Changes for Playing Tabletop RPG’s Online

We are going to be running some games for Patrons of the show, and lots of folks are running tabletop rpg’s online, so we wanted to talk about some of the behaviors that gamers need to be aware of, and possibly change, to help make these on-line sessions the most fun they can be.

  • Need to Take Turns – Stepping on each other via audio is a mess. Folks have to take turns talking
    • This helps the less than out-going player to get time in the spotlight as the GM needs to make sure everyone speaks and other players need to shut up while that player speaks
    • GM needs to regularly break to ask the players if they are clear on descriptions and such as it’s hard to “butt in and ask” without being totally disruptive on-line
  • Don’t rely on tech to totally replace your need to be descriptive
    • Images and maps with dynamic lighting are great, but it’s not a total replacement for many gamers
    • Sometimes you’ll not have the right picture ready and you don’t want to stop the action while you fumble through your files to find the image you want – describe and move on and bring that picture back for next session
  • It’s VERY easy to get distracted when your sitting at your computer gaming – not just the ‘ole “put down your damned phone!” bit, but answering emails, watching YouTube, etc. 
    • Having to repeat things for people who are on a conf call and not paying attention is super annoying – don’t be that person
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew
    • You can play on-line without streaming your games – it’s a lot of work and it’s not necessary
    • You are not required to use any of the “extras” on the virtual table top platform that you are using – you can stay simple
  • What other changes to your GM or Player style/approach have you made from face-to-face to on-line gaming?


Patrons at our $4 or greater tier will have the option to join a game that Brett and Sean runs once or twice a month. Head to Patreon for more info.

Random Encounter

Al Evans comments on the forums about GM’s Rolling Dice for Players

I GM online, specifically on Roll 20, so skill checks perception… are divided, arbitrarily by me, into two groups:

Things that change the roleplay, like intimidate, are GM rolls that the player sees but not the other players. It is the difference between “Stinky the Dwarf sidles up to the guard, stroking his axe and muttering ‘Wait until we hear his answer sweety’” and “Knuckles the thief minces up to the guard, reaches for his buckle knife and accidentally drops his pants.”

Things that change the characters health etc., like climbing a wall, are handled with an API script BlindRoll!, only the GM sees the roll. That is the difference between ” I carefully inch up the wall 5 frrt and then slowly move north along the wall.” and “You get about halfway up the 50’ wall when your suddenly pitching backwards with a loose stone in your hand you take twelve damage and roll a Con save.”

1-What character wields Cats Paw?
2-What Vampire clan has the nickname Degenerates?
3-What does the C in BECMI stand for?
4-Name one of the properties of the powder of Ibn Ghazi
5-Who did Elric of Melnibone claim blood and souls for?
6-How many domains is magic divided into in Rolemaster?
7-Name the spunkiest Otyugh in Avalon?

Die Roll



Next Episode

Subscribe on iOS or Android so you don’t miss our next episode when we talk about the horror scifi, Ennie Award winning rpg, Mothership.

About the Author
The 'S' of Gaming and BS podcast. Besides producing and hosting the show, Sean enjoys long walks on the beach, running rpg's, and killing player...characters.