The pandemic is still affecting our lives in dramatic ways, and it sucks to think that many of us are approaching the one-year mark of social distancing and quarantining and mask-wearing.
If you do anything long enough, you kind of get used to it, but not being able to see my friends in person is something I don’t want to get used to. Smart social distancing means that I haven’t hung out with any of my friends, including my Dungeons & Dragons group, since March of last year.
My D&D buddies and I used to meet up once a week, every Sunday, to play about six-hour long sessions of adventuring. We’d all gather around a table with carefully drawn diagrams on graph paper, miniature figurines denoting our characters placed on the paper, and role-play and roll dice to our hearts’ content.
2020 changed that set-up. We use online spaces to keep the game going, and it’s functioned fairly well for us.
We use Discord for all our audio needs. We have a private server run by our DM extraordinaire, and we still log on every Sunday to chat and play. We even use Discord to watch movies together-apart. We’ll pick something to watch on Netflix (a streaming service we all have), then press play at the same time.
Side note: And, of course, we’ve also played Among Us together using Discord. I’m a terrible liar, but it turns out I’m also a terrible truther. I have yet to play as Impostor, but no one ever believes me when I say I’m innocent. I have the voice of a guilty person. It majorly sucks, and I’m thinking the next time I play, I’ll speak in a monotone the entire time.
To make up for not having an actual tabletop, we use Roll20, a site that specifically caters to those playing D&D games online. We can recreate graph spaces for our characters to move around in, and Roll20 even comes complete with online dice to use. Most of us still prefer to use our real dice anyways, though.
Playing Dungeons & Dragons online serves its purpose, but it does not feel as great as playing in person. Internet connection issues can wreck a session. RPing through a computer is not nearly as entertaining as doing it face-to-face. (Plus, if you’re speaking as a brutish half-orc into your computer and people in your household happen to be around, crippling embarrassment can detract from your performance. Yes, I’m saying this from experience.)
Personally, I also dislike playing D&D online because it ties me to my laptop for another six hours. Since I work from home, I spend a lot of time on my computer. A lot. And even though D&D can be an enjoyable pastime, when it keeps me glued to this computer, it starts to share that work vibe.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather play D&D online than not play D&D at all. Playing online during the pandemic is like using a crutch to walk when you have a limp. The crutch helps you get from point A to point B; you need the crutch. But that wouldn’t stop you from wishing the limp would go away so you could just walk like you normally do.
It’s just not the same.
3 thoughts on “D&Ding Online”
I feel exactly the same way. Early in the lockdown I didn’t join my group’s online games because I didn’t think I’d like it and I figured we’d be back at the table before too long. I was right about one of those things.
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Dang, that sucks. Have you tried joining up with them online since then?
Yeah, caved recently, it’s better than nothing