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College of TechGame Masters

How to Set Up Your D&D Game Online

So you can’t play D&D at the table with your friends right now. The pandemic has put a stop to that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t play at all! 

There are plenty of options for playing D&D online; Zoom, Discord, Roll20, and other VTTs are included. My preferred methods are Zoom and Discord, as I only use VTTs if they are screen-shared. (Subject to change someday, perhaps.)

Here’s how to set up your game so you can keep on playing, even when you’re stuck at home.

Zoom and Discord for TTRPG

Zoom and Discord both allow video chat, so you can see and hear your fellow players almost as if you were all sitting around the table together. 

Zoom is probably the better option for running the game since it’s designed for video conferencing and has built-in features like screen sharing. 

However, Discord is also an excellent option for a video call, and it has the advantage of being designed specifically for gamers. 

I use a combination of the two. Discord is where I organize my group with various chat channels. However, we do our actual D&G sessions in my Zoom meeting room. We can record sessions, screen share, sound share, and private chat in-game. (Gotta send them those secret perception nuggets!)

Creating Your Discord Server

If you’re using Discord, you’ll need to create a server for your game. This server is where all of your players will connect, and it’s where you’ll organize everything related to your game. 

You can make your server public or private; if you make it public, anyone will be able to join, but if you make it private, you’ll have to send out invitations. We recommend making it private since that will give you more control over who joins your game.

When setting up your server, be sure to include a channel for each of the following:

  • Pinned Channel: Include your Zoom Meeting Link, Campaign Link, Schedule, and Lines & Veils PDF
  • Chat Channel: For general discussion and in-game GIF-dropping
  • Player View: I like having a channel where characters’ secret thoughts (player and NPC) are for a more cinematic immersion in the game. Entries in this channel are considered “in-game,” and the characters don’t know about them.
  • Character View: This one I typically make into a threaded chat to include downtime activities (for things like crafting)
  • Individual Character Channels: Each player gets a channel only for them and me. It’s titled after their PC name and makes an easily organized space for them to drop backstory and other player character stuff.
  • Private DM Channel: I typically have one for taking notes for my eyes only.

Inviting Players

Once your server is live, it’s time to invite your players! Send them an invite link (which you can generate in the “Invites” tab of your server settings) and let them know what day and time your game will take place.

Send them the link to join the meeting if you’re using Zoom for video chat. And that’s it—you’re ready to play! 

Conclusion: 

Discord and Zoom are great platforms to use together for playing D&D online. 

You can easily keep everyone connected and organized by creating a server on Discord (or using an existing one) and sending out invitations to your players. 

Be sure to include a variety of channels on your server so that everyone has a place to discuss the game, share resources, and plan for future sessions. Finally, and most importantly—have fun!

Written by
Beth the Bard (@ItsBethTheBard)

She/Her | Pro DM & Coach | ADHD | Best-Selling DnD Author of Feminist Curse of Strahd Book | D&D in a Castle DM | Creator of TTRPG University

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