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General Chat => Games => : The Doctor Alt 8 12 February, 2021, 09:50:22 PM

: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 12 February, 2021, 09:50:22 PM

Because no one else would do it and some acquaintances and Adrian wanted to play D & D I have somehow found myself it the position of Dungeon Master.

(Quee evil laugh and panto villain style calls of "Ultimate Power" )

It seems to be going OK. (At least no one is complaining and Adrian who has been a DM before thinks that I am coping well)

Because of the you-know-what we have been playing via Zoom.

Because this is me we are talking about I have been having some technical problems... such as Zoom failing to start up... and constantly crashing during initial start up. I travel to Adrian's to do this as I don't think that the BT wi-Fi hot spot can cope with more than one other person and Mother considers my required gaming conversation deeply annoying...

Of course I have had the usual not everyone can attend the meetings at the same time... I have only 4 players and out of the 3 sessions I have yet to have all players present... we have agreed to just carry on with me filling in for missing players...
(yes I know that I shouldn't really do that but we'd rather carry on than not play at all)

I think that I can mitigate some of these problems by restarting my laptop and thus closing down most of my web pages... however because my laptop is over 4 years old it seems to take a good 10 mins at least to stare up...

I wanted to add a filter so I didn't appear as... well myself... for that added touch of fantasy. I downloaded the Snap camera app (The one that had the excellent kitten filter that hit the news a couple of days ago) in the hopes of perhaps finding a Dragon head filter but... guess what? Yep it's downloaded but doesn't seem to work... no options show up (I'd love to add a voice changer filter to but those are expensive and oddly none of them seen to have a demo so you can't hear and judge the options before you invest in the programme)

 So have any of you folks played/DM'd 5e Dungeons & Dragons? Do you have any tips? I still have no real idea how to run combat... but I just made up a plot that avoided combat. But clearly I can't keep that up for long.

: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: Barrington Boots 13 February, 2021, 06:24:05 AM
I am DM-ing two weekly online games currently. One I've been running for several years and it took a bit of adjustment moving from playing face to face to online, but I got used to it (and frustrated enough, during lockdowns) to be able to start another with people I wouldn't normally be able to play with due to distance.

It's been a learning process all round and I'm still fine-tuning my online act, so to speak, but the best tips I can give are to try and go to town with the descriptions, and make sure you give everyone time to speak: in a tabletop setting interaction is different and PCs can chat amongst themselves, but online only one person can really talk at once and it's easier for a bombastic player or character to dominate a session. I find Discord better than Zoom - it's nice to see my friends faces but it can also be a distraction. I'd also recommend a site like Roll20 for you to post maps, images etc and it has a built in diceroller, but it's not good for old or slow PCs.

It sounds like you're fairly new to being a DM though? 5e is a nice straightforward system, even the combat. It's like D&D on easy mode. You've nothing to worry about on the combat front. Just don't let the rules get in the way of telling the story.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 13 February, 2021, 11:24:13 AM

Hmm. I thought Patreon was for those who wanted to raise money.... (not that I couldn't use some... like everybody else) I will have to do some more research on that.

Thanks for the help.

Adrian LOATHS 5e... but it is the system I am most .. comfortable with because I have watched a lot of Dimension 20 and Oxventrue videos... as well as lore vids from The Mighty Glue Stick, Dungeon Dudes, XP to level 3, Mr Rhexx, How to be a Great DM...
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: wedgeski 13 February, 2021, 02:28:20 PM
I run a weekly online 5E game with 4 players using the following tools:

* A big table
* Battlemat with offset camera and ring light
* Discord for voice and video
* OBS studio for mixing between battlemat and DM face

DND Beyond serves to automate skill checks, combat rolls, resource tracking, and so-on. We used to rely on AVRAE for dice rolling and other features, but DND Beyond now has shared dice rolling in the browser so it's the one-stop shop for that.

For yourself as a new DM, FG or Roll20 might be an essential tool when the fighting starts. It does everything DNDB does, with the advantage that you can share maps and have your players and opponents appear as tokens.

