When I first starting playing Dungeons and Dragons online, I didn’t really appreciate the work my Dungeon Master had to put into running a campaign. The gathering of maps, tokens, NPC portraits, and everything else that occurs behind the scenes to make a game immersive just seemed easy by the way it was always there each session.
I learned the hard truth when I decided to take up the title myself. We had more players them DMs in our group that wanted to play, so I volunteered to take up the mantle. Pretty soon I realized that we were a visual table, that needed extra tools to help us see what was happening to improve our role playing. The hours of prep it took to create the perfect atmosphere to make my players feel swept up into the story we were creating was, admittedly, exhausting.
It got to a point where I was starting to feel like it was a chore instead of a hobby. Pretty soon I found that I needed to create something to help decrease the prep time needed for a session, and eventually landed on the idea of creating a home page for my game.
How A Home Page Improved Gameplay
Immediately after implementing it into my game, it became useful for when there was a surprise encounter and no map was ready for the attack in an alleyway I *totally* planned for before the session started. Then later, when a collection of side quests on a bulletin board was found in town, I was able to write it out on the map where my players could take notes if they wanted to.
When we did some exploration of the woods outside of town and I needed to know marching order, my players used the map on the intro page to place themselves where they wanted to be. When they wanted to change it up, they’d move the tokens around to help us all visualize how far they were from everyone else.
As we grew accustomed to it being there, my players started using It to goof off before the game, and draw notes and little surprises for each other to see how long it would take for someone to notice. As well as using it to write down their favorite quotes in the game from other players and NPCs.
Breaking Down The Page
Each component has been great for improving the gameplay and aesthetics of our sessions. Below is a breakdown of what each item does in my latest edition of this “homepage.”
A. The Grid Map. This has been setup for the basic battle map used for DND with five foot squares.
B. The Blank Scroll. A great spot for sharing NPC names, quests, quotes, and loot on occasion.
C. The Compass. This has been a great addition since my first rendering of the intro map to improve communication at the table when combat is occurring.
D. The Accessories. Helps bring the setting and tone of the campaign to the page, immediately helping us ease back into the world after being away for a week.
What would you use the map and/or scroll for in your game?
If you would like to get this map for your own adventures, head over to my digital download shop to get your own copy today! (It also has a note on how to add to Roll20!)
2 thoughts on “Why I Use A Home Page For My Online TTRPG Games”
This is very clever. Along these lines I post a “Who’s Who” for my players. Every couple of sessions I mention that I am updating the Who’s Who. At that point players can tell me what they recall about different NPCs they have met during their travels. The entries gone down in their words, not mine, so it rewards the note-takers of the group.
Sine I have been doing this, I have noticed an uptick in engagement from my players. Now whenever the return to a settlement that they have visited before, they immediately refer to the Who’s Who, in order to see which NPCs might be around to help.
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Oh I love that! I’m going to have to implement that into my next campaign as well. Thanks for sharing!
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