As COVID-19 continues to spread, people around the world are staying indoors, whether by choice for safety or due to lockdowns or quarantines. While we may like to joke about how gamers are used to sitting around indoors all day, the fact is that a lot of our favorite geeky activities require social contact. Dungeons & Dragons players, for instance, are used to gathering at local game stores or around a table for their games. With lockdowns and quarantines preventing in-face gaming sessions, many are finding ways to keep the adventures moving even when they’re far away.
Moving Games Online
There’s nothing quite like sitting around a table with friends playing games. Unfortunately, as lockdown begins, getting those friends together is proving more difficult. That is where online resources come in.
Online Dungeons & Dragons is nothing new, as websites like Roll20 and Discord are often used to run remote games. With local game shops being told to close their doors until the pandemic dies down, these are more necessary than ever.
Many offline games are temporarily moving online, including entire conventions. The Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League website has posted an overview on how to run online games, as well as a list of online resources for players and DMs alike.
Not only are players coming together to keep their games going, they’re coming together to assist each other. According to Zoë M., who co-organizes D&D Adventurers League games at a local store:
“We’ve seen people volunteering to teach, make and share maps and rooms, and people stepping up to overcome the barriers of learning a new technology. It may seem overwhelming but everyone can learn to play online with some help.”
Gaming conventions are great events for people to meet up and play tabletop games. We’ve frequently covered events like DunDraCon and GobbleCon here, but there are several gaming events of all sizes all over the world.
Now, many conventions are making the difficult decision to postpone. However, while this may prevent players from meeting in person, shopping at dealer’s halls, and joining in LARPS, it does not have to cancel all the games and presentations.
Some conventions are choosing to move online for their games. GaryCon, for instance, has switched to the free Virtual GaryCon XII, which will host online games. Attendees will still receive a “virtual swag bag” from the convention’s sponsors and can enter giveaways.
Smaller events are doing the same. North Bay Dungeon Day, normally held in Rohnert Park, has also transitioned to online via Discord and Roll20. The organizers still intend to hold an in-person game day when it is safe to do so, but the switch to online became necessary as the local area was placed into lockdown.
The tabletop gaming community has come together in a show of support during these trying times. On DriveThruRPG, R. Talsorian Games is offering free downloads of the “Teenagers From Outerspace” RPG.
Similarly, to coincide with the release of “Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount,” Roll20 is offering a free Adventure Preview of the “Frozen Sick” module from the new book. This includes a full virtual tabletop conversion of the adventure and four full-color online maps.
Even outside of tabletop games, the geek community is coming together. For instance, Jim Zub (writer of the “Dungeons & Dragons” comics, including “Rick and Morty vs Dungeons & Dragons”) has put the first volume of his fantasy comic “Skullkickers” for free on his Patreon.
While these are trying times, it will take more than a pandemic to stop the ongoing quests. Tabletop RPG players are finding ways to not only continue their games online, but support each other and keep spirits high while doing so.