Playing Dungeons and Dragons feels better in-person

Slaying monsters and rolling dice is more fun at the table than online

An assortment of Dungeons & Dragons dice. (Braden Klassen)

An assortment of Dungeons & Dragons
dice. (Braden Klassen)

The popular tabletop game Dungeons and Dragons has been around since 1974, and throughout the earlier years, it was seen as a niche activity that only select people would enjoy.

However, just like how everything changes over time, so did Dungeons and Dragons. With the game now in its fifth edition featuring more simplified gameplay, it is easier for folks to get into the game now more than ever before.

Dungeons and Dragons is slowly catching people’s attention, and even famous celebrities are starting to join in on the fun.

Critical Role is an online show that focuses on game roleplaying. In the past people who played games that required role-playing were seen as nerdy and unpopular. But with multiple other playthroughs also available to watch online, Dungeons and Dragons has definitely become something that anyone can participate in, with expansions and new story modules to further enhance the experience.

Hanging out with people, rolling dice, and going through a story that feels like a rollercoaster of events provides plenty of feelings and memories shared with friends. 

During the early stages of COVID-19, holding a session of Dungeons and Dragons in-person wasn’t exactly easy to do while staying safe, which is why playing Dungeons and Dragons online has picked up. With plenty of sites online available for groups to use for sessions, such as Roll20 and The Forge, playing online over a website or using online tools such as Discord has helped people continue playing, or start new stories in the last several months.

As someone who has played through one short in-person campaign and a couple of them online, I prefer to play in-person rather than online. However, one of the perks of playing online is that you have to travel less and it makes it easier to schedule meeting times, but in-person play adds more creativity and social dynamics to the game. 

Playing online makes the games less expensive depending on how far you have to travel, which may take a bit out of your wallet when you’re paying for gas or transit. This is also on top of having to get your own playset of dice and your own Player’s Handbook.

If you’re a Dungeon Master, aside from running the campaign, you will also need to get a story module, possibly the Monster Manual, and depending on circumstances, an expansion of a story module.

In-person play creates a better immediate atmosphere too. While some may enjoy playing online better, playing in-person leads to more of an enjoyable ambiance compared to playing over a voice chat or website. This is admittedly more of an intangible quality where you can’t see the difference in value as clearly as previous points, but the best way to sum it up is that playing in-person rather than online just feels like the right way to do it.