[The morning phase of the day generally begins with me sending out a message to the characters, giving details of their breakfast. Not all characters eat together, so a number of different messages are sent out (it is also possible that messages will be adapted to personal situations, if these warrant it). The following is such a message: ]
[After such a general message to set the scene, it is the players' job to send in details of what their characters do during the meal, even if only in vague terms. Here is one player's message:]To: Assembled.Players@goldenmoon.pbem.org From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Nuzyael 1, Breakfast beginsYou rise from your place in the hall when the servants disturb you with their activity. The tables and benches are dragged into place and covered with white cloth, while other soldiers rouse themselves. In a few minutes everyone not serving the meal is getting seated, and breakfast is beginning.
The grandmaster and his deputy are as usual present at the permanent table, accompanied today by the chaplain and a man you do not recognise. At the other tables, you see a number of your fellows, and a few knights. Balthris, notably, is not present, though he was assigned to your squad for the patrol today.
[It is best, both in those messages and in others, not to be too specific in determining the external circumstances (such as who is sitting next to whom), unless this is important. The player of Cauthil might have specified that he would ask about Balthris only if he could be sure of not being overheard, however.To: email@example.com From: Cauthil's.Player@goldenmoon.pbem.org Subject: Breakfast: Cauthil's plansCauthil tries to seat himself as close to his friend Borlas as possible. He'll quietly ask him if he knows what's happened to "Balthris the Bastard", and if his not showing up at mealtime means the patrol is off. He'll also tell Maras, calling out across the room if necessary, that he'll give him the money after patrol. Other than this, he'll just eat his food and natter with those around him.
[Following this message (and perhaps before it, if there is fast email turnaround) the conversations mentioned take place - this is simply because I will send out the second message as soon as the time limit is up (I will assume total absorption in the meal for those who do not send in their actions soon enough). Returning to Cauthil, here is Borlas' player's response:]To: Assembled.Players@goldenmoon.pbem.org From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: BreakfastWith everyone at their places, the meal begins. Cauthil has seated himself across from Borlas, and leans forward over the table to speak with him. Then he looks around, and shouts over to another table, "Maras, you'll get your money after patrol." Meanwhile Borlas himself has turned to Tierin and a heated discussion has ensued. You are too far away to catch more than the gist of the matter; apparently Tierin has failed to perform some favour that was expected of him.
The stranger at the head table is deep in conversation with the chaplain and the deputy grandmaster; the grandmaster himself seems uninterested in anything but eating his meal.
[Notice that the player has already received a message from Tierin's player, and is continuing on that conversation. Because this might seem significant to other characters, this scene is included in another message sent out to all the characters gathered:]To: email@example.com From: Borlas'.Player@goldenmoon.pbem.org Subject: Borlas in conversationBorlas gives a shrug in response to Cauthil's question, and a quick "Here's hoping." Then he turns to Tierin and begins his berating. He ignores Tierin's feeble objections, and gets more and more angry. However, just before he really starts attracting attention to himself, he'll quieten down, and ignore everyone until the meal is over.
[Generally it will not be necessary to send out any more messages about the general goings-on during breakfast. For the rest of the Morning phase, the characters can interact on their own (though if it is in the presence of other characters, the appropriate information will be reported, such as overheard conversations).To: Assembled.Players@goldenmoon.pbem.org From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Breakfast continuesOver at Cauthil's table, Borlas and Tierin continue their conversation - Borlas gets louder and louder, and seemingly more angry, while Tierin looks nervously around and says very little. In an instant, though, Borlas has quietened down, and gone back to his meal, ignoring Tierin completely.
[Notice that Borlas' player does not mention a specific time for the conversation, though she does know that Cauthil is also on patrol with Borlas. Also, Borlas has revealed a fair amount of information, without knowing anything of Cauthil's reactions to the message. This should not often be too much of a problem, if players are circumspect, and it is generally necessary in order to avoid drawn-out conversations with little content.From: Borlas'.Player@goldenmoon.pbem.org To: email@example.com Subject: Borlas talking with CauthilAt some point during the patrol, Borlas falls into step beside Cauthil.
"Well, so much for not having patrol. At least it's not Balthris leading... Say, you don't much like Tierin, do you? Remember that time he dobbed you in it for taking a break on duty? Well, he's gone even further this time. He owes me, big time, and when I needed it, he pulled out at the last minute. No need to worry about the details, I just want to know if you're in for a little 'getting even', if you catch my drift."
[This conversation might continue for some time, with mail being exchanged between the two players (through me). If there were other characters present, I would probably send a message to them, informing them that this conversation is taking place (though probably not what is said, since Cauthil at least is talking in a whisper).]From: Cauthil's.Player@goldenmoon.pbem.org To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Cauthil talking with BorlasCauthil looks around cautiously, to see if anyone can overhear. In a rough whisper, he replies.
"Sure I remember what that fink did to me! Cost me most of my pay and rations; I'm not going to forget that. It's about time someone took him down a peg or two. What sort of thing did you have in mind?"
[Skipping forward in time to the Dinner phase (the last of the day), we rejoin Cauthil and Borlas after the meal. The pair have determined to "sand" Tierin; both players send in their characters' actions:]
[With actions especially it is a good idea not only to give specific actions, but a more general statement of intent. This allows me, if necessary, to adapt the specific actions to fit the circumstances (which may not be exactly as the player conceives of them). If the player has made some assumption that is not in fact true, I may send mail back informing of the real situation, and letting the player go from there (ignoring some or all of the player's first message about the action).From: Cauthil's.Player@goldenmoon.pbem.org To: email@example.com Subject: Cauthil gets TierinAt the predecided time, Cauthil leaves his place in the hall and wanders towards the tower where Tierin is sleeping. He'll wait in the corridor for Borlas to catch up with him, and proceed to find Tierin. They get his gear - clothes, small items - and start to cut them, deface them, break them. When all this is done, Cauthil leaves and goes back (with Borlas coming later) to the hall and to sleep.
From: Borlas'.Player@goldenmoon.pbem.org To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Borlas' missionBorlas only pretends to go to sleep at night. When he sees Cauthil leave, he'll wait a few minutes, then follow after. At the tower, he goes in and cuts up Tierin's stuff. Borlas will also try cutting Tierin's hair, but will stop if it looks like waking him up. After the deed is done, he goes back to the hall and to sleep.
[Of course, a message must also be sent to the players of Cauthil and Borlas, informing them of this event.]From: email@example.com To: Tierin's.Player@goldenmoon.pbem.org Subject: In the middle of the night...Tierin wakes up suddenly, at a tug on his hair. He can make out very little in the darkness, except a shape looming above him.
As this example shows, conversations and actions can be extended affairs, and are often constructed out of pieces of messages - situations change in mid-stream. With luck this won't be too confusing to keep track of; if you find it so, please ask me for a summary of what has happened.