I am so looking forward to sitting down at a gaming table and using them.
As with everything else, the pandemic shut down a lot of our opportunities for local gaming. Not to be deterred, we moved our games to virtual spaces along with the rest of the gaming world. I won’t ever deny the real privilege it was to have that option. We were able to connect and play even when kept apart by biological necessity. I do miss the physicality of table, though. The virtual table has a learning curve that makes it more difficult navigate (I think) than a Cheeto-strewn table in your den or basement The biggest challenge is how it truly isolates the work of player and gamemaster. For the gamemaster, there is an innate desire to over-produce when it comes to the online game. We want to fill that distance and tell the story with props instead of relying on the cooperative storytelling that happens between GM and player (and between player and player) in a table setting. This drive to overproduction often leads to the creation of massive maps and visual sets that look amazing; but, rather than drawing players together, isolate them in small corners of the screen.
Despite the issues, I don’t think virtual gaming is going anywhere. It has been such a boon for roleplayers, and I think we are getting better at playing in virtual spaces as time goes on. We’re resisting the urge to overproduce and finding ways to replicate the table experience, online. Plus, I have a ton of fun watching different groups play on Twitch and elsewhere. Critical Role is amazing, but it is so cool to watch smaller groups finding their feet and trying improv in different ways. Watching different stories play out in real time with the player is something entirely unique. Actors have a script, but roleplayers experience the story in the moment and (for me) that often makes the story all the more intense.
And now, I have a whole new set of dice ready for play (online and off).