roll 20 dungeons and dragons

how to play dungeons & dragons online with roll20 | tom's guide

how to play dungeons & dragons online with roll20 | tom's guide

Playing Dungeons & Dragons online can be a challenge, but Roll20 is a tool that can help make digital adventures feel seamless. Since many of us are stuck at home right now and craving a bit of social contact, tabletop RPGs are arguably just the pastime we need.

Not only do you get to escape into a fantastical world and solve someone elses problems for a while, but you get to do so with your friends. If youve been playing D&D or a similar RPG in real life, now is the time to take it online and if you havent been playing, now is the perfect time to start your own campaign.

The only trouble with playing Dungeons & Dragons online is that the game is definitely designed with a physical tabletop in mind, with real people gathered around it to roll dice, move miniatures and collaborate on outlandish plans. This is where Roll20 comes in. This free program provides everything you need to run D&D or almost any other tabletop RPG right from your computer. You can build maps, customize character tokens, roll digital dice and even incorporate extras like music and private notes.

Roll20 can be a little abstruse, particularly if youre new to playing RPGs online. As a player in one Roll20 game and a Game Master in another one, Ive compiled a few tips to help new players get up and running with this powerful tool.

One important note: While Roll20 is optimized for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, its technically a system-neutral tool. You can run just about anything in it some games have even their entire rule sets to Roll20. Well talk more about that later, but the bottom line is that D&D is just one possibility among many.

Id say that the first thing you need for Roll20 is a group of friends who want to play an RPG with you but thats not strictly true. Roll20 offers a whole host of options for seeking players, joining groups and even hunting down Game Masters. Whether youre a total newbie, an experienced dungeon delver or even a professional GM looking to get paid, you can put yourself out there and find a game to suit your tastes.

Lets take a step back, though, and assume that youve never tried a tabletop RPG before. As discussed above, now is a great time to get involved, especially since they provide both entertainment and social interaction at a time when both are sorely needed.

Briefly, a tabletop role-playing game (RPG) is sort of the halfway point between a board game and an improvisational theater group. You and three to five of your friends pick a game for example, Dungeons & Dragons. You create a character who inhabits this fantasy world, such as a clever human wizard, a brave dwarven fighter or a cunning elven ranger. One of your friends acts as the Dungeon Master or Game Master (DM or GM), who guides the rest of the players through a story. You roll dice to resolve any encounter thats in doubt, whether its fighting off a horde of goblins, or talking your way past a recalcitrant town guard. The GM can buy licensed adventures from the RPGs publisher, or create his or her own.

If it sounds complicated, try watching a session online, or playing in one yourself; youll get how it works within a few minutes. Its basically a game of make-believe, but with rules and continuity.

Whether youre a GM or a player, youll still need to understand Roll20s basic controls. Essentially, the program is a digital mapmaking tool, which lets you design areas on a grid, then move player tokens around them. If you just need to keep track of player location and combat distance, you could get by with a bunch of colored dots on featureless gray tiles. (I am not knocking this idea, incidentally; it saves a lot of work, and players are going to conjure up something elaborate in their imaginations, anyway.) You could also get artistic and deck out a map with gorgeous custom artwork, elaborate character models and complex level designs. Either way, the principles are the same.

While I cant explain every feature of Roll20 (partially because there are a lot of features, and I havent explored them all yet), the built-in tutorial is a great place to start. The tutorial walks you through creating a map, adding character tokens, roll dice, program macros, add music to your game and so forth. Players dont really need to go through the whole thing, but GMs should, particularly since part of the tutorial covers revealing parts of the map to players over time. (If players can see the whole map from scratch, it obviously spoils a lot of the surprises theyd find while exploring.)

Roll20 is a complicated program, and learning it requires a lot of trial and error, even with the long, complex tutorial. As such, some additional resources Ive found useful are the Roll 20 Crash Course, as well as walkthrough videos from the Roll20 team. These include an overview of the toolkit, a brief video on designing maps, and a long, comprehensive walkthrough of the entire Roll20 system.

To give you the bare-bones version of what youll need to learn: Use the draw tool to design maps. Import assets into your art library for level features and character tokens. Move characters around the map. Program dice rolls for each character, unless you plan to roll in real life (and you trust your players to do so). Reveal the map as players encounter new territory. If you can do all of these, youre at least 80% of the way there.

Furthermore, Roll20 has built-in voice and video chat. Ive never found video chat necessary, and it can eat up a lot of bandwidth. Voice chat works well enough, although my groups still prefer to use Discord instead. If you find you dont want the Roll20 voice chat, its easy enough to mute.

Having spent a fair amount of time in Roll20 over the past few weeks, Ive found that it can enhance a tabletop RPG but it can also drag the experience down. Just as you wouldnt necessarily make a battle map and make your players measure their movement speed for every encounter in a game, you dont need to play out an entire session in Roll20. (You can, but its exhausting for both the players and the GM.)

First off, you should use Roll20 for combat encounters. Positioning, environmental obstacles, movement speed and weapon ranges are all vital, and its extremely hard to keep track of all this in your head. (This is especially true since your conception of the battlefield may be quite different than another players.) If you suspect your players are going to get into combat in a certain area, you should design that area and populate it with the necessary foes. Even if they somehow bypass it, its better to be prepared.

On the other hand, you generally dont need Roll20 for simple social encounters. If your party is wandering through a town, stopping in taverns and talking with a few characters at a time, Roll20 is not really going to add anything to the experience. You can design every tavern, shop and castle if youre really into mapmaking, but functionally, theres no purpose. Its a lot easier on both you and your players if you stick to theater of the mind for most noncombat encounters. The same is true of traveling from place to place; its enough to say you move through a forest rather than making players drag their tokens across a mass of trees.

Of course, there are some marginal cases, such as scenes that involve extended skill checks, or social settings where positioning is extremely important. (Think about a chase through a crowded city for the former, or a fancy noblemans gala for the latter. These are just examples; they could be anything.) Generally speaking, if you think that you might need to roll dice to determine distance and movement, a Roll20 map even a very simple one could be a huge boon. The maps are not easy to design on the fly, so try to have one ready in advance.

Beyond that, a lot of Roll20 is trial and error, so go ahead and experiment with features like character sheets, system compendiums, mobile apps and licensed, purchasable content. Nothing is going to replace getting together with a bunch of friends to run a game in-person, but under the right conditions, Roll20 can come close.

roll20 | dungeons & dragons

roll20 | dungeons & dragons

Play Dungeons & Dragons with friends across the world on the award-winning Roll20 virtual tabletop. It's free-to-use, browser based, and features a full suite of tools to quickly build characters, roll dice, and run any campaign.

Roll20 provides a rich toolset including a character builder, map tools, dynamic lighting, video and voice chat, and a powerful dice roller. Explore full digital conversions of official D&D content, including ready-to-play adventures, drag-and-drop monsters, integrated rulebooks, and more. Sign up for your free account at!

...theres more than enough in the virtual package to while away hours with your fellow gamers,however far away they may be. More than any other virtual gaming system Ive played with,Roll20s Lost Mines captured what its like to delve into dungeons (and eventually fightdragons). Jacob Brogan, Slate Magazine

Roll20 give(s) you all the conveniences of tabletop gaming right in your Web browserincluding character sheets, maps, virtual dice to roll, and even integrated video chats so you cansee your fellow players' reactions when a Beholder annihilates their favorite characters. David Murphy, PC Magazine

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persuasion, dc or roll - dungeon masters only - dungeons & dragons discussion - d&d beyond forums - d&d beyond

persuasion, dc or roll - dungeon masters only - dungeons & dragons discussion - d&d beyond forums - d&d beyond

I'm curious how people handle PC's making Persuasion rolls. I currently roll off against them using the NPC's charisma. It's quick and simple. However they can be too persuasive and I want to be able to hide somethings.

Let's assume we have an Evil Usurper Queen on the throne, a Good Disposed King in exile, and the party wants to help put the King back on the throne but don't know his location. The Good Royal Vizier knows the location but doesn't know if she can trust the party. It should be Nearly Impossible (DC 30) for anyone, especially an unfamiliar adventuring party, to persuade the Royal Vizier to reveal the King's location.

However, it might simply be Hard (DC 20) to convince the Vizier to let the party prove their loyalty to the King. In this case, the Vizier may send them on some sort of task, whether to sabotage the Queen's plans or to acquire a lost legendary item that would aid the King and in doing so they earn their trust.

If the PCs are allowed to roll against the Vizier's Charisma score, then that implies both of the above tasks carry equal weight, which is definitely not the case. Then, what if the Vizier has a Charisma of 17? Not bad if she was built using a standard array, but still only slightly above average difficulty for information as important as the whereabouts of a King in exile.

More importantly, I would look at Chapter 8: Running The Game of the DMG under the section The Role of Dice. The short version is you may decide that a certain task is indeed impossible. Using the above example, I would actually rule that the players cannot persuade the Royal Vizier to reveal the King's location without first proving themselves loyal, and if the party (from the Royal Vizier's perspective) are complete strangers to the point where the PCs aren't even a rumor then it would be nearly impossible to persuade the Vizier to even allow them the chance to earn their trust.

The more familiarity and trust the Royal Vizier has for the party, the easier it becomes for the party to convince her to tell them where the King is, thereby lowering the DC for any related Persuasion check. You can even get to the point where the party has garnered so much trust that the task moves to the other extreme of being an automatic success.

I also use the DCs that Korbin posted above, but I always try to keep in mind if there are things that could NEVER be persuaded to happen. Actually impossible things. A roll on the table is only as good as the actual argument the PCs make, and if there is nothing they could say to change this person's mind then I won't take a persuasion roll at all. If the player argues to let them roll, then I'll let them roll an Insight check to get an idea that this is something the PC can't be persuaded on, but if they roll decently I'll tell them about some other way that could help.

For example, if the bard is trying to convince a guard to leave their post they could never be persuaded to attack an innocent civilian without cause. It doesn't matter how persuasive the bard is, it will take more than words to get the guard to act in such a manner. But an Insight check might reveal that the guard keeps eyeing a WANTED poster nearby, so the Bard can change tactics and persuade the guard to go search the crowd for the person on the poster.

On the other side, if a PC gives a super compelling argument that would actually work I won't make them roll, I'll just have the NPC be persuaded. Because if the PC has put together something super convincing then I would rather reward them outright then risk a Nat 1 failure when they're making a lot of sense.

Rolling against Charisma - which amongst other things is a measure of "strength of will", in my interpretation - isn't a bad technique, as it's less purely subjective. This is how we handle things like Hiding ( Stealth vs. Perception, passive or otherwise ), after all. However - asKorbin_Orion points out, this doesn't allow the target roll to scale with the difficulty of the task. If you introduce modifiers to the Charisma target roll based on difficulty , you're really back to "seat of the pants" selection, just this time of modifiers.

Instead of modifiers, one could decide on Advantage/Disadvantage for the roll - but this is really only the equivalent of shifting DCs up or down by 5 - which isn't as flexible as DCs. Perhaps this isn't a drawback - after all, we don't do highly nuanced modifiers for Hiding. It may come down to how nuanced you want your social interactions to be: perhaps Advantage/Disadvantage is sufficient for your game.

In the example of the Vizier above, a little thought as to the kind of person who would be in that role (it's unlikely that weak willed - i.e. low Charisma - individual would rise to that role ) helps keep things somewhat plausible. In the case of a professional person who lives by their Charisma - like the Vizier - I might add a proficiency bonus equivalent to their score - although overthink this, and you're back to "seat of the pants", so maybe adopt a flat +2 professional bonus to such targets - regardless of what stat you're targeting; professionals get +2.

I agree 100% however, that rolls should only occur is there is a possibility of success, or failure, and an associated cost ( either in resources or time ) which prevents the PCs from just hammering away at the problem until they get a favorable roll.

I find that DC selection, the nebulous selection criteria provided for them, and the inconsistencies that many (I'd even say most) DMs exhibit in selecting them, even within the same session, is one of the major weak points of the 5e system.

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This is basically what the DMG rules do. What's possible depends on the NPC's attitude towards you, which you may or may not be able to influence through clever roleplay. DC 10 gets you an outcome one step better than the NPC's default behavior and a DC 20 gets you an outcome two steps better.

For example, a hostile NPC will normally try to hurt you. If you make a case for your request, a roll of 10 means they won't help nor hurt you, and a roll of 20 means they'll go along with your request as long as there's no risks involved. That's the best you can hope for without improving the NPC's attitude towards you first, and you still need to provide a reason for why they'd want to help you.

I also figure out 3 motivations for the npc. One is personal goal, one is professional goal, and one is their taboo. We'll say the guard's personal goal is to end their shift and go attend a show at a near by tavern. Their professional goal is to recover from a bad situation where their commander decided to punish them by making them take guard duty. Lastly the taboo is that they will take great offense if someone starts saying anything negative about their ability to perform their job.

As the players interact with the captain I'll adjust the dc three times, making it more difficult if they do anything that might be a taboo, and decreasing the difficulty if they can incorporate a goal into their attempts. It's a +/- 2 for each.

If the players don't try to do anything more than "I want to roll persuasion" I'll prompt them with a "How". If they RP it then I'll do the adjustments, if they simply stick to "I just want to try to persuade them" I'll keep the DC the same.

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I have a switch to the question. What if I have an NPC persuade the PC's into give up something. How can you persuade them to give up items besides paying vas amounts or trading items? Persuasion vsPersuasion or maybe fine out how much the PC's treasure an item and then have them assign it a DC maybe?

You want to avoid taking away agency from your players as much as possible, andwhen you do try to make it exclusively magical means so that it becomes a mystery to solve and/or can be overcome/counterspelled/dispelled. Let the players decide for themselves whether or not they want to give up an item, information, or perform a task. Any time which you take away a player's agency needs to be done carefully, and if it is nonmagical or "for the story" it needs to be in incredibly rare, niche, and non-universal circumstances.

If an NPC wants an item that the players don't want to give up, then you decide if the NPC is evil and desperate enough for the item to either try to steal it themselves or hire someone to steal/ambush the party and take it that way, and now you have a whole new adventure right there. This would be done either through an NPC sleight of hand vs. the party's perception checks or a group of bandits jumping them in an alley or whatever other appropriate scenarios you come up with.

I have an NPC who had an incredible helpful item for the players but it cost them 1,000 Gold. The next time the players see the NPC if all goes according to plan they will present the item to the NPC, now it has no purpose for them other than selling it to this NPC which can shed some light on the target they are tracking (They have everything they need to track the target this information if just a plus for them to have). Now if the players don't present the item to this NPC then it will play no further part in the game.

Original Question: I have a switch to the question. What if I have an NPC persuade the PC's into give up something. How can you persuade them to give up items besides paying vas amounts or trading items? Persuasion vsPersuasion or maybe fine out how much the PC's treasure an item and then have them assign it a DC maybe?

If the characters don't need the item and don't care about it then they could give it to the NPC when he asks. He could ask in a convincing manner and perhaps offer some gold in exchange for the item but if it isn't essential to the plot that the NPC receive the item back then don't worry about it. Roleplay the NPC being nice and asking for it and pointing out to the PCs that it isn't useful for them anymore.

However, in general, you can't use skills like persuasion or intimidation on PCs. The PCs always choose what to do. You can say that the NPC makes a very persuasive case, tell the player that the character thinks the NPC comments really make sense. But unless the PC is under the effect of a spell that makes them more likely to be persuaded (charm for example ... or dominate, it which case they don't have any choice) then the decision is always made by the PC.

Don'thave dice rolls mandate player actions. It is not fun to have the DM tell you what your character is going to do. I would suggest youtell the players that the NPC is very persuasive and presents an extremely compelling argument, then ask them how they respond. Your players may be willing to roleplay that they have been persuaded.

On the other side, if a PC gives a super compelling argument that would actually work I won't make them roll, I'll just have the NPC be persuaded. Because if the PC has put together something super convincing then I would rather reward them outright then risk a Nat 1 failure when they're making a lot of sense.

I still usually give my players a roll in that case, but I let them roll with advantage and set the DC fairly low. For one thing, players like to roll dice and they feel accomplished when they pull off something that gives them advantage. And the chance of failure is less that their argument is bad, and more like the NPC thinks that the player is just saying what they think the NPC wants to hear, so it's more about convincing them that they're being genuine about all the things they're saying.

I almost never have contested rolls for persuasion, but I do it sometimes for deception or intimidation. Usually it's an intelligence check for Deception or a wisdom check for intimidation. I still mostly use DCs to determine those things, but if they're pulling this on an underdeveloped character I wasn't expecting them to interact with, and thus I don't have a lot of planned ideas for how they should react, I sometimes rely on the dice to decide for me to keep from hemming and hawing to myself and slowing things down while I decide on a DC.

I have a switch to the question. What if I have an NPC persuade the PC's into give up something. How can you persuade them to give up items besides paying vas amounts or trading items? Persuasion vsPersuasion or maybe fine out how much the PC's treasure an item and then have them assign it a DC maybe?

Persuasion isnot mind control. It's about phrasing what you say correctly for the social situation, making the right request at the right time, using the correct language. The person doing the persuading must be acting in good faith - i.e. not lying, that's covered by deception. Someone with a highpersuasion is one of those irritating (at least to social muppets like me) people at a party that always knows the right way into a conversation, always looks interested even when they're bored titless and changes the way they speak depending on who they think they're talking to. They're the people that can flirt outrageously and get away with it while everyone else just sounds creepy or desperate.Persuasion is the skill you use when the player wants his character to be polite, use the correct etiquette and be charming even when the player isn't charming or doesn't know or doesn't care what the correct etiquette is.

If an NPC wants something the Adventurer has he can usepersuasion to make sure his request is tuned correctly for the Adventurer. He's never going to get the Adventurer to go against their best interests but he's going to be able to point out exactly what the Adventurer's best interests are. If theplayer of that Adventurer doesn't want to go along there's not a lot you can do as a DM apart from shrug and carry on.

Generally I'd say only make a persuasion check for an NPC if you think that it'd be fun for it to mess up and throw a grain of sand into the situation by saying the wrong thing. Otherwise don't bother. Let the warrior with CHA 8 and no proficiency inpersuasioncall everyone "Captain Dicksplash" in conversation and the bard with CHA 20 and proficiency in persuasioncall the correct people "Sir", "Dude" or "Mate" as appropriate.

This might be unusual, but I only ask players to make Persuasion or Deception rolls if I'm on the fence about whether their in-character dialogue would suffice. If they RP a good enough excuse to an NPC I'll often omit the roll entirely or at least give them advantage.

d&d basics: dice for dungeons and dragons - wizards laboratory

d&d basics: dice for dungeons and dragons - wizards laboratory

Theres a little box of dice on the counter next to the cash register at my Favourite Local Gaming Store (FLGS), Sentry Box. The box is brimming with white uniform sized six sided dice with black drilled pips. Theres a dog eared post it note affixed to the dice boxwhich reads Normal people dice. Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) players smile. Its nice to be special. D&D uses those dice and lots of other types of dice too. Ill explain what six sided dice do in D&D and what all the rest of those funny dice do in D&D too.

Central to D&D isnt the afore mentioned six sided die. Its the twenty sided die, or aicosahedron (to impress your friends). Actually in D&D its commonly referred to as a d20 (dee-twenty). With 20 sides numbered from 1 to 20, its the dice youll roll the most in D&D.

The most common question new D&D players ask is, When do I roll the dice and what dice do I roll? The good news is, because D&D is a fun and cooperative game, the Dungeon Master (DM) will tell you when to roll, and even what dice to roll. The only thing you have to worry about playing your first few games of D&D is to tell the DM what you want to do. Your DM will tell you what dice you need to effect your action in the D&D world.

The d20 determines success or failure of the actions of your Player Character (PC). The higher the number on the d20 the better the success. The lower the number on the d20 the worst the failure. 20 is always an automatic success and 1 is always an automatic failure. Your DM will let you know if you succeeded or failed at the described taskyou want your PC to do. For example, you want your Barbarian to hit a goblin with a club. Your DM will add your proficiency bonus, ability and other possible modifiers to your d20 roll. The DM will check the sum of your roll and modifiers and check it for success or failure. If, it sounds complicated its not, but at the beginning your DM will help you with this math.

A bit on how to read which dice to use. When its written d20 you roll a d20. A d4 is the pointy 4 sided ortetrahedron dice. We all the the six sided die is normally written as d6, the eight sided oroctahedron die is d8, the ten sided orpentagonal trapezohedron die is d10, and the d12 of course is the twelve sideddodecahedron die. OK with me so far? Good. A number in front of the #d indicates the number of dice that type is to be rolled. 8d6 is roll 8 six sided dice, 3d8 is roll 3 eight sided dice, and so on. Now that were versed on how to read dice lets learn more about the rest of the dice.

D20s, as mentioned earlier, are used to test success or failure of the action you describe to the DM. The d4, d6, d8, d10, and d12 are primarily rolled for calculating weapon and spell damage. Less often those dice are used for healing. About 99% of all rolls will involve these dice. There is one more dice set used in D&D the d100,hectogonor percentile die. If you dont have a hundred sided die,roll a ten sided die twice. The first roll is for the tens column of the number and the second 10 sided roll is for the ones column. Roll a 7 then a 3 on a ten sided die is 73, or 73%. 100% is represented by rolling 0 on both ten sided dice.Percentile dice are often used by the DM for random treasure generation and such.Youll not need percentile dice very often as a player, unless your an unlucky Wild Magic Sorcerer.

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