How to Start Playing Dungeons and Dragons Online

Playing Dungeons and Dragons Online (or D&D) has never been easier. Every day another new player joins the Dungeons and Dragons community, so you are not alone, and most of these new players are playing online versions. Whether new to the game or a seasoned player, there are many ways of starting your next Dungeons and Dragons campaign online.

But is the game changed when playing online. Yes and no. The core aspect of playing Dungeons and Dragons online is the same as a table top version. The difference is there is less to imagine and online versions of the game often come with great art work, maps, and NPC’s to provide a ton of visionary into the campaign.

So how do you get started? There are many websites that offer free access to players around the world. A new player can download one of these programs or visit the website for free on their computer, play solo, or find a group of friends to play with on the internet. It is incredibly easy to join a game or start your own. Here’s how to start if you are brand new to Dungeons and Dragons Online.

What is Dungeons and Dragons?

Dungeons and Dragons online is a tabletop role-playing game that has been around since 1974 and converted to an online game. It was originally played with pen and paper, but now you can play with a person or a group of people over the internet.

The rules have changed slightly from when it first started out in 1974, but they still follow the same basic principles as before. There are four main parts: character creation, combat, exploration, and magic.

The characters start off at level 1 (or 0 if you want) and gain experience points by killing monsters and completing quests. When your character levels up, he/she gains new abilities such as spells, weapons, armor, etc.

Dungeons and Dragons can be very complex with all its rules, but often this can make the game better. The first step is to learn the basics of D&D. Once you understand this, then learning the online version of the game is a lot easier.

Dungeons and Dragons Basic Rules

Dungeons and Dragons is a complex, multi-player game that deals with a variety of themes. It’s not for everyone, so it may take some time before you get into it. However, once you do, you’ll find yourself immersed in an exciting world full of adventure!

The game is based around rolling dice to determine the outcome of events and encounters. This plus the basic rules found in the players manual will give you everything you need to play.

Choosing a Dungeon Master

The Dungeon Master controls the world and acts as a referee, often telling the other players what their characters see and hear. The DM is also responsible for keeping track of all the rules in play (including those that are not written down). A good DM will be able to keep up with everything going on at once while still being attentive to each player’s needs.

The DM is someone who usually needs to prep the game ahead of time to make sure all the non-player characters (NPCs) are ready. He is guiding the players through an adventure that was home grown (self made) or pre-purchased.

Choosing Your Dungeons and Dragons Character

Choosing your character is probably one of the most important and fun parts of the game. Your character can easily be someone you can easily relate to or someone opposite to your true personality, and you will need to “act” like someone very different then you. This character acting can be very fun.

A great way to get started playing Dungeons & Dragons is by using one of many free online D&D games available from sites like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds. These allow you to create your own character and then use it against an opponent who has already been created. I personally recommend reading through the D&D players guide and getting an idea of the type of character you would like to play.

This can help you learn how to role-play, as well as give you a chance to try out different classes before committing yourself to any one particular class. It also allows for some fun social interaction between players that might not have otherwise occurred in person.

Players can choose from a variety of different skills or abilities which allow them to interact more effectively with these things. For example, thieves could steal an item while talking to someone who is distracted by something else; fighters could knock down doors to gain access to locked rooms without having to open them themselves.

Becoming Familiar with Basic D&D Actions

Players use basic actions such as walking to explore the world around them. They may be able to pick up items on their way through dungeons, but they will usually need to talk to people first (or at least ask permission) if they want to take anything else. This means that characters are constantly interacting with other characters and objects in order to get what they want.

The game also includes a number of special abilities which allow players to interact directly with things like walls or doors. These include spells like magic missile, ray of frost, etc., as well as skills like sneak attack, grapple, bull rush, disarm, trip, etc.

I am a big fan of playing Fantasy Grounds and a lot of these actions can be automated and simplified. There is sometimes some work that needs to go into it but I must admit that most of that time and effort is me learning how to do it, and once I figure it out, really improves game play and speed.

Why Play Dungeons and Dragons online?

This is a great way to make new friends, explore action-packed stories, and explore worlds that are completely different from your own. You can play with people all over the world! And there’s no need for any special equipment or skills – just an internet connection and some imagination.

What if I’m not good at roleplaying games?

You don’t have to be super skilled in order to enjoy playing D&D online. In fact, you can even play with your friends and family without having any prior experience at all! Its all about trying something new.

Why did I change from a table top version to an online game? Simple. My friends and family are scattered all over the place and meeting up with them was difficult at best. Scheduling an online game solved all my meetup problems.

I am often the DM in my games and using an existing module cuts my prep time dramatically. Doing a traditional table top version would require me to build maps and encounters. The online module has that all built in and ready to use.

Lastly, when I do create custom maps and encounters, I can reuse them (or easily modify them) for new campaigns. The portability of an online D&D game is well worth the time spent learning the interface.

