Character Creation Cast

Character Evolution Cast E20: Gaming at a Distance

Episode Summary

In this Evolution Cast episode Amelia and Ryan talk about how to make the most of your time stuck at home with GAMES!

Episode Notes

In this Evolution Cast episode Amelia and Ryan talk about how to make the most of your time stuck at home with GAMES!


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Episode Transcription

Transcripts Automatically Generated - Not 100% Accurate

Amelia Antrim  0:02  

Welcome to Episode 20 of character evolution cast. Just a quick content warning before we get started. This episode is about gaming at a distance or playing online. But because of current events, there is a fair amount of talk about Corona virus or kovat 19. We completely understand if that's something that you'd rather not hear about right now. We think that there's a lot of great information in this episode for playing games while you're all stuck home. But again, totally understand if that's not your jam right now. As a quick note, Ryan was recently a guest on the home for wayward Oh C's podcast. So I will put a link to that in the show notes. And I completely forgot to mention it but I was on there back in January. So I put a link to that episode in the show notes for you as well. Normally, this is where we would read a review but obviously Ryan is not here with me right now. And I also think we're out of reviews again, so we would really love it if you could take a minute to rate and review our podcasts on Apple podcasts. Or your pod catcher of choice. If you're allowed to leave a review there, we would really appreciate it and then we'll have something to read next time. With all of that out of the way. Here's the episode.


Ryan Boelter  1:47  

Welcome to character evolution cast a show where we discuss what to do with all those characters we just made. I one of your hosts Ryan and today my co host, Amelia and I are going to be talking about how to move Make the most of the current situation out there and play some games with your friends online.


Amelia Antrim  2:05  

This episode is gonna hold up so well. Hey everyone, we're all in Corona virus quarantine. And today we're going to talk about what to do with yourself.


Ryan Boelter  2:16  

Yeah. Well, I mean, it'll hold up, at least for people that move away from their friends later on. After all this is over. And


Amelia Antrim  2:24  

oh, yeah, I mean, it's certainly like still a helpful topic. But the reason that we're talking about it is not gonna hold up. Like if you listen to this episode, hey, whoever you are, if it's 2023 and you're listening to this podcast, and you're wondering what happened, remember a few years ago when that whole coronavirus thing happened? We're all like, locked in our houses and it was real weird and spooky outside. That's what's happening right now. Yeah.


Ryan Boelter  2:47  

Also take us on twitter if it's 2023 right now, because that'll be a really fun surprise.


Unknown Speaker  2:53  

Yeah, yeah. If it's 2023 and we're still making this podcast and you're still listening to this podcast. What


Amelia Antrim  3:01  

I mean, honestly, we have said that we have so many games to cover.


Ryan Boelter  3:05  

We've got so many years easily. Yeah.


Amelia Antrim  3:09  

In this episode, we're going to go over some of the tools that are out there and some tips to make the most of playing online. And to make it a little bit easier, whether you're just hooking up discord, audio or playing in something a little more fancy. Mm hmm.


Ryan Boelter  3:23  

Yeah, so I think we can probably start with the thing that most people might be familiar with the virtual table tops, or VTT use for short. To people really call that that they do. I've seen I've been seeing that a lot more lately. Now that it's becoming a bit more popular.


Unknown Speaker  3:41  

I guess. Yeah. So I guess it's TT RPGs. And these are some BTS BTS for your T TT RPGs. Yes, VT DS for your TT RPG


Ryan Boelter  3:51  



Unknown Speaker  3:53  

Whoa, whoa, whoa,


Ryan Boelter  3:55  

yeah, I'm not ready for it. I'm not either, but that's okay. We're


Unknown Speaker  3:58  

here. We are about to go Don't do it anyway. So and other people not in America. Oh, all of you.


Ryan Boelter  4:05  

Yeah, so I we scoured the internet for any pretty decent ones popular ones that are out there. Um, I know there's there's one that I have used in the past pretty extensively for a short stint. Roll 20 dotnet I really like this one as well. It's It's pretty good. I can't remember what features you get for the free version for it mostly depends on what the GM is subscribed to.


Amelia Antrim  4:37  

Yeah, yeah, when you're playing a game, so whatever the GM is subscribed to is kind of what everybody can use. Yeah, it's not super expensive to subscribe to some of the other ones, which is kind of nice. And you can certainly play a game without having the the fancy GM version or whatever the other versions are. We have certainly done a little more research but you know what guests, folks, people Listening, whoever you are, wow, I can certainly people can look it up for themselves. Um, you know if it's something that you're interested in, I think it's easy enough to play without having any of the premium features.


Ryan Boelter  5:15  

Yeah, absolutely. It allows for dice rolling allows for video chat. It allows for regular text chat. There's even a, like a grid space that you can customize a bit. You can add tokens to it, you can add map tiles to it, you can play music, and you can do


Unknown Speaker  5:32  

all your dice rolling in there. There's a chat,


Ryan Boelter  5:34  

yeah, dice rolling, all that sort of stuffs are all included in it. And that's going to be kind of the par for the course for a lot of these. It's just the presentation is going to be different. So we're not going to be spending too much time on all of the features for every single one of them.


