The Pittsburgh PFS and SFS Guide to Playing Games Online

Interested in gaming with us while the coronavirus keeps us all indoors and socially distanced? New to online play? This is our guide to taking your games online.

Quick Start for New Players & GMs

Table of Contents

I want to learn how to play games online

Learning Roll20

  1. Make a Roll20 account
  2. Read up on the basics of Roll20, for example Flutter’s guide.
  3. Find some interesting and distinctive images online for your characters, so we can make tokens—the online equivalent of a miniature–for your characters!
  4. Test your microphone(s), and perhaps buy one if you do not have one, for common voice solutions:

Finding your game

  1. We’re going to keep using Warhorn. Sign up for your games on the Pittsburgh Organized Play Warhorn!
  2. Each table will have a Discord room associated with it. Join the Pittsburgh Org Play discord server and find your room!
    • If there’s more than one table of players for a given scenario, we might need to muster. Join the mustering channel instead and someone–the GMs or the organizers–will sort you into tables!
  3. Once you’ve found your table, fill out your information on the roster your GM provides.
  4. Have fun!

I want to learn how to run games online

Here in the Pittsburgh region we’re moving to a Roll20 and discord model. We realize there are other solutions out there, even some that we like better, but these two tools combined are the standard that the vast majority of Organized Play uses.

Building a room

We’ll have more information about building a room soon. For now, you really need to build your rooms in advance–don’t try to build it on the fly! Once you’ve built your room, don’t add people to it directly–instead, make a copy and send your players there! That way you’ll keep a pristine copy of your work for the next time you want to run that scenario.

Make sure to allow players to import characters to your table! It’s in game settings–you can’t change it from inside the game room.

Muster your table

Make a copy of the roster appropriate for your table. Fill out your information, including a link to your Roll20 room (not the original! The copy!) and also the discord channel you’ll be in. (We usually name these “Table #”)

We’ll identify tables in Warhorn for each session. For sessions that only have one table, this should be really easy! For sessions with two or more tables, you’ll need to sort things out in the Mustering channel. Meet your players and the other GMs there! Figure out what subtiers you’ll be running in concert with the other GMs and then identify which players go where. If the organizers are in, they’ll help.

Don’t be afraid to let your players linger in one of the other channels until just a little bit before the game. We’d like to try and keep our sense of community, and not just be a bunch of isolated little tables that never mix.

Once you have a table of players, make sure they’ve got voice, they’ve filled out the roster, and they know how to get into the game room. Make absolutely sure that you got their email address (or Discord username, potentially.) You need to be able to send them their chronicle sheets!

You will probably need to upload tokens for them and/or assign characters they’ve imported to them.

Finish the roster

Make sure you fill out the GM section on the roster–we will chase you down if you don’t fill out Prestige or Fame, or reputation, or if you don’t note whether they got bonus faction reputation. Make sure that one of your organizers gets a link to your roster by emailing it to pittpfs@gmail.com !

Send out chronicle sheets

Fill out chronicle sheets. There are a lot of ways of adding stuff to a PDF; here’s one guide for filling out chronicles. Make sure your players get them! The event codes for the events are going to still be the same as they were, and those live on the Where to Play page.

General Information

Voice

Discord – see our Discord channel

Game Room

Use Roll20

When building a room, you will be asked to choose a character sheet. These are the standard sheets the community has agreed on. Other sheets may work for you, but when your players try to import characters, they’ll be using one of these three sheets:

  • Pathfinder 1 character sheet: use the Pathfinder Community sheet
  • Pathfinder 2 character sheet: use the Pathfinder 2 official roll20 sheet
  • Starfinder character sheet: use the Starfinder simple sheet

Reporting Sheets and Rosters

Whenever you report a game for us that you ran online, use one of these sheets to collect your player information! Each of them comes with instructions:

If you’ve got an alternative you prefer, that’s fine, so long as it collects the same basic information and you share it with us to report on the game afterward.

Information about the Pittsburgh Region

  • We’re taking all of our games online for the foreseeable future. Hopefully we’ll be able to resume in-person games sometime this summer, but we can’t make any promises.
  • We’re going to be running our games in Roll20, a web-based virtual tabletop (VTT) that is most popular with Pathfinder and Starfinder Society players and supports the systems we play. It’s also easier to pick up than other competing VTTs.
  • Many people use a different solution for audio chat. Video is not typically used. Common voice chat options are:
  • Although things are a little frantic during the transition, things should settle down soon and we’ll have future games listed in our Warhorn, just like we always have. These will just be online games instead of in-person games.

Resources

Basic Guides and Introductions

Advanced Guides

Lesson Plans

Coming Soon

  • Roll20 201: Running Games with Roll20 (2 hours)
  • Roll20 250: Mapmaking and Room Building (4 hours)