Not quite sure what PBeM is? This page explains everything!

What Is PBeM?Edit

PBEMPlayers explains it best: “A Play By EMail (PBEM) game is a form of creative writing where you add to the other players stories.

Each participant's bit of the story is generally referred to as a post, named after the act of 'posting' a message to the e-mail list or message board where the stories are collected and distributed.”

This is probably the best explanation for the type of role play we engage in. Authors will get together on the OOC site and plot a thread (a series of related posts), plot outside of the group through email or Instant Messenger programs, or will start a thread with an introductory post and wait for another writer to respond with one of their characters.

A short example of a few posts is below. However, a thread can be as short or as long as needed, depending on how long it takes to come to a natural end. Players (interchangeable with writers or authors) are not restricted to the number of threads they can do. So, if the thread comes to a natural close, it is fine to immediately start another one.

The Benefits of PBeMEdit

Every posting method has benefits.

With Joint Posts (JP) done over instant messenger, there is instant gratification and if you are short on time, it allows players to quickly complete a thread in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks. The downside of this is that you cannot fully expand on a scene and thoroughly explain what you, as a writer, may want to say. It also condenses what could be several dozen posts into a single, bulk post on a site, not to mention doesn’t allow for others to inquire about participating in the thread and possibly enriching it.

Admittingly, PBeM has disadvantages as well. One is frequency of posts. If you who are posting with isn’t available for days, it means you cannot reply to something that they haven’t posted. Also, if the website, or in this case, Yahoo! Group goes down, that can seriously complicate the order replies come in or if they come at all.

However, PBeM has a lot of benefits that other popular posting methods don’t. This method is probably one of the best methods of posting for writers because with PBeM, you can write a post and there is no maximum character limit. While it is best not to be too wordy, if you want to take two paragraphs to really paint a picture of the setting, you can. You can express a character’s thoughts and worries in addition to what they do or do not say aloud. PBeM allows you as a writer to flesh out a single response from a few simple movements and short dialogue to a few or more paragraphs of information.

With PBeM, you are also posting a scene in front of everyone. For example, if Jack and Jill just got back from walking up the hill and are passing a shack, the person who lives in the shack could potentially step out and ask these two mischievous kids what they were doing walking up the hill. With posting methods like JP, where the whole thread is private until it is done, this doesn’t allow your characters to interact with other characters that might happen to be there. As a courtesy, the person playing the shack dweller in the example above would ask Jack and Jill’s writers if it is okay first. If the writers of Jack and Jill already have a specific goal for the post, just making an appearance may prevent that.



This example comes from a Harry Potter game set in the year of 2001. In this post, the future version of Severus and Sashenka Snape’s son, Julian, has told the two that his girlfriend, Divinations professor Clarissa, is pregnant.

It is important to remember that sometimes, two or more paragraphs isn’t necessary to communicate everything you want to. If it is towards the end of a thread, such as this one, the setting has already been expressed and in this case, so has the climax of the thread.

Player OneEdit

Clarissa doubted that Sashenka was a psychotic liar, but she laughed. She did feel a little better about things, but she was also tired. The past day or so had worn her out, and she felt the lingerings of a headache around her temples. She'd have to do some research about pregnancy potions later and see if she could come up with something to give her more energy. She had a feeling she'd need it. "Yes, I think we should go." She stood. "Thank you for talking with us."

Severus nodded to Julius and Clarissa. "We are here if you need help, or want to babysit."

He rather liked the idea of having a babysitter for his two children. They didn't give them much trouble, but it was nice to be kid-free every so often.

Player TwoEdit

Once Clarissa and Julian were gone, Sashenka leaned back in her chair. "It is hard to think that he" she nodded her head to Julian "and the man that just walked out of here are the same. And, that the man that just walked out will be a father." She murmured and breathed in.

Dumbledore's death came back to her, but so did the fact that in a way, she'd be a grandmother. The passing of Albus Dumbledore was horrible, but…there would be another baby. Smiling some to herself, she stood and placed a kiss on her husband's cheek. Moving around the table, she started cleaning up breakfast.

Player OneEdit

Severus lightly touched Olivia's feather-soft hair while he listened to Sashenka's words. His eyes flickered over to Julian, the baby Julian. "It is hard to believe."

Of course, his family life typically had always been complicated, so he really shouldn't expect anything less. He was surprised to see Sashenka taking the news quite this well. "Are you really okay about all this," he asked.

Player TwoEdit

Sashenka used the act of putting away the dishes to think about that. Was she? In a way it seemed unfair. Her children were still babies and now one from the future, from a future that scared her since she couldn't imagine Severus not in her life, was having a child. Shouldn't they have more time being parents? Technically they were grandparents, even if they were still new parents for the most part. Shouldn't they have seen their children start school before finding out they'd be grandparents?

Returning, Sashenka leaned against the wall and crossed her arms. "I don't know," she finally admitted and looked at him. "I mean, I kind of thought that we'd see Julian and Olivia go to school first before we became… ded and baba." Sashenka stated, using the Russian pet names for grandfather and grandmother. "I'm happy for them, I really am I just….I don't know." It sounded so selfish and maybe it was.

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