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Being a Dungeon Master... on line.

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The Doctor Alt 8:

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.

Barrington Boots:
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.

The Doctor Alt 8:

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...

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!

The Doctor Alt 8:
Thanks for the advice...   :)


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