Running Free & Simple Online RPGs
With the recent outbreak, more and more people are cautiously toe-dipping into the world of online tabletop gaming.
Steam had its biggest day in history just last week, while online Virtual Tabletop platforms (VTTs) are seeing a surge of new players. Many groups that are used to gathering around a table at a local shop or someone’s home are now seeking out cost-effective alternatives to keep their game going strong.
While there are some fantastic paid options for playing your RPGs online (I’m looking at you, Fantasy Grounds!), there are also plenty of free software alternatives to get your group playing over the interwebs in as little as 10 minutes!
We know this process can be daunting, but we’ve made this as simple as possible to begin. Follow the two steps below and you’ll be back to rolling dice in no time.
We’ll be posting more reviews, tips, tricks, and tutorials on online gaming – so check back for more help and #GameOn!
Step 1. Select Communication Medium.
All you really are after here is a way to communicate that all of your tables can use together.
Make sure all your players have accounts on the same platform and share your usernames with each other.
Facebook Messenger, Discord, Skype, Zoom (and others) are all good choices. Find one that you’re comfortable with and that has the text/voice/video features your group desires. If you’re new to everything and not sure where to start, consider Skype. It looks and acts a lot like a combination of a texting app and your phone – and most people find it accessible and easy to use. Download the desktop app here. As a bonus, you can watch a tutorial here.
Step 2. Select Virtual Tabletop (VTT) Platform.
Depending on your group’s preferences, you may not even need this! Games that don’t require a map / grid and minis can ignore this step altogether.
ProTip: Some communications platforms – such as Discord and Skype – also provide some screen sharing capability!
There are several VTTs to choose from, and each comes with both free and paid options.
To start with, consider grabbing a free account on Roll20. Make sure all your players also create accounts and invite all of them to join your created game.
You can find our guide to creating a game in Roll20 by clicking here.
You can also find a video tutorial here.
Pro Tip: Start small, and with what you know. If you opted to follow our recommendation and start with Discord or Skype, look into the screen sharing options included in those platforms and consider using a tool you’re familiar with – like PowerPoint – to share maps and images/
Don’t worry about all the nitty-gritty details each platform provides. It’s too easy to get lost in the mire of discovery and forget why you’re there: to PLAY! By sticking to the basics, you’ll soon discover that there are very few hurdles to getting your group up and running in no time.
If you find yourself having trouble, you can always message TableTop on Facebook and they’ll connect you with a GM resource. You can also find assistance on the TableTop Discord server or our Looking for Games Facebook Group. We’re here to help you #GameOn!
How do you #hobbyathome? Comment below or post on social media and tag us!