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byaku rai
2011-09-11, 09:20 AM
So, I am (theoretically at least, if the DM ever gets his act together :smallfurious:) going to be participating in a D&D campaign soon. The only catch: The rest of the players live in a different city, so I will be participating over Skype.

Has anyone else had any experience with this? Is there anything that I should avoid, or anything I can do to streamline things? ... Is there any way to lock my PC cheating impulse into a box and throw it away to avoid temptation?

All comments are appreciated. :smallbiggrin:

Conchobear
2011-09-11, 09:48 AM
My friend is doing this now because he moved away for school and comes back in the summer. We only had one session but it seems to work fairly well. You just have to be organized and not rely on the DM for much.

flumphy
2011-09-11, 10:02 AM
Everyone in your group should get a free program called MapTool (http://www.rptools.net/index.php?page=maptool). This will provide you with a combat grid. It also has a built-in dice roller to prevent cheating. Additionally, many sites host online character sheets. Mythweavers (http://www.myth-weavers.com/forumhome.php) is what my VoIP group uses, but there are plenty of others.

Whatever you do, don't have the GM just point his camera at the grid sitting on his table. Verbally stating where to move is slow and awkward, and Skype's video quality (or your GM's camera, for that matter) may not be the best.

Anyway, with that setup, I find that things run as smoothly as around a table. Maybe more so, since you don't have to deal with dropped dice and spilled soda.

Daer
2011-09-11, 11:44 AM
I have recently found out that google docs drawing thing is pretty handy on sharing pictures like maps and specially battle maps, can easily be shared and if dm wants he can make it so everyone can modify it or only him.

Gnaeus
2011-09-11, 11:47 AM
We use D20 Pro for this, and it works great.

Omniplex
2011-09-11, 01:59 PM
I ran a game last summer, and we had a player who lived in another state who played over Skype. We worked together on the character sheet so we both had a copy, and either he rolled, and moved his webcam to show the number on the die, or I or another player rolled for him. It worked out pretty well, actually.

byaku rai
2011-09-11, 02:58 PM
Huh, i never even thought about map issues... :smalleek: This is why I rely on the Playground, I guess. :smallbiggrin:

J.Gellert
2011-09-11, 04:46 PM
We did it for an entire campaign, and it was awesome.

Granted, we never use miniatures or grid maps, so there was no problem there.

Hanuman
2011-09-11, 05:37 PM
Open RPG and TS3 for the online ones my friends have brought me into.

Throgg
2011-09-11, 06:11 PM
I did this (Skyped in for a game) pretty much all of last year.

We didn't do much for fancy maps and such, the camera just got pointed at the RL grid and I used an online dice roller and told them the results. The way to be successful is to know your group and be willing to occasionally take more of a backseat/supportive role in both combats and the session as a whole.

The first thing to consider is the character you play. A rogue that is dependent on careful positioning for sneak attacks and the like that intends to tumble his way about the map... would be a poor choice. On the flip side, it is a whole lot easier to say "I fireball the monster and aim it to avoid the rest of the party". Not only easier, but keeps flow going. Know the type of game the campaign is going to be and talk to your DM about how best to be simple and useful.

If the game is really optimization heavy... well... good luck conveying the complicated nature of your character over garbled skype.

Honesty... Honestly that's on you. Personally, I've hit a point where I've realized that fumbles are more interesting than crits and it is the flaws of characters that define them and make them interesting, so much more than a long list of abilities.

TL:DR Play a character that is not crucially dependent on positioning and that you can control with simple orders that the rest of players and DM can act out effectively for you.

Best of luck!

Nyarai
2011-09-11, 07:09 PM
Throgg gives a lot of awesome practical advice. Listen to him/her.

(This is all stuff I dealt when one guy Skyped in and acted like he was doing us a favor by gracing us with his presence.)

If you're the type of player that must know all the gameworld's minutiae, you will be very unhappy in a Skype game or make everyone else unhappy. Stay organized and pay attention as best you can. An inattentive remote player can eat up half a session's time, which isn't fun for anyone. :smallannoyed:

d20 pro is very nice for maps and rolling dice. :smallbiggrin:

Acarhol
2011-09-12, 06:17 PM
I'm doing a game via Skype at the moment, and what we do for maps is use Google Docs.

