Hey, I haven’t been on in a while, I hope everyone is well. I decided to make this post about a really helpful website I’ve spoken about in the past, called Roll20 which can help DMs host online games, create maps, as well as keep track of their party’s PCs! I highly recommend this resource to anyone who wants to try something new, and has a lot of time on their hands.
This is the homepage of the website, and from here you can create a free or paid account. Select sign in, and we can get started! The great thing about this website is that it already has wiki pages available, and it’s a very user-friendly site.
For this tutorial, I created a new account, so my embarrassing campaigns from 3 years ago didn’t appear. This is the page you see every time you log in; it gives you a list of all your previously played games, the option to join someone else’s game, as well as create your own. Notice on the right of the screen the big black Roll20 sign? That’s a direct link to all of their wiki pages, read them – they do help.
Click on “Create New Game” and we can get started!
This step should be straight forward enough! Name your campaign, tag it accordingly- so others can find it, and the optional steps are, well, optional! I however, prefer to use the built in character sheets, but find what works for you! You may also choose a base for your campaign, but this option wasn’t here the last time I used the site, but I think it’s probably a bit like using a pre-made campaign.
After all that’s done, you can click on the blue box in the centre of the page, and we can begin building the map (using this website should be your last step in the campaign process – by the way)!
After taking a few seconds to load, and popping up a couple of annoying ads; this is the next screen it’ll take you to. Here is where the magic happens. The tabs on the left of the screen are for adjusting the items you bring onto the map, and the ones on the right are for chatting in game, adding terrain items, logging the campaign activities, adding themed music, adding decks and tables (which I’ve never used!), and your personal settings for this map.
I’ll explain the buttons on the left in just a moment!
You’ll want to click on the second tab to the right, and in the dropdown – select “Maps, Tiles, Textures”. In the search bar, you can find basically any picture you want, ever and use it for the base of your map!
So I’ve decided that there’s going to be a courtyard encounter, therefore I’ll need some grass! The first few results that will show up on your feed will be “available for purchase“. Choose the free ones! They’re there for a reason!
Now, select the one you want to use, and you can add it to your images library by clicking the little star beside the image – it’ll save the image, so you don’t have to look for it every single time you want to use that tile. The next step would be to drag it onto your map, then right click and select layer. Since this isn’t something I’d want my players to interact with, I’ll move it to the “Map” layer.
Now, the only way you’ll be able to interact with this tile is if you select the “Map” layer on the left hand side, second block down. You can also copy and paste tiles, which is extremely helpful! As a side note, everything snaps to the grid automatically. I’ll cover how to bypass that in the next blog!
This is really the most basic way of explaining how to use Roll20. In the next tutorial, things will get a little more complicated! We’ll talk about the DM layer, invisible text, and how to use fog!