͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ 
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Far Horizons image ad
Image description

PBM could use a fresh coat of paint

If you were to ask me how many PBM ads that I made over the years, I wouldn't have a clue. Quite a few, for sure. Of late, for some of them, I've begun to turn more and more to artificial intelligence to provide a variety of imagery that I think works well for PBM games.

The latest one is the ad for Far Horizons, above. What do you think about it? Me? I actually like it quite a lot. It's one of the better ones that I've had a hand in helping to bring into existence. Basically, I'm trying to put a fresh coat of pain on play by mail gaming.

Why? To try and get people's attention. To draw more eyes to PBM gaming - even if it's only for a mere fraction of a second. Whether I'm failing or whether I'm succeeding is anybody's guess. At a bare minimum, avid readers of PBM Chaos get to enjoy a few visual treats, now and again. More and more, though, I feel as if I am trying to drink water straight from Niagara Falls. I can't help but to ask myself whether there's any real point in all of this?

Perhaps some new PBM imagery helps to off-set all of that text that I plop down on these pages. The human eye needs a visual resting spot, sometimes. And how many of us have seen the same old PBM ads until we're blue in the face? Raise your hand if you've had your fill.

According to the rulebook, "Far Horizons is a strategic role-playing game of galactic exploration, trade, diplomacy, and conquest. The first and second editions were designed for play by postal mail. Later editions were designed for play by electronic mail, and many mistakes were made in the transition. Hopefully, this current edition has corrected most of those mistakes. At the start of a game, each player controls an intelligent species and the home planet on which it lives. As the game progresses, you can explore nearby regions of the galaxy and establish colonies. As you range farther and farther from home, you will encounter other intelligent species. These encounters can be hostile, neutral, or friendly, depending on the participants. Interstellar war is a distinct possibility."

I think that this image to advertise Far Horizons with fits the theme. Of course, the current game of Far Horizons has already started, but maybe the new ad will come i handy, if future games of Far Horizons turn out to be a reality.

Lately, I've also been busy trying to come up with some new ads for the PBM game, Galac-Tac, by Talisman Games. There's a little visual eye candy for that game in this issue of PBM Chaos, also. Hopefully, you - our readers - will enjoy it. If you don't, though, then don't hesitate to write in and give me an ear full about it.

Galac-Tac is probably one of the most overlooked PBM games of our time. Maybe there' reasons for that, though. What do you think? Why do you think that so few people play Galac-Tac, these days? Do you play it? Have you ever played it? What about the game does or does not appeal to you, if you don't mind writing in and letting me know. I know what I think, but I'd really love to know what you think!

I'm trying to finish this issue up, and get it out the door to our readers. But before I do, yesterday, I was thinking about PBMer Nazareth (Tony), and he was such a wonderful fellow, one who donated a whole bunch of PBM stuff to me a number of months back.

Browsing and reading through those old back issues of different PBM magazines that he gave me always makes me realize how very far away from the mark the PBM literature that I create is from Paper Mayhem, Flagship, Nuts & Bolts of Gaming, Gaming Universal, and other PBM magazines that came into existence at various different points in time, in past years.

Persuading people to part with some of their time and energy, in order to contribute to PBM publications, always seems to be an uphill battle, at best. This isn't a lament, as much as it is an observation from off the top of my head. Lots of people still find PBM gaming to be of interest, and in the grand scheme of things, a lot of people still play PBM games (including of the paper format variety - just ask anyone who plays Hyborian War, currently).

Not like the old days, certainly, but if one were able to actually track down every last individual who plays in one or more PBM games, currently, the actual number might well surprise you (and in a good way). I still find it more than a little amusing that PBM companies used to brag openly and publicly about how many players were playing their PBM games, yet these days, you barely ever hear so much as a peep from them about their player numbers. Why do you suppose that is?

Tell me something - are these PBM Chaos e-mails too long? Am I trying to cram too much stuff into each e-mail that I send out? Frequency. Length. Content variety. These are all things that I think about, time and time again. How to weigh and balance it all is a never-ending story and challenge all its own.

But I've probably droned on way too much, already, so I am going to be merciful, and bring this article to an end.

Until next time, happy reading and happy gaming, PBM-style!

Alamaze image ad for Old Man Games, LLC

What's happening with my Alamaze games?

Charles Mosteller

Game 5684 - Underworld
Turn 32

This game of Alamaze has generated renewed interest on my part. From my perspective as the Underworld kingdom, it was good news, indeed, to learn that the Sorcerer kingdom had gained control of the region of Nyvaria from those pesky little Halflings.

