Playing D&D Online: 5 Ways To Run A Campaign While Social Distancing

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

Lauren Brink, The Nerd Asylum

Social distancing. It has become the new normal for people around the world, but it also brought an end (at least for a while) to the age-old tradition of meeting up with friends and playing some tabletop games. Even if you can't meet up in person, however, it’s never been easier to meet up with friends over the internet for a game of Dungeons and Dragons.

There are a ton of resources out there for the aspiring online D&D player. So grab a group, head to the nearest (digital) tavern, and get ready for your next campaign using our list of online resources below!

Roll 20

Roll20 is our personal go-to site when it comes to online D&D and TTRPG games. This free site has everything you might need to start a campaign: full DM control, virtual dice rollers, integrated voice/video/text chat, and the ability to build your own campaign from scratch. For the less experienced players, there are ready-to-play adventures, tokens, maps, and other elements available for purchase.

Tabletop Simulator

Tabletop Simulator is a video game which allows players to create and play games together at a virtual tabletop. This game, available for purchase on steam or at select outside retailers, includes classic tabletop games like checkers, cards, and more. It also has an RPG kit which includes everything a group might need to get a game started, whether it is animated figurines, dice, or tokens. Additionally, there are thousands of community created items available. The possibilities for a unique and customizable gaming experience are nearly endless.

D&D Beyond

D&D Beyond is the official online companion and tool set for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. This tool has all of the reference materials and supplements you might need for a game of 5E including official books, rule books, guides, and more. Additionally, players have access to character builder tools as well as an interactive digital character sheet that allows management of inventory, spells, health, and more. DMs can run traditional campaigns, or have the option of integrating their own homebrew content right into the game. Creating an account is free, and additional content can be purchased from the marketplace.

Fantasy Grounds

Fantasy Grounds is a game available for purchase on Steam that allows players to create and play in their own RPG games online. This tool is meant as an alternative to the traditional role-playing tabletop experience, where you can digitally do many of the same actions that you could if you were sitting beside your group in real life. This resource has many of the basic elements of any RPG available for use, such as character sheets, grid maps, dice rollers, and reference materials. It also has an integrated chat so users can communicate in game. There are many add on items available for purchase for groups looking to expand their gaming experience.

Video Chat

Although you and your group might be separated, there's nothing like a good old-fashioned video or voice chat to get a game started. Players looking to start a campaign that is more focused on theatre of the mind than on physical media or visual aides can log onto their chat supplier of choice - whether it be Discord, Skype, Facebook, Zoom, or something else - to get a group together and get a game started.

Even when we have to stay apart, there are still many ways to get together with friends to play RPG games together online. Whether you choose a video chat, a steam game, or a phone call for your next campaign, these sources will surely help you on your journey to slay monsters, solve mysteries, and make your way back to the tavern for a well-earned pint.

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