An online role-playing tool for the narrative dice system.

The Challenge

Give online players a free, friendly resource that allows them the integration, flexibility, and stability to play their RPG game without a cumbersome, confusing interface.

What started off as an idea to create a role-playing play-by-post (PBP) product that integrated dice and characters, evolved into a complete resource to play the narrative dice system online with anyone in the world, and with a simplicity not found in other products.

The Process

Initial research into PBP game resources uncovered the glaring limitations and lack of integration for players. More robust tools were available, but with an overwhelming set of options, along with subscription limitations, it still just didn't fit. The lack of mobile device support was also apparent, knowing many players access their games on their phones.

Key features were defined and prioritized, with the following deemed essential pieces to the initial experience.

  • Dice roller
  • Timeline for the posts
  • Editable character sheet
  • Locations/Scenes

The dice roller was first explored, with the intent that players could still use whatever forum they were playing on, but copy/pasting dice rolls from the dice roller. Initial conceptualization of the post timeline also began, considering how all the features would harmonize with each other.

Prototyping in Adobe XD helped in understand how things worked in a real game, starting with simple wireframes, and continuing into more detailed mock ups. These early stages were helping to prepare for larger things down the road.

Player character sheets followed soon after, with the ability to roll dice directly from their character sheet. RPG Sessions went through branding iterations, securing URLs, designing logos, and developing a website to introduce players