Over the weekend, popular online tabletop platform Roll20 hosted their annual Roll20Con. From June 24-25, 2017, this online site showcased their online games and offered paid features to free games played in honor of the con. In addition to streaming games by some GM faves like Nadja Otikor (of MissCliks) and Adam Koebel (co-creator of Dungeon World and GM in residence and Roll20), and fundraising for Cybersmile (the international non-profit supporting victims of cyberbullying), the digital convention was a hit that it reminded me that we should take a deeper look at it.
We here at Dames & Dice are particularly interested in online gaming platforms as we’re scattered all over the world. Thankfully Roll20 is available via browsers (desktop and mobile compatible) and free. You really can’t beat that price. Even with the paid version, which offers dynamic lighting for maps and lots of space for character sheets and assets.
But let’s go back to maps. Granted, this isn’t as important if your preference for gaming is theater of the mind, but if you like minis and maps, this is a great digital alternative. You can lay out pictures if you like or draw something out yourself. You can calculate the distance for your spells with ease and cover up portions of the map to hide traps for your players. Fair warning, your players can draw something as well. If you leave them alone for a bit of time, you’ll end up with things with a map full of badly drawn genitals. It’s just a fact!
What’s also great is that it’s not specifically tailored to any one game. It does have a general OGL library for items, monsters, and the like, but you can play everything on it. Many games have character sheets designed by the community and the tools allow for lots of play. I’ve run 7th Sea 2e and Dungeon World with ease as well as played D&D 5e with little problem. And there’s every die you could use. At least this time you don’t have to worry about stepping on stray d4s on the floor.