David and I play D&D with a group of 6 people including the DM. One of the people does not live in the same state as us so we have been trying various ways to make sure that they can still play. For a long while we were using Google Hangouts with some decent success and having multiple computers set up to show various angles. One for the camera to the whole group and to show us the distant player and then others for the DM and to show the board for battles. This was often complicated and we were having to move the board camera around so that the person at a distance to see where their character was in relation to everyone else. This worked, but was not a great system.
Recently, the DM discovered a service called Roll20 that allowed you to have a map where players could actually move their pieces and the DM could move the enemies all online. This at first just seemed like a great way to be able to do the combat or additional map features, but as we looked more into it the service is much, much more. Roll 20 allows for a completely online gaming session including video chat, group and private text chat, shared map, extra DM features, saved handouts, saved character sheets, and more. Now the base offerings are free and there are some added features if you want to go with a paid subscription. The base offerings are great for a single campaign, but some of the paid features might be worth it for someone investing in multiple gaming platforms. The greatest thing is that Roll 20 is for any d20 based gaming system and not just D&D specific. Continue reading