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Roleplaying in the Age of Covid-19

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4 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

I don't have money for any of the virtual tabletops other than the copy of Tabletop Simulator I already own. And that may not be ideal. But at least it lets you amusingly clone and roll as many d6s as you need, and isn't like the Dungeon Crawl Classics line that requires things like d5, d7 and d24. Once I have that settled I may start a game.

My group has been having great success with roll20.net.  Nobody's paid a cent and it works quite smoothly.  Could be made better, even, we haven't touched some free features. 

 

Our big problem has been that we've got a couple players with zero access to the rules and are not really sure how to go about bringing them up to speed short of telling them to show up half an hour early for a rules crash-course.  "Just hand them the rulebook" has become illegal. 

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11 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

My group has been having great success with roll20.net.  Nobody's paid a cent and it works quite smoothly.  Could be made better, even, we haven't touched some free features. 

 

Our big problem has been that we've got a couple players with zero access to the rules and are not really sure how to go about bringing them up to speed short of telling them to show up half an hour early for a rules crash-course.  "Just hand them the rulebook" has become illegal. 

 

One of the big issues with virtual tabletops is that folk get carried away with what is possible and the bells and whistles without considering whether that enhances the gameplay.

 

If you are/were a group that heavily invested in maps and models then you have a reason to consider investing that time in the electronic versions.

 

If you were more narrative and sketched maps etc out on dry-clean boards or on scrap paper then you can do a bit better than that on the free to use Roll20 with very little prep time.

 

What is important in cooperative story-telling is being able to communicate and to add in that game element you need to have a decent way to share your dice rolls etc.  You could achieve this in Roll20 without access to the paid storage, the icons etc and the fancy integrated character sheets.

 

I was an early adopter of Roll20 and have become increasingly dissatisfied with the way (not the fact) that they monetise the platform.  It remains however a decent platform to access voice, video and a shared gaming environment.

 

Doc

 

 

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1 hour ago, Doc Democracy said:

I was an early adopter of Roll20 and have become increasingly dissatisfied with the way (not the fact) that they monetise the platform.  It remains however a decent platform to access voice, video and a shared gaming environment.


For what it’s worth, I’ve been considering playing online with my group using Microsoft Teams. I know there are all the problems with the Evil Empire of Computing, but my school has a license and so I use it regularly, and it’s also free for any individual to use outside of our license. We’ve been doing real-time meetings and such to finish out the semester, so I’ve gotten to see some interesting stuff. The main feature that has caught my attention is the Whiteboard app. You can have a video conference but also use your tablet, or a secondary screen of some kind, to share your desktop for others to see. This could be for your own scribbles, or it could be a full map. The point is, it allows real-time chatting with a visual reference tool. Everything a gamer needs for a basic startup, without a lot of problems. It’s a very basic solution without the gaming environment, but as folks like Doc are suggesting, it doesn’t require a lot of prep to get set up and going. 
 

One of the things that gaming sites offer is also covered by Teams: using OneNote for campaign management. There are lots of YouTube videos showing how people use this resource, and I made that shift anyway, even before the virus closed hints down. Anyway, I’m not trying to advertise Microsoft, but it is a free and fully functional option.

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25 minutes ago, Doc Democracy said:

I think you can get a free OneDrive account?  Teams would also allow notes, pictures etc to be shared and organised via Teams.

 

Would definitely not be a terrible solution.

 

Exactly. Like Microsoft or not, when they made all of their web apps free it has made them much more accessible, and they're beautifully integrated. My Mac allows me to use my iPad as a "side car," which functions as an extended desktop, so I can pretty much use it as my "white board" for my students. And I can also use OneNote to publish maps and text and what not if I prefer it that way. Players can have their own tabs in the notebook, and we can share tabs, etc. And also create a campaign Wiki if we want. It should all work pretty well for a gaming group. There are dice rollers available separately (online, not through Microsoft . . . yet), but I just trust people to roll their own dice, so it's a wash either way. It's not a perfect solution, but it's workable. 

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My weekends are taken up with a couple of games on Roll 20.net. There was a 5e game which became Savage Worlds. The other game is 5e D&D. During the week, no games yet, but I am using the time to produce scenery assets for Brennall’s TTS module. Interestingly, there are a few Herosystem games starting up soon. 

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Our regular Friday night game has taken up using Discord and roll20, simultaneously, for the TORG campaign we're playing now.  So far it has gone OK.  I am aware both of those have lots of functionality I don't know, but I am too busy to learn about any of it for the next three weeks or so.

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Been playing D&D 5e every other weekend since the apocalypse began.  First on Google Hangouts and then on webex.  The DM trusts us with die rolling* so the only other function needed is presentation so that maps and pics can be displayed.

 

 

 

 

* The fool.

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