Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Playing Online

Due to the current situation, I've had the opportunity to play role-playing games online three times in the last few weeks. It's both wonderful and painful.

It's wonderful because I get to see and interact with people who I know and like. And we get to game.  Hell, Wade got us through one of the major arcs of our long-running 13th Age game.

Wade runs his games using Slack for die-rolling. He has a few more plugins and customizations there, too, and it works. It makes sense. We use Google Hangouts for the interaction with one another. Voice, video, etc. It's good to see the crew, but I very much hate that we can't all cluster around the same table the way we usually do.

Last weekend, I ran Mutant Chronicles for most of my L5R group. I used Discord for the die-rolling and - again - Google Hangouts for the face-to-face.  It was ... less-good than I'd hoped.  The system has too many metacurrencies to easily keep track of online, and tracking damage required that players have scratch paper, so - online at least - the system really got in the way.  And now is not a good time for dystopian horror.  But it was largely a test drive to see if the group could handle online play without weirdness, and it worked. So until we're allowed to game in person again, I'll be moving the L5R game online. The "Sidekick" bot even handles roll-and-keep and exploding dice, so the die-rolling is super-streamlined for us.  The characters were up on Obsidian Portal.  When we needed a map or an image, I just cut-and-pasted it into the Discord chat (and it worked pretty well).

In addition to running L5R online, I'm likely to do more one-shots. One of my players really desperately wants to play some sci-fi, so I'm re-reading Hellas for a one-shot play.

The problems I had were the same problems I have face-to-face.  I have one player who doesn't do much - he rolls his dice, but his character rarely engages. He will react if poked (and will interact with NPCs who interact with him), but for the most part, he sits back and lets the party play.

My party also does a lot of cross-talk. We spend a ton of time interacting with other players. It's the kind of thing that some groups really hate, but I enjoy it. Gaming is, after all, my social outlet. And they do snap back in character when I approach them in character.

I just really really want to see them in person again.