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Paizo Play By Post⚑

Play by post is a form of online gaming that allows the players to post in text format once or twice a day. Many players enjoy it as a supplement to their other gaming… some even consider it the highest form of tabletop gaming!

Benefits

  • Allows for deep roleplay, since players can take their time crafting each post
  • An excellent venue for creative players who do not excel at improv
  • Allows for asynchronous play

Drawbacks

  • Can be too slow-paced for some (tables vary)
  • Paizo uses BBCode, a deprecated and clunky syntax
  • The Paizo forums were not designed for Play-by-Post, so players sometimes need to leverage hacks and workarounds
  • Avatar art selection is difficult and limited

Many players enjoy both play by post and live gaming. As with every other medium, nothing here is exclusive.

Creating a Play by Post Alias⚑

First, register a character.

This time, you should select a character image. You can go back and change it later on. Go to Character Image and click Change. There are hundreds of avatars to sort through; try to find one that matches your character's personality. Hover over the one you want and click Select this Avatar.

Selecting an Avatar

Selecting an avatar. Hover over your selected image and click `Select this Avatar.`

Last, click Submit Changes.

Use the Avatar Gallery on this site

Picking avatars can be a major roadblock due to the nature of the paizo site. We have screen captures of every avatar page here.

You should now have an alias that you can select anywhere on the forums. Below every text box is a Post As dropdown, and you can select any aliases there.

A post on the new forum alias

A post on the new forum alias.

Alias vs Character Profile⚑


This is a common point of confusion on the Paizo website. An alias is not the same thing as a character profile. Let's look at the character we just created by navigating to Organized Play:

A post on the new forum alias

There are two links circled. The Character's name goes to edit the Profile, and the Edit button takes you to the Alias.

As you can see, there are seemingly two ways to edit the character. Which one is which? 🤔

If you click on the Character Name, you are taken to edit the profile. This profile is what other users see when you post using that alias on the forums, and it is the location where you will be adding character sheet information.

If you click on the Edit button, you will be take n to the Alias. You need to edit the Alias to change your character's avatar. Everything else can be edited on the profile.

The profile should all your stats for games, except the avatar image
The profile has character information, but does not contain the avatar image.

The alias doesn't have your character info for games, but it contains your character's image
The alias doesn't have your character info for games, but it contains your character's image.

Adding Information to your Character⚑

Play by post typically uses your Paizo character's profile for their character sheet, so filling it out is important. Tp do this, navigate to your character's profile:

  1. Hover over My Account and click Organized play
  2. Locate the character under My Characters
  3. Click the character's name (not the Edit button)
  4. Click Edit my Profile

You should now be on a page that contains a bunch of text fields that you can fill out.

Enter the character's full name in the Full name field.

Adding the Slashline⚑


Next, you want to start filling out your character's slashline. The slashline contains important at-a-glance information that your fellow players and GM will find useful, such as hitpoints, armor, status, and spells. Since the Paizo boards don't have an official slashline, players use the Race and Class/Levels text areas to input this data. With limited character space, it is often written in shorthand (e.g. "AC" for "Armor Class," "HP" for "Hit Points," etc). If you aren't sure, feel free to ask!

Here are copy-paste-able templates for Pathfinder Second Edition, just replace the relevant areas:

Pathfinder 2E Slashlines⚑

Slashline Template for Race Field
GENDER CLASS LEVEL |  [b]Perc[/b] +X (SENSES) | Speed: X' | [b]HP:[/b] X/Y | [b]AC:[/b] X (NOTES) | [b]Fort:[/b] +X [b]Ref:[/b] +X [b]Will:[/b] +X (NOTES)
Slashline Template for Gender Field
 |Spells: Foc:X/Y; 1: X/Y | Exploration: ACTIVITY | Status: CURRENT_STATUS | Hero Points: X

Starfinder Slashlines⚑

Slashline Template for Race Field (note the space at the start, very important to leave it in)
 | SP 12/12 HP 14/14 | [ooc] RP 4/4[/ooc] | EAC 15, KAC 16 | [ooc]Fort +0; Ref +6; Will +3[/ooc] | Init: +4 | [ooc]Perc: +6, SM: +6[/ooc]
Slashline Template for Classes/Levels Field (note the space at the start, very important to leave it in)
 | Speed 30ft | [ooc] Reroll: 1/1, Coin 1/1[/ooc] | [ooc]Active conditions: None.[/ooc]
Slashline Template for Gender Field
[ooc]CG Ysoki Cyberborn Gadgeteer Operative 2[/ooc]

The Final Result⚑

When you are done, your profile should have a lot of information where in the Full Name and Race fields — it probably looks like a mess, but don't worry. When you actually post it will be formatted nicely:

A basic slashline as it appears in a PbP game

A basic slashline as it appears in a PbP game.

