Playing Dungeons and Dragons Online for Free

There are a variety of tools and sites that provide ways for a far afield gaming group to play Dungeons and Dragons together. I have tried several of them, but they all have some drawback. Either they are hard to use or expensive or both. While exiled in another state my Living Arcanis group and I came up with something that worked and was free.

It allows a group to have dice, a shared tabletop map and chat/voice communication.  We ran several four hour modules in under four hours. Works very well for any of the “Living” campaigns (Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms,  Eberron, etc) designed to run in a four hour con slot.

Here are the directions. Good luck!

Trask, the Last Tyromancer

Online RPG Setup Instructions (REV. B)
By Trask
www.livingdice.com

Purpose: To describe the setup of required software to play RPGs online.

Required Equipment:
a. Computer
b. Hi-speed internet (cable modem is best, but DSL is acceptable) Dial-up will not work
c. Speakers
d. Microphone, preferably the headset style

Required OS: Windows 98/ME/XP or Linux

Required Software:
a. Skype
b. Gametable
c. Java

Installation instructions:

1. Download and install Java from http://java.com/en/download/windows_xpi.jsp
a. If your system asks for a reboot, let it do so and then continue.

2. Download Skype from http://www.skype.com/products/skype/windows/
a. Follow the installation instructions and create a user name.

3. Download Game Table from http://gametable.galactanet.com/file archive. The file is called Gametable.zip. Unzip the gametable directory inside the zip file to your hard drive. Double-click on the “Gametable.bat” file to start the program.

Pre-Game Setup:

1. The DM should verify that everyone has the correct software installed and that he has all of the Skype usernames for all the players.
Game Setup:

1. DM opens Skype, chooses “Tools,” then “Create Conference.” Add the usernames of the players and choose “Start.” Verify that everyone can hear the DM and the other players.
2. DM opens Game Table and chooses “Network” then “Host.” Be certain to enter a player name and character name, even if you are the DM. This will allow the players to see your name in the chat window. The password is optional.
3. Determine your IP address. If you are directly connected to a cable/DSL modem, then this is your computer IP address. If you have a NAT/Firewall device, then you will have to login to the device and check the status page to see what IP your ISP has given you. Be sure to open port 6812 on your firewall or the software will not work. (If you don’t know what this means, you should not be running a game online. Ask for help before continuing.)
4. Inform the players of the IP address and tell them to connect. Verify that everyone can see pogs being moved around and the map.
5. You may now go slay the dragon.
Troubleshooting:

1. I cannot hear the other players, but they can hear me.

Solution: You need to open the correct ports on your firewall. The default is 3026 for Skype. Also, Under “Tools” “Options” “Connections” you will find a check box for using ports 80 and 443. Check it and restart Skype. As a last resort, you can set your router to use the DMZ option and choose your computer for the duration of the game. This is dangerous as it leaves you open to hacking. Use it with care.

2. I got kicked from Skype/Game Table

Solution: Contact a player and have them invite you back in Skype. You can just rejoin Game Table by yourself.

3. Skype keeps dropping players.

Solution: Not much you can do. Try again later or stick with typing in game table.
4. Someone dropped a new pog/image on Game Table and I cannot see it.

Solution: Try restarting Gametable.

GAME TABLE COMMAND CHEAT SHEET

Throw custom dice from the chat line: /roll xdx+x (i.e. 6d6+5)

Change the mouse cursor to a pointing finger space bar

Move a pog/underlay left-click, drag to destination

Name a pog shift+left-click

Display all pog names shift

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trask

Trask is a long-time gamer, world traveler and history buff. He hopes that his scribblings will both inform and advance gaming as a hobby.

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