Software has improved greatly over the last few years, and more and more tabletop roles is being done online. There are many reasons you might want to play online:
- It’s hard to gather a gaming group in your area
- Your schedule makes it difficult to meet with local gamers
- You want to try games that your local group isn’t interested in playing
- It’s difficult for your group to find a consistent space for gathering in person
Here are a few of the many tools you can use for running your favorite roleplaying games online:
Dedicated Virtual Tabletop Software
There are several other VTT tools available, but these three dominate the market:
d20Pro – A Java app that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux, d20Pro provides separate licensing for player and GM use.
Fantasy Grounds – This app, which runs natively on Windows and on Mac and Linux via WINE, is also supported on Steam.
Roll20 – This browser-based service also supports tablet apps for Android and iOS, and incorporates robust community features.
The Roll20 folks have produced a slew of well-produced videos showing how the app works, as well as actual play videos using various game systems.
Google Hangouts – With its emphasis on video, and support for text and add-on applications, Hangout is a solid option if you don’t want to shell out for a dedicated virtual tabletop product.
Skype – Audio + text is the sweet spot for Skype. It doesn’t provide access to add-on tools, but it’s easy to use, free, and works well across a wide variety of platforms.
Slack – Best known as a business tool, Slack provides tools for text-based play with robust image support and integration with many other services. Dylan Reed’s short writeup gives you an idea of how some people use it for gaming.