Escape Into an Adventure at Home

Posted: July 17, 2020 9:00:00 AM CDT

Need an escape from the confines of your home without actually leaving? Why not try out an online Tabletop Role-Play Game (TTRPG)?

While traditionally TTRPG's are played in person, there is a vast avenue of game systems to choose from online; you can be in a fantasy setting, Star Wars adventure, or even play as a Pokémon trainer hoping to catch all 890 of them. (Can you believe it, 890?)

For the last eight years, I have been sucked into the Dungeons and Dragons rabbit hole as a favorite pastime. While I may not be able to see my group in person, we have taken our games to an online platform that I want to share with you. TTRPG's Online is a great way to have a creative outlet, socialize with friends, and create a shared adventure with other people.

my dnd game group

What You’ll Need to Begin Your Adventure

The best part about most tabletop game systems is that cost to start can be low. Many online sites provide content from the books used to play the games at small fees, or you can always go directly to the games site and find starter material they often provide for free.

While we may not be in person, here are a few things you need to make your game work:  eight years of character sheets

  • Paper, pencil, and a character sheet  
  • A sacrifice - I mean Storyteller or Dungeon Master who runs the game
  • Online resources and/or books about the system
  • Dice or a dice roller system
  • Someone’s house or an online site 
  • Snacks 
  • A rowdy bunch of players (4 is a great number of tributes, but the Storyteller decides the party size)
  • Your imagination! 

Storytelling & World Building

Once you have the necessary supplies, the Storyteller or group collectively can decide on a system you want to play. This type of session is often called Session Zero. It normally revolves around brainstorming character ideas, figuring out the narrative of the story, deciding on a date and time that works for everyone - most people hold games weekly or bi-weekly.

Story ideas can come from already established media content like Lord of the Rings, Forgotten Realms, or even Star Wars. Games can be homebrewed, meaning the Storyteller makes it up as they go, or use a pre-made module that can be purchased. The rule book can be found on certain online sites or purchased on Amazon (I will provide links a little later in the blog for places to find content and buying content). 

Now it is time to start building your character. Every game system has different mechanics for character building. You can create a tough brawler who fights everything, even the door in their path, or the charismatic smooth talker that always gets the love interest. Imagination is key to bringing a character to life. Think of them as a person with a backstory, quirks, and even flaws to help make them more dynamic.

artwork of a former character

You can also pull inspiration from other source material; my Barbarian character took some inspiration from an online show called Critical Role in how she interacts with others and is not always the fastest on uptake of a situation. Note that this is a great time to chat with your artist friends and throw them a few bucks for your new character's artwork. 

Together your party members and Storyteller will build a fantastic world based on an already existing fantasy world or even a unique world of your very own. Our library has access to several streaming platforms, dozens of fictional books, and even music that you can use to inspire your campaign or listen to while going on an adventure. 

Resources for New Players 

There are dozens of resources to look for that provide information on how to play the game. I am providing a few favorite resources I use for gaming online and inspiration. Some of these sources provide free material so you can get your feet wet on how playing or running a game works. 

Rules, Character Sheets, & More:

  • https://dnd.wizards.com/ - The creators of Dungeons & Dragons they are the best place to purchase content from, they also provide an overview of the basics to the game and connect you to a community of players.
  • https://www.dndbeyond.com/ - Official site with information about the world and can be used in play. They also offer free sample adventures to try the game out.
  • https://paizo.com/ - The official site for Pathfinder and Starfinder. Includes community engagement and can purchase official materials.
  • https://aonprd.com/ - Donation-based site for Pathfinder and Starfinder information; an official partner of Paizo.
  • https://www.worldofdarkness.com/ - A darker set of TTRPG's where you can meet community members and purchase their grimmer version of a fantasy world game.

 

Sites for Hosting the Game:

  • https://roll20.net/ - Is a place to run games, meet others who play games, and utilize resources both paid and unpaid to get you game going.
  • https://www.astraltabletop.com/ - A place to run games and meet people with both paid and unpaid resources.

 

Set the Mood:

rpg consent checklist created by monte cook gamesThese are a handful of resources to prep you to begin playing the game. If you are only interested in the psychology behind tabletop gaming, the library offers several journal articles on the topic.

HarmonQuest and Critical Role are both great shows to get an idea of how a game of Dungeons and Dragons is played. HarmonQuest is stuffed into 30-minute episodes keeping the adventure clean and tight, while Critical Role is presented in 3 hour-long formats, which showcase what a session would be like in real-time. Critical Role can be found on YouTube, HarmonQuest can be watched on VRV or Vudu. 

Something that is new to the TTRPG community is the RPG Consent Form. This can be a great resource when you are beginning to shape your game to get a feel for everyone idea of what they want to see.

Not all people like heavy descriptions of gore or may have specific fears the do not want touched on while playing a game for fun. This can be a useful tool to figure out players that will work well together and those that will not.

Conclusion

TTRPG's have been a great stress reducer for me during this time of uncertainty. I hope this glimpse into a little slice of nerdom piques your interest so that you will ask a few friends to hop online and give it a whirl.

Every day is an adventure; why not add a little fantasy to that day? A word of warning when you start playing in person, dice collection can become addictive, and at some point, you just lose count - like me!

If you do start a TTRPG during quarantine, make sure to visit your local stores at some point and purchase books, miniatures, and other goodies that work well with the game to keep supporting the community!

my dice horde

 

 

By: Yvette Garcia, I-Create Graduate Assistant

Category: Things to Do, Library Randomness, Today’s Special