Adding the Character's Profile Stats⚑


When you edit your character's profile, you have many other fields to fill in. This is all optional, but most GMs want you to provide a character sheet they can read.

In the About section, you can provide a description of your PC, as well as their character sheet information. There are several templates out there to fill in if you like, or if you are using a service like Hero Lab it can output a stat block for you. Here is how I format my stat blocks; as above, you can copy and paste to use as a starting point. One particular feature of this template is that is uses Paizo forum syntax to create macros for many of the character's abilities, while still being readable.

Pathfinder 2E Profile Templates⚑

2E Profile Template: Click to Expand
[b]Ancestry[/b] YOUR_ANCESTRY
[b]Background[/b] YOUR_BACKGROUND
[b]Languages[/b] YOUR_LANGUAGES

____________________ 
[B][i]APPEARANCE[/i][/B]
What do you look like? this doesn't have to be a full backstory, just an interesting glimpse and a hook.

____________________ 
[B][i]DEFENSE[/i][/B]

[b]HP[/b] YOUR_HP
[b]AC[/b] YOUR_AC (YOUR_AC_WITH_SHIELD)   
[b]Speed[/b] YOUR_SPEED  
[dice=[b]Fort[/b] (E)]1d20+YOUR_FORT_MODIFIER[/dice] [smaller]ANY_NOTES[/smaller]
[dice=[b]Ref[/b] (M)]1d20+YOUR_REF_MODIFIER[/dice] [smaller]ANY_NOTES[/smaller]
[dice=[b]Will[/b] (M)]1d20+YOUR_WILL_MODIFIER[/dice] [smaller]ANY_NOTES[/smaller]
[dice=[b]Perception[/b] (M)]1d20+YOUR_PERCEPTION_MODIFIER[/dice] [smaller]+1 circ. vs traps[/smaller]

____________________ 
[B][i]OFFENSE[/i][/B]

[b][smaller]Melee[/smaller][/b]
‾‾‾‾
[dice=WEAPON_NAME]1d20+ATTACK_MODIFIER[/dice]
[dice=DAMAGE_TYPE]DAMAGE_DICE[/dice]
[dice=CONDITIONAL_DAMAGE_DICE]DAMAGE_DICE[/dice]

[dice=WEAPON_NAME]1d20+ATTACK_MODIFIER - MAP_2[/dice]
[dice=DAMAGE_TYPE]DAMAGE_DICE[/dice]
[dice=CONDITIONAL_DAMAGE_DICE]DAMAGE_DICE[/dice]

[b][smaller]Ranged[/smaller][/b]
‾‾‾‾
[dice=WEAPON_NAME]1d20+ATTACK_MODIFIER[/dice]
[dice=DAMAGE_TYPE]DAMAGE_DICE[/dice]
[dice=CONDITIONAL_DAMAGE_DICE]DAMAGE_DICE[/dice]

[dice=WEAPON_NAME]1d20+ATTACK_MODIFIER - MAP_2[/dice]
[dice=DAMAGE_TYPE]DAMAGE_DICE[/dice]
[dice=CONDITIONAL_DAMAGE_DICE]DAMAGE_DICE[/dice]

____________________ 
[B][i]SKILLS[/i][/B]

[dice=[b]Acrobatics[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice]
[dice=[b]Arcana[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice]
[dice=[b]Athletics[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice] 
[dice=[b]Crafting[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice]
[dice=[b]Deception[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice] 
[dice=[b]Diplomacy[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice] 
[dice=[b]Intimidation[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice] 
[dice=[b]Medicine[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice]
[dice=[b]Nature[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice] 
[dice=[b]Occultism[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice]
[dice=[b]Performance[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice] 
[dice=[b]Religion[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice] 
[dice=[b]Society[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice]
[dice=[b]Stealth[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice]
[dice=[b]Survival[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice] 
[dice=[b]Thievery[/b] (TEML)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice]

[smaller][b]LORE[/b][/smaller]
‾‾‾‾
[dice=[b]LORE_1[/b] (T)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice]
[dice=[b]LORE_2[/b] (T)]1d20+YOUR_MODIFIER[/dice]

____________________ 
[B][i]USEFUL MACROS[/i][/B]

[b][smaller]Dread Marshal Stance[/smaller][/b]
[dice=Dread Marshal Stance, DC 24]1d20+18[/dice] [ooc]=> Stance is a [b]X'[/b] aura.[/ooc]

