How to Remotely Play Tabletop Role Playing Games Using Slack

Digital TTRPG playersPollyW / Shutterstock

The endless fields of tabletop role-playing games that have traditionally been played in person are increasingly playable online. With modern communication applications like Soft, you can easily keep all content, characters, conversations and critical hits in one convenient place.

Create your world in a workspace

In essence, a role playing table game (TTRPG) is a cooperative narrative where chance can dictate the results of your actions. There are countless rule systems that dictate what you can and can’t do, the most famous of which is the highly fantasy world of Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, to help alleviate isolation issues during quarantine, the TTRPG developer provides free adventures and resources which can help you get started.

To get your TTRPG up and running today, start with create your own Slack workspace for free. In this new workspace, you will want create spaces to play. You can create a channel to post links to character sheets, a channel to download rule sets and source material, and an off-character chat where players can talk and share. There are countless sheets of numeric characters that you use; D&D Beyond character sheets link beautifully in Slack.

Character sheet in Slack

You will also want to create spaces in the character: a channel for images of the world you are going through and the people your characters meet, a channel for dialogue in the character, and especially a channel for rolling dice.

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Roll the dice with Slack’s D&D Roller app

Slack offers developers a wide range of tools to develop custom applications for the platform. Trousers D&D dice roll is the only Slack app you’ll really need to start playing your TTRPG. You can add the application to Slack by accessing its page in the Slack applications directory and clicking the “Add to Slack” button.

Loose dice roll

Once you’ve given the app permission to access your Slack workspace, you’re ready to start rolling immediately. Tap / roll in the channel you created to roll the dice to display the syntax for making your throw. You can roll as many dice as you want and the app will automatically show you the total, as well as the results of each individual roll, all modifiers and even the reason for the roll.

Roll the dice in Slack

Come together and start the adventure

Now that you’re ready to play, with your rules, characters, maps, and images uploaded to the appropriate channels in the workspace, it’s time to start playing. This new workspace is where you can organize your sessions with free audio or video calls. For most players, playing on a card is essential. Fortunately, although Slack doesn’t give you the ability to move icons around on a map, there are countless tools for maps, including Roll20 or Fantasy grounds. You can even upload any image to Google Drive and allow your players to edit the document so they can upload and move their tokens or character icons.

Alternatively, there is always the possibility of giving up the card and playing via “the theater of the mind”. This involves describing the nature of the game and the layout of the environment and directing the game entirely through everyone’s imagination. Finally, for players and game masters with busy schedules, there is always the possibility of playing by text. This option is much slower but can allow your players to contribute to the story without having to coordinate schedules and devote long periods of time to a game session.

With these tools at your fingertips, you can use Slack to easily configure any TTRPG system to share with friends around the world. Explore the cosmos, become a supernatural detective, or create any story you and your friends can imagine, all without leaving your desk.

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