You *can* play a lot of 5E combat in the mind--and we do, where terrain isn't relevant or the quarters are tight; ultimately, as the players grow in power and the spells start flying, miniatures combat, or its digital equivalent, becomes useful and then IMO mandatory to get the most out of the combat rules.

We avoid digital tools in that area and instead set up a battlemat with actual mini's and an overhead camera. For us, the battlemat and camera are essential to that tabletop feeling. I have run online games in FantasyGrounds and Roll20, and for me, there's just something missing that I can't live without.

Have fun and good luck!
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 13 February, 2021, 05:48:49 PM
Thanks for the advice...   :)
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: Barrington Boots 15 February, 2021, 11:12:24 AM

Wedgeski, that is a seriously good setup. I'm not a huge fan of Roll20: it's a bit clunky, but I find it invaluable for displaying maps and running combat when PCs need to know about flanking or how many of them are getting fireballed etc. I've thought about using a battlemap & streaming it but I feel like I'm unsure on the investment for setting it up vs the time we'll be using it for. Any chance you could share a pic of your table setup? I'm really interested especially with regard my second game where I'll never be able to play a face to face session with the guys involved, so it'd potentially be worth stepping it up.

One thing I used to use a lot in the before-times was Syrinscape for sound effects - sadly I've just cancelled that as it didn't work with our online setup.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: wedgeski 15 February, 2021, 11:24:20 AM

Wedgeski, that is a seriously good setup. I'm not a huge fan of Roll20: it's a bit clunky, but I find it invaluable for displaying maps and running combat when PCs need to know about flanking or how many of them are getting fireballed etc. I've thought about using a battlemap & streaming it but I feel like I'm unsure on the investment for setting it up vs the time we'll be using it for. Any chance you could share a pic of your table setup? I'm really interested especially with regard my second game where I'll never be able to play a face to face session with the guys involved, so it'd potentially be worth stepping it up.

One thing I used to use a lot in the before-times was Syrinscape for sound effects - sadly I've just cancelled that as it didn't work with our online setup.
I'll take a snap after Thursday night's game, np.

About Syrinscape, I also cannot get that to work down an audio stream. I fear the only way to achieve it would be to add a hardware mixer into the setup, but I can't justify that money right now; plus I have to ask myself how complicated I want to make things.

We considered streaming to Twitch but some of our players aren't happy with the idea, so it got shelved. Probably for the best. However good we think our game is, it would just be one more amateur stream amongst thousands these days.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: Barrington Boots 15 February, 2021, 11:47:58 AM
Cheers Wedge!

You're right about Syrinscape, you'd need an audio mixer or just turn it up really loud in the background :) I tried running it through R20 but it just slowed the game down to a crawl.

One of my guys also asked about streaming our games but we prefer to keep it just for us. The game is written with specific people in mind and I'm not sure others would 'get it'. Tbh I've watched a couple of sessions over Twitch etc. and the popular ones seem obviously scripted to me.

It's been an interesting challenge adapting to running online. Some cool stuf has come out of it, but I can't wait to revert back.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: paddykafka 15 February, 2021, 01:02:22 PM
As a Player and luddite, I feel your pain, Doctor Alt.

I had the same technical problems with online playing when I attempted to make the transition from normal gaming. Regular screen crashes or voice drop-offs, to the point where it became too frustrating to continue playing.

I had no option but to sign up for a more expensive broadband plan with a different company, as the former broadband speed just wasn't strong enough, or fast enough, or something like that...

But it did the job in fairness and I had no further problems after that. (Well, apart from not currently having a group to play with.) As some others have suggested, Roll20 and Discord are two possible options.

Hope things work out for you and I wouldn't worry too much about having a small group. Maybe add one or two more to the player numbers to field a working party. And as a DM you're going to have your hands full anyway, without the added hassle of running another character at the  same time.

(Just out of curiousity, I wonder how many other forum members are also D&D players as well?)

