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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ArcanistSupreme's Avatar

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    Default Running a Skype Game

    I never get to play a lot of D&D because all of my real-life friends go to different schools and PBP games run a little slow for my taste. So I thought, "Hey, why not use Skype?" It's a free and easy way to get a conference call going for some solid almost real-life sessions. But the problem is this: while voice-only conference calls are free, video conference calls require money that none of us really want to pay.

    So here are my questions:
    • What are some good online resources to provide visual aids?
    • Are there any online grid programs for battles that are easy to edit quickly?
    • How would you run a Skype game?
    • What are the potential problems with running this type of game?
    • Is there a better way to do this?
    Awesome avatar by starwoof

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    J.Gellert's Avatar

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    Default Re: Running a Skype Game

    Quote Originally Posted by ArcanistSupreme View Post
    So here are my questions:
    • What are some good online resources to provide visual aids?
    • Are there any online grid programs for battles that are easy to edit quickly?
    • How would you run a Skype game?
    • What are the potential problems with running this type of game?
    • Is there a better way to do this?
    We have done it successfully, and it was great fun.

    Answers in order:
    1. Google can cover everything, but we didn't really need visual aids.

    2. Can't say, didn't use a grid. I'd suggest against it...

    3. Get everyone together and join any online dice roller room. Game proceeds like a face-to-face game. Just a group call, not a group video call; the latter would probably be too laggy, really.

    4. Lag is the biggest one. People not paying attention is the second, you need to be a little strict with that (if you miss your action, you lose the round). People talking at the same time is the last problem; voices get messy over skype, or only one person is heard. Remember that everyone should have a basic idea of how to speak properly into his microphone.

    5. Doubt it, the problems mentioned above would be true for any similar program as well.

    One final note: I usually use music heavily, but it doesn't work over skype, so I had to cut it down considerably. At times, when I wouldn't be talking (for example, the players are talking to each other or I'm sending a written description*) I'd change the input to "What U Hear" and send music (quietly, in the background) from my PC, but it just isn't the same. I usually have music all the time.

    *Written descriptions are useful if they get long. People tend to get distracted easily and having to repeat things to your microphone is annoying.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Running a Skype Game

    I'm currently playing in an online campaign. We use Skype for conversation and MapTools for character representation. MapTools has a built in dice roller function, built in initiative order, etc. We keep our sheets on Myth-Weavers, as well as having dialogue-only discussions on their forums, so we can get a little roleplaying in in between our weekly sessions.

    MapTools entirely takes care of your visual representation and your battle grid, as it can be defaulted to 5-foot squares or hexes. Each player can have their own token representing their character's position on the battlefield, and the token can display useful things to the DM, such as hitpoint totals and AC. Really, once you get it set up, it's a marvelous little program.

    Lag hasn't been an issue at all. As a matter of fact, the only issue we have is how easily some of our players get distracted, and how long the newer-to-D&D players take to finish their turns, but we'd have the same problems face to face, too.

    I wholeheartedly recommend giving this setup a whirl. You'll have to learn MapTools, but it's not a terribly complicated program, and there are guides and wikis for it out there.
    Last edited by MachineWraith; 2011-02-18 at 08:31 PM.
    Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
    In the forests of the night;
    What immortal hand or eye,
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    -excerpt from "The Tyger" by William Blake

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

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    Default Re: Running a Skype Game

    Maptools is all kinds of awesome for a Skype game. Dropbox is a convenient program for shared storage, dealing with the third big hurdle. Between the three programs you should be able to GM any system, though systems that don't need maps tend to work a hair better.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Running a Skype Game

    2 members of my group, including the DM, live far away from the rest of us. We use skype for audio and VSee for video. VSee is free for multi-stream video convo's.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    bokodasu's Avatar

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    Default Re: Running a Skype Game

    Maptools is great. I use the 3.5 framework and it takes care of 90% of the work for me. Also, you can find an online map generator, import the jpgs from it into MT, add fog of war and have a playable dungeon in <10 minutes.
    6-Cha Druid avatar by Savannah!

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    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Running a Skype Game

    I dropped maps entirely, so I cna't help on that. However, this dice roller was very useful when Skype's in-built one didn't work. It allows passwords and updates in real time for everyone involved.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2011-02-19 at 09:36 AM.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Fiery Diamond's Avatar

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    Default Re: Running a Skype Game

    I'm interested in this as well, since my D&D buddies all live in other states. But I do have a question for dice rollers: if I wanted to be able to keep the possibility of fudging as the DM, would I be able to use any dice rollers that automatically displayed results? What I mean is, is there any way of using those kinds of dice rollers but turning off the display to other people?

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Fallbot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Running a Skype Game

    In maptool, typing "/self" before the roll will ensure only you see the result.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Running a Skype Game

    I have had the opposite experience. We had a streak of snowy weekends here in Minnesota and we couldn't meet to play so we used skype and it was awful. But I will give some tips anyways.

    Get everyone to play in a quiet place. Distractions are awful.

    Since there is a slight delay on skype you get lots of people interrupting each other as well.

    I prefer Face to Face anyday!

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ArcanistSupreme's Avatar

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    Default Re: Running a Skype Game

    Thanks for the advice everyone! This is all good stuff.
    Awesome avatar by starwoof

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