What You Need to Play D&D Online
Most importantly, you still need other people to join your digital campaign, but we’re assuming you’ve got that part covered. Honestly, if you’ve already got your own rulebooks (or want to play for free with the basic ruleset), you just need a chat service like Google Hangouts or Discord and some dice. That said, for as close to the full experience as you can get, you’ll want to find a virtual tabletop — and for that, we recommend Roll 20.
You might think of Roll20 as just an online Dungeons & Dragons solution – which it is – but it also supports dozens of other games like Pathfinder, Starfinder, Cyberpunk, even older versions of D&D like 3.5 and AD&D. It also has a robust community and game-matching services, so if you don’t have a dedicated group to play with, you can just find one. There are other resources for this, too, like the party-forming subreddit r/lfg.
Honestly, the Roll20 suite of tools is robust enough that we could write an entire wiki about it (though thankfully, R20 already took care of that), but even just creating a free account and messing around with its interface a bit is enough to get you one step closer to playing D&D remotely with your friends.If you’re using the popular D&D Beyond tool to keep track of your character sheets, magic items and more, you’ll want to consider installing the Beyond 20 Chrome extension. It allows you to make (almost) all of your rolls in Roll 20 straight from your D&D Beyond character sheets, which will save you and your party a ton of time otherwise spent converting them between platforms.
If you’re in need of adventure ideas, R20 has plenty of official D&D content available for purchase in their digital library, or you can check out a free adventure that they’re releasing from the new Critical Role sourcebook. For communication, Roll20 also has video and voice chat integration, but depending on what works best for your group, other chat services (like the aforementioned Discord or Hangouts) work just fine, too.
There are plenty of digital dice rollers out there, from the 3D ones that everyone can see on Roll20 to the one that comes up when you search “Dice Roller” on Google – but they’re nowhere near as fun rolling your own. Even if you’re playing remote sessions, there’s something incredibly satisfying about rolling physical dice and seeing how they play out. Just be aware: no one is going to believe you rolled 3 crits in a row, even if you weren’t lying.
At the minimum, you’ll want a D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, D20 (you can use the D10 for percentage rolls, or get a set with 10-sided die with multiples of 10). Most of the sets you’ll find online have the dice you need. It’s up to you to decided how fancy you want to go.
A basic set of resin dice will set you back a few bucks. A set of dice made of gems recovered from the bowels of the Earth, shaped and engraved with runes, will set you back considerably more. If you’re running a game, you’ll need more dice, so consider picking up dice in bulk.
Icons of the Realms: Baldur’s Gates: Descent into Avernus Complete Set Gallery
Let us know in the comments if you’ll be getting a party together for some digital dungeon delving, and for more D&D on IGN, check out our full playthrough of the latest D&D adventure run by one of its writers, or how Baldur’s Gate 3 is adapting the tabletop DNA into video game form.