[RPG] Can you play pen & paper roleplaying games over the Internet


I'm sad to say that I have absolutely no friends who would like to play D&D with me however I would love to play. I know about Neverwinter Nights and I've played quite a bit of it, but I'm looking for more of the pen & paper experience.

Is this even possible?

Best Answer


You can definitely play P&P games over the internet. There are basically two steps to the process.

Find a group

You can find a group anywhere that nerds gather online. Forums are a great source of people. You'll have the easiest time finding players for current editions of popular games, so if you're into Pathfinder or D&D 5e, you'll have no trouble. More obscure games or older editions will be difficult. For more information, see Where can I find other RPG players?.

Decide on an environment

Since you can't physically gather around a table, you need to figure out what works best for you:

  • Play by post: Played on a forum, this is a great option for people who don't have large chunks of time to devote to gaming. Everyone types out their actions whenever they have time, and then wait for the GM to answer their question or tell them if they succeeded or failed. These games can take a long time, though - the GM or the player whose turn it is might not show up for hours or days. See our questions for more.
  • Virtual tabletops: There are services like MapTool, , , or GameTable that give you a grid where you can place tokens. You also have virtual dice commands baked right into the software. These games are faster-paced than play-by-post games, but still take a while longer than true face to face games since people might be doing other things.
  • Chat games: I've seen games take place in IRC chatrooms, and there's no reason you couldn't use something more modern like Slack. The drawbacks are the lack of visualization that virtual tabletops offer, but there's less prep work for the GM that way. If a player is confined to a mobile phone (and doesn't want to burn data on video calling/can't talk because they are in public), this may be the best option. See our questions for more.
  • Video/audio call: Whether over a video call like Skype or Hangouts, or audio-only like Ventrilo, this is the best way to approximate a real life game. Don't be surprised if some online game players are too shy to do this, though - the hobby attracts all sorts. If your client of choice doesn't support dice rolls, you can combine this with a virtual tabletop client to model the dice and/or the game map. See our questions for more.
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