The Level One Wonk Holiday Special

Tis the season to be…a lot of things, readers. So while most of you are out and about, spending time with your families and waiting in anticipation for 2016 to finally be over, I am still here (at least in spirit). While we wait for everyone else to return from their revelry, I will give you a random selection of my favorite gaming sites on the web.

Donjon

I don’t know why the creator spelled it that way, but Donjon is my favorite collection of random generators on the web, bar none. In addition to your typical name generators, there’s a large collection of rules-specific generators for various rulesets (D&D iterations, plus Star Wars and Traveller), and a very powerful seed-based fractal map generator, which in addition to geography can add cities and towns, rivers, and even hex-based biomes.

RPGnet

There are plenty of forums for gaming topics, but most of them are quite narrow, either in purpose or ruleset coverage. RPGnet is probably *the* forum online for the roleplaying hobby as a whole. Even better, the community’s moderators and administrators are dedicated to making it a place that is safe for every gamer, something which can be quite difficult to find online. In addition to discussion groups, RPGnet also hosts play-by-post games, reviews, and discussion areas for parallel topics like video games, board games, and other nerd media.

Roll20

This will surprise no one, but Roll20 is one of the best virtual tabletop hosts out there, and it’s the one I use exclusively. Map support, scripting, voice and video functionality and a dice log are just the tip of the iceberg, especially if you’re willing to go premium.

Obsidian Portal

Obsidian Portal is my campaign log of choice, and it combines relative user-friendliness with a score of game-specific features that an off-the-shelf wiki would not be able to provide. The free version allows for two campaigns with one map each, while paying for an Ascendant subscription opens these restrictions up and allows you to use the site’s forum and calendar software as well.
These sites are a good start for establishing a presence in the wide world of online gaming, but they are clearly not the end-all or the be-all. If you have other suggestions for gaming online, sound off in the comments! Whether it’s complimentary or oppositional I want to hear it, provided you’re polite. And regardless of your commenting disposition, Level One Wonk will be back with new and different RPG systems, play styles, and approaches next week, when we tackle a system that brings an old-school favorite up to date for the 21st century. I hope to see you all there, level one wonks, both for next week and for the rest of 2017!

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