Amelia Antrim  5:50  

We'll definitely put links to all of these in our show notes. Yeah,


Ryan Boelter  5:53  

absolutely. There are there are a bunch of them that are out there that are Kind of doing some cool stuff. So we'll go over that. But yeah, so roll 20 is definitely one of them to look out for. I know they're having some performance issues, if I remember a few days ago. So hopefully that's fixed, but


Amelia Antrim  6:15  

because a lot of people are using it right now. Yeah.


Ryan Boelter  6:17  

And I mean, that might be the thing. Definitely, you can try it out and see if the performance is good or not, and then move on to the other ones. If If it's not the greatest, especially if you're just looking for a temporary solution to get you through these times. So, rule 20 dotnet. Probably the most popular one are fantasy grounds. That's another one.


Amelia Antrim  6:42  

Yeah, I twirled 20 I will say rule 20 is the only one of these that I've personally used. Yeah,


Ryan Boelter  6:46  

I haven't used fantasy grounds. I actually good things. I've heard about it only through you know, word of mouth here and there. But I never really looked into it. Until The the the session zero podcast covered a little bit on their latest episode but it looks decent it's got kind of the same features it's just a different presentation I don't know if it's free or not but at the very least it's it's comparable yeah one that I've heard about recently astral that one is basically the same sort of deal recently they made all of their premium features free to everybody for a few months because of everything that's going on. So I thought that was really cool. So now


Amelia Antrim  7:44  

does that one have some other systems like kind of built in?


Ryan Boelter  7:48  

Yeah, I think most of them kind of do. Okay, um, yeah, that's pretty nice. Yeah, astral is kind of pretty decent interface. It looks great. Really nice on the maps and stuff that you can do it looks like they've got things like Call of Cthulhu and Pathfinder on there. All sorts of I don't want to say like because no didn't use the big one. But they've got they've got shadow of the Demon Lord Vampire the Masquerade. I haven't seen ones like that called out explicitly in some of the other ones. So if you're playing some of these sort of different RPGs in d&d, this one might be a good one to look into. But even then, it looks like it works perfectly for a DND and if it's going to be free for a bit for all the premium features, trying out Absolutely. A one that I don't know anything about, but I came across d 20. Pro. Okay, looks to be really good for any d 20 system. Alright, so that's going to be D and all that sort of stuff. Probably not so much for stuff like Star Wars. I don't know. How the those special dice work in these virtual simulators. But for the very least, it's something to look into. And one that I'm really excited about. tabletop simulator.


Amelia Antrim  9:18  

Yeah, I've heard a lot about this when this was one. That was this was the big thing when the L five r LCG was coming out was people had built decks and stuff in there and tabletop simulator. So you can play a lot of games in there that are not just role playing games, you can do like board games and card games and all that kind of stuff. This one you can get through Steam, right?


Ryan Boelter  9:41  

Yeah, you get this one through Steam. I plays on multiple different types of devices. And what's really cool is it not only does it simulate a table, it simulates like an environment around the table. So you can have like your game simulated in like a like a dungeon. or whatever or you could have it simulated on a mountain top or there's all sorts of different environments that you can play in. Cool. And some of the actual board games itself have like custom tailored areas that you'll be playing around. Oh, that's really nice. Like I saw was it zombicide, which is a board game where you're fighting against zombies has a like a storeroom with supplies and and like other characters that are they're trying to defend against zombies as you're playing around this 3d table. Oh, that's very cool. Yeah, it's it's really kind of cool and immersive. I don't know if this is compatible with like virtual reality headsets or not. But if it wasn't equal, that would be really amazing. Mm hmm. But it's cool. It's got a physics engine. It's got all sorts of fun little things that all the other ones really don't have because it's trying to simulate actually been at a table instead of virtualizing. Everything. Gotcha.


Amelia Antrim  11:05  

Yeah. Yeah. It's one that I've been meaning to play around with. And just like, haven't every time I remember it exists, I'm like, Oh, I should do that. I don't.


Ryan Boelter  11:16  

Yeah, look, it looks really interesting. And there's thousands of different types of games that people in the community have put together. Like you can create assets and stuff, and give that out to the community and utilize those in your own game. So it's pretty sweet. Yeah. And then the last one, it's not out yet. But it's on Kickstarter right now. So if you're kind of looking for these vt s for the future, this one looks really cool. multiverse. Have you heard about this one? I have not. This is a two virtual tabletop where you can very easily create a very interesting looking sprite based world. So it kind of looks like you're going back into the Super Nintendo days for creating your your assets in the game. Oh, cool. You can create maps really easily you can alter like cityscape maps really easily. And then play into those in like Super Nintendo graphics. style pixel art.


Amelia Antrim  12:21  

Yeah. Oh, and you can make your characters Yeah,


Ryan Boelter  12:23  

fully customize your character looks pretty much any skin tone you can imagine. You can do all sorts of wild things with this. It looks really really interesting. Yeah, this this one looks really cool.


Amelia Antrim  12:38  

It does look really neat. It's a lot more like open and some of the other ones.


Ryan Boelter  12:43  

Yeah, and it looks super easy to use because a lot of the other ones you're dragging tiles into a map and you have to kind of connect all the tiles together and, um, you know, it's not the most easy thing. But this one,


Amelia Antrim  12:56  

even rule 20 you have to know the commands to roll the dice Yeah, got to Which, like you can make little


Unknown Speaker  13:04  

I don't remember what their macros,


Amelia Antrim  13:06  

macros. There you go, you can make little macros to roll for your roles and stuff. But that's another thing that you then need to know how to do like some of you do have a more significant learning curve than others. This one looks like it'd be pretty easy, but again, we don't know a whole ton about it. Because it's


Ryan Boelter  13:23  

not on Kickstarter. It's still in beta two. And I know there's some some decent levels on the Kickstarter to get access to the beta early which would be kind of fun. And I don't know when that begins or anything like that, but I've been hearing a lot of chatter about this in the community online. And I think it's really something that a lot of potential there Yeah, like they have weather effects that you can add on the fly and all sorts of stuff. So definitely check into that Kickstarter. If you if you're interested. Man, I know they're a quarter of the way there maybe.


Amelia Antrim  14:04  

Yeah. And these are certainly all ones that are specifically meant for playing tabletop games. Yeah. And certainly there are other ways that you can do it. You know, you can. A lot of the games that I play online now, because I play almost exclusively online these days are done through Discord. Yeah. And discord is the big one. You know, I know people who play through slack. I know people that just do, like hangout and zoom and do games that way. So certainly, these are the ones that are specifically made for that. But you can use any way that you used to talk to other people you can use to play tabletop games. Yeah. And we're gonna talk about a couple tools that you can do if you're using those other things, a couple different kinds of tools that you can use to help make those games happen.


Ryan Boelter  14:51  

Yeah. So one of the things you'll probably need is virtual dice,


Amelia Antrim  14:57  

right. And if you are using virtual dice. discord is really nice for this because there are so many bots that you can get to do different things. There are two specific ones, sidekick, and then D one c three are the ones that I see the most. I think D one c three is the one that I have used for most of my games because it incorporates Fantasy Flight dice too. So that bot does f5 or dice. Yep. And it also does Star Wars dice. Yeah. Which is really, really nice.


Ryan Boelter  15:31  

I would imagine.


Amelia Antrim  15:32  

I probably I yeah, I haven't used it for that I've used something else. I'd have to remember what it's called. But if I can figure it out, I can put it in the show notes. Another website that does Genesis dice. Oh, there we go. Um, and then sidekick also does dice. So the nice ones things about those you can switch what kinds of dice you're using. They just have discord commands that you use and it rolls for you. Super nice, super easy, especially if you're already using discord for chat. The nice thing about discord too is that you can do voice, you can do video, you can do just text. So all of those things are kind of incorporated in there. The quality of those kind of depends on a lot of things. And we can assume right now, right, and we can just talk about all these things kind of together. Yeah. You can use Google Hangouts. Facebook Messenger does this kind of you can do voice and video and text. Yeah, um, you can use Discord. You can use zoom, Ryan and I use zoom right now for all of our recording stuff. And I think you have to have the premium for a lot of stuff because otherwise you only get like a half hour or something.


Ryan Boelter  16:42  

It's 45 minutes for a group chat. And then the meeting will end or something like that. If you're doing one on one, it's unlimited. And so


Unknown Speaker  16:54  

if you're playing star crossed,


Ryan Boelter  16:56  

you're good to go. If you're if you're playing star trust over the unit Uh, yeah, that's a feat in and of itself if you're using the tower


Amelia Antrim  17:06  

the tower usually I know. I've done it I've played


Ryan Boelter  17:10  

over the internet. Yeah, yeah, you can use like a D 20 system that somebody come up with, which sounds pretty interesting. So yeah, there's a there's even alternatives to physical games that that you can play online. Yes, that's cool. And I noticed that sidekick has the fate dice in there as well. So it's not just regular dice so you can use the fudge dice as well. And so a combination of sidekick and D one c three is great for discord bots. The only thing that I have found is discord bots are not the easiest thing to set up. There. They're a little intimidating if you've never done it before.


Amelia Antrim  17:54  

Yeah, that's fair. Um, I think once you've done it once or twice, they're pretty easy. Yeah. Figure out because you'd have to like invite them into your server and then set them up most of the ones that they have out there have some pretty good instructions with them.


Ryan Boelter  18:09  

Yeah. So if you're if you're comfortable following the directions, and if you're comfortable with rolling up your sleeves and getting them set up, then definitely look into that because adding that to your discord is something that I'll really help with, with your games if you're playing strictly in Discord.


Amelia Antrim  18:28  

Yeah, I have to say they're really, really nice for Fantasy Flight games, um, because those dice take a little interpretation rather than just rolling a 20 or a 10 or, you know, something like that. Because they're pictorial. Yeah, sometimes it takes a little bit of interpretation. I know when we were first learning to play fifth edition outside of our with those dice. It was really nice to have the bots and have those dice like up in front of you could say, okay, help me read this out and figure out what to keep and whatnot. Yeah, and you know, all that kind of stuff. And that is one advantage there.


Ryan Boelter  19:01  

Yeah, absolutely. Now if you're playing a more traditional game, or I think even fate, you can use a website like rolls. org. They are a free to use site. You don't even have to register if you don't want to. You create dice rooms, basically. And you can invite people to your dice rooms. And then right in that chat space, you can all see everybody's dice rolls. Right? Yeah. And they've got a whole bunch of different options. There's a help guide, that's really easy to use. I checked that out last night when I was researching this and I it's, it's, it's pretty intuitive. It's pretty nice.


Amelia Antrim  19:44  

Yeah, I think there's a lot of options for people. Um, you know, you wrote in here too, that in Google, I didn't know this that you can just type roll followed by a dice combo. Yep. Um, I just don't know that.


Ryan Boelter  19:56  

Yeah, it's pretty sweet. And it's as long as you keep The combo simple, you can just say like roll 46. And it will roll for six sided dice and give you the total. That's really nice. And then once it's once it's up, you can add more dice to your pool. And then it'll just keep adding to tally. That's really cool. You can also add a modifier a plus or minus on there. So this would be really effective for like pvta rolling 2d six plus or minus. Yeah, um, and I don't think it handles any special dice like fate dice or anything like that. So it's really basic. But in a pinch, if you just need to roll a couple dice that are of the same size, then you can you can just go to Google. That's really nice. Yeah.


Amelia Antrim  20:46  

Yeah, I think there's a there's a lot of really good options. And I think there's a way that you can, you know, use a combo of these things or find the one that works best for whatever game you're playing for your group. You know, your needs are always different. Kind of Depending on what you're doing, what game you're playing, yeah, but I think I was really kind of intimidated. Me intimidated. It's not the right word. But I was kind of unsure about playing online when I first started because I had always played with an in person group. And I just was not sure like how it would translate or how it would work. And I was like, Oh, I only want to roll physical dice and all that kind of stuff. And I have very quickly turned around on this. Yeah, I think there's a lot out there that makes it a full it's a different experience than playing in person, certainly. But it's still a very full experience. Yeah,


Ryan Boelter  21:35  

absolutely. And what's kind of cool is you can, you can play with your friends if you want to set that up. But there's a there's a whole bunch of stuff out there for finding groups as well. Like I know roll 20 has a forum system that you can go to and find a group to play with. And if you're comfortable with playing with strangers, feel free to do that. You just need to, of course, keep in mind a bunch of safety stuff at that point. Because you're playing with people that don't know you, and you don't know. So having those types of conversations,


Unknown Speaker  22:13  

maybe a session zero was


Ryan Boelter  22:14  

a session zero would be fantastic for stuff like that.


Amelia Antrim  22:18  

I will say for finding a game right now, if you're not listening to this in 2023, I'll put a link in the show notes too. But I did create a spreadsheet for people to kind of sign up to run games or play games right now. There's not very many people signed up in there, but I would love if more people would take advantage of this kind of finding groups. Yeah. And I put links in there to session zero document and then to one that I have created to kind of edit a little bit to make specifically for one shots. But I think this is a really good chance to meet some new people that are interested in gaming. I've posted it on my Twitter and in the one shot discord just to kind of help people find groups to play On line two, because I know sometimes it's hard to find a group of people. And hopefully this is a way you can kind of find new games, new people. But we can put a link to that in the show notes too. Yeah, I'd be really cool if people found some new friends.


Ryan Boelter  23:13  

Yeah, absolutely. And you know, role playing is a great way to build those bonds with and


Amelia Antrim  23:19  

here's the great thing about playing online, I gotta say is that if you're not into it, and you want an out, just turn it off. Yeah. If you need to leave, you can just you don't have to worry about like that social pressure of like, well, do I just walk away? I don't want everybody to see me leave. Here's the thing. You can just disconnect and be like, oops, sorry, my internet. Yeah. You can just blame it on the internet.


Ryan Boelter  23:43  

Yeah, you could just say yes, isn't working for me. And then,


Amelia Antrim  23:47  

I mean, you could say that but if you're in a situation where you're like, really uncomfortable with that, and you don't want to be the person that leaves like, if you're, you know, socially awkward or, you know, that's whenever I'm really not feeling it, you can just leave Hit that x. Yeah. Yeah. It's very easy to to get out of those situations. Absolutely.


Ryan Boelter  24:05  

Yeah. Especially a safety is a concern. A better to just leave and and let them worry about it if they're the ones not being safe.


Amelia Antrim  24:15  

Totally. Totally. I think you know, there's always some, there's some worry about playing with a group you don't know. And I think that doing it online is like the best way to do it. Yeah, cuz you can. You can just leave. Mm hmm. Absolutely. Brian, do you want to talk about some tips for people playing online?


Ryan Boelter  24:33  

Yeah, absolutely. This is this is kind of like the meat of the episode. So we got you some tools that you can utilize to actually play online. But let's dive into some tips.


Amelia Antrim  24:46  

Like I said, I play online a lot. It's the majority of how I play now. It's very nice for me because I can do things like put my kids to bed and then play a game without having to hire a babysitter to come to my house. Yeah. I can also do it when my kids are still Awake sometimes depends on depends on the date we're having. But it is really nice because you don't have to go anywhere to do it. And for those of you who are also parents again, you don't have to find a babysitter. Yeah, it's makes it so much cheaper to go play game.


Ryan Boelter  25:14  

So true.


Amelia Antrim  25:17  

babysitters are expensive. Yeah, no kidding. Um, which To be fair, I don't get paid to watch my children. But if I did get paid, I would expect a lot of money. Uh huh. I will say sometimes, especially for people like myself are a little bit neuro diverse. playing online can be more of a struggle than playing in person. It was one of the things that kind of held me back from it for a long time. It's difficult to read people's expressions, which are impossible to do if you're not playing with video. Yeah, which we'll talk about at some point here. It's harder to tell when it's your turn to talk. social cues are a little bit more difficult to read. It can be harder to pay attention. If you're someone like me with pretty bad ADHD, if you aren't at a physical table, because there's a whole room of non game things around you. So a couple things that I want to talk about, first of all, if you can use video chat, I strongly suggest it. It's much easier to pick up on social cues, even if you're bad at it. You can tell kind of when somebody is about to talk, you can read whether people are happy or sad or you know, like that kind of stuff a lot easier than you can over voice or certainly over text. So I strongly suggest if you can, it makes it it makes it a lot closer to the experience you would be having at a regular table. Yeah. Um, I strongly suggest trying to kind of keep the area that you're playing in clear of non game things. Yes. So right now I'm sitting at my desk and it's a little bit messy. Um, I would suggest trying to clean that up and I only have gaming things in front of you if you can. And this is also especially difficult when you have the whole world of the internet in front of you, right? Because it's very easy to get distracted and be like, Oh, I'm just gonna check my Twitter real quick. It's the same as if you're have your phone at the table. And all you're looking at is the internet. Yeah, so I suggest people try and kind of shy away from that, if possible. Try taking notes. If you're a note taking kind of person I've found for me personally, it keeps me a lot more engaged in what's happening in the game because I have to pay attention to what other people are doing. And try and write down notes of what's happening for everybody. And have your book nearby and ready. Whether you use a PDF or a physical book, have that up and ready, and it makes it a little bit more like you're actually at the table. Yeah, and if you are rolling physical dice, have those ready. It's just kind of more about being prepared like the same things that you would bring to a game I suggest having right in front of you. Yeah, the same way that you Normally what so if you take physical notes, have your notebook and your pen there, you can still take notes during an online game. I still like to have a physical character sheet too, because it's less clicking around and changing windows, I find that the less that I do that the more likely I am to stay engaged in what's happening in the gaps too. Especially my my ADHD are diverse tips for playing in an online game because I do find it a little bit more difficult. And there was definitely a learning curve for me.


Ryan Boelter  28:28  

Yeah, I can imagine if you only have access to one monitor, having your character sheet be electronic and then having the book be electronic, all that sort of stuff would be kind of difficult to juggle all of that and then still have the video chat available.


Unknown Speaker  28:49  

Definitely. That was really tough.


Ryan Boelter  28:51  

Yeah, it's why some of the virtual tabletops are probably the better solution for a lot of people because on the virtual tabletops you have The webcams all in the bottom, you've got the the actual action of the table top right there access to your character sheet, you're currently in their character sheets right in there. And then some of the resources I know like you can get access to the dungeons and dragons stuff, I think through rule 20 and some other stuff. So you're able to get to the books and to what things do right from there, which is really good. So it's all on one screen at that point. So you don't have to juggle as much.


Amelia Antrim  29:35  

Yeah, I strongly suggest kind of having all of that in front of you. And even if you don't play with a virtual tabletop, just kind of prepare yourself for those things. It's like anything, just try and come prepared. Yeah. And you'll be you'll be okay. I promise.


Ryan Boelter  29:52  

And if you're playing with people that you know, in, even if you're not most of us are playing to have fun, most of us are playing To enjoy the story and to enjoy the game with one another so you could probably even roll dice physical dice in person, and then just tell the results. That's that's based on the honor system, of course. And


Amelia Antrim  30:16  

certainly something to work out with your group. Absolutely see how everybody feels. Yeah.


Ryan Boelter  30:20  

And if, you know people are like, No, we should probably do it online. And it's, it's not that big of a switch to go from physical dice to, to actually using virtual dice.


Amelia Antrim  30:31  

Not at all. And like I said, in some cases, it's easier because yeah, you can have everybody interpret it or you know, if you're like me, and you're just really bad at math, it's really nice because the results


Ryan Boelter  30:44  

Yeah, and some of these are cool, like you can have it like some games have exploding dice in them. You can actually type in the commands to be like roll this many dice and explode on these results and, and all that sort of stuff. You can get kind of complex commands to do All of that for you.


Amelia Antrim  31:01  

Yeah, I know I've had macros that for alpha to, like, type in how many you're gonna roll how many you're gonna keep? Do you explode them? And it does it all for you. Yeah,


Ryan Boelter  31:11  

exactly. So once you get that all set up, it makes things a lot easier than trying to keep it all in your head with physical dice. Yeah, math is hard. Math is hard. it detracts from the time. Like you don't have to spend all that time counting up all the dice and everything either so


Amelia Antrim  31:30  

right. Right. I think it definitely in some cases can help with immersion because you're not having to stop all the time. And


Ryan Boelter  31:36  

yeah, plus, yeah, plus some virtual tables have actually roll virtual dice to and it makes that that dice rolling sound. So if the sound is something that you like, then Well, there you go.


Amelia Antrim  31:50  

Yeah, and to be honest, you can roll virtual dice and then you can just hang out and roll regular dice in your free time. Okay.


Ryan Boelter  31:57  

Probably not as exciting but That's okay.


Amelia Antrim  32:00  

I don't know my kids are doing it the other day that was part of their part of their plan for things to do for school. They both got out their, their sets of polyhedral needs like I'm just gonna do some math. I'm gonna roll a couple dice and then I'm gonna multiply them. Oh, nice together. I was like, cool. There you go. Have fun.


Ryan Boelter  32:19  

That's how we learn nowadays.


Unknown Speaker  32:20  

Right? He's like, I'm just gonna practice my multiplication. I'm just gonna roll some dice. Like live it up, man.


Ryan Boelter  32:25  

That's crazy. We need we need more dice rolling in the schools.


Unknown Speaker  32:30  

Yes, that's what schools are lacking. That's the problem with our public education system. They don't roll enough dice haha.


Unknown Speaker  32:39  

Among other things.


Ryan Boelter  32:42  

Awesome. So what other tips can we can we give music? I know a lot of people like music during their games. I know. Yeah. When my friends and I grew up we had background music on all the time.


Amelia Antrim  32:57  

I have done this as like playlists is kind of inspiration. I have not done this as background music.


Ryan Boelter  33:04  

Yeah, I'm one of my friends. He goes kind of all out with playlists that fit certain moods for certain games. So he's just got an access to a ton of music that he's like procured over the years. And he's got them kind of separated by moods and genres and stuff like that. So if we're playing like a spookier game, he'll pull out the the horror sounds playlist or whatever. And if we're playing like a more fantasy game, he's gonna pull out the playlist that has more of the fantasy type music, and he's curated all of that through iTunes and everything. But you can do that easily in Spotify, especially if you have a Spotify Premium account. And you can actually play some of these collectively, so you're all hearing the same music at the same time with some of the apps out there. I know role 20 if you're the GM, I think you can, I don't know if you can as a player, but for sure, as a GM, you can curate music lists that everybody will hear during the seasons. And if you want to coordinate it, you can coordinate music to different scenes, different maps. You can you can have certain songs play right after the other, that sort of stuff. And it just adds a nice little background ambience. If you're playing in discord, there's actually a discord bot that will sync playlists. So there's a Spotify bot for discord that you can


Unknown Speaker  34:43  

play well, I didn't know that. Yeah, I mean, there's this Yeah, there's a discord bot for everything. So I probably watched Yeah, but it's never one I've looked


Ryan Boelter  34:50  

for personally. Yeah, so if you're if you're playing over discord and you you have a Spotify Premium account, you can get this bought and play your Spotify play. lists that you've curated and watching this. Yeah, what's cool about this is you can do this as a player or a GM. So if you're playing in discord, you can just load that up or even you could, if you're playing on a virtual tabletop, you could have discord open in another tab. have everybody on there and then play the play the background music to add some ambience. Definitely. It's, it's been an enjoyable experience for my groups that we've played in person. I know it's not for everybody because it can be distracting. Yeah, especially if some of the music gets too loud. So just play it by ear, I guess.


Ryan Boelter  35:48  

Yep. Yep.


Unknown Speaker  35:52  

on that, on that


Amelia Antrim  35:54  

one. This is a thing that we've talked about before and I think we first talked about it in our our First up at home yeah episode, but closet cosplay. Honestly, you could do full cosplay if you wanted. But try dressing up your character as your character. One of the nice things about playing is that you don't have to worry about leaving the house like that. Yeah so you can dress up like whatever you want. I think especially if you're not playing with video, you can totally do whatever you want. Nobody cares if you're wearing that like Chiquita Banana hat dress, you can do whatever you want. But try and like dress up as your character kind of keep you a little more like grounded in the scene that you're in in the game that you're having. And as Ryan pointed out in our outline, really you only have to do the upper half and so even if you are playing with video, you can you can be beautiful on top and sweatpants on bottom. If you absolutely not. That's why pants aren't beautiful. You do you but I think it definitely does help to kind of keep you a little more aware. Like in the moment?


Ryan Boelter  37:02  

Yeah, absolutely. And it just adds a nice little visual as well to the other players. And it just yeah, it gets you into the game a little bit more, which is kind of cool.


Amelia Antrim  37:15  

Yeah, more I think definitely if you don't have to leave the house you can come where whatever you want.


Ryan Boelter  37:20  

Now Now this line of thinking got me to to ask the question, does it exist where you can create virtual avatars that will like change your personal looks a while you're on video chat, and I know that technology exists. So this is my call to the the RPG industry. Hey, you've got a good opportunity here to to allow your own


Amelia Antrim  37:47  

Snapchat filters.


Ryan Boelter  37:48  

Yeah, to make her to make our own custom characters and then overlay that over our personas. But as we're playing, maybe that'd be super, maybe some custom voice modulation They're pretty sweet. Right? I'm just saying to you that if I had the know how to do that, I would be doing this stuff talking about it.


Amelia Antrim  38:12  

Right, like, I wouldn't have a


Ryan Boelter  38:14  

podcast. I've been doing this full time doing this, and I'd be making bank because that sounds pretty sweet.


Unknown Speaker  38:20  

Yeah, that does actually sound really cool. Yeah.


Ryan Boelter  38:22  

Um, because Can you imagine like an entire game where like everybody's in these virtual avatars and sitting around this in the webcams, and what as they're saying what their character is doing and saying it sounds like their character.


Unknown Speaker  38:37  

It does sound pretty cool. Yeah.


Ryan Boelter  38:39  

I'm just saying, get on that. Whoever.


Unknown Speaker  38:42  

Whoever you are, whoever you are, like, does that do it?


Ryan Boelter  38:46  

Maybe this will inspire somebody who knows.


Amelia Antrim  38:49  

Speaking of this kind of thing of dressing up or possibly being an avatar, using visual aids, yes, it is so much easier to utilize visual aids in an online game. You can make, you can find pictures of your character and share them you can find images of a scene that you're describing. This is one of my favorite things to use Pinterest for. Yeah, we've talked before about making Pinterest boards. But in games that I've played, I've made boards of like the places that we're going to go if we're playing in a real life situation. I'm different outfits that my character might wear. So that when it came to a scene, and I'm describing a fashion, I can just share a picture with everybody and say, This is the dress that I'm wearing. you can show like what you want your character to look like, you know, there's just it's limitless. And so I think there's so much more ability to share those kinds of things and do that kind of thing in an online games. You have it all in front of you. And like certainly, you could kind of pass around your phone, I guess. But you're already on the internet and you're already like there. So it's a lot easier to kind of pass those things back and forth when you're already doing it.


Ryan Boelter  40:00  

Absolutely. And what's really cool is if you're playing like a modern game that takes place in the real world, like this is especially good for like superhero games that do this. You could go to Google Maps and go to the location that you're playing in. And now you've got a scene scape for the street layouts, the building layouts, all that sort of cool stuff. And if you really wanted to, you could actually take a screenshot of that, pop it into one of these virtual tabletops. And now you've got a battle map for your campaign. Whoa, dang. Yeah. So there's all sorts of really cool stuff that you can do with the online stuff that you can't easily do in person. Mm hmm.


Amelia Antrim  40:42  

Absolutely. And similarly, you can use like maps and tokens for more combat scenarios. This is something that definitely is a lot easier in some of those virtual tabletop things, especially if you need to utilize a grid map for your game. I know that's a concern for a lot of people is like, but I need to have my minute As I need to have things like that, you can definitely do that enroll 20, you can do that in some of these other tabletop simulator kind of things. And so sometimes it does take a little bit of effort to put together a specific map if that's what you want. But it's certainly doable. And you can move around tokens. And you can do all of those kinds of things to show when you need more of a grid map or you need more of a combat kind of scenario to sort of picture like where you are in the scene. It's a lot easier to do online than you might think.


Ryan Boelter  41:33  

Yeah, there's there's a, there's even a Google app that you can use that allows you to collaboratively work on like an image with with grids. And you can actually have little character pictures for your pieces and then overlay it over a big map. And now you've got now you've got a battle map that's very kind of rudimentary but you Everybody has edit access, you can you can just move things around. And


Amelia Antrim  42:04  

I mean, you could certainly do that in like Google Slides. Yeah, I think this move around a little


Ryan Boelter  42:08  

Yeah, I think that might be thinking of that. So there's all sorts of things that you can do out there for free, that will add a lot of immersion to it. And if you want to add more of a visual element, it makes it a lot easier to do so instead of just doing theater of the mind all the time.


Unknown Speaker  42:28  

Yeah, absolutely. Not that there's anything wrong with it. No.


Ryan Boelter  42:30  

But it's cool because most of it's free. So you don't have to spend like hundreds of dollars on cool elaborate scenes or whatever or or miniatures or, or what have you or even just printing out a map itself and then cutting out the pieces and putting them all together is is not free.


Amelia Antrim  42:52  

Right? No one honestly sometimes it's a lot of fun to play around with some of these tools to as like a thing to help you kind of stay immersed in the game. Yeah, to kind of play around with some of the stuff and you know, we talked about making Pinterest boards and things like that. But even just like building out your maps and things like that, yeah, it can be a lot of fun.


Ryan Boelter  43:11  

Yeah, absolutely. When I was some of that lonely fun, yeah, when I was a GM using roll 20 few years ago before my kids were born. And then all my time went away.


Unknown Speaker  43:23  

I knew that


Ryan Boelter  43:25  

I was able to make these really elaborate scenes in rule 20. And then I even made it. So you could have like virtual walls that you couldn't move your characters past. And then like, I did dynamic lighting in there, which is really cool. And then you can even put in traps and stuff. So if the characters go past certain points, it activates a trap. So there's all these super cool things that you can do in some of these virtual tabletops. And even with just visuals online, that'll really Kind of up the experience at the table, but it does take time to set a lot of that up. So and usually it's the GM setting all of that up. So maybe don't demand your GM time to do this unless they have it. You know, and even then don't demand just ask.


Amelia Antrim  44:18  

Yeah, you should never demand. Um, no, I think the cool thing about playing online is it's definitely a different experience. But it doesn't have to be a lesser one. Yeah. And I think that's the thing that I really want to get across to people is that you can have a very full and exciting and immersive experience playing online in ways that you might not have thought of. Yeah, and especially if you haven't done it before. Give it a try. It's a lot of fun and it opens up whole new opportunities for people that you can play with. Like I've certainly gotten to play games with people that I never would have if I didn't play online because we're just, you know, we've never met in person. Yeah, I'm where we all live far away and we see each other Once a year at convention, and I think it's, it's a really cool experience in a lot of ways, and you can do a lot of things that you can't do at a regular table. So they certainly both have their ups and downs. But it doesn't have to be a lesser experience if you don't want it to be.


Ryan Boelter  45:18  

Yeah, absolutely. And what's really kind of good for a lot of people, and especially these times that when we're recording this, is if you're going to be getting on camera, and you're going to be talking with people from across the world, and all that sort of stuff. It helps you get into a routine as well. So if you're in kind of the doldrums, you're like, well, what's the point of getting ready for the day and all that sort of stuff. This kind of gives you a really good excuse to say, you know what, I will get ready for the day. I'll present myself as everyone, like going to work or actually going to a gaming group table, and then it'll make you feel better Yeah, and yeah,


Amelia Antrim  46:01  

gaming is for a lot of people, it's a stress relief, it's an escape, you know, something to do with your friends. And, you know, this is an opportunity to make new friends and find new things to do and have something to look forward to.


Ryan Boelter  46:16  

Yeah. And, and socialize. Because Yeah, that's, that's extremely important. Yeah,


Amelia Antrim  46:21  

I thought it was really interesting. Um, my, my sister's therapist said, make sure that your social distancing, you are not social isolated. Yes. And those are really important differences. And this is a way that you can make sure that you're distancing but not isolating.


Ryan Boelter  46:35  

Absolutely, and in a very good and healthy way. Because you know, what, what's more fun than playing some RPGs with people? Nothing, pretty much


Unknown Speaker  46:46  

literally now.


Unknown Speaker  46:48  

That's why I put so much time into podcasting


Unknown Speaker  46:49  

about it.


Unknown Speaker  46:52  

I talked about it cuz I don't have as much time to do it. Ah, absolutely. Although this might take up more time.


Unknown Speaker  47:01  

I'll make a podcast because I don't have time to go out and play games. Uh huh. I'm fine casting so much more time. That's very true.


Ryan Boelter  47:07  

But you know what? I don't have time to play games because I'm talking about them too much. We're helping other people play games. So Oh, I think it works.


Unknown Speaker  47:15  

The goodness of our heart.


Unknown Speaker  47:19  

You're welcome.


Unknown Speaker  47:21  

I guess that's the message.


Amelia Antrim  47:23  

That's the message for today is we don't have time to play games because we're telling you how to play.


Ryan Boelter  47:32  

Yeah, let's go with that. On that note, ah, goodness. Well, thank you, everyone for for joining us in this discussion. You know, whether it's because you or your friends have moved away or because of everything that's going on in the world. We really hope that you'll be able to take these tools and ideas to connect with your friends are making new friends I and keep on playing.


Amelia Antrim  47:58  

Absolutely. And we would love to hear about games that you have played online or other tips that you have for making it a memorable experience. You can find us on Twitter at Creation Cast or on our discord at discord Creation Cast calm and let us know how things are going for you what kind of stuff you've tried, what things you want to try any tips you have, or we're always happy to hear, huh?


Ryan Boelter  48:20  

Yeah, discord dot Character Creation Cast


Unknown Speaker  48:22  

calm. Now, I said


Ryan Boelter  48:24  

you missed the character part. But that's okay. It's a long URL. Maybe we should grab Creation Cast calm and see what happens.


Unknown Speaker  48:33  

Yeah, it's probably taken. We should.


Unknown Speaker  48:36  

We should probably do something. We should we should get our website up.


Unknown Speaker  48:40  

That's very true.


Unknown Speaker  48:42  

Okay, that's enough of that.


Ryan Boelter  48:43  

Yeah. All right. Well, thanks, everyone, for joining us, and we'll see you next time.


Amelia Antrim  48:55  

Character evolution cast, like Character Creation Cast is a production of the one shot A Podcast Network and can be found online at www dot Character Creation head to the website to get more information on our hosts and guests, or even find some of our character sheets. Character Creation Cast can be found on Twitter at Creation Cast, and one of your hosts Amelia antrum. And I can be found on twitter at ginger recommend. Our other hosts Ryan bolter can be found on twitter at Lord Neptune. Music for this episode is used with a Creative Commons license, or with permission from the podcast it originated from. Further information can be found within the show notes. This episode was edited by Amelia interim. Further information for today's guests can also be found in the show notes. Thanks for joining us. And remember, we find that the best part of any role playing game is character creation. So go out there and create some amazing people will see you next time.


Unknown Speaker  50:05  

Now we got to read some show blurbs show blurbs


Unknown Speaker  50:08  

show show but


Unknown Speaker  50:10  

show blurbs.


Amelia Antrim  50:13  

Character Creation Cast is hosted by the one shot Podcast Network. If you enjoyed our show, visit one shot podcast comm where you'll find other great shows like arms of the tide.


Ryan Boelter  50:23  

Arms of the tide is an actual play about fighting for what's right in an original magic technological world on the brink of catastrophe. Using the mutants in the night system, joined Quinn, Joe Chanel, and john and revel in the laughs and gasped at the drama. While the only thing standing against the apocalypse are a robot with a fondness for stray cats. A wolf made of living plants with a bad case of depression and a private eye who's so done with all of this


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