Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Playing Curse of Strahd on-line

Due to some real life issues, my regular game is on hiatus and my son has stepped in and is running The Curse of Strahd, the adventure from Wizards of the Coast.

Playing On-line

First off, we are playing this via Roll20 on-line.  This is the first time we have run a campaign this way.  There has been attempts kick start a game on-line before but we are just jumping in because there is no other alternative.  We have gone from face to face gaming to an on-line session without much preparation.  The group is not the regular group either.  It is a combination of parts of my regular group, parts of my son's regular group and an old friend from the other side of the country.  Nice that the unfortunate circumstances allows us to reconnect with old friends.

We are trying to balance learning the tool with playing the game.  We do not need to take advantage of everything Roll20 has to offer.  Our thinking is less is more.  We typically roll the dice in Roll20, but you don't have to - we trust people to roll the dice on the side.  We are using the built in 5E character sheets, the saving throws and initiative tracking are proved useful.  Sometimes the built in capabilities do not function as we expect - whether it is operator error or not is unimportant.  We do not want to spend time trouble shooting during game time and instead prefer to keep the game moving.

To simplify matters, we are using Skype for voice communication, with some people using the same computer for Roll20 to run Skype while others run it on a separate phone or tablet.  We may not really be simplifying matters but it got us started.  We have not been using video to conserve bandwith, computer cycles and/or screen space.  Personally, I have been using a separate tablet for Skype with ear buds.  Some folks are still trying to talk via their PC microphone, and it works poorly.  Additionally, I use a second monitor to display my character sheet and notes so I do not have to interrupt the screen map or chat window.

Though Roll20 gives a spot for handouts, we are using that minimally and the players are sharing information via Google Drive.

Overall, though we have only had a few sessions, it is working well enough and we are pleased with progress.  The relative different comfort levels people have with the technology is telling though.  It can stall the game when someone has a 'tech' problem.

Next up, some thoughts on the module itself.

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