Stuff We Love: Roll20 lets you play D&D with people anywhere

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Mar 26, 2021, 12:00 PM EDT (Updated)

The first time I played Dungeons & Dragons, it didn’t involve friends gathering around a table to roll dice and move miniatures on a map. At least, not in the way you’re probably thinking. Instead, it involved turning on my computer to join a group that came together to play every week not in person, but digitally using the tools of Roll20.

Roll20 is a virtual tabletop platform that allows you to play RPGs and board games with other people online. I’ve only used the website for D&D, but you can also play Pathfinder, Warhammer, and other games. There are all different types of environments you can create using the system, and each player can choose a token for their character to move around. You can update and keep a virtual character sheet, as well as roll dice in the system, too -- if you don’t have any dice handy or just have too many to roll at one time. They even have a license with Wizards of the Coast so you can purchase official D&D content and play the latest adventures online.

My experience is limited to that of a player, as I’ve yet to try running my own game using the site, but from that viewpoint, Roll20 is fairly easy to use. You just head to the website and click a link to join your campaign. You can chat by typing in a sidebar or choose to use audio, video, or both to communicate. The video function isn’t the best, and has caused some problems in my experience when there’s a large group, but it's easy to work around using a separate browser window for Google Hangouts or opening Skype.

It's through this website that I was able to finally play D&D after years of wanting to give it a try, but not knowing anyone in my area to play with. Now I play every week with people around the country. I still gather my books and dice, and take time to get set up at my table, but then it’s just a quick click for me to join everyone instead of waiting for people to arrive.

Roll20 is a great virtual tabletop option that makes it easy to completely immerse yourself in your game, despite it being all online. I love how it offers a resource for connecting geeks who want to play games by eliminating the problem of distance, so it doesn’t matter if your party is split in real life. You can still keep the party together for your adventures!