Roll20 When You Can’t Get It Together

My usual “real life” group occasionally has “real life” things happen to it. We try to play every Monday night, but sometimes one or more of us can’t make it. Sometimes, that’s not a problem, we can carry on without a player for a session, especially with the way the campaign is currently going (look for a post on splitting the party in time and space soon). But tonight’s session was supposed to be a big one. Really important stuff happening here! I didn’t want to move forward without the whole party present. Normally, that would just mean we would take the night off, but the past two weeks, I had some personal issues that stopped me from attending the game, and I’m the GM. Skipping tonight would have meant three weeks without playing with this group.

Unofficial Lost Mines of Phandelver Battlemap!

We opted to play anyway, in Roll20. I ran Lost Mines of Phandelver for those of us who were able to make it. It had pre-generated characters (and I added a few more) ready to go.  And it was good practice for my future Roll20 campaigns, since I’ve been getting more and more involved in creating and running campaigns there.

For a group like mine, it’s a good alternative. Some of us live a little far away, and while we don’t mind traveling on a weekly basis to get our game on, it’s nice to be able to stay home and still play a one-shot, or an alternate campaign. Nobody had to drive.

And using Roll20 for this is really easy. For the past two years, before I started getting serious with it, I used Roll20 to play with my brothers online. We didn’t get fancy at all. We just used it for the battlegrid, the dice rolling, and the ability to play in hangouts (which is sadly being discontinued, so now we use Discord for voice chat). And that’s really all you need. Maybe start a really simple backup campaign in Roll20. A Base Account costs nothing, and will still give you the ability to throw together a quick game, invite your players to join the game and  give them some characters to build,  throw together some maps, they don’t need to be great, or even good. I mean, look at what I did above. That was a minute using the drawing tool to throw together a battlemap for the Goblin Ambush at the start of Lost Mines. They didn’t include one, so I made my own.

Official Lost Mines of Phandelver BattleMap!

Not fancy. But functional. The rest of the module is fairly fancy though. I mean, it looks great.

But as I was saying, you don’t need great maps to have great fun. All you need are some people, some dice, and the ability to drag and drop, click a mouse, and have fun.

I’ll talk more soon about Roll20, but I just wanted to throw this idea out there. Go ahead and get an account if you don’t already have one. Get in there and mess around a little, and then throw together something for your players for those nights that you can’t get it together.

Some links to get you started:


Roll20 Wiki:

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