Being sociable in the age of social distancing is quick and easy with tabletop role-playing games (TTRPG)! What is a TTRPG, you ask? Good question, o anonymous denizen of the internet! A TTRPG is any game that involves other people, your imagination, and a given set of rules, in a collaborative, shared environment. What rules? Think of games like Dungeons & Dragons or something from the Old School Renaissance. If you need a compelling argument for why YOU, awesome individual that you are, should be playing a TTRPG, check out our blog about Dungeons & Dragons here. In order to join a TTRPG, there’s really only one thing you need to do: show up. In the “before times,” bringing your own dice, pencils, or snacks to share was classy. But what do you do when you can’t do that bare minimum, of “show up,” because the world won’t let you? It’s time to go VIRTUAL!
How do you go virtual with a TTRPG? It’s easy! You need a device (smartphone, laptop or desktop computer) and a means of connecting to the internet. If you can read and write, and/or speak and listen, you are ready to play! There are countless ways to do this, but we will cover our top three that are, additionally, free.
- Online Meeting Software. If you’ve attended a webinar, or meeting, from home, you’ve already got the basics for how this works. You can gather, and meet, through online software like Zoom or Google Hangouts. If you want to see what you’re doing, roll dice, and track character sheets, there are websites like Roll20 to show you what you want.
- Discord and Voice Chats. Discord, and other voice programs like Skype, offer easy and quick ways to group up and game! Discord is a favorite of ours for its ability to recruit bots, helpful AI that make running games painless and easy. One great example is the Avrae bot, which helps players with Dungeons & Dragons 5e. If you have a Dungeons & Dragons Beyond account, you can link it with Avrae to automate tasks from characters to monsters. CritterDB can be used to make custom content for Discord, like haunted shovels.
- . Play-By-Post. Play-By-Post games have been going on for slightly less time than TTRPG have existed (and only less because the game had to exist first). You can play together by posting on forums, sending text messages, through email, or even using good old snail mail (if you have more of an attention span than either of us). Discord is not only for voice, but text as well, and is a popular way to play games when you can’t quite agree on a day and time to meet.
Now that you’re interested, how do you find people for a virtual TTRPG? You can recruit friends and family that you miss for a game over Skype. Kevin, Reference Librarian at the Florence Branch, has been playing “Barbarians of the Ruined Earth” with his brother in California! And D, Teen Librarian at the Scheben Branch, has a server of 15+ players from around the world playing by post. You can visit websites like Dungeons & Dragons Beyond, Reddit, or a local Meet up to find a group. The easiest way, though, is to join the library for our virtual events! We have a monthly Dungeons & Dragons program for teens and a monthly TTRPG program for adults. Even if we can’t be together in person, we both hope to virtually game with you soon!
D Pina is the Teen Librarian at the Scheben Branch leading Dungeons and Dragons each month for teens. Kevin Wadlow is the Reference Librarian at the Florence Branch leading Old School Gamers of Florence.