It used to be that finding the time and a place to play Dungeons & Dragons was rather easy. We would quickly stuff manuals, modules, dice, and Trapper Keepers into our backpack, hop on our bikes, and pedal across town to where our friends were waiting, and it would be game on for all the weekend.
But now it’s 2016. Adulting takes up much of our precious time, and getting our friends together isn’t always so easy. And while the Internet age has made it easier to make and meet friends online, very often those friends are numerous miles, countries, and time zones away.
However, not all is hopeless! Again, thanks to the Internet, there are many ways we can connect with our worldwide friends and play a satisfying D&D game. Here’s Geek & Sundry’s list of the most popular ways people are bridging the distance!
Play By Post / Email
Starting the list off with the low-key options, which include Play By Post (PBP) and Play By Email (PBEM). First off, it’s great to see these two old gameplay methods still alive and kicking! And they are both extremely easy to use; all you need is an email account, or to sign up on a website with a thriving forum section.
Hopefully you already have an email account. Just reach out to your friends and see who may be interested in a PBEM D&D campaign, and away you go. For PBP, check out RPG Crossing (formerly DnD Online Games), or the PBP forum section of Pen & Paper Games, sign up with your favorite one, and find or start a PBP game.
Social Network Apps
Check into the D&D section on Twitch anytime, and there’s a very good chance you’ll see D&D players using a social network app to ‘gather’ together. Apps such as Skype and Google Hangouts are two of the best and most popular.
Screenshot of Dice, Camera, Action! show.
Both Skype and Google Hangouts are free to use, make it very easy to connect with multiple people at the same time (barring pesky ‘Net hiccups), and have real time text, voice, and video messaging. A good quality headset is recommended, especially if you want to be able to chat live. A good webcam is also needed if you want to make use of video. But, neither of those are absolutely necessary in order to play, they just help make games more lively.
With the rise of live streaming, virtual tabletops (VTs) are becoming more popular. They generally require more computer power and know-how than the previous options, and you’ll have to pay money if you want the high end experiences they offer. However, if you’re interested in a more visual D&D game, with plenty of maps and character tokens, then this is the way for you.
Perhaps the most popular VT right now is Roll20. With the recent news of Roll20 officially partnering with D&D, this VT is probably the best one of the bunch if you’re looking for some quality D&D play.
But Roll20 is certainly not the only VT available. Fantasy Grounds, D20PRO, EpicTable, and MapTool round out the best and most popular ones. They each have their advantages and disadvantages, so read up on each to see which would work best for you.
Everyone at Geek & Sundry wants to see you playing (more) D&D, or whatever your favorite tabletop RPG is, so hopefully this helps! Do you have a current D&D game you’re playing with friends all over the world? Tell us about it in the Comments below!
Header image credit: Wizards of the Coast