Let’s face it, the world isn’t slowing down anytime soon. A large majority of us have full-time jobs and are just trying to take it a day at a time, so we have an extremely small time-slot to game and can’t host all-night sessions like we used to. Life and complications get in the way and friends tend to drift apart. You might not have even had the opportunity to experience tabletop gaming growing up, and don’t know anyone who would be interested in trying. What if I told you, it didn’t have to be like that? You can always roll the digital dice.
Thanks to the internet and innovative thinkers like those at Roll20.net, you can play wherever you want, whenever, and with people halfway across the globe.
Who you are…
The Stalwart Veteran
Perhaps you’re a veteran of the old days where you spent hours upon hours, emboldening and smudging the charcoal stats on your character sheet. Every once in awhile, you might have even accidentally mixed in some Cheeto dust. You grew up with systems like Dungeons & Dragons, and everyone that adventured alongside you now has busy schedules or are forced to adult on a daily basis. Those sessions that seemed to last for hours at a time have all but vanished.
On occasion, your eyes still drift to those manuals on your shelf, and you lovingly ghost your fingers across the engraved letters on the spine, only to be interrupted by the crying of little ones in another room.
The Curious Newcomer
Maybe you’re new to the tabletop gaming genre and are itching to dip your feet in the mysterious pool of dice. Perhaps you grew up with an older brother or sister who was too cool for school, and you missed out on all the crazy adventures and dreamed of the day you would one day get to join them. Late nights came and went, and you never got that opportunity.
The Tired Worldbuilders
You work hard all week and come home to find that you would just rather escape for a few hours with your significant other and friends to the world you’ve all busted your asses to create. However, both of you are tired and don’t want to go out for the night. You make dinner and curl up on the couch to watch Netflix instead, and go to sleep to start the day over.
The Lonely Bard
You’re still relatively fresh on the scene, but you know the tales. You’ve read some of the books, the lore, been to cons, and have a shelf dedicated to all your manuals and games. You like to consider yourself a jack-of-all-trades and yearn for the days when you still had people with which to share your stories. Time and distance make this feel like an impossibility. Maybe you live in a small town that doesn’t have a big gaming community, and everyone you once knew has moved on to bigger and better things.
No matter your story, it’s never too late to start penning your legacy.
Tabletop gaming is for people of all ages and backgrounds. Heck, my friend’s grandmother once rolled a human cleric whom she lovingly named ‘Zelda,’ and saved our rear-ends multiple times over when our thief’s greed got the best of him and almost wiped the party.
I’ve also made strides to introduce tabletop gaming to my youngest cousin who adores miniatures (as you could expect, just about any seven year old would). But I was relatively surprised at how quickly he picked up on the core mechanics of the games and seemed entranced by my booming narration when it came to tabletop roleplaying games. I use the term booming here loosely because I am fairly quiet. Nevertheless, he enjoyed the heck out of it.
Making time for things you love.
Here’s the skinny… Lives are complicated and busy.
The creative minds behind Roll20.net realized this and set out to make something truly incredible. It presents a user- friendly solution to the stress of organizing and planning with family and friends that may or may not be in the immediate vicinity.
“Roll20 is a suite of easy-to-use digital tools that expand pen-and-paper gameplay. Whether you play online via our virtual tabletop or in person utilizing our character sheet and dice rolling application, Roll20 will save you time and help you focus on enhancing your favorite parts of tabletop gaming.”
Your Gaming Group
One of my personal, favorite features of Roll20 is the community forums and ‘looking for group’ section. If you are having trouble finding people in your local area to play with, there is a whole community of like-minded individuals online who are also looking for other people with which to start their gaming experience. Not only will you find other players, but a lot of DM’s (dungeon masters) are newbie friendly and have no problems with helping you learn the game.
Get creative, ask your other gaming groups if they would be interested!
If you happen to be a part of a gaming guild in any other game, try asking in chat and inquire if any other guildies are into tabletop gaming. The feedback you get might surprise you!
- Voice/Video/Text Chat support
- Multiple map layers
- Drawing tools
- Aura visuals
- Fog of War
- Turn Tracker
- 3D dice rolling (I prefer to turn this off, but it’s still an amazing feature!)
- Integrated Jukebox for music
- In-game character sheets and bios
- Custom macros
- Handouts that you can make visible to all players (This is a godsend for referencing rules and repeat questions)
- So, so, so much more!
Pricing and Subscription
Creating an account is free, and comes with a myriad of incredible, user-friendly tools that assists you on your journey. You do of course have the option to upgrade and become a Supporter at various levels, which doesn’t hinder your experience, but rather introduces a few quality of life updates. I have managed to run several campaigns successfully operating on the base account, and not had a single problem.
The best way to know if this medium is right for you is to dive right in and try it out for yourself. It may take some getting used to, but it is definitely an interesting and rewarding experience. I will be diving into tabletop gaming and the various games in the genre in my next couple of articles, as well as some more resources that are at your disposal. Role-playing games hold a special place in my heart, but they are by no means the only type available. So if donning a robe and wizard hat isn’t for you, stay tuned, because I’ll have more to come soon. In the meantime, let us know about your first tabletop gaming experience in the comments down below!
Have fun storming the castle!