most recent post.

Joint-posts (or JP): This is a post which has been worked on by more than one person, so it is labelled like this so that both members get equal credit.