Simply open an excel document, invite all the players to it through sharing (with the ability to edit or you'll have to move everyone yourself), and reset the rows and columns so that they make squares. the maps are a little basic but you can edit it in realtime and everyone can see the same thing.

Bluepaw
2011-09-12, 10:13 PM
The other nice thing about Google Drawings is that you can import images from URL destinations. So, if you start with a grid (find one or make one), you can then layer pictures onto it: little pictures of goblins, or necromancers, or dragons, or whatever. Much better than minis. No more "okay, but that Xorn is actually something else...and the drakes represent lizardmen...and, well, you'll just have to approximate your dragonborn sorcerer with this kobold..." If you want a monster to be mysterious, something the players don't recognize, they don't even need to suspend disbelief when you pop a rust monster on the board -- just pull up a image that goes with what you want the creature to look like in the world you're running.

I'm GMing a game like this now, and it's excellent -- better than we expected. We're using Hangouts (through Google+) rather than Skype. It's just a nicer interface -- and it doesn't approximate a hangout, you ARE hanging out! Everyone can see everyone else all the time, whoever's speaking gets large in the center, and just tab over to your Docs when you need the map.

It really works -- have fun!

Beowulf DW
2011-09-12, 11:14 PM
Doing a Pathfinder game via Skype right now. The map issue was resolved through a program I think is called gametable. Thus far, it's gone swimmingly.

Anxe
2011-09-13, 12:31 AM
Throgg's been doing skype with our group for a year now. It's been working so well that we're thinking about doing it for every member during the upcoming/already started school year (I haven't gone off to school yet, so we're not doing it yet). If ya'll want I can post how that goes.

Basically, Throgg's points are from a year of experience of doing such things and he should be believed.

My own experience as DM of the RL group while one player skypes in:

I have to work to include that player sometimes by asking them to repeat stuff and loudly asking them what their action is. A handheld camera also helps amazingly as compared to the cameras attached to laptops that most people use. The handheld is so much easier to point and manipulate. I got a macro-focus one just for this (So it could look at miniatures up close).

Having two copies of the character sheet is helpful. That just involved Throgg sending me a copy of his. He'd actually made his character on his computer which made that even easier.

Because Throgg was not directly there he spent a lot of time surfing the net while we were chatting. I don't blame him. I would've done the same thing in his situation. The upside was that Throgg often had a youtube link for us that was appropriate to the situation in the game.

Throgg used an online die roller. We didn't ask to see the results. There's a lot of trust within our group. If your group trusts you, then this is the easiest way to handle it (Or having your own dice on your end).

Biggest problem has always been noise control. Throgg could only understand one person at a time. If two people were talking, he just heard noise. If someone was talking in the room next to us, all he heard was noise, even if we (much closer) tried to talk to him. You HAVE to play somewhere quiet. This goes for both ends of the skype call.

Hope it goes well!

Gabe the Bard
2011-09-14, 02:04 AM
I skyped into a two-shot game, playing a gnome beguiler, which turned out to be an okay choice. However, I think it would be been more fun if I had played a bard or a character that interacted more with the rest of the party. I was a sneaky Lawful Evil character, so most of my conversations were with the DMs (there were two of them), describing my actions without letting the other players know what I was doing. There were also a LOT of players at the table, so it was easy to get left out of the conversation once the gimmick of "roleplaying through telecommunication" wore off, since you're just a face on a screen without being there physically. You also can't turn your own head to look at the other players around the table, which is kind of awkward. It sort of felt like being a brain in a jar with eyeballs. All that said, I would like to try it again someday, but with a smaller group and a different character.

Waylor
2011-09-15, 06:25 PM
Me and some friends have been playing online 1-2 times a week for almost a year, both D&D and Vampire.

You'll need something to roll the dices and show pictures/maps (MapTool, Fantasy Grounds 2, etc), but i suggest you to try avoid using a battleground as much as possible (that includes sometimes fights).

