Discord in the Dungeon: Playing Tabletop Games Online
By Cole Troisi
Welcome to Discord. How to Get Started:
Getting started with Discord requires the intrepid dungeoneer to have a few tools at their disposal. The essentials for any Discord game are going to be a stable internet connection, a computer with a webcam and microphone, headphones (for best audio quality), and the Discord client.
For Mac users, all Mac laptops come with a Built-in Webcam and Microphone, and many desktop computers also have these functions built directly into the monitors as well. If you don’t have a webcam or a microphone, fear not! There are some simple and easy-to-use USB accessories available that will get you started in no time.
Popular webcams come from brands like Logitech, while the most popular and easy-to-use USB microphone is the Blue Snowball. Remember, if you don’t have a great computer, or just want to access the game on-the-go, your smartphone is a good alternative. You’ll just need to download the Discord app and allow it the necessary permissions so it can access your phone’s built-in camera and microphone.
Once you have your computer or phone set up, you’ll need to access Discord itself. There are two ways to do this: you can do it online through a web browser at the Discord Website, or download the Discord app to your computer. I personally recommend downloading the app, which you can do Here.
Once you have your computer set up and Discord downloaded, you’re halfway done!
How to Set Up Discord:
Discord can be as straightforward or as complicated as you want it to be when it comes to creating your perfect game space. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be going over how to set up a reasonably simple server with a few accessories. Once you open Discord, you’ll be prompted to create a username and account. Once you finish that, you’ll be directed to the home screen.
The first thing that you’re going to want to do is add your friends—you can’t play tabletop games by yourself, after all! To get your party built, head over to the top of the screen and click on the “Add Friend” button and type in your friend’s Discord name. This will send out a ‘friend invite’ so you can start populating your virtual tavern with all those orcs and elves.
Next, you’re going to want to create the actual space where you will play. Discord does this by creating Servers. Think of the server as the tavern where you have multiple rooms. You can have as many servers as you want, but you only need one to keep everything contained. On the left-hand side of the screen, click the plus (+) icon and follow the prompts to create a server. Your new server will look something like this:
Once you have your server built, the first thing you want to do is add your friends to it so you can give them access to the game server. This can be accomplished merely by clicking the link you see, or by clicking the friend icon next to the general channel.
Speaking of channels, this is how Discord primarily functions. Each Channel is essentially a separate room in your tavern that you can populate with different content. In purpose, channels are chatrooms used for different needs.
There are two types of channels: text and voice. Text channels are for typing, while voice channels act as mini-conference rooms in which you can voice/video chat with other people. You can also add as many channels as you want!
In fact, I recommend adding a few channels for different things, so you have distinct places to put all your game content. A channel could be used specifically for people to post character sheets, for example, or just a place for dice rolls (which can be done virtually—more on that later).
Once you have your server space, you’ll be able to use it to populate all the text, images and general information that you want to have available for your players. However, first, we have to get everyone on the same call.
To do so, you need to start a Group Direct Message. You’ll have your direct message, which will act as the carrier for the call, and the server for posting things.
To create the group direct message, simply go to your home screen and click the group direct message button at the top right.
Once you click that, you can add whoever you want to the group message from your friends list (that’s why the first step was to add all your friends!) You need to have people in your friends list before you can add them to a call.
When the direct message has been created, simply click on the Start Voice or Start Video buttons to get the call going!
Congratulations! You now have a video or audio conference call going with all the people you added into the direct message. Remember, this conference window only exists during the call. If you need to post content for future sessions, make sure to use the server and not the conference window.
How to Send Invite Links:
Apart from what we’ve already discussed in terms of getting people access to your server, there are several other ways to give people access. Let’s say, for example, that you want to invite a lot of people at once, or only invite them to certain places. The best way to do this is to create an Invite Link.
An invite link is a link that can be shared anywhere by copy and pasting it, allowing anyone with the link to access the content you want to share with them. This is a great way to invite a lot of people at once to join a server or channel.
To generate the invite link, enter the server and click the friend plus (+) icon next to the channel name in which you want to give them access. A box will then appear that has the people you most recently connected with, as well as the actual link itself.
Simply copy and paste the invite link wherever you need to send it, and anyone who clicks the link will be automatically added if they have a Discord account. If they don’t, a prompt will appear that will allow them to make an account. They will then be added to the server.
Something to note here is that invite links have an expiration timer on them. The default is set to one day but can be edited to different times, or set to never expire by clicking the Edit Invite Link at the bottom of the text pop-up.
If you want to disable an invite link, just go to your server settings with the gear icon, click Invites, and disable the invite that you want to remove.