Continuing the Adventure from Home: Tabletop Role-Play Games while Social Distancing

Dice, photo courtesy of Lindsey Barnick.

For most gamers, rolling for initiative has been put on hold for the moment. Presently, due to social distancing guidelines, fans of role-playing games find themselves unable to go to each other’s living rooms to weave a story through teamwork and creativity.

Thankfully even with the obstacle of quarantines and lockdowns, there are options for those role-playing stories to continue and opportunities to create new adventures! We are fortunate that this era is also the digital age, and programs such as Discord, Zoom, and Skype exist to allow for chatting with our friends. Combine that with some wonderful sources online that have been stepping up to the plate to help their users right now and the dice-rolling can continue.

A simple Google search for a dice roller allows you to play digitally if you don’t have dice of your own. Screenshot of Google Search: Dice roller

In my current experience, websites such as Roll20 or DNDBeyond have proven useful. Both offer resources needed to run a campaign long distance. DNDBeyond is specific to Dungeons & Dragons campaigns and supplies rule books, character sheets, and character generators on their website. In Roll20’s case, they offer the ability to create maps, dice rollers, and the possibility to seek out and join campaigns with others online. Roll20 also offers templates to set up character sheets for what is an endless amount of role-playing games (RPGs).

Maybe fighting dragons and traversing dungeons is not your thing, but there are still options. My party members and I have decided to try a handful of the Powered by the Apocalypse system games during these last few weeks. We have held campaigns over Discord for RPGs ranging from Monster of the Week to Blades in the Dark and have enjoyed them immensely. So maybe now is the time to try your hand at a new system for a RPG. Or you have had an idea for a new game but it won’t fit the rulebook you’re used to, now seems like a great time to explore the hundreds of options out there.

And if you are one of those with a family who will put up with your dice collecting and love of these games, why not start a campaign with them? As proven through spending time playing campaigns long distance, you don’t need all the usual maps and equipment physically with you. (Though if you do have them, definitely use those!) There are dice rollers, character sheets you can fill in, and campaigns created by others only a Google search away.

So while waiting for the chance to see our dragon visitors in The Lost World of Dragons, create your own tales of our dragon friends together. Have the family work on creating characters and begin to create a story as we wait out this pandemic from the safety of our homes. It’s an experience that occupies a lot of time, keeps you engaged, and in the end is a story you can all look back on and be proud of creating!

Article written by Lindsey Barnick, Cataloger, The Strong National Museum of Play

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