All the best - Paddy
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: wedgeski 15 February, 2021, 04:23:31 PM
It's been an interesting challenge adapting to running online. Some cool stuf has come out of it, but I can't wait to revert back.
OMG that glorious, glorious day. The time is fast approaching when it will have been a year since our last face-to-face session. I'm very proud of our group that we've stuck to a weekly schedule, and I have to say it's been the shining light of our lockdown experience.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 18 February, 2021, 12:52:22 AM
Hi there.... At the moment with such irregular players I am reluctant to make an investment in any equipment that honestly I can't afford. (although Adrian might already have a suitable camera)

Adrian has been trying to get Roll 20 to work but when he created his account it keeps telling him that he needs to enter a barcode in order to gain access to their tools... well we haven't got one of those yet!  How do we tell it that we are starting a campain... not trying to join an existing one?




: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: Barrington Boots 18 February, 2021, 09:53:17 AM
If you're signed in, under 'Games' on the top menu there's an option to 'Create New Game'... like so:

(https://i.imgur.com/skFSW88.png)

You can then invite players and so on.
I have to say Roll20 isn't much of a platform for hand-holding and it assumes a certain amount of knowledge or willingness to experiment. I haven't used DND Beyond (I'm playing Pathfinder, which is essentially an older and much maths-ier version of D&D) but I understand it's a lot easier to handle and may be better suited.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: sheridan 18 February, 2021, 10:49:12 AM
D&D player here - in the sense that I haven't played D&D for the past year :-( (any offers appreciated).

Though I did participate in a D20-based Stargate game somebody was running in the first lockdown, but the GM got snowed under with work so it didn't last long.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: sheridan 18 February, 2021, 10:53:04 AM
p.s. can't remember if it was one of the youtubers mentioned previously but there is a good vid about the difference between real rolelplaying sessions for 'normal' people and the ones you get on youtube - basically normal people play the game while the online ones perform the game for an audience - so don't get intimidated by all the acting, accents and the like (the most famous channel consists of a bunch of voice actors, for instance).

Anyway - for irregular groups, look up the Westmarch style of playing - the party has a base in a town where nothing happens (as in they can safely wander around without fear of combat encounters) and on any given session a group assembles and ventures out.  Though it sounds like you'd end up with really small groups who would have limited options - so another idea is to have each player run two PCs, and maybe have one stay at home if the party grows too big.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: Barrington Boots 18 February, 2021, 11:08:22 AM
have each player run two PCs, and maybe have one stay at home if the party grows too big.

This can be such a good idea. We did this back when we used to play Shadowrun - players had a little pool of PCs and after the mission had been given they'd pick the right guys for the job, Mission Impossible-style.

Mild tangent but I tried to play Shadowrun about 8 years ago using the old rulebooks (they may be updated now) and it didn't work at all as all the players started asking why they couldn't look stuff up on the internet on their phones.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: wedgeski 18 February, 2021, 11:15:41 AM
p.s. can't remember if it was one of the youtubers mentioned previously but there is a good vid about the difference between real rolelplaying sessions for 'normal' people and the ones you get on youtube - basically normal people play the game while the online ones perform the game for an audience - so don't get intimidated by all the acting, accents and the like (the most famous channel consists of a bunch of voice actors, for instance).
A few years ago I thought this was going to be a big problem. The Critical Role bunch were always excellent roleplayers, but as the sets got more elaborate, as more cameras were added, as the DM's battlemats turned into full-fledged 3D dioramas with resin terrain provided by sponsors, I got nervous that anyone tuning into to see what D&D was all about would find something fun and aspirational, but not particularly helpful in demonstrating what their own game might look like. I could just imagine the first tentative session run by a nervous DM, head full of rules, and his brand new players asking him why he didn't have 20 voices at his disposal and a table full of professionally painted mini's.

As it turns out, I was wrong. D&D is more popular than ever in no small part to CritRole, and there are hundreds of streams representing every kind of game imaginable. I learned a lesson about the value of aspirational goals, probably. I mean, how often did Top Gear talk about anything except supercars?
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: paddykafka 18 February, 2021, 04:48:58 PM
D&D player here - in the sense that I haven't played D&D for the past year :-( (any offers appreciated).

