During the past year myself as well as all of my Game Master friends have had to switch gears to digital when the pandemic started. I would be lying if I said it was a smooth transition. So for those who are starting a new game digitally or having trouble with their current game this is the post for you! Here I will outline what you need as well as some tips to have a successful digital campaign.
So what do you need?
We all love to collect things and Wizards of the Coast makes that pretty easy with all of their special edition books and amazing minis. Hell, I’ve got over 10 of their books ranging from the core three (Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guild and Monster Manual) to campaign settings and supplemental content. But if I had a fireball aimed at me and I had to tell the truth as to what you actually needed to run a game digitally I’d say a Discord server, some players and a Players Handbook. Truly you can run an amazing game with just that. I’d like to go into a little more detail on the Discord server real quick.
You may have noticed that I didn’t say you needed dice. I’m what you might call a Dice Goblin and it hurts to say this but you don’t actually need a physical set of dice. Discord has a ton of tools to help your campaign and one of them is a dice roller! I use Avrae for dice rolling but that bot can do so much more and I’d suggest following the link at the end of this post to see all of the features. I’d also recommend a bot to schedule your games. You can set up the game and it will send a notification to your players when it gets close to game time! I’ve had a lot of luck with Apollo and once again I’ll link it in the end. Past bots you can create channels within your server to help organize the campaign. Some channels I recommend are dice rolling to keep the clutter down in the general chat, player notes if your players want some common knowledge area, schedule channel, magic items channel to keep descriptions in one place, and a quotes channel for funny things your friends say throughout the campaign.
Kamm’s Tips for a Digital Campaign
- If you aren’t using maps or only breaking them out when its a huge combat you’re going to need to be on point with your descriptions. Make sure to include the dimensions of the space your players are in as well as any interesting details and know you’re going to say those details 10 times before then end of the fight.
- Send personal info in a private DM to your players. Just like handing your players a note at the table, sending a message to them during the session with some private info of something they only see adds so much to the session and its so simple.
- USE 5E TOOLS! If you have a hard time organizing all of the tabs you need open with monster stat blocks, conditions and what they do and your google docs of notes then using this site will help a ton. You can easily create a GM screen with stat blocks and conditions as well as so much more.
- Stay hydrated! This was a thing before we had to go digital but you’re going to be talking a lot more which means its even more important to stay hydrated. I like to keep a large water bottle next to my computer as well as some tea with honey.
I truly hope this helps your adventures. It was trial and error for all of my games but eventually we got the hang of it and looking back I wish I had something like this to read while figuring it all out. Happy adventuring!
Kamm’s Recommended Online Tools: