This ogre is very upset

Tabletop Role Playing Games for Slack(ers)

My friend Jon and I have been playing tabletop RPGs for quite a few years. We have had a gaming group and we have played a lot of solo campaigns. Sadly Jon moved away a while ago and playing over email didn’t work every well. We have been looking for a solution for a while and I think we found it: Slack.

Slack is that super hip, start-up messaging program. And it is amazing. I love it. I have been playing around with it for a while and finally found the perfect combination.

Roll Bot in action

First thing you need to get is the @roll_bot. This bot allows you to roll any size dice with a simple /roll command followed by the size of dice (d4,d6,d8,etc.)

The second thing I would recommend is PDFs of a monster manual. You can then take screenshots of the monsters that will be fought. You can then upload them when combat starts.

This gives the players a visual of what they are fighting as well as a place to put creature actions.

Using comments on the individual file for monster actions and hit point loss gives you a historical record of how combat went. It also provides a nice visual for the players

Players can also upload their character sheets so that they are never lost. This is great if you are using slack on a phone and don’t have your sheet in front of you. I am a fan of transparency in tabletop gaming, so everyone knows everyones rolls. This includes the dungeon masters rolls.

I set up three channels: #gaming, #ooc-game-name and #game-name. This lets all out of character stuff to happen in its own thread (occ) leaving the main game thread for actual roleplaying. The general #gaming channel was for setup, house rules, etc.

When we played using email combat always bogged down, having to wait until emails were received broke the flow of combat. With slack it is almost as quick as in person.

@roll_bot does a good job of rolling equally good and bad. Our last session we had one natural 20 and two natural 1s, which seems equal to regular dice. Most of the rest of the rolls fell within expected. It is also nice to not have to carry dice with you when you are not at home.

Compared to other methods I have tried playing tabletop role playing games, Slack is amazing. Forums take to long, with email it is too easy for the chain to be broken, and none of them do dice quite as easily.

I am curious to run a game with multiple players. I know that Slack is made for teams so I think it should be able to handle a traditional group of role players. I also think that running the game in slack may prevent some of traditional game group ruining problems. It is a lot harder to be mean over Slack than in person.


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Dylan Reed has always been interested in a good story. Raised without a TV he spent a lot of time with books and loves reading. Dylan has been a professional entertainer, studied commercial diving, and loves random trivia. He brings all of this and more together in his stories.

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