Surprisingly, though, the Dark Elven kingdom seized control of the major city of Blackfire from the Sorcerer kingdom, this turn, in the Sorcerer's own starting region of The Untamed Lands. No question about it, the Dark Elven have decided to aid their allies, the Halflings. For me, though, this is all largely an exercise in observation from afar.

That said, I've mostly been piddling around, though I have commanded my agent corps to steal food from some Halfling villages, as well as to engage in a little sabotage of Halfling food production on a relatively small scale.

I did take note of the fact that the DeathKnight kingdom has now dropped from the game.

Game 5703 - Demon Princes
Turn 27

This remains my favorite game of Alamaze, to date, with the most recent turn results revealing that I have lost control of a town, but gained control over three more villages.

Having assassinated Red Dragon military leaders two turns in a row, a kidnap attempt by one of my agents on a Red Dragon mage, this turn failed. The character wasn't there, apparently, where I thought that it was. Damned magic wielders!

I did have a wizard to cast a Revelation spell upon the Red Dragon kingdom, this turn, revealing the vast majority of knowable information about that kingdom to my prying eyes. I would much rather just fight the Giants, but the Red Dragon continues to meddle.

Game 5705 - Warlock
Turn 23

This game was starting to turn interesting, again, but now, the Demon Princes player in this game has decided to abandon ship - and just as I was about to enter the war against that kingdom in earnest.

My forces gained control of no less than four different villages in Nyvaria, this turn, from the last vestiges of the Demon Princes, but what's this? Eh?! It appears that the Underworld player has dispatched a high ranking emissary to one of the villages that I just took control of from the Demon Princes. Perhaps the Underworld player thought that this village was still Neutral controlled, or maybe the Underworld Kingdom aims to lay my kingdom low. I just don't know, but I will be attempting to have my political emissary that's located there, currently, to maintain status quo. Hopefully, the blades are not out for me, but if they are, then I don't plan to go silently into the night.

Game 5712 - Cimmerians
Turn 25

Recently, the Giants player decided to attack what remained of the troop brigades in my military groups located in my kingdom's capital. certainly, on top of being attacked over the course of the game by both the dastardly Rangers and the despicable Lizards, the last thing that my kingdom needed was for yet another kingdom to now enter the fray against me, and especially not one as militarily powerful as the Giants.

What a torment of a game, this one turned out to be. The overall experience of this game as the Cimmerians has been anything but a barrel of fun. Blah. Meh. Dreadfully boring and utterly lacking in appeal.

Game 5724 - Demon Princes
Turn 3

It's still really early, in this one. My two Demon Prince characters that previously got incarcerated, when their attempt to meddle at the major city of Stormgate, have escaped. This is predictable, though.

My political emissaries did manage to gain control over two more villages, this turn. Hey, it's something, even if it isn't exactly what one might consider to be a major announcement.

Previously, I used a Demon Prince to usurp control of the very productive village of Cornucopia, and it would be a real shame for some other kingdom to try and seize control of that village away from me. War certainly awaits whatever player is foolish enough to go that route.

All in all, the big news for this turn was that the Red Dragon gained control of the region known as The Untamed Lands. None of the other eleven players in this game have gained control of their starting region, yet - myself included.

Game 5663 - Dwarves

I dropped this game not long ago.

Game 5693 - Underworld

This game came to an end on Turn #40. I finished in 7th Place, with only seven players left in this game at the very end.

All Things Considered

So, what do I think about Alamaze, right now, all things considered, from an overall perspective?

Well, there are things that I like about Alamaze, and there are things that I definitely dislike about Alamaze. I have mixed feelings about the game.

I think that the game has some major imbalance issues, and that it definitely embodies a "death spiral" for players, which new players, especially, would probably find it very difficult to find their way out of, if their kingdom with unfortunate enough to get off on a bad start or begin to find themselves in a losing situation. Numerous things about it still bring fun to the table, but simultaneously, boredom is common.

Hyborian War image ad for Reality Simulations, Inc. (RSI)

Do certain practices grow or slow

player sign-ups for PBM games?

Charles Mosteller

One of the more "interesting" approaches that PBM companies and GMs take to "growing" the PBM player base is that, for the most part, they don't really seem to make much effort to share how many people are signed up to play in various PBM games.

If secrecy is the key to growing the PBM player base, then perhaps it is counterproductive to advertise such PBM companies and their PBM games. After all, wouldn't that help to aid their grand cause of maintaining such secrecy?