Games are also slower so people have to use the microphone only to talk about the current scene, everything else should be written in a chat/private message to avoid people being interrupted all the time

Acanous
2011-09-16, 01:56 AM
I've been DMing a Skype game, and the biggest problem seems to be getting everyone together at the same time. Gameplay is fluid and confusion is minimal. Using very descriptive words seems to work well. If you say something like "I go hit an orc with my sword" then it generates confusion- you've got 3 orcs in range, which one are you hitting?
DMs need to be descriptive as well. "One of the orcs has an eyepatch, the other looks like he broke his nose in a barfight, and the third has a ragged scar across his chest". now the players can say "I attack the orc with the scars" and it adds to immersion.

byaku rai
2011-09-16, 09:39 PM
I've been DMing a Skype game, and the biggest problem seems to be getting everyone together at the same time. Gameplay is fluid and confusion is minimal. Using very descriptive words seems to work well. If you say something like "I go hit an orc with my sword" then it generates confusion- you've got 3 orcs in range, which one are you hitting?
DMs need to be descriptive as well. "One of the orcs has an eyepatch, the other looks like he broke his nose in a barfight, and the third has a ragged scar across his chest". now the players can say "I attack the orc with the scars" and it adds to immersion.

This actually seems to be sound advice in general, but I can definitely see how it would help with a Skype game in particular. *makes mental note to use this next time he DMs*

Dragontype191
2013-08-01, 03:52 AM
So, I am (theoretically at least, if the DM ever gets his act together :smallfurious:) going to be participating in a D&D campaign soon. The only catch: The rest of the players live in a different city, so I will be participating over Skype.

Has anyone else had any experience with this? Is there anything that I should avoid, or anything I can do to streamline things? ... Is there any way to lock my PC cheating impulse into a box and throw it away to avoid temptation?

All comments are appreciated. :smallbiggrin:

I myself have been trying to get into one of these skype games but have had trouble finding one, any suggestions? I'm pretty new to DND but I can setup character sheets and maps in return since I am a graphic designer x3

HKR
2013-08-01, 09:31 AM
I´m in a similar situation (trying to integrate a player who lives far away with online tools). Here´s a possible solution that I´ve thought of:

What you need:

one laptop for the GM
one laptop for the players that are actually present
one laptop for the far away player
one sufficiently large TV at the gaming venue
three roll20 accounts

You hook up the players´laptop to the TV and connect it to one of the roll20 players´accounts. The GM uses one laptop to run the campaign from his roll20 account. The third laptop is used by the far away player with his own account. I think you can give one account control over multiple tokens in roll20, so the laptop that is hooked up with the TV will be used by the local players to control their characters.
That way all the players should be looking at the same screen and misunderstandings can be kept to a minimum.

This setup seems really good to me (if a little complicated). Do you guys see any problems with it that I´ve overlooked?

Efstrofos
2013-08-01, 11:23 AM
I live in Thailand and my friends in the States. We play using google hangout roll20.net. I like it as you can prepare big complex maps beforehand or just draw your own as you play. We always disable the video and voice on roll20. We use google hangout instead of skype just because it's free. It's worked out fairly well for us.

JusticeZero
2013-08-01, 08:37 PM
I run a game like this (and have openings, in sig). It works okay. I've been using Google Docs, Ventrilo, and rolz.org. One of my players recommended roll20, but I'm still at a bit of a loss how best to use it. Video chat might help the voice coordination issue of trying not to talk over each other, but I don't know how much abuse my players bandwidth can take.

Gavran
2013-08-01, 08:50 PM
Adding my vote for Google Docs. It's by far the simplest solution, although MapTool et al are very impressive in their depth, none of them are particularly simple to use.

We actually use LackeyCCG (http://www.lackeyccg.com/) for our die rolls. It's actually a card game program we all already use to play MTG, but it does let us create d20 macros and has a better response time than the online die rollers we've found. Being slightly creative we use cards to track initiative and a player-counters space to track HP and surges for the PCs. I'm not sure I'd actually suggest anyone else do that though, it was just a convenient solution for us (though it has worked out quite well.)