Playing In Person with Roll20



Community Manager

I glance to my left for a moment, beautiful dice of all shapes and hues and sizes glittering back at me before I lower my hand… and click on the Bandit Captain’s “Scimitar,” watching the 3D dice roll onto the virtual tabletop.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my dice. There’s no such thing as too many dice. I love math, too. But when my players decide to split the party and two level 3 squishies are up against a CR 2 enemy – not having to pause, find the NPC’s stat block, roll their attack, add their modifier, then roll and add up their damage heightens the tension and puts the drama and spotlight back where it should be: In my players’ hands.

As both a prep and improv GM, using Roll20 in person is a dream. I have the ability to set up some scenario maps to use on-the-fly and create random NPCs and encounters to pull out at a moment’s notice. Being able to do a quick compendium search for information is often way easier than flipping through my DMG, then my Monster Manual, then my PHB as I try to remember where the rule I’m looking for is.

Here are three of my favorite parts about using Roll20 in person.


Hands down, being able to roll directly from a character sheet with the modifiers accounted for is amazing. I used to jot down the page number for the probable creatures for each section and go look it up as needed, but instead, I can just make sure they’re in my Journal tab, and all of the work is done for me. It gives me one less (or many less, depending on the encounter) thing to keep track of so I can lean in on encouraging the style of creative play my group wants and help out my players that are new to RPGs with their own actions.


As a visual person, I love using pictures to help set the scene, or show the true epicness of items. No more lugging around my sketchbook, or worse, forgetting it at home with the latest NPC doodle the crew is about to meet. I can simply upload the image into a handout and include all of my private notes about the item without having to worry about my players accidentally seeing the Secret Notes™.

Maps & Dynamic Lighting

Many of my games are theatre of the mind, so having access to the amazing work done by Marketplace creators has been game changing for immersion. Instead of describing the run-down windmill, I can grab a map from the Marketplace, and set up Dynamic Lighting and the GM layer so my players can be a little more strategic about their approach.

It’s incredibly fun to sit back and watch them go back and forth in character while huddled around my laptop, and inevitably decide that splitting up is the best idea and then oops we’re back to that split-the-party scenario I mentioned in that second paragraph.

And honestly? There’s so much more. You can check out this thread by TanklyT on some of the shenanigans Dynamic Lighting has caused for her in-person group, or take a look at David’s amazing set-up for his players.

Do you use Roll20 in person? Tell us your favorite reason on social media by tagging @roll20app!

Marketplace Packs used in this post:

Village to Pillage Estates 1

Starter Town Complete Bundle

Generic Emote Token Markers

Knights of Vasteel


Bunny Community Manager

Bunny (she/her) is probably a community manager, writer, sometimes artist, and coordinator of things, but she’s been told rather emphatically she’s “just a mum.” You can find her running around on Twitch and Twitter as wingedlioness.