Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) fantasy roleplaying game has been in the hearts and minds of children, teens and adults since the mid-1970s. With its daring heroes, deadly foes and battles, it isn't surprising that many people still love this game. Rather than having to gather with friends to play the tabletop game in person, there are also now plenty of options (free and paid!) to play D & D online as well.
Throughout the D&D world, the one-stop-shop you hear about most from online D&D players is Roll20, which is a free service designed to enhance the traditional game. In order to play D&D on Roll20, you will need Flash installed on your computer. Additionally, it seems to work best in web browsers like Chrome and Firefox. Getting started is pretty easy. Simply register for a free account, which requires an email address and password.
Once you are in, you can choose to create your own D&D game or join a join a game. The number of players varies depending on the campaign, but caps at eight. However, there are generally several campaigns open. If you join a game, they do let you know when other games are available. Most D&D games are played weekly and only require you to have voice capabilities to play. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with PCGamer asserting that Roll20 truly "brings the spirit of D&D to PC."
If you want to be the ultimate game master, you can play the D&D board game through Fantasy Grounds. Available through Steam, this is an officially licensed game with content from Wizards of the Coast. Using this software, you can virtually create the tabletop game so you and your friends can play online. To play, you need at least one player and one game master, and you'll need to invite friends to play. The group can play via voice chat or video chat, which makes for a more fun playing experience because you can look the players in the eyes.
While this game has a lot of extras along with complete campaigns, it can get pricy with the initial game at about $30 and the four-pack costing $120, plus various add-ons. This downloaded game does offer a lot more features than the Roll20. A reviewer who feels that the quality of the game makes it well worth the cost points out that it really isn't that expensive when a group of friends split the cost.
Another app offered through the Steam is Tabletop Simulator. This game will run you about $20 bucks but once downloaded there are several fan-made mods of D&D. You can also create your own game in this simulator and invite your friends to come play with you. To play on this simulator, you need to create your game, then invite your friends. They will need the ability to voice chat.
Reviewers who have used Tabletop Simulator indicate that it works well and has some advantages over the actual board game. However, they also report that Roll20 (which is free) works just as well.
DIY Video Chatting
Playing D&D online doesn't require anything fancy. In all honesty, if you and your friends can hear each other, then you can play the game. Therefore, you can use a video chatting app like Skye, Google Hangouts or even FaceTime to play the game online with friends at no cost. This is a roleplaying game, so you don't need the maps and the miniatures, even though they are neat. You can start a Wizards of the Coast game with just the starter rules, and these are free. Or you have the option of registering with a Facebook group and signing up for a scheduled game. You will then log in on at the scheduled time to begin playing.
D&D is a fun imaginative game filled with curses, battles and epic heroes that has been a fan favorite for nearly 50 years. Those true tabletop game lovers aren't just limited to playing at home with friends either, there are different online options available for playing this coveted board game. While some are free, others are going to cost you. But no matter what, it will always be fun.