[spoiler=Stance Results][b]Critical Success[/b] Your marshal's aura increases to a 20-foot emanation, and it grants you and allies a status bonus to damage rolls equal to the number of weapon damage dice of the unarmed attack or weapon you are wielding that has the most weapon damage dice. When you or an ally in the aura critically hits an enemy with a Strike, that enemy is frightened 1.
[b]Success[/b] As critical success, but your aura's size doesn't increase.
[b]Failure[/b] You fail to enter the stance.
[b]Critical Failure[/b] You fail to enter the stance and can't take this action again for 1 minute.[/spoiler]

____________________ 
[B][i]BOTTING[/i][/B]

[b]1.[/b] DO_THING_FIRST
[b]2.[/b] DO_THING_SECOND
[b]3.[/b] ELSE_DO_THING

____________________ 
[B][i]EQUIPMENT[/i][/B]

[b][smaller]Worn[/smaller][/b]
‾‾‾‾
YOUR_WORN_ITEMS

[b][smaller]Wielded[/smaller][/b]
‾‾‾‾
YOUR_WIELDED_ITEMS

[b][smaller]Invested[/smaller][/b]
‾‾‾‾
YOUR_INVESTED_ITEMS

[b][smaller]Stowed[/smaller][/b]
‾‾‾‾
YOUR_STOWED_ITEMS

____________________ 
[b][i]BOONS & PAPERWORK[/i][/b] 

[url=LINK_TO_INVENTORY_TRACKING_SHEET]ITS[/url]

[url=LINK_TO_CHRONICLES_FOLDER]Chronicles & Boone[/url]

____________________ 
[b][i]LEVELING[/i][/b] 

[b][smaller]Level 1[/smaller][/b]
‾‾‾‾
ancestry: YOUR_ANCESTRY 
ancestry heritage: YOUR_HERITAGE
background: YOUR_BACKGROUND
initial proficiencies: YOUR_PROFICIENCIES
pathfinder school: YOUR_SCHOOL
CLASS_SPECIFIC FEATURES_AND_ABILITIES

[b][smaller]Level 2[/smaller][/b]
‾‾‾‾
CLASS_FEATURES

[b][smaller]Level 3[/smaller][/b]
‾‾‾‾
CLASS_FEATURES

Here is an example of how a page using this formatting looks.

Starfinder Profile Template⚑

Starfinder Character Profile Template: Click to Expand
[b][bigger]CHARACTER_NAME[/bigger][/b]
[b]Race:[/b] YOUR_RACE
[b]Background:[/b] YOUR_BACKGROUND
[b]Class(es) and Level(s):[/b] CLASS_ONE LEVEL_1 (/ CLASS_TWO LEVEL_2, etc.) 
[b]Alignment:[/b] YOUR_ALIGNMENT

[b]Init[/b] YOUR_ALIGNMENT; [b]Senses [/b]ANY_SPECIAL_SENSES; [b]Perception[/b] YOUR_PERCEPTION
--------------------
[b]DEFENSE[/b]  
[b]SP[/b] YOUR_STAMINA [b]HP[/b] YOUR_HIT_POINTS [b]RP[/b] YOUR_RESOLVE_POINTS
--------------------
[b]EAC[/b] YOUR_EAC; [b]KAC[/b] YOUR_KAC
[b]Fort[/b] YOUR_FORTITUDE_BONUS; [b]Ref[/b] YOUR_REFLEX_BONUS; [b]Will[/b] YOUR_WILL_BONUS;

[b][smaller]Save Macros[/smaller][/b]
[dice=Fort]1d20+YOUR_FORTITUDE_BONUS[/dice]
[dice=Ref]1d20+YOUR_REFLEX_BONUS[/dice]
[dice=Will]1d20+YOUR_WILL_BONUS[/dice]

[b]Defensive Abilities[/b] ANY_EXTRA_DEFENSIVE_ABILITIES
--------------------
[b]Offense[/b]
--------------------
[b]Speed[/b] [YOUR SPEED] ft.
[b]Melee[/b]
[dice=<MELEE WEAPON 1>]1d20+<ATTACK BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=<DAMAGE TYPES>]<DAMAGE DICE>[/dice]

[dice=<MELEE WEAPON 2>]1d20+<ATTACK BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=<DAMAGE TYPES>]<DAMAGE DICE>[/dice]

[b]Ranged[/b]
[dice=<RANGED WEAPON 1>]1d20+<ATTACK BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=<DAMAGE TYPES>]<DAMAGE DICE>[/dice]

[dice=<RANGED WEAPON 2>]1d20+<ATTACK BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=<DAMAGE TYPES>]<DAMAGE DICE>[/dice]

