Today we’re joined by GM Jayph, and some of his crew Endeavor, Cwreando, and joettle to talk about Guardians of the Frontier. This amazing blend of D&D is done purely via play by post, and is truly a great example of how awesome internet-based campaigns can get. Check out the interview below for all the details!
First off, feel free to tell us more about the person behind the GM screen. What do you do aside from gaming? Alter Ego, Job, Wife, Kids?
Currently I’m an account manager for an online and VOD content digital services company. I’ve been working in content management for awhile now, but before I shifted professional focus I was a television producer and filmmaker. I’m happily married living in Burbank california and we’ve just celebrated our daughter’s first birthday.
Tell us about Guardians of the Frontier in a nutshell.
The Guardians is a ‘kitchen sink’ campaign focused around a fledgling homebrew town called ‘Frontier’ set in the 1st/2nd ed universe. Basically, a group of adventurers decided to make the ‘caves of unknown’, from the ‘keep on the borderlands’ their home base. Because of their presence and the gold they pour into the local economy, the population is booming. Only about 10 years old, the ‘Guardians’ utilize multiple resources and unconventional means to rapidly develop the area, increasing potential and raising standards of living. They also continue to reach out and create partnerships with other races and cities to increase trade, education, and diversity.
joettle: “For me, Guardians has been the classic, fun, energetic D&D experience. There are tons of options for characters and play. The world is laid out very well without being cumbersome. Jayph put the party in a great position for bonding when we started, so our characters are tight-knit and loyal to each other. There’s also great freedom to explore our characters individually, which is awesome. It’s a great balance between role-playing and combat. Jayph puts a lot of work into this game and it shows.
Cwreando: “I love how the DM keeps each player engaged in the campaign. The players are immersed in a rich environment and you see your character come to life in an epic story.”
Endeavor: “A fresh, organic, flexible and lively (I would say even say bustling) gameworld with a lot of room for change, growth and development. Packaged quite beautifully and seemlessly inserted into a 2nd Edition ADnD Forgotten Realms setting, gameplay is fun and the possibilities are endless.”
What has been your biggest highlight of the campaign so far?
1. Running a PBP allows me to game constantly. Family and work constraints prevent any ‘in real life’ gaming sessions and OP gives me the opportunity to play anytime, from anywhere.
2. After high school, I didn’t have much time for gaming sessions so I ran solo games. GOTF came from years of ‘playing with myself’ (lol). OP gives me the chance to not only present this to the public, but also to allow for them to participate. The PBP has really allowed me to flesh out Frontier. The sights, the smells, the regulars, etc. Also, I’m really enjoying the writing. I never had much interested prior to this but now I’m thinking more and more about really pursuing it.
Cwreando: “Surviving the destruction of an island by a goddess and making it back to civilization seemed like a mini saga of sorts. We ran through a couple story lines in the process allowing new players to join and allowed all the characters to develop more in depth personalities.”
Endeavor: “Getting to know the other players and being in the beginning stages of developing my character.”
joettle: “Meeting a goddess face to face was pretty cool. We were captured as slaves, shipwrecked, and dumped on an island full of orcs and goblins with no gear, armor or weapons. We fought our way through, resupplied ourselves, got the blessing of the goddess Freya, fought our way through the enemy, and made it out in time to watch the whole island destroyed by the goddess’ wrath. After all the struggle, it was a pretty good feeling to be off that island, and with the treasure, no less.” Another highlight for my character, Kistol, was swinging by rope from the top of the mast of a ship all the way down, releasing the rope and flipping several times in the air to land on the deck to face and defeat an orc pirate. All out badass!
How well do you know your players, and how long have you all been gaming?
One of the players, Dread_Pirate is a good friend of mine. For the most part we’re all involved in a cozy little 2e community on OP and playing in each others campaigns. I’ve been gaming since i was 6 and my brother Ben McFarland DM’d the games. It’s always been a constant undercurrent.
Cwreando: “I’ve been gaming since the late 80’s and I only know the other characters through other play by post (PBP) campaigns or this one. While I don’t truly know the other players, I can connect with them through this common passion. I think I started playing PBP in late 2010 and I’ve been with the Guardians of the Frontiers since 02/2012.”
Endeavor: Not well enough …j/k!! I’ve only been on this campaign for about a month (or so) but am enjoying getting to know all their chracters and how they are played out. Ive been gaming for decades.
joettle: “I met everyone here on OP. I’ve never met any of the players or DMs in person, but I feel like I’m getting to know everyone from their style of play and our OOC conversations. We’ve been playing Guardians for 5-6 months now, which isn’t that long for a PBP game. We’ve accomplished a lot in that time.”
How long has Guardians of the Frontier been going on?
The PBP has been going on for about 5 months now but I’ve been building it up, off and on, for 10 years or so.
Your wiki looks great, who does all the work? Maps look great too!
Thanks! I do most of the work. Some of the players have been helpful fleshing out NPC wiki histories. I try to emphasize that they own their characters, backgrounds, descriptions, and the bookkeeping that comes with a PBP.
So your game is both D&D 1st & 2nd edition at the same time? How exactly does that work?
I allow most classes, races, skills, etc. from both 1 ed and AD&D in my sandbox and install specifics when needed. I’m totally open to suggestions and have even made 2e versions of warforge and changlings. If a player wants to do something special, I’ll work with them as long as they can explain it with as much plausible reasoning as a fantasy world will allow.
Your character sheets are highly customized, are those dynamic or made from scratch?
Kenurion. It’s all him. I consider him to be the grandfather of the 2e PBP community on OP. He’s always willing to help out or answer questions. His PBP Saga of Jaraah was my first campaign on OP. It’s a blast, he’s an amazing DM, and it definitely deserves to be COTM as well. Check it out.
What are some games, movies, books, or other media the influence the Guardians world?
Straight off, Joel Rosenberg’s (RIP). ‘Guardian’s of the Flame’ series. Also Glen Cook’s ‘Black Company’ series, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘The Clone Wars’, ‘Firefly’.
So many movies, comics, anime, TV…I could rattle off all day.
What do you like about Play by Post gaming?
joettle: “Play by Post is great for people like me with very little time, but the desire to game. One of my favorite things about it is the story element. I think it encourages stronger character choices with dialogue and character interaction that people might be more hesitant to make in person at the table. Most of the games I’m involved in are also rules light with very little rolling, so you can just state what you want your character to do and let the scene unfold.”
Give us some of your best GM’ing pearls of wisdom before we head off.
If you’re doing a PBP- read, read, read. It absolutely helps with the writing. Keep in-game reality in play at all times. Don’t be afraid to kill players but don’t be so daunting people lose interest. Be open minded but definitely draw lines and maintain limits. Ultimately, everybody is there to have fun and you should too.
That wraps it up for this month, a big thanks to Jayph and his crew for answering all of our questions and running a truly awesome game! Do you know someone who’s gone above and beyond with their campaign? Be sure to tell everyone about it, and until next time, happy gaming!