[RPG] How to manage party out-of-combat exploration on Roll20


I'm running The Emerald Spire on Roll20 and my players keep running about the map when not in combat "exploring". While this may not be an issue in other games, in this game there are an abundance of traps that they keep jumping into, disrupting the flow of the game. When we play face to face we are set up for the scene with a description giving us a good idea of what is around us, we then process to explore as a unit and not just run around like mad men. This however does not seem to work online. For example, when they enter a room and I start to explain the scene a player will walk into the room, hit a trap, then trigger combat. I cannot then go back and explain things because they have changed.

I'm a new GM and was hoping for tips on how people manage their party's exploring ruins and such out of combat.

I feel like it's a constant cycle of fighting, then exploring, but as I start reading the description of an area, the party runs 60 feet away into traps with mobs, and they roll initiative again.

I've asked players to please not rush around the place before I describe where they are and are seeing but they seem to be back at it the next room they enter.

Best Answer

Take away their token movement ability.

This may be too extreme for your group, but under the character token settings, you can control who can move the token. If only you can move it at their request, this particular problem is solved. It may create others, though. Switching back and forth can be tedious as well.

Dynamic Lighting includes movement restrictions.

If you have a paid subscription, you can use dynamic lighting settings to restrict movement, and only allow the player's view to update when they drop the token. Wall off areas you don't want explored, such as behind a door, with a small piece of wall on the lighting map, that you can move when the door is opened.

Make your descriptions short.

Give a one-sentence overview of the room, and then add details when players are exploring. This may make the exploration phase more interesting, as specific players get their turns uncovering your cool details.

Keep them in turn order, perhaps by marching order.

Just stay in play-by-turn during exploration, and ask players what they are doing in order; ignore any moves on the map that are out-of-turn.

Let them run into traps and fights.

You can just continue as you have been, and let the careless players run into trouble. You can get back to the description after the chaos of the fight is over, or if they are just running on to the next fight, they may miss a lot of loot and clues.

I hope some mix of these suggestions can answer your problem.