I want to take the time to help spread the word about a play by post community that I have, in the past, had the pleasure of taking part in Explorers Unlimited. I bring this up because of the Rifts Savage worlds release has me really excited. You see Explorers Unlimited is a Rifts Play by Post. This is a play by post community for the dedicated role player. As they like to say it isn’t just another play by post site and they are 100% correct.
The forum is structured as a living world. There is a common area is based in Merctown and sets the common timeline for the game. This allows all groups to have a single point of reference for time and the like. Though the timeline can become a little skewed based on post speed in the individual adventure groups, but the moderators do a decent job of catching and correcting this as necessary so that all groups may stay synched on the world calendar. Each player group has their own boards and threads for equipment, characters, adventures and out of character chat. Mecrtown has a separate thread for every establishment in the town as necessary. All major locations have a permanent thread and others are created as needed. This in it’s self is not that special, but there is more substance to the site.
Character generation- All characters have to be approved by the overall site GM and the process is interactive with the site GM requiring at least one live chat session if not more with them to create and finalize the character. This approval is required because the site maintains a strict balance for race and class in order to maintain the overall balance of the setting. This is important, because in the Rifts universe it is extremely possible to lose power balance quickly. The process for creating a character is not simple either. Anyone who has played and game by Palladium Books will tell you that character creation is long. Explorers Unlimited does not shy away from this and instead embraces the process. They completely document their requirements, format and process for even the biggest newbie to understand. Additionally, they provide a FAQ to answer the most common pitfalls, but the mods don’t shy away from answering questions if you still have trouble. All in all the creation process was always a pleasure for me. Stats were always easy the hard part came to back ground. The site requires that all Characters be given a back ground that is at least 3 standard paragraphs long. Longer backgrounds are actually preferred and the GM tends to give you quite a bit of leeway in creating your background once your overall concept is approved. Of course if the background is too out there they will tell you, but this is Rifts so a lot will be forgiven in the way of craziness.
Participation – The site has a very rigid participation requirement. Honestly this was always my biggest hurdle given my career though they are very accommodating within reason for forecasted outages. They require at least one post a week minimum or more often if the flow of the thread requires it. Also the posts must be substantial and well written. Also some of the player groups have additional requirements for posting and interaction. All of the groups have generally good communication from what I could see and carry on chat via multiple methods to ensure the whole group stays on the same page.
GMs- There is the Site GM and well lets just say I feel for this guy because he has to keep track of all the craziness and then there are the individual group GMs. Each of them run independent adventures that are then woven into the narrative of the site. This is a great system as there are groups for any type of character. If you want to be mega powerful then there is a group for that. If you want to be an adventurer/mercenary that is out to make a buck there are groups for that and if you want to be part of the hated Coalition States guess what there is a group of operatives from them you can be apart of. Obviously, each group is limited to the number of players, but there are almost always openings.
Final thoughts – Unfortunately, I flaked a while back due to work and getting the twins and well a plethora of excuses. I hope to one day return when I have the time and dedication to devote. As it is I still follow the Facebook page, listen to the Podcast when I have time and try to read the site when I can. I will revisit this topic in the future as this site is a great community that has for ever earned my respect.