Get Your Tabletop RPG Fix Online!
Updated: Mar 26
Social Distancing got you down? Living in an actual game of Pandemic got you anxious? Take some time to get away from the real world and get your Tabletop RPG fix online. There are many resources available to adventurers via the interwebs. Luckily, these resources are available via smart phone or computer. Transitioning to online game play can be daunting, but have no fear! We have gathered together a starting adventurers bundle to help you on this journey.
You Meet At A Tavern
First off where to find a game. Pawn and Pint may is a dedicated team ready to make sure you are not socially isolated from your gaming group, even though you have had to physically distance from them. P&P has started a Discord channel to help you find a group and keep playing. The channel includes discussions for D&D Adventurers League, Pathfinder Society, Shadowrun Missions, Starfinder Society, Wizarding World Tabletop, and general RPGs.
Have trouble navigating Discord and finding groups? Check out P&P’s Facebook group: Roleplaying at Pawn and Pint. https://www.facebook.com/groups/294440270949449/about/
Now that you have access to people to play with it is time to get your party started. First step, pick a voice channel and get all your players to that channel. If you are playing D&D 5E and have DNDBeyond, they have added a bot that can be integrated into Discord to help you run your game. The new bot is called Avrae. Discord gives you the option to use video, audio, and text or any mixture of the three. When deciding whether or not to use video consider people's bandwidth situations. An audio call will be easier on a low internet connection than a full video call.
If you are using entirely Discord you are going to have to rely on theater of the mind. For many players this is a preference. Step two, is deciding whether to use theater of the mind or to look into a visualization tool. If you want to see “minis” and have a battle map try out Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds. Both offer free versions of their tools, but you can also purchase additional resources to improve the quality of your gaming experience. These resources are not great for smart phones and it is recommended to use a laptop for virtual tabletop. One of the main advantages to the virtual tabletop tools is that they also offer dice rollers. This can deter cheating. If you prefer to hear the click clack of the dice you can always roll on a table and call out your results to the GM (Game Master). However, if you want to be able to see the rolls and don’t want to use Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds there are a bunch of group dice rollers out there such as Roll Dice with Friends. Avrae also has a dice roller component for the DNDBeyond users out there.
Make A Plan
Step three is establishing etiquette. Playing tabletop RPGs can get loud and people can get to talking over one another. This becomes incredibly cumbersome online because no one can tell who was talking and who was left out. For this reason it is recommended to establish a “raise your hand” system. In Discord it is recommended to do this by asking the players to put an (*) into the text chat if you want to say something while another player is talking, or when everyone just tried to jump in at once. The GM can now sort through all of the ideas the players have on s turn order. On that note, just like in an in person game, it is important to stay present. This means please don’t pull up Twitter or Facebook in another tab while waiting for your turn to talk or your turn in combat. Online games are going to feel clunkier than you are used to and distracted players are going to intensify the stress of transitioning to an online format.
And that is the basics! You are now ready to start your online campaign. Below are some additional resources for online play. Take care out there and enjoy your games!
D&D 5E resources:
Playing in general resources: