This is a list different networks or communities which host a large number of play-by-post styled roleplaying games. Essentially, this is a good place to look if you’re seeking different ways to play RPGs instead of just different RPGs.
Alternatively — you can also look at this as a list of different places you can search for advertising places. For example, where there are large roleplaying communities, there are often RPG promotion resources. Tumblr, LiveJournal, and InsaneJournal, for example, have various roleplay advertising resources.
Hosted Forum Services
Hosted forum services are essentially managed forum offerings on a service. They are usually free, but advertising supported. You may be able to purchase advertising-free forums. Generally, manged forum offerings are far more restricted than self-hosted forums. Your database, for example, and many of the PHP files used to operate the board are usually inaccessible. This is a decidedly good thing, as it keeps you from breaking the board if you don’t know what you’re doing. It can become a bad thing, though, if you are more technically inclined and want greater control over your board.
Reddit gets its own category because it’s a weird forum-not-forum. There are a number of roleplaying and RPG communities on Reddit. It’s an old-school style, without many of the fancy graphics and shiny things that we love about forum-based roleplaying — but it is a very, very big community.
Most journal sites operate essentially similarly: a roleplayer creates an account on the journal service for their character. They can then join roleplay groups, similar to forums (although very different in operation). Alternatively, journal services can be played rather independently.
The primary advantage of journaling services is (generally) stability in the service. Tumblr isn’t going anywhere, and despite their intermittent issues, LiveJournal and InsaneJournal have both been around for years. The interface is also easier to use than some poorly designed forums. Journal interfaces are also pretty much universally simpler than complex forums — which is good for the roleplayer with less time to learn a whole new forum organization system and so forth.
Tumblr has a very large roleplaying community. Not only does actual roleplay occur on Tumblr, but there are also a lot of roleplayers who simply use Tumblr as a platform. Tumblr has no easy facilitation for groups, but there is generally a page listing all relevant roleplay information (e.g., roleplayers involved in the group, rules, etc.). The use of tags helps the roleplay — sometimes specific tags are requested from one roleplayer to the other.
LiveJournal / InsaneJournal
A roleplayer can group up with one or two others and even create custom filters. Livejournal and InsaneJournal both have features for communities, which are often used. Both of these sites have been around many years, and while they are older, there are dedicated roleplaying groups to be found here.
deviantART is an odd one on the list. There are roleplaying groups here, but they do tend to be more art-focused, with more basic writing, short comments, one-liners, etc. deviantART is generally also a very young site, so keep that in mind if you head to dA in search of roleplay.
Gaia Online is pretty well a standard forum, but you get customizable avatars, special areas, etc. It’s a very large site — but again, like deviantART, it has a younger population. Keep that in mind before you head over here.
- Wiki sites are seen on occasion. WetPaint is commonly seen.
- Weebly/Webs RPGs are sometimes seen.
- Yahoo Groups were once a very large roleplaying resource (especially in the late 90s and early 2000s). Some roleplay still occurs on Yahoo.
- Chatrooms are always a frequent source of roleplay.
- People play privately — over Discord, IM, or e-mail.