It used to be that, actually, the best approach to maintaining player sign-up lists for PBM games that I was aware of was Flying Buffalo, Inc., which later went on to become RickLoomis PBM.

Back on October 17th, 2023, Chuck at RickLoomis PBM responded in a timely manner to an inquiry that I had about their Feudal Lords sign-up list, and what he said was, "Our waiting list is no longer being maintained. Just one player is waiting for weekly Feudal Lords right now. We probably won't be running the slower version any more."

So, while they still seem to track player sign-ups, they apparently no longer use (or update) the online list(s) that they used to maintain for that purpose.

Which leaves who else? Middle-earth PBM, insofar as I know and am aware. These fellows at Middle-earth Games maintain a list of open positions in games of Middle-earth PBM that are forming, and this information is always available at their website's main page located here.

The whole lack of such basic information, information that actually helps to promote and to drive the final few sign-ups, is, in my considered opinion, a scathing indictment of the PBM gaming industry and hobby. from my perspective, it is nothing short of insane. Such secrecy is, in a nutshell, counter-productive to the underlying objective of getting more players signed up quicker. It underscores the widespread perception that PBM companies and GMs aren't really all that interested in growing the PBM player base to any real degree.

Asking for such information tends to yield nothing, from PBM companies that I have sought such information from in the past. Why bother asking for it, if such inquires just end up getting ignored, anyway?

On November 2nd, 2023, Sean Long posted the following on the Play By Mail Facebook page:

"I wish more people wanted to play this game. It seems like it takes forever and a century to fill games up."

- Sean Long

The game to which he was referring is Galac-Tac, which is run by Talisman Games. In fairness to Talisman Games, they at least post something on their website pertaining such matters. So, let's take a look at what that part of their website says.

Why should people sign up for PBM games, if they end up being left clueless - utterly clueless - as to what kind of an actual time frame that they may be looking at, between the point of signing up and the point at which a given game actually starts?

The Empire Count in Galac-Tac is advertised as 10 to 15. And since each player only plays one empire in any given game of Galac-Tac, as far as I know, then that means that there are 10 to 15 players in a game of Galac-Tac. Right?

So, how many is "many," when you're looking at a relatively small amount of players in the range of 10 to 15? Me? I look at such numbers, and I sometimes even track such numbers, but honestly, I really don't have a clue what the term "many" means in that context?

Plus, the number of positions still remaining to be filled could be revealed to one and all (aka the gamers looking for a game to sign up and play), without revealing how many players will be playing in a game of Galac-Tac.

Yet, that's not the approach that Talisman Games takes. Even still, what relatively little information that Talisman Games provides on the number of players signing up is actually more than what most PBM companies and GMs seem to provide.

Honestly, I really don't think that there's any other PBM company out there that would be more appreciative of people signing up to play their PBM games, than the nice folks at Talisman Games would be, if you were to sign up for a game of Galac-Tac to play.

Antiquated and archaic practices plague the PBM industry and hobby. And from the looks of it, things aren't likely to change anytime soon. At least, not from what I have seen, and I have spent a LOT of time over the last however many years that it has been just looking at the state of affairs in and across the PBM industry and hobby.

PBM gamer Sean Long's own words of, "It seems like it takes forever and a century to fill games up," are well worth repeating.

For all of the criticism that I voice about the PBM industry and hobby, Sean's words are, simultaneously, both a lament and a complaint all wrapped up in one. Perhaps he wasn't even consciously trying to complain, but his second sentence certainly doesn't come across as a compliment, whereas his first sentence actually does.


Galac-Tac image ad for Talisman Games
Galac-Tac games forming as of 11/03/2023

Games of Galac-Tac forming as of 11/03/2023

And now, let's compare that information with the same information for earlier this year, back on February 3rd, 2023, courtesy of the Wayback machine.

If you ever wonder why more people don't play PBM games, just remember Sean Long wishing that more people wanted to play Galac-Tac.
Galac-Tac games forming as of 02/03/2023

Games of Galac-Tac forming as of 02/03/2023

Thus, for at least nine months, Game #130 of Galac-Tac has been forming, and it has had "many" positions filled, whatever that inherently vague term means.

But let's also look at the Galac-Tac sign-up list for 06/02/2023, again, courtesy of the Wayback Machine.

Of course, where Galac-Tac, itself, is concerned, Talisman Games' chosen approach to doing things probably doesn't help matters any. Davin Church went to the trouble of trying to put most of the Galac-Tac info on the About page of their website, but then that same page sends people to a different page to actually sign up. What sense does that make?