Yep. The same here.

Admittedly, a big part of my problem is chronic social anxiety, which makes being involved with new people and fitting into groups, problematic, to say the least. Maybe it's just me, but I also find that the vast majority of players tend to be quite young and I guess that, being middle-aged, I just tend to relate better to - in so far as my limits allow me to - or feel a bit more comfortable around players of my own, shall we say, vintage. I'm also hamstrung by being so technically backward in comparison to most folk. For starters, I don't have a smartphone - I just find them too damn finicky and awkward to use - so I'm out of the loop when it comes to game notifications. And as I panic a little when it comes to playing online - I'm still prone to problems when it comes to understanding technology - that only adds to my anxiety, as I don't want to hold up the rest of the players in the group.

At times like this, I wish that I was thirty or forty years younger. Sure, I'd still be crippled with social anxiety and ineptitude - believe me, I was even worse then than I am now, lol - but at least I would be of an age where the technology of the time did not feel so daunting.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 18 February, 2021, 05:17:32 PM
p.s. can't remember if it was one of the youtubers mentioned previously but there is a good vid about the difference between real rolelplaying sessions for 'normal' people and the ones you get on youtube - basically normal people play the game while the online ones perform the game for an audience - so don't get intimidated by all the acting, accents and the like (the most famous channel consists of a bunch of voice actors, for instance).

Anyway - for irregular groups, look up the Westmarch style of playing - the party has a base in a town where nothing happens (as in they can safely wander around without fear of combat encounters) and on any given session a group assembles and ventures out.  Though it sounds like you'd end up with really small groups who would have limited options - so another idea is to have each player run two PCs, and maybe have one stay at home if the party grows too big.


Despite my fear of being immodest.... "Performing" isn't something I am that intimidated by... far from it. (If it wasn't for my lack of hieght, connections in the industry and general "Cosmetic disadvantages" I'd of LOVED to be an actress... I have been told I have some talent... just try & stop me!
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 19 February, 2021, 07:11:20 AM
Last nights session highlights...

Gatekeeper "I don't care if you are the chief eunuch to IO's left testical ... your not getting in here until I have talked to my superiors ..."

" four and twenty virgins went down to Inverness
  They visited Sir Christof and there were four and twenty less"
(Sir Christof Draco is Adrian's character ...)

Oh we worked out the Roll 20 problem... apparently you cannot start a new game using a mobile phone which was what Adrian was attempting I had no such woes when I opened my account on my laptop.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: wedgeski 19 February, 2021, 09:51:01 AM
Someone was interested in a pic of my online D&D setup. (https://imgur.com/a/yLBOhsU)
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: Barrington Boots 19 February, 2021, 11:06:20 AM
That was me, cheers dude.
Looks good. That's a lot of work compared to a Roll20 style setup, but does look a lot nicer.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 19 February, 2021, 07:22:16 PM
Someone was interested in a pic of my online D&D setup. (https://imgur.com/a/yLBOhsU)

That's a nice set up... But I would have to have more ... reliable players to justify something like that.  Perhaps when I have more experience I'll ask for players.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 08 March, 2021, 07:53:03 PM
I am saving up for a webcam but I am torn between the 1. Logitech C920 or the advantages of the 3. Logitech StreamCam (+Content creation features Facial tracking+Auto-focusing) The webcam that I am using currently is the one integral to my laptop. the image quality is poor and it keeps turning of just leaving the background display up. (Not that I should complain that much I do have a face for radio) what do you folks think?
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: wedgeski 08 March, 2021, 09:09:26 PM
My webcam of choice at the moment is one of the Logitech clones:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07DLT4FQY/

I was forced to buy one of these when Logitech became impossible to buy at the start of the pandemic and everyone discovered they needed a webcam for Zoom. It's half the price, as good quality (as far sa I can tell), and will be much better than your laptop webcam. I've bought three of these over the past year and they've worked out of the box every time.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 09 March, 2021, 02:24:45 AM

You bought three... did they brake so quickly or did you need three?
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: wedgeski 09 March, 2021, 09:18:42 AM

You bought three... did they brake so quickly or did you need three?
They're all still working perfectly. :)
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 12 March, 2021, 04:55:29 PM
 :)  Oh thank goodness.


