Remote GM, Players All Using the Same Computer

Hi, all. I’m going to be remote GMing Masters of Umdaar for a mom, dad, and two boys, 8 and 12, that all live in the same house. I’ll be the only one not in the room with them. I’ve used Roll20 and Discord in the past, but I’m not sure that’s going to work with 2 kids and 2 adults using the same computer (or different computers within audio range of each other).

I’m trying to come up with alternatives. I’m thinking about using Zoom or Google Hangouts plus Google Sheets for character sheets and battlemap. I’m also thinking about having them use paper character sheets, pencils, and physical dice at home, and only sharing the battlemap online, maybe as a shared Google Slide so everyone can write on it.

Anyone done an online game with the GM in one location and all the players together somewhere else? And has anyone done online games with kids? Any advice or ideas would be much appreciated. Looking for logistical/technical help but also ways of keeping it entertaining for the kiddoes.

Quite a challenge.

The biggest one being having a single screen, so you’ll need to offload as much as you can from the screen. I would have you strongly consider just using the screen to show video of you. Use a lot of theatre of the mind techniques to immerse them into the game.

For the sake of the young ones, I would keep things simple. Two or three aspects, the approaches, and a single stunt that is easy to use.

It is better to start smaller and more simple than you want. You can also add complexity in future sessions.

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So, audio is the biggest problem: if there’s more than one microphone in range of the same speaker, it’s going to cause a very annoying echo effect. The only conventional way to deal with that is to just not use the worse of the two microphones, and headphones or earbuds for folks who want to use other (computer) speakers.

Otherwise, screenspace should focus on the action, so there’s not much room for character sheets. Luckily, the updated Roll20 recommendations allow everyone to use one computer, and as long as they can control the token, make all that token/character’s rolls. The automation macros are described on page 9 of this guide. With those, if I want my character to make a Shoot roll, just select my character and click the Shoot macro, and the results show up in the chat for everyone to see. If I want to spend a fate point to use my aspect in some way, I can update my current Fate point total (which is shown above the token), and click the macro to print my aspect(s) into the chat. The macro buttons take up a small amount of screen space, but not that much, at least not as much as any other solution I can think of.

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Yeah, I think I’m gonna go with Roll20, and have the players use one computer with speakers and one mic. My voice will probably have an echo, but I’ll deal with that.

Has anyone used video chat like Google Hangouts or Zoom and Roll20 at the same time? Is that a crazy idea?

I used Pascal’s guide but simplified the macros so they don’t request modifiers and altered them for FAE. I’ve also added generic +0, +1, +2, etc. buttons at the bottom for GM use.

And I’m completely stealing Nathan Hare’s wonderful and generous setup for Masters of Umdaar.

The only other thing I’m concerned about is character creation, which I think will take a while with everyone switching between character sheets and taking turns at the keyboard. I might have them do that on paper and get Dad to help me type everything up later.

So how did this go? Having been in a few conference calls for work, I imagine it’s doable, but with kids in the mix, it’s anyone’s guess

I know this was posted back in August, but I’ve had great success running a Fate scenario on Fari in-person. Since it’s just a light web app, it works great on any device that has an internet browser. I haven’t tried it on small screens such a mobile phone or anything. I have found it more convenient than using index cards.

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I’m about to try Fari for the first time on Wednesday, albeit I’ve been keeping up with development. Does your table use Zones much?

I’m a new GM and just getting the hang of things. Fari has little square where you can draw by hand place tokens. I’ve been using that and just labeling zones, but it’s smaller zones, with like a max of maybe 4. I can see how it can get unwieldily though for a lot of zones.

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I tend to think of Zones in terms of requiring Aspects and letting players have unique Tokens, so I don’t consider Fari’s drawing area nearly developed enough for my usage. Here’s to hoping moving forward!

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Yeah, Fari has “tokens” they’re more abstract though. I just use labels for my aspects like “Zone1:Pillars of Flame” “Zone2:Rows of glass jars” etc…

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