Galac-Tac games forming as of 06/02/2023

Games of Galac-Tac forming as of 06/02/2023

On the one hand, telling people how many people have signed up for a given PBM game may "spoil part of the fun," but simultaneously, on the other hand, being left utterly in the dark as to how many more people need to sign up, before a given PBM game starts, can also "spoil part of the fun." Why? Because it effectively leaves both those players who have already signed up (but who don't like being left in stasis), as well as players who might be interested in signing up (but who don't really have any clue if a given PBM game might start anytime soon).

Also, Talisman games advertises, "Here at Talisman Games you get to play any or all the games you want for one low monthly fee of $5.00." While I certainly have nothing against PBM companies and GMs charging to play in their PBM games, from my perspective, when a PBM game's player base has been allowed to deteriorate over the years, even relatively small fees can equate to an obstacle or impediment of note to growing the size of your game's player base. It's not my call, but it is fair game for discussion and analysis in a PBM context.

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Sports PBMs

Middle-earth PBM image ad for Middle-earth games

Hi Charles,

It strikes me as a hell of a choice to choose between doing what one wants to, in a bid to have fun and to get away from the usual constraints of a team game like Middle-earth PBM, and limited communication. But I suppose that Middle-earth PBM is, first and foremost, a team game.

Charles Mosteller

I don't see it that way :)

MEPBM is indeed a team game (except when it isn't, such as the all vs all games, or the 1 vs 1 games). But I don't see this as a constraint, any more than it is in, say, football. Would a football match be more fun if one of the players did their own thing? (Actually I've no idea, I know nothing about sports, so bad choice of comparison there!) If what one wants is not to be in a team, then obviously team games are not going to be fun. But if you enjoy working as part of a team, offering suggestions and shaping the overall strategy of a group of players, but then abiding by that overall strategy, then the 'choice' between doing what one wants and having fun vanishes. And this is true, I think, of all team games, not just MEPBM.

The impression that I have (and you can correct me if I a wrong, John) is that Middle-earth PBM has been played so many times by so many players, down through the years, that only certain strategies are viable - and that it wouldn't take very much, at all, for one player to really muck things up for everyone.

Charles Mosteller

Certainly if a player on a team starts acting against the interests of that team, it would indeed muck things up for everyone. Don't do that! Again, if you're not a team player, don't play a team game.

But please don't get the impression being on a team means having another player tell you exactly what to do. Working as a team might, for example, require you to defend an area that the team needs defended, but the details of how to do that would be up to you. An attempt at market manipulation might require you to use a couple of capital orders in a certain way, but you still have plenty of others. And besides, as part of a team, you are part of shaping the team's strategy. You get a say, same as everyone else.

Nor is it the case that only certain strategies are viable. Obviously some aren't! But strategies are constantly evolving - someone comes up with a new idea, then the opposition comes up with a way to counter it, and so on. Think rock/paper/scissors, but with twenty other objects thrown in. So, new players are welcomed, not just because it grows the player base, but because they will have their own ideas and suggestions. And of course, each new module or variant requires fresh strategies. 

John Davis

Middle-earth Games

Good to hear from you, again, John!

And how, exactly and specifically, are the "interests of the team" determined? Do the teams on each side of Middle-earth PBM take a vote? Does what the majority wants equate to the "interests of the team?" What if the majority turns out to be wrong?

Certainly, there are the "interests of the team" and the "interests of the individual players" to reconcile - some how, some way. I do think that Middle-earth PBM is unique, in the fact that it brings team games to the PBM table, at all. And I would certainly concede that a team is more than merely a collection of allies. That said, the mantra of "if you're not a team player, don't play a team game" does nothing, whatsoever, to tempt, motivate, or inspire me to return to Middle-earth PBM - even though it's probably fairly sound advice.

I do like the rock/paper/scissors analogy, but with twenty other objects thrown in. And I haven't entirely forgotten the experience of playing Middle-earth PBM way back when, and I certainly didn't run into a bunch of guys all insisting and demanding that I do things "their way." But even still, a single personal challenge gone wrong could end up tilting the balance of power away from one's team to the other side, if I'm not mistaken.

But that's just it, in Middle-earth PBM, there are sides. Not just teams, but sides. It is, in essence, a quintessential example of Good versus Evil, is it not? Maybe there's something to be said for teams in PBM games, after all, and especially in the context of a game where Good and Evil are defining characteristics of the game.