Last night my team members thoughly railroaded ME (To hilarious effect)

I thought it was supposed to be the other way around?


: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: wedgeski 12 March, 2021, 05:14:05 PM
That is the way. :)
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: Barrington Boots 12 March, 2021, 05:45:13 PM
I'm actually fast approaching the end of a 4 year campaign with my group. Assuming nothing goes wrong they'll beat the big baddie and then retire the characters, as they'll all be pretty high levelled by then.

It's weird to have played the last year or so of the game online rather than in person. It's the second longest campaign I've run that's had a definitive beginning and end, and I'd like to mark the end of the game in some way, but online (and I assume we'll still be online by then, anyway) is tricky. My best idea atm is getting some custom character art comissions done to remember the characters but I'd welcome any cool ideas.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 12 March, 2021, 09:00:10 PM
I think that would depend on how much you are willing to spend. You have heard of Hero Forge? Wonderful customizable RPG figurines... but rather pricy.... and that's excluding postage to the UK. It is cheaper if you have the confidence to paint them yourself... or have access to a 3 d printed...
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 13 March, 2021, 06:54:44 PM
https://youtu.be/QSJqrl7oXBc?t=190
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: Barrington Boots 15 March, 2021, 09:27:09 AM
I've used Heroforge in the past (for models for this very game, actually). If you 3D print and paint them yourself they're reasonably decent.
Last time I finished a campaign we just had a barbeque.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: NapalmKev 15 March, 2021, 04:48:27 PM

 barbeque.


And Beer. Get them to dress as a close approximation of their character, ply them with booze and then send them on one last quest/Treasure hunt around your garden.

Cheers
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 20 May, 2021, 09:32:31 PM

Sigh. Well that didn't last long.


My fledgling D & D group is no more.

Although Adrian still wants to play he can't for the next coming month or so until his visitor who will be coming over for at least two weeks returns home. (Because said visitor has irrational jealousy issues and therefore well I don't need to state the obvious)

One only was able to join us twice due to technical issues outside our control. (And you thought I was the death of technology!) This is apparently due to her "bootlegged Frankenstein's monster of an ancient laptop.

One now has "leadership training" for his church group on his only free evening

and our newbie (Who never supplied anything other than her stats, was a high elf in the arcane trickster class and had a bump on her head that was due to a curse didn't realise that you are supposed to actually DO something yourself not be told every little thing to do... even after I gave her a list of suggestions and even told her to GO TO THE ADVETURES GUILD to meet up with her spy master ...so got board and doesn't want to play anymore.

I don't really want to give up being a DM but well I now need a new team to play with....
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: sheridan 20 May, 2021, 11:45:53 PM
I volunteer as a new team member - which version are you playing?  I have the Metzner and Molvay box sets, plus versions 3.5, 4 and 5th edition of yer modern D&D.
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: sheridan 20 May, 2021, 11:47:32 PM
Oh, and technology-wise can do duo-google, skype, discord and zoom.  Sure I'm missing one out there...
: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 21 May, 2021, 05:37:30 AM


Ok. I am playing version 5. Homebrew plot. We have been using microsoft teams... but I have Discord. We won't be "ready" for a month... ( I travel to Adrian's to play because doing so at home isn't an option.)

We will be meeting at a tournament/ fair.

Due to the small number of players we had I took the unusual step of being a character as well. I am a level 5 Bard. 

anything else you want to know well you just have to ask.




: Re: Being a Dungeon Master... on line.
: The Doctor Alt 8 10 June, 2021, 10:17:36 PM

Anyone else want to join in this game? Could use another couple of people.... (There is a limit to how many voices I can do!)

DM me if you are interested...