Getting Players Started in Roll20

Getting Players Started in Roll20

Roll20 is one of a view different platforms for playing Dungeons & Dragons and D&D-like games on a Virtual Table Top. This guide assumes that, if you?re a DM, you?ve had enough time to personally mess around with the platform to get a handle on your own role and duties. So, the focus here will go back and forth between DM setup and players taking steps to get macros for play.

Creating and Exporting Characters

While I was busy with other DM duties, I tasked my players with cooking up their characters in the 5th Edition Character Sheet app. It?s an easy process to create a character, then export their sheet to Google Drive where they can share the link to import into the same app on my own end.

Image for postShare link, copy to clipboard, then give the link to the DM.

Once you have their base character sheet on your end, you?re ready to re-create it in Roll20. Yes, players could technically do all this themselves, but most just want to get in and play, so the goal is to do as much setup beforehand so they can click buttons and do the cool fun things.

Building a Digital Sheet in Roll20

With their sheet in hand (in app), the next step is to create a proper Roll20 character sheet to use in the regular game. As DM creating your Campaign (or after, in Game Settings), choose the sheet 5th Edition (Shaped) this sheet is useful as it integrates with the built-in Compendium and outputs the proper macros, more on that later.

Start by Adding a character from the Journal in Roll20.

Image for postPro Tip: give the player a hot anime babe avatar token.

Fill out any basics, and Save. On the next screen, go to the Character Sheet tab. Again, fill out information like Background, Race, and Ability Scores. For parts like armor, weapons, and spells, you can drag and drop from the built-in Compendium right onto the sheet.

With the Sheet open, click the ( i ) icon to open the Compendium. Search for what you want to add to the sheet (here, a Quarterstaff), under Attacks on the Sheet click Add+ to create a new field, then drag n? drop the quarterstaff on. It will light up when there?s a match, so just drop to fill in the data.

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Finish filling in the rest of the sheet to the best of your ability. Some fields, like Races, aren?t integrated into the Compendium and wont import, but you can work around most of that. When you?re done, you?re ready to have players join and get their characters set up.

Setting up Player Macros

When a player joins, have them go to their Macros settings and check the box ?Show macro quick bar?? to give them the quickbar on the bottom of their screen. While they do that, hand off ownership of their character to them. Specifically, in your Journal > Edit screen, give them Editing and Journal ownership of the character. Also, while you have a token representing that character on the board, be sure to Edit Token and make sure it Represents Character. With that set, the player is ready to view their sheet.

Remind your players to open their Journal (looks like a folded newspaper), then click over to the Character Sheet. Anything that?s ?clickable? generates a macro of options to the player. Here, we drag n? drop Spells onto the quickbar.

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This process can be repeated for just about any field on the character sheet. I recommend putting these macros on the quickbar: Initiative, Attacks, Spells, Skills, and Saving Throws. How players load out the quickbar is up to them, and changing the loadout is as easy as dragging a macro off the bar, or dropping another one on from the character sheet.

When a player clicks their Spells macro, they get a self-whisper of all their Spell options in chat. Then, they just click the spell they want to roll, and the card pops into the chat with the relevant rolls performed at the same time.

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The (To GM) is a stand-in for the player, it?s a private whisper so it doesn?t clog up chat. The blue-backed spellcard however is the roll itself, displayed for everyone to see. You can hover over the numbers to see how they break down, the green-boxed vs AC landed a natural 20, so the damage output includes a +6 for that sweet sweet crit. All the math is done for you.

As DM, you still have to do the manual damage subtraction on the target. So, you don?t have to worry about things becoming so automated you lose control.

This is my first time running a campaign with Roll20, and while it takes a lot of work to get everything first started, it feels like a very powerful platform for getting everyone together to enjoy Dungeons & Dragons.


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