Roll20 Tutorial: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started.
Dungeons and Dragons are more popular than ever. Even the rise of Tiamat (or a global pandemic) cannot change that. If you want to play D&D but your group can’t date due to social distancing restrictions, try Roll20
Roll20 is an online platform used to run Dungeons and Dragons campaigns and other pen and paper board games. This is a great way to communicate not only with friends but also with the character. Roll20 automatically calculates damage, hit points, armor class, and many other important parts of Dungeons and Dragons.
If this is your first time using Roll20, it can be intimidating and overwhelming. There are many different menus for navigation and choices. This Roll20 guide will help you customize your character so you can start playing.
The first step in any DND campaign (i.e. after joining the campaign itself) is character creation. For the purpose of this article, we will assume that you are good at rolling dice and distributing statistics. The purpose of this Roll20 tutorial is to show you how to implement all of this on a Roll20 character sheet.
Enter your character’s name to get started. After that select the dropdown next to Class. Since this game is set up as a D&D game, you will see all officially recognized classes (with the exception of Blood Hunter). You must also indicate your subclass, level, race, and subrace, if applicable.
Now select the gear icon next to the level. It will switch to the new set of parameters. Any relevant information you have already entered will be carried over. As you can see, we selected our class as a Wizard and set our race as Computer. You know, because we are a technical site.
This additional field allows you to enter your character’s biography, your alignment, and total experience points. Be aware that experience points may not be needed if your Dungeon Master is using the milestone leveling method.
Entering character characteristics
The next step is to enter your statistics. In the far left corner of the screen, enter the score for each stat of your character in the small circular area below the large zero. The larger number is your modifier and is calculated automatically. For example, if you enter 20 in the Strength field, you get a +5 modifier.
The Inspiration field is the on / off area. Your proficiency bonus is calculated automatically, just like your save modifiers. Just check the box next to any saving throws your character has, although any class-based ones will be automatically selected.
The armor class is calculated automatically when you add armor to your inventory. The Initiative field is your modifier and is also calculated automatically. The speed depends on your character, but you must enter it manually. For most D&D races, your base speed is 30 feet per stroke.
Traits, ideals, connections, and flaws need to be entered manually, but they are not a necessary part of the gameplay. The Hit Dice field depends on your level and class. If you need to roll a Hit Die at any time during the game, simply click the “Hit Dice” word below. Next to the Hit Dice field, you can turn Death Saves on or off. You can also click Death Saves to automatically roll the dice.
All of your skills must be manually selected. To automatically add your skill level to any skill roll, check the box next to it.
Now on subjects. If your Dungeon Master grants you the ability to use the Compendium, you will be able to drag your gear onto your character sheet. Take a look at the right side of the screen. You should see several options at the top of the screen. Select the i-shaped icon in the middle of the circle.
From there select Items. You can scroll through this list and drag your cursor to the most basic equipment that you will have on the first level. In this example, we gave our wizard a battle ax. Since there are two different ways to attack with a battle-ax, Roll20 added both options to the Attacks & Spellcasting menu.
Roll and attack by clicking the name of the weapon. You will see it appear on the right side of the screen when you click the message icon. The top number is the Attack Roll to determine if you hit or miss. The bottom number is the amount of damage dealt with you by the attack.
Below this field is the Hardware field. When you drag an item from the compendium onto the sheet, it is automatically added to this box and calculates the weight of each item. Unless your DM is prone to boredom, the weight will rarely play a role in the game.
However, as you can see in the image, we have added a glamorous spiked leather armor to inventory. This automatically changed the character’s armor class to 13. In most cases, Roll20 will automatically calculate your armor class, although you will have to make manual adjustments if you perform a feat that improves your overall AC.
Another important part of D&D is the spell. There are three tabs in the upper right corner of your character sheet: Core, Bio, and Spells. Select Spells and you will see a page similar to the one shown below.
You can select any of the plus symbols on the screen to add spells manually, but the easiest way to do this is by dragging and dropping spells from the Compendium onto the spells page. This will automatically adjust everything from range and spell card output to damage rolls and saving throws.
Add biographical information
In the last field, Biography, you can enter information about your character’s appearance, his allies and organizations to which they belong, backstories, etc. This section will help you remember important information about your character and keep track of his treasures.
Depending on how your game is going, your Dungeon Master may have more backstory focus than others.
This guide is only scratching the surface of the Roll20 campaign but should help you set up your character sheet so you can immerse yourself in the game. In the end, the best teacher is an experience – whether you’re in the campaign yourself or trying to fight the Ancient Red Dragon on the first level.