IRC anyone?

Internet Relay Chat is a protocol for text-based messaging harking back to the early days of the internet. Nowadays it’s mostly forgotten. But interestingly enough the RPG scene is quite active on IRC. There are countless IRC channels dedicated to pen & paper roleplaying games. One of the most well known ones is probably #rpgnet on the Magicstar IRC network. There’s even a #stargazersworld channel on which I usually hang out all day.

I don’t want to go into the technical details of IRC here, that would definitely be beyond the scope of this blog post. But I think I should remind people out there that aside from blogs, forums, and social media there’s another place where you can discuss our favorite hobby on the ‘net.

The hurdle to get into IRC is not that high actually. If you don’t want to fiddle around with the available desktop clients, you can always use a web-based service like mibbit. And if you want to learn more about how IRC works, ask around in the channels. Most users are more than happy with helping you out.

What is your stance on RPG discussions on IRC? Are you an avid IRC user or have you avoided it so far? Please share your experiences and thoughts below. What’s your favorite RPG-related IRC channel? Please let us know!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

3 thoughts on “IRC anyone?”

  1. I use IRC continuously. I use it to keep in touch with remote friends but I went there because of people I knew from RPG discussions elsewhere (Usenet). The IRC channel still thrives, although most of the time it’s not about RPGs (since it was founded as an offtopic side channel, which some believe was a main factor in killing the Usenet group …). Other forums also have their IRC pendants, so I hang out there as well; but the connection is loose by now and mainly is for people who aren’t active in the forum much but still like to talk to a certain set of people (those that made it to IRC). And then there are two other completely unrelated IRC channels I idle on most of the time I _also_ came by via RPGs.

    So — yes, for me IRC and RPGs are closely knit.

    I also did some actual playing via IRC; but with the little practice I have in purely text based gaming it’s pretty slow. It can work out though, and removes barriers to play for some people, so it’s always an option to keep in mind

  2. I’ve been on text chat programs since 1988 (another chat program started at the same time as IRC, called ICB, on which I was a regular all the way up through 2005; except for a short period in 1991, I mostly avoided IRC until the last couple years).

    I’ve discussed RPGs on ICB and IRC, and even in Yahoo and AIM, quite a lot. But what I’ve never done is: play an RPG via the net. Not on a chat nor IM program, not on Google+ Hangouts, not on any dedicated long-distance RPG “virtual desktop” program. It may just be a hurdle I’d get over, but I keep thinking I want there to be an “in-person” component to my gaming.

    So, for me, chat and RPG aren’t any more closely knit than “sitting at a physical table with other people”. The latter is as likely to be a family dinner as it is to be an RPG. The former is as likely to be talking about how my dog is doing, as it is to be talking about an RPG. Though, the physical table is infinitely more likely to be about playing an RPG.

  3. I did use IRC once and did so exhaustively. But activity and people dud face away and now it’s not in my domain anymore. I don’t use chatrooms anymore at all. I resort to instant messengers now and do keep in touch with the remaining friends from IRC that way. It was a really great time and meant a lot to me, but that’s over now.

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