Following on from my last post, I’ve been running D&D games for my son and his friends online every week during lockdown for the pandemic and I’m really getting into it.
My current setup is to use Discord for voice chat combined with the Avrae bot to manage combat. The Critter DB site is great for building and storing monsters and NPC. I still use Roll20 as a virtual tabletop, but I ignore almost all it’s features except for the maps. I’m also using D&D Beyond more and more.
At first, I chaffed at the idea of buying digital copies of books I already owned print copies of. I’m not a huge fan of digital copies of any kind, but that’s a whole other rant. Having used D&D Beyond for a while now, I have to admit they have one slick product.
The integration with the Avrae bot means that character sheets can be pulled into Discord directly from D&D Beyond. All their gear and spells and stuff is all there and it’s mostley tracked. Creating characters in D&D Beyond is easy. They’ve clearly put a lot of work into the character sheets.
The catch is that you can’t use anything unless you’ve paid for that content. SRD stuff is available free, but to get any of the interesting races or classes, you need to buy them. Fortunately, they have options for buying only the content you want. For example, the Sword Coast Adventurers Guide is listed at $29.99, but considering it’s mostly fluff, I chose to just buy the spells from that book and only spent about $4.
I bought the entire Players Handbook, because it’s hard to DM without a lot of the contents of that book. But for books like the DMG, I only had to buy the magic items.
The other nice thing is that as the DM, I can start a campaign and share any content I’ve purchased with the players. This is a huge plus for me. The players, who in this case are all kids, can just sign up for a free account, and then access any of the content I’ve purchased without having to pay for it again.
I know I’ve been suckered in and spent more money on stuff than I’ve intended to, but that’s their business model. I’m aware it’s a kind of sunk cost fallacy, but I’m ok with it because it currently makes for easier game play.