Thanks to a new game edition that’s friendlier than ever to new players, increased acceptance of “geekiness” in popular culture, and the rise and use of streaming technology, there’s never been a better time to be a Dungeons & Dragons player. (Don’t call it a comeback, they’ve been here for years!) And it’s an even better time to be a future Dungeons & Dragons player.
If you’re ready to sit around a table and play, but nerves or some other reason is keeping you from sitting at an actual table, don’t feel like a critical failure. We’re here to tell you how to get started with playing Dungeons & Dragons online–and it’s easier than ever.
Wizards of the Coast
Find a Group
The first step in playing D&D is the most difficult: finding a group that is interested in Dungeons & Dragons and has availability for a session in their schedule. Choosing to keep your game online gives you a little more leeway in scheduling, luckily! (And even better, you don’t even have to get dressed up.)
If you don’t have a complete group of friends and a Dungeon Master ready to jump into the game with you, there are a few places you can look to find some kindred spirits:
— The subreddit r/lfg
— Roll20.net’s Looking for Group listings
— D&D Beyond’s Looking for Players forum
Dungeon Masters will let you know the type of campaign they’re running and how many players they need. Be sure to follow the guidelines for posting when putting out feelers for yourself, and you’ll be on your way to setting up a game with new friends in no time.
What Software Do You Need?
While most Dungeon Masters have a preference of where they like to run their games, at the least you should be ready to have a good set of headphones with a microphone, along with accounts set up on Discord or Skype. Many games can run with just headphones and a Discord server with audio and/or video. (You simply have to have your dice and filled-in character sheet at the ready.)
Games are also run online through Roll20, a browser-based virtual tabletop that does everything from roll the dice and track whose turn it is in combat.
You’ll find the latest books and storylines from your favorite publishers right there on the site, and even gift a book to guilt trip your best friend into playing with you. You can also try an adventure for free, like one from Critical Role‘s new official sourcebook The Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount.
Create a Character
There’s no better way to learn to play than jumping right in. While you can certainly buy and read through the Player’s Handbook or watch a livestream of an unscripted D&D session to get acquainted with the game, D&D Beyond provides an incredibly easy method for creating your first character. D&D Beyond is an online resource for managing characters, content both official and homebrew (custom content designed by Dungeon Masters), and keeping track of campaigns.
The website walks you through creating your character step-by-step with just about all of the information you need to begin your story. Download and print your character sheet or use the comprehensive website to track your progress from your current HP to your level and equipment. If you can’t get out to your friendly local game store, D&D Beyond has every official Dungeons & Dragons book you’ll need to make your adventure complete.
Getting Into the Game
You’ve got your character sheet, you’ve got your dice and the rules handy, and you’ve got your chat set up. And you’ve got… a lot of dead air over the mic as everyone waits nervously to start playing. Todd Kenreck and friends from D&D Beyond have some tips for not just playing online, but actually role-playing online, to get the most out of your Dungeons & Dragons game.
Do you have a preferred way to play Dungeons & Dragons over the internet? Or room in your group? Tell us in the comments to help out future players of the world’s favorite role-playing game.
Featured Photo: Kelly Knox; Journal by r-n-w