Disclaimer: The only RPG’s I’ve ever played have been in the format of videogames where I play against the computer. But I’ve always wanted to try a tabletop game with other people too (live, by email, by forum, or whatever). So if anything (everything?) of the below musings is BS, don’t hesitate to tell me. I’m interested to find out.
The way I see it a problem in such real games is that it’s difficult for the GM to keep track of everything. It’s easy to forget to add that bonus of AC+1 when your Amulet of Starlight gets hit by a beam of moonlight in a fight.
So I think that a forum improvement for RPGs would have to deal more with supporting the GM and less with the rest of people. It should keep track of all the character sheets both for characters and monsters nearby, as well as all the equipment, maps, descriptions, etc. Everything that is normally written down in an RPG game, should be trakced by the system.
Then there would be a set of standard actions that can be executed (like “
!attack Drizzt => Goblin”) and that automatically take into account all the details (equipment, environment, etc) so that the GM doesn’t forget anything. Intellisense for writing such actions would also be much needed.
Also, since most RPGs are quite extensible (at least DnD is, I’m not familiar with others), the whole thing should be extensible. Monster & equipment libraries should be no-brainer, but also the ability to add new spells, actions, stats, etc. Basically you should be able to load custom code that extends the original RPG base in a zillion ways.
A packaging system would also be nice, so you can have a package with everything that is needed to run a campaign. The GM could just load it when starting a new campaign, and he would have all the resources at his fingertips.
Of course, there should also always be a way to overload everything. If a GM wants to randomly halve a players strength, he should be able to do so.