3.02.2014

Live Streaming Online D&D?

TL;DR: Would you watch us play virtual tabletop D&D live?

Today, four of us gathered on Skype and Roll20.net for our first session of online virtual tabletop D&D. Loyal listeners will recognize that this was a necessary evolution of our gaming, as Chad (the more handsome of your exemplary hosts) moved across the country. Even our optimistic hopes  for this remote gaming session were exceeded. It was a goddamned blast. How many times did one of us say, "This is really a lot of fun"? A shitload of times, that's how many.

William was the DM, and Chad, Ian (our podcast co-host from Season 1) and Hunter (who has played IRL with us many times) kicked off a new campaign in William's existing campaign setting.

Roll20.net, if you haven't heard of it, is amazing. We've tried virtual stuff before -- from online tabletop platforms like RPTools' MapTool to Skype + webcams. Roll20 blew it all out of the water. So easy.

As the DM, William needed only a couple hours to whip up maps and assets for a complicated prison escape -- more than what is realistic for a veteran DM to put together on his own dinner table, but not by much. As players, Chad and his cohorts took brief moments (maybe 15 minutes?) to set up their tokens and a couple of macros. We learned a lot as we went along, with a dozen "AH HA!" moments as we picked up on the highly intuitive interface. So easy.

As a DM in roll20, it is super easy to search inside the app for token, graphic, even audio assets, and immediately add them to the game. Even when Ian found a suggestion for how his sword would look, William was able to quickly upload the image to the game and place it on a table, label and all. So easy.

While we were playing, Hunter started broadcasting us using XSplit and Twitch. Like we wrote on Twitter earlier today, out of the blue, four people joined the stream and started interacting with us. (Hunter was a popular League of Legends streamer once upon a time.)
7hawk77 (Hunter): Campaign just started, we were recording the videos just to have but we might be increasing stream quality/webcams/whatever if people would be interested in it
Goldpublic: It is presently good quality compared to a lot of twitch d&d streams. Adding player cams, either way, it's good as is with voice & map but faces would be good too
7hawk77: thanks for the feedback, yeah we will work on that. Streaming the campaign was just an afterthought so I think we will have to wait till the next time for webcams
Then, our anonymous online viewers helped us out in our first session with moving from one map to another. TECH SUPPORT FTW.
Staypufty: You gotta drag the player flag from one map to another. 
7hawk77: Thanks  
Staypufty: Nah, enjoying the stream. I use roll20 to DM for a group.
Yeah, we got it figured out.
Goldpublic: success
» good 1st game session, fun listen, enjoyed the personalities and PC's
7hawk77: Yeah, thanks for tuning in. Hopefully we will be streaming once a week
Goldpublic: will look up your podcast
We honestly had no idea there was an instant anonymous audience for livestreaming this, but, by its very nature, the online virtual tabletop lends itself to much easier viewing than webcam-based viewing of real tables.

Like Hunter (7hawk77) said online, we do hope to do this weekly. The plan now is to take advantage of our usually super-lazy Sundays. With 7hawk77 acting as our public relations spokesman on Twitch -- as well as playing the satyr bard Sedris -- is it worth the effort and exposure of live broadcasting our online D&D sessions? We think so; now we're just waiting for you to agree with us.

Would you watch us play virtual tabletop D&D live?

Disclaimer: We are in no way affiliated with roll20.net, its creators, or its development. We have not been paid to endorse this product (though we would happily accept their money if they offered it). This is unsolicited customer feedback. Also, it is a fucking awesome product that we enjoyed tremendously. Give them money so we can do more things with it. Or just give us money. Either way, if you've got money lying around, we want in on that.
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