Why start playing Dungeons and Dragons online.

Playing the game of Dungeons and Dragons may seem daunting, but it’s actually easy to start. There are various ways to play, but if you’re interested in playing online, there are a few steps you need to follow first.

The first step is to find other players who are interested playing. You can do this by joining a local group’s Facebook group or by searching on Once you have found some people that want to play, you’ll be able to join their games.

The next step is to learn how to play D&D if you have never played before. If everyone in your group is new, then you all can learn how to play together, but I recommend to have an experienced Dungeon Master for your first few games show you the ropes. Also, if you are brand new to the game, I recommend watching a few youtube D&D adventures to get your feet wet. Here are a few I recommend getting started with first (Critical Role – Campaign 1, Critical Role Campaign 2).

The last point I want to make is playing D&D around a table can be very expensive. Buying tokens, maps, books, dice, and all the other things, especially if you are the DM, can get very costly. Moving to virtual equipment is very often free and can save you a small fortune. The basic rules are available online through the game and tokens, maps, and dice are all included.

Online D&D Options

It is no longer necessary to have any of the traditional pieces of Dungeons and Dragons gaming equipment to enjoy a fun session with your friends. There are many different programs that offer all the functions of these pieces of equipment online, from dice and character sheets to digital maps and monster tokens. What is great about these programs is they can be used on computers, tablets, and phones without losing too much detail or control.

I have friends that travel a lot for work but they never miss their weekly game. Because they can play anywhere it is easy to join the game no matter your time zone.

The list below are just a few options to help you pick your new D&D online platform.

Fantasy Grounds

Everyone knows that D&D is an amazing game. It provides you with everything you need for hours of entertainment, but there’s always one thing that people see as a deterrent; the time it takes to get together with friends to play. But now, there’s Fantasy Grounds, which allows for all your D&D needs conveniently in your screen.

Fantasy Grounds is available online and can be downloaded at any time. You don’t have to worry about having access to other players or even being able to find them when they’re not around. The only downside is that if you want to use this option, you’ll have to pay some money for their service. This is not a free option.

The best way to play fantasy grounds is to have the DM pay for a FGU Ultimate license. This is often around $150 for a lifetime that can be shared by the regular players. I choose to wait for one of their sales and picked it up for around $130 and been using it for about 2 years now. FGU doesn’t use a website like most of the other online versions but rather a program that you install on your computer. This allows me to completely control the game.

Roll 20 Online Game

Roll20 is probably one of the first to the online scene and one of the most popular. With Roll20, you can play Dungeons and Dragons online with your friends. Interact with people in a virtual world that looks just like a table top game. You don’t need any special equipment; all you need are two computers (one on each side) connected via an internet connection. It’s easy to set up because its all web based and there are no monthly fees involved.

Roll20 is simple and free, and a super easy ay to get started with playing D&D online. I started here but after a year decided to switch because I wanted more without having to pay a monthly fee. My kids played on roll20 for over 6 years so it is a very good platform and a great way to get started.

Foundry Virtual Tabletop

A new online tabletop called Foundry Virtual Tabletop is now designed to help people start playing D&D, but with way more setup effort then with Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds.

The game is a very interesting mix between Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds where software is purchased 1 time and made hosted to your players. You have the option to self host like how it is done with Fantasy Grounds (running app on your computer) or installed on a web server (like Roll20). The best part is the software currently costs about $50 (at the time of this article). No yearly fees (other then your hosting company if you choose to install it on a web server).

The site also has an option for creating your own custom adventure using premade content from other games such as Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. It’s currently in beta testing mode so you’ll need to sign up on their website if interested.

Foundry VT also has an inbuilt chat system that lets you talk to other players while they are on your table. It’s currently only available for PC/Mac, so if you’re looking for something similar for iOS or Android devices, this isn’t going to be what you want.


In conclusion, if you are interested in playing Dungeons and Dragons but find it hard to schedule a game with your friends, then Fantasy Grounds, Roll 20, Foundry, or one of the other online options is the perfect solution. All you need is an internet connection and you’re all set!

It is easy to get started playing Dungeons and Dragons Online and a great way to keep in touch with family and friends, no matter where everyone is. Over the years, my family and friends have slowly drifted away to the point where meeting up for a weekly or monthly game is now impossible, but very easy to do with a virtual D&D game.

Which game is right for you?

  • Roll20: To start today for free, Roll20 is the best option. For advanced features, $100 a year.
  • Fantasy Grounds: Easy to start today, advanced options, $150 lifetime cost.
  • Foundry VTT: Most cost effective long term ($50 Lifetime), Great game play, Advanced Options, but most difficult to setup as a cloud hosted option.

Playing Dungeons and Dragons Online is really fun and will create many lasting memories with friends and family, which is the best way to live your life. If you have a group of people who enjoy playing tabletop role-play games then I would recommend giving it a try!