I think for me, Tolkien's expansive realm of Middle-earth beckons unto me, and it nudges me to think in terms of "what if?" Instead of this, what if I were to do that, instead? And I juxtapose that against whatever a given "team" might want me to do, instead? In essence, how much of my "gaming soul" do I sacrifice, that my "team" might be appeased? Do I just pay my money, and let others then decide what I do, as well as where I do it, and with how much?

In Middle-earth PBM, back when I gave it a couple of tries with Game Systems, Inc., it was the Dark Servants which appealed to me far more than the Free Peoples. This had less to do with Good versus Evil, and more to do with the mere fact that I found the Dark Servants, by and large, to be more colorful than the bland Free Peoples.

Withing me, the beginnings of a struggle have already begun to ensue. Decades later, has the time come for me to return to the realm of Middle-earth, and see if I can do, now, what I couldn't do then? Or should I resist the calling to undertake the arduous and time-consuming learning of rules, the learning of game mechanics, and the learning of software, for the "privilege" of running each of my turn orders past a committee of other players that, collectively, form my side's "team?"

Like many PBM games, Middle-earth PBM features winners and losers. Me? I tend to care little for such scoring systems foisted upon settings, and just like to play PBM games to have fun. Not that it can't be fun to play a game as part of a team, but is a "team win" what I crave, down deep inside as a PBM gamer?

The Nazgûl of Middle-earth are in thrall to Sauron, if memory serves me correctly, not to one another. Their loyalty, thus, is not to one another. Who, then, is truly in charge? And if no one is in charge, then who gets to actually say what the "team" should or should not do? Consensus is a hell of a way to run a "team." In real life, consensus is never a proper nor adequate substitute for winning real wars.

But then again, Middle-earth PBM is about war in a fantasy setting, not real life. If one goes along with one's "team," and then the team bungles it and loses, do you get a refund for turn fees spent on what your "team" wanted to do? Or are you just left footing the bill for the failure wrought by others?

Charles Mosteller

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En Garde! PBMs

Image ad for the Transgenerational Starweb Death Match game

The Sign-Up List for the Transgenerational Starweb Death Match (Starweb Championship Match) as of 11/03/2023 is:

1. Jim Smith

2. Alexander Sahm

3. Ian Holden

4. Kevyn Tyler

NOTE: The number of players needed to start is 15.

To sign up for the Transgenerational Starweb Death Match game, just contact Charles at: [email protected]

Let's try to get this game rolling, people! Who will be next to sign up?

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Image description

PBMville Characters & Locations
The Living

$Doc Dudley Feelpain

Player: NPC Doctor

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 24

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 23 to treat Deputy Farkus Gurdeen.

Current Location: 23

NOTE: Doc Dudley Feelpain gets one order slot per turn.

NOTE: Doctors can occupy any location that the wounded are at. Wounds are treated at the END of a turn. Doctors will always give PRIORITY to treating wounded law enforcement officers over treating outlaws and those disturbing the peace.

Doc Feelpain moves his ass, and carefully makes his way to where the wounded deputy, Farkus Gurdeen, is bleeding in the street. Opening his medical bag, he begins working on the wound, and manages to dig the bullet out, while a couple of nearby townsfolk hold the deputy down. Soon enough, he stops the bleeding, and bandages the wound up.

$"Wicked" Wilbur Whitley

Player: Stefan Graf

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 25

Assignment Last Turn: SHOOT at Mississippi Jane Deadshot in 24

Current Location: 25

True to his name, Wilbur Whitley proved to be wicked, aiming to gun down Mississippi Jane Deadshot in the streets of PBMville. He aimed. He slowly squeezed that trigger, with evil in his heart. BANG! But I'll be damned, he missed! The old buzzard missed, bringing more shame on his pa's name.


$Frank "Nine Fingers" Chambers

Player: Barry Robertson


$500 REWARD for killing Sheriff "Wild Bill" Hickok


Last Location = 19

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 20.

Current Location: 20

People Killed: 1

$Sharpshooter Archibald Tyrrell

Player: Darrell Lias

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 3

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 1.

Current Location: 1

Deputy Farkus Gurdeen

Player: NPC

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 23

Assignment Last Turn: SHOOT at Mississippi Jane Deadshot in 24.

Current Location: 23

NOTE: Deputy Farkus Gurdeen gets one order slot per turn.

Realizing that his life was on the line, Farkus Gurdeen, duly appointed deputy of PBMville, took aim, again. In his sights? That hateful hag, Mississippi Jane Deadshot. But would he have better luck, this time around? POW! He definitely didn't, and the bullet struck the ground at Mississippi's feet.

Big Bad Black Bob

Player: Indie Spin


Last Location = 6

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 9. The move failed. You can't get there from here.

Current Location: 6

Deputy Winslow Kinkaid

Player: NPC

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 13

Assignment Last Turn: SHOOT at Brendan "the Dirge" Weir in 14.

Current Location: 13

NOTE: Deputy Winslow Kinkaid gets one order slot per turn.

It was on his mind that ammo running low, and he had to make this next shot count. His wife was too young to become a widow. He brought the revolver up, taking aim as he did so. BLAM! Another miss. A teardrop welled up in his eye, and Winslow Kinkaid wanted to cry. He feared for his life.


$Mississippi Jane Deadshot

Player: Richard Lockwood



Health: GOOD

Location = 24

Assignment Last Turn: SHOOT at Deputy Farkus Gurdeen in 23.

Current Location: 24

People Killed: 1

Life was too short to waste time on letting men take pop shots at you in dusty streets of backwater Wild West towns. It was time to teach this son of a bitch a lesson. Mississippi took aim, once more, unleashing a round down range towards the lawman, Farkus Gurdeen. BANG! She must have drank too much for breakfast, because her aim was off, and a miss was all that she got for her trouble.


$Rowdy Slim McGraw

Player: Casey Link




Last Location = 8

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 9.

Current Location: 9

People Killed: 2


$Brendan "The Dirge" Weir



Player: Brendan Weir


Last Location = 14

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 15.

Current Location: 15

People Killed: 2

Possession: Ace of Spades [1 Use Only] [Averts Death]

Image description

The Narrator Speaks

I'm currently in the process of trying to expand PBMville. It's a slow process (well, for me, it's slow, anyway). I did get a price quote to have a cartographer create a Wild West map for me, but I'm not inclined to spend hundreds of dollars on it. Instead, I'll just create something, myself. The images, above, are small, so the writing on their signs may be a little hard to make out.

My aim is to remake the town map, and then expand outward from there. I've looked online at numerous different Wild West type maps, and even a number of different "battle maps." So far, I haven't stumbled across what I'm looking for. maybe that's because it doesn't exist, or if it does exist, I haven't yet found it. I've also looked at all sorts of different Wild West RPG materials at online stores that carry PDF products of such. I prefer to avoid unnecessary complexity, if possible, as that would simply slow things down enormously (or so I am inclined to think).

Just one item isn't going to work. Thus, just remaking the town map, while that will better facilitate certain things, won't likely work as an overall one-size-fits-all kind of solution. Gunfights are all fine and dandy, but nothing but gunfights will soon run its course. Plus, nothing but gunfights is never what I have been after or aiming for, where PBMville: Wild West Shootout is concerned.

For those derned fools out there in the streets of PBMville trying like hell to murder one another in the streets, you really ought to keep in mind that the farther that you are from your target, the more likely that you are to miss. You see, each increase in distance between you and your target means that I roll another dice, on top of the single dice that is the default that I roll, whenever lead starts flying.

So, as an example to help illustrate the point, if your character is in Location 1, and he (or she) shoots at another character all of the way down in Location 15, that's four dice instead of one that I will roll. And if any of those four dice rolls a miss, then your shot will miss. That doesn't mean that you can't hit your target, nor that you can't kill your target, instead of just wounding them, but in PBMville, never assume that the dice are your friend. They don't care if you hit or miss, or if your character lives or dies.

I emphasis that I, as the GM and the Narrator of PBMville, never know ahead of time if your character will hit or miss whatever they're aiming at. I don't go around plotting your character's demise. Not that I would mind, necessarily, if Richard Lockwood's character got shot up on a routine basis, but it's the dice and not me that decide that sort of thing.

Don't forget that where the wounded are concerned, as things currently stand, the town doctor will always treat lawmen first. Outlaws and riffraff are never the town doctor's top priority. Is it fair? No, of course not, but then again, the Wild West never had a reputation for life being fair, there, during that time frame in American history.

If interest in PBMville eventually/gradually peters out, then PBMville will fade into history, itself. Even if it does, though, then I will likely launch something different. After all, there's a reason that I talked about PBM games of a temporary nature in a previous issue of PBM Chaos.

As piss poorly as some of the players' characters shoot, the town undertaken is gonna end up on the unemployment roll. Where in the hell did you bunch of Western yahoos learn to handle a gun, anyway?

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