[b]Offensive Abilities [/b]
[LIST OFFENSIVE ABILITIES HERE]

--------------------
[b]Statistics[/b]
--------------------
[b]Str [/b][STR SCORE] (+[STR BONUS]); [b]Dex [/b][STR SCORE] (+[DEX BONUS]); [b]Con [/b][CON SCORE] (+[CON BONUS]); [b]Int [/b][INT SCORE] (+[INT BONUS]); [b]Wis [/b]Z[WIS SCORE] (+[WIS BONUS]); [b]Cha [/b][CHA SCORE] (+[CHA BONUS])
[b]Skills[/b]
[dice=Acrobatics]1d20+<ACROBATICS BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Athletics]1d20+<ATHLETICS BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Bluff]1d20+<BLUFF BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Computers]1d20+<COMPUTERS BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Culture]1d20+<CULTURE BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Diplomacy]1d20+<DIPLOMACY BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Disguise]1d20+<DISGUISE BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Engineering]1d20+<ENGINEERING BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Intimidate]1d20+<INTIMIDATE BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Medicine]1d20+<MEDICINE BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Perception]1d20+<PERCEPTION BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Piloting]1d20+<PILOTING BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Profession ([TYPE])]1d20+<PROFESSION (TYPE) BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Sense motive]1d20+<SENSE MOTIVE BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Sleight of hand]1d20+<SLEIGHT OF HAND BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Stealth]1d20+<STEALTH BONUS>[/dice]
[dice=Survival]1d20+<SURVIVAL BONUS>[/dice]

[b]Feats[/b] [FEAT LIST]
[b]Languages [/b] [LANGUAGES KNOWN]
[b]Other Abilities [/b]
[b][ABILITT NAME][/b] [ABILITY DESCRIPTION]

[b]Gear [/b] [LIST OF GEAR]

____________________ 
[B][i]BOTTING[/i][/B]

[b]1.[/b] DO_THING_FIRST
[b]2.[/b] DO_THING_SECOND
[b]3.[/b] ELSE_DO_THING

Forum Syntax⚑

The forums use opening and closing tags for basic formatting and dice rolling:

Bold Text
[b]This is bold text[/b]
Italic Text
[i]This is italic text[/i]
Small Text
[smaller]This is smaller text[/smaller]
Large Text
[bigger]This is bold text[/bigger]
Strikethrough Text
[s]This is strikethrough text[/s]
Out-of-Character text
[ooc]This is out of character text[/ooc]
Spoilers
[dice=Spoiler_Title]Spoiled text goes here.[/dice]
Dice Expressions
[dice=Description_of_Roll]dX+Y[/dice]

You can combine all tags.

Combining Tags
[b][i][s]This is bold italic strikethrough text[/s][/i][/b]

Always Close Tags

Make sure to close tags; there is a forum bug where if you leave a [b] tag open, it makes the entire game bold — and it cannot be undone! The only recourse is to start a whole new game thread.

Posting Conventions⚑

Every player and gm has slightly different preferences. However, there are a few best practices.

Narrative Text⚑

When speaking, make it bold and surround it in quotes

[b]"Hello my name is Beef McLarge Huge the fighter"[/b] said the large huge fighter.

When posting internal monologue, use italics

[I]"I really wish I was taller"[/i] said the fighter.

Be descriptive!

The main draw of play by post is the opportunity to use evocative language, and really immerse yourself in the setting.

When Speaking out of character, flag it as such

Clarity is important, but so is flavor and narrative! You can use OOC text to highlight game mechanics while keeping things flavorful in "normal" text:

Brock Enrol sings an arcane word and then flicks a dollop of butter at the aberration. [ooc]Grease (V, M); DC 16 Reflex save[/ooc].

This is both flavorful from a story perspective, and clear from a mechanical perspective.

Provide hooks and push

Interact with other PCs while pushing forward with the story.

[b]"Brock, I'm pushing the door open. Get ready in 3… 2…"[/b]

Formatting Dice Rolls⚑


Dice rolls should be informative and concise. A good standard is to place the attack name, and any modifiers that effect the roll in the description. For example, here are tow attacks being modified by Inspire Courage and Frightened 2:

[dice=Club, Cold Iron, Strike 1, Inspire Courage, Frightened 2]1d20 + 4 + 1 -2[/dice] [dice=Bludgeoning, Inspire Courage]1d6 + 4 + 1[/dice] [dice=Club, Cold Iron, Strike 2, Inspire Courage, Frightened 2]1d20 + 4 + 1 -2 -5[/dice] [dice=Bludgeoning, Inspire Courage]1d6 + 4 + 1[/dice]

This player wrote Inspire Courage in both their attack and damage roll descriptions. They also included Inspire Courage's +1 bonus, and Frightened 2's -2 penalty, separately, which added extra clarity. In the second Strike's attack roll, they also included the -5 for the Multiple Attack Penalty.

This is excellent! Every bonus and penalty to the d20 roll is clear, and the GM can understand how each total was achieved.

Note that the player also included the damage type in the damage roll. Including the damage type is important, as enemies often resist or are weak to certain kinds of damage.

Reactions and Out-of-Turn Actions⚑


Reactions, AOOs, and other out-of-turn activities can be tricky in play-by-post. Pre-roll reactions where applicable so the game keeps moving, and designate their trigger, on your turn. (It might help you to make a macro for this, or save text that you can copy/paste somewhere.) For example, a fighter anticipating getting an attack of opportunity on "Bee Evil" might write:

If Bee Evil moves through a square I threaten:
[spoiler=AOO]
[dice=Club, Strike 1]1d20 + 2[/dice]
[dice=Bludgeoning, Strike 1]1d6 + 2 + 1[/dice]
[/spoiler]

It is considered good form to place reactions in spoilers to keep the post efficient. At times, you may not want to other players to see your reaction… in which case the spoiler (and honor system) is a good plan.

If you have multiple reactions, note your preference on which one you will take and what the triggers are. For example:

Brock has his shield raised and if Bee Evil hits him and does over 15 damage, he will use the block reaction. However, if Mook walks through a threatened square after Big Bad goes, he'll take an AOO:
[spoiler=AOO]
[dice=Club, Strike 1]1d20 + 2[/dice]
[dice=Bludgeoning, Strike 1]1d6 + 2 + 1[/dice]
[/spoiler]

GMs will generally work with the player to help keep the game flowing smoothly (for example, a defensive-oriented Champion might ask the GM to assume she shield blocks, and automatically reduce the damage for her and note her shield damage). Teamwork is the secret sauce to keeping things flowing and building a repertoire!

Rolling Saves⚑


When asked to roll a save, you should always make it the first dice roll on your next post (or if necessary, rolled in the narrative order of operations). If you do not follow this rule, many GMs will instead roll for you.

Use the Discussion Thread⚑


Most games have a Gameplay thread, and a Discussions thread. The majority of GMs prefer to keep a narrative flowing in the Gameplay thread. It is considered polite to post your questions (or have a discussion) in the Discussions thread instead of gameplay. At times, there may be involved discussions about the rules, and this can derail a game when the back-and-forth appears in the middle of the narrative.

Dotting In⚑


Often you will be asked before the game starts to “dot in." This means you post something in the campaign thread, then delete it. This links your character to the gameplay thread so the GM and others can see it in the "Players" section of the campaign, and places it in your Campaigns page.

After you post something like "dot!" in the gameplay thread, go ahead and delete the post to ensure the gameplay thread stays narrative-focused.

Round Tokens⚑


Most play by post GMs use Google Slides. A standard style is to use square tokens for enemies and round tokens for PCs. To make a round token in Slides:

  1. Drag your artwork onto the slide
  2. Select the image
  3. Select the Image Mask option
  4. Select the circle shape icon
  5. Add a border to the now-masked image

Video Example

Save Your Hard Work⚑


It's often a good idea to write your posts in a text editor, or copy and them before hitting Submit. Sometimes, the Paizo forums glitch out, and there is nothing worse than losing a beautiful, long post!

Finding games⚑

The Paizo forums are always recruiting games under the auspices of Organized play!

Read the GM's Profile⚑


Every gm has different conventions and needs. When you join a game, click on the GM's profile and read anything they've written. Make sure they seem like a good fit for you and that you can make any accommodations they ask for (for example, some GMs are colorblind and prefer dice split across separate lines). One of the most important considerations is how often the GM expects you to post. Do not sign up for a game if the Gm expects you to post daily, and you cannot commit to that. Find a game that fits your desired pace.

Follow Instructions⚑

GMs will need you to sign in if it's for an Organized Play game. They often use slides to to determine marching order, character info, secret checks, and the like. Try to be timely about getting them all the info they need, and don't be shy about asking for help.

Campaigns Tab⚑


When you find a game to join, the GM will provide you with a forum link. You can "dot in" on the gameplay thread so it shows up on your campaigns tab. Any game you've played in will show up there, too.

To get to your campaigns tab:

  1. Sign in
  2. Click on My Profile
  3. Click on Campaigns

Here, you should see all the campaigns associated with all of your characters. You can click on any campaign to go to the game.

Further Reading & Resources⚑