You want to play Traveller RPG with your friends, but you are practicing social distancing due to recent virus outbreaks. In this article, I will explain how to play Traveller RPG online.
How To Play Traveller RPG Online
Playing Traveller online is easy and fun. All you need to get started is a computer with an internet connection, some kind of virtual tabletop, a GM, and at least one player.
Why Play Online?
There are many reasons to play any RPG online.
Here are some common reasons people choose to play by virtual tabletop:
- Social distancing - Maybe you prefer social distancing due to the Covid-19 virus? Maybe other health issues are preventing you from being in physical proximity to others?
- Physical separation - Maybe all your friends moved away? Maybe you moved away?
- No physical storage required - Use shared maps and miniatures across the virtual tabletop
- Automated character sheets - Want to make a skill check? Just click its name on the character sheet and all the calculations are totaled and the dice a rolled. A success or failure message, weapon damage, or any other info can be displayed.
- No dice, pencils, or paper required - Virtual dice makes it easy to have everything you need to play. Need to roll ten 6-sided dice? No problem! Want to roll seventeen 13-sided dice? No problem! Most virtual tabletops let you roll custom amounts of custom dice, so you can choose odd sizes if you want.
These a just a few reasons one might choose to play Traveller RPG online.
If I missed anything obvious, or if you have a different reason for playing online, please consider sharing it down in the Comments section below this article.
Who Plays Online Tabletop RPGs?
Anybody with an interest and a low-range computer with an internet connection can easily get started with online tabletop RPGs.
You need to be able to click the mouse and open windows and understand basic computer concepts, so I would recommend maybe 8 or 10 years old and up.
The average gamer is about 34 years old and 70% of gamers are age 18 or older, but people of all ages enjoy gaming. I started playing role-playing games at age 12 and I still enjoy them today at age 51.
The majority of gamers are male, while women represent a little over 40% of gamers in the US.
Take these stats with a grain of salt; I could not find any specific demographics for RPG gamers, so I used video gamers as a model.
What Are The Options For Playing Online?
When it comes to playing online all you really need is some teleconferencing software and some dice.
Dial-up some friends on Skype and get some role-playing going.
But, if you really want to take advantage of all the things playing online can give you, you should try a virtual tabletop (VTT).
Virtual tabletops allow the players and GM to access a shared online gaming space where they can share maps, character sheets, and other handouts, roll dice of almost any size, play sound effects, and activate the automated skill and combat rolls.
Let’s say you are a player and you want to try to land the ship on a commercial landing pad. The GM tells you to roll your Pilot skill.
You open your character sheet and click on your Pilot skill. Your skill level is added to the appropriate characteristic modifier and added to a 2d6 dice roll. The results are displayed in the chat sidebar, complete with a breakdown of the calculation. It’s a really amazing gaming tech that can help people connect with each other when they can’t get together physically.
You’ll need a VTT and a way to communicate by voice or video. Roll20 has a built-in video chat but it sometimes suffers from speed issues, so I recommend using your VTT with something like Discord, Skype, or Google Hangouts for the communication component.
- Roll20 - This VTT runs in your browser, so there is no software to install.
- Fantasy Grounds - I purchased my copy of Fantasy Grounds through the Steam gaming service. The Standard Edition of Fantasy Grounds installs at a little under 3 MB of space on your hard drive.
- Tabletop Simulator - Not exactly a VTT, but allows you to play a myriad of tabletop games. A lot of people use Tabletop SImulator to set up a 3D gaming table with 3D models for miniatures. This program is more of an “honorable mention” because, in my opinion, it takes a lot more set up to make it as useful as the other programs in this category.
- Discord - The choice of communications for gamers worldwide, Discord lets you set up free private chat servers capable of voice and video chat, link and image charing and screen/game casting. Discord also has an app so you can connect from your phone as well.
- Skype - Video chat with up to 10 participants. It’s free but you must download and install the Skype software.
- Google Hangouts - Video chat with up to 10 participants. This is a Google service so if you have a Google account, you already have access to this, and it runs in the browser so there is no software to download or install.
For many gamers, such as myself, a video feed is not important. What is really needed is a way for the players and GM to communicate with each other by voice and a shared gaming space that VTT programs provide.
How Can I Play Online?
Getting started with playing Traveller online is easy.
Decide Which Virtual Tabletop to Use
This is a personal preference and really depends on the system the GM and players are most comfortable using.
I prefer Roll20; it has a lower barrier to entry because the basic level account is free for both the players and GM.
Get a Computer
The major VTT programs and communications programs are compatible with a variety of computer operating systems. Whether you are running Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux, you should be able to connect to a shared gaming space and play online by remote.
Install the Software
If you are using Skype and/or Fantasy Grounds you’ll need to install the software to run those programs. If you are using Discord, Google Hangouts and/or Roll20, there is no software to install, just use your browser to connect. Discord is a special case - you can access it by a browser or install the app on your phone and computer for expanded capabilities.
Find Other Players
If you don’t already know people to play with, you can find some in online player-matching directories.
- Roll20 has a built-in player-matching service that helps players looking for GMs and GMs looking for players.
- Fantasy Grounds users will have to rely on the Fantasy Grounds Forums / Game Calendar, the Fantasy Grounds Discord server, or the directory on Adventuring Log.
That’s it - you are ready to start playing Traveller RPG online. You should now be able to find other players and join a game.
Where Can I Get The Software To Play Online?
Everything you need to get started can be obtained online.
Virtual Tabletop Programs
- Roll20.net - Free account required for both players and GMs.
- Fantasy Grounds - Free for players, a one-time or subscription fee for GMs.
- Tabletop Simulator - A one-time fee for both players and GMs.
- Discord - Free and runs in your browser, as a desktop app, or as a phone app.
- Google Hangouts - Free and runs in your browser. Part of the Google apps every Google account holder has access to.
- Skype - Free but requires a software download. Many people don’t like the autostart feature.
How Can I Find People To Play Traveller Online?
Player Matching Services
- Roll20 Looking For A Group
- Adventuring Log 3rd Party Group Directory for both Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds
Social Media Groups
- Traveller RPG Headquarters - A friendly and active group of over 1300 Traveller enthusiasts on Facebook
- Science Fiction Roleplaying Games - An active group of 2500 lovers of gaming and sci-fi.
- Outer Space Tabletop RPGs - A group of over 650 sci-fi RPG enthusiasts.
- Cepheus Engine Discussion Group - An pretty active group of over 500 members on Facebook
- Roll20 LFG - Loocing for a Roll20 group? Try this FB group.
- Fans of Roll20 - ANother great Roll20 group. This one has over 1,000 members.
- Mongoose Traveller Forum Player Locator - A large list of players looking for games.
- Citizens of the Imperium Forum Recruiting Office - Players looking for GMs and Gms looking for players.
- Roll20 Forum Looking For Group (LFG) - Great place to locate other Roll20 users.
- Fantasy Grounds Forum Looking For Group (LFG) - Perfect place to find Fantasy Grounds users.
- Traveller RPG Discord Server - I think this is the original Traveller Discord Server. Has TONS of users.
- Traveller RPG Headquarters Discord Server - No relation to the server above, jut the official Discord server of the TRPGHQ group on FB. Small but growing group. Buy Noble titles and help support the efforts of CyborgPrime through Patreon patronage.
- Fantasy Grounds Discord Server
When Can I Get Started Playing Traveller RPG Online?
You can start playing as soon as you make an account and login to the VTT.
I’d recommend watching a few videos to see how it works.
I’ve given you all the tools - what’s stopping you? Go play... Go play NOW!
When Is The Best Time To Play?
The best time is whenever you can arrange a time with your friends and their schedules.
According to the posting frequency from user statistics from Traveller RPG Headquarters on Facebook, the best times to find available players are:
- Mondays 11-2 MST
- Sundays 7-12 MST
- Sundays 3-7 MST
Traveller RPG Support
All major VTT products support generic gaming for a variety of systems, you can even adopt them to use your own home-brew system.
That said, each VTT platform has varying amounts of in-built support for the various RPG rules systems.
- Roll20 - Supports Traveller through community-created character sheets and content. No official Traveller licensed products.
- Fantasy Grounds - Supports Mongoose Licensed products including core rulebooks and several expansions.
- Tabletop Simulator - Various games can be downloaded via DLC but there is no built-in support for Traveller. All content will have to be player-built.
The Covid-19 virus has people stressed out and in a panic.
At this time it is important to:
- Practice social distancing - Avoid crowded places and proximity to others, even if they seem healthy; symptoms can take weeks to develop.
- Wash hands frequently - Wash before you eat. Wash after you’ve touched surfaces.
- Don't touch your face!
- Reheat take-out - If you get take-out food, be sure to reheat it in the microwave to help kill any virus that food prep personnel may have inadvertently contaminated. Make sure you reheat to boiling then let cool to eat. Be sure to wash your hands after touching any packaging and again before you eat.
- Wipe down surfaces and let them air-dry - After you disinfect a surface, do not wipe it with a dry towel, but let it air-dry naturally.
- Cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm - like you’re dabbing!
- Use remote communications technology - Communicate by webcam. Have virtual hangouts, or remote gaming sessions with your friends to help pass the time.
If you are interested in learning more about how to play Traveller online using Roll20, check out our video and article: Play Traveller Online: Intro to Roll20 VTT 
I hope this short guide has provided enough info to get you started in the world of virtual tabletop gaming.
In an effort to make it easier and more affordable, I have dropped the price on The Relic, an adventure module for Roll20, by 20%.
Now priced at $15.99, you can expect to get 6-8 hours or more of Traveller RPG goodness. Use it as a stand-alone adventure or as a launching point for a campaign of your own.
Stay safe, everybody!
WASH YOUR HANDS!
Until next time: Happy Travelling!