How to play Dungeons and Dragons online

Playing Dungeons and Dragons online can be an excellent alternative if your roleplaying group can’t get together physically. In this article, we’ll show you what you need to prepare to have a great online gaming experience.

Tools for playing Dungeons and Dragons online

There are a number of tools that can help with playing Dungeons and Dragons online: First, you need a video conferencing tool like Discord, Skype or Zoom, which can replicate the feel of an offline DnD session. Although I’ve also heard of gaming groups playing Dungeons and Dragons via chat, this doesn’t seem as social as playing via videocall.

Another useful tool is a virtual tabletop, which serves as a digital playing surface. In physical DnD sessions, miniatures are often used to visualize the action. Online, you can use images, battlemaps and tokens for this, which are available from providers like Roll20 or Tabletop Simulator. There are many resources and tutorials online that show how to use Roll20.

Another helpful tool is a dice roller, which serves as a substitute for physical dice. With a dice roller, you can roll dice online in case someone doesn’t have their real physical dice handy. There is even a dice roller from Google! Of course, everyone can also roll their physical dice at home.

Finally, there are digital character sheets available from providers like D&D Beyond. With the Beyond20 app, you can even conveniently click on the skill you want and it will automatically roll dice in the Virtual Tabletop of your choice.

Advantages and disadvantages of playing Dungeons and Dragons online

Playing Dungeons and Dragons online has both advantages and disadvantages for players and the dungeon master.

It is nice, that you can still play together regularly, even if you live in different places or can’t get together for other reasons. I myself have two gaming groups that I meet regularly online at Discord to play our DnD campaigns. By all of us living in different places, it would be impossible for us to physically play on a regular basis.

This also makes it easier to find a common time and date for the next session, since no one has to take a long drive to and from the hosts house into account. So the overall time commitment is reduced.

Also cool: The group saves money overall. The dungeon master no longer has to buy physical miniatures or expensive DnD books. Digital resources are also easier to share online. So, you may only need one PDF for everyone instead of several heavy books.

Yet despite all these advantages, I prefer to play Dungeons and Dragons together in one room. It’s just more fun for me to sit around the table with my friends and adventure together. The atmosphere is more real, the immersion greater as a result. You can experience the reactions of your fellow players live and have better conversations. Communication feels more natural and is easier in general. Overall, I have the feeling that the group is more attentive and focused when playing offline.

In addition, “real” DnD rounds offer the opportunity to meet people and maintain social contacts. Often, it’s not the gameplay that’s the most important thing, but the time spent hanging out with friends.

Nevertheless, I can recommend playing Dungeons and Dragons online if there is no other way. Because I wouldn’t want to miss out on sessions with my fellow players, because of long distance, unaligned schedules and pandemics.

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