D&D General Has online play changed your DM style?


Been here a while...
Nearly all of my gaming has been online since moving 10-ish years ago. I really try to go with theatre of the mind where I can. I also avoid new games if it looks like they'd be too difficult to run online. The more fiddly bits a game has, the more of a pain it is to run online, even if a VTT has a specific setup/plugin for it.

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Actually complex rulesets work better on a VTT with support than paper and pencil. I can't imagine a high level pathfinder game run without Fantasy Grounds.

OTOH, in a pbp, the killer is multiple rolls to resolve stuff that are rolled separately. I roll to attack, you roll to defend. Then I roll for effect. If you can't streamline that so one person does all the rolls, it will bog down to slower than a crawl.


I've had to become more descriptive that I used to be during social encounters. I used to rely on gestures and facial expressions as part of my role-playing, and without the players ability to see I have to decribe it instead. Of course, I often still perform the gestures anyway, out of habit.

Others have commented on this, but, OH YEAH, this is a thing. ((I love the above comment about "can't you see which direction I'm waving at the monsters?" :D ))

As someone who constantly talks with their hands, I have a really tough time differentiating my NPC's. I can't do accents worth a damn, so, no matter who I'm playing, it sounds like me. My answer has been to make sure I have some pretty striking (at least I hope they're striking) visuals to go with the NPC. I rarely drop a talking NPC without having a portrait or something for the PC's to look at while I'm blathering on.

Now, hopefully (fingers crossed) with the new Fantasy Grounds coming out, I'll finally be able to draw on the game table and add more layers so I can really make the scene visually, even if I cannot do it through speaking.


I play online via text chat on dragonsfoot.org - this tends to lead to more in depth roleplaying, especially with smaller groups, as it is slower & there is more time to think.

I use theatre of the mind online so have to be flexible about distances, and to some extent the combat rules generally.

For online play I use a lot of pictures for NPCs, monsters etc, much more than tabletop.

Online I have the whole session logged for later review, and often find cool stuff in the logs.

Online games have had mild adult content, which I probably wouldn't do tabletop. They definitely are more likely to feature sex and romance. I think this is because using text creates a bit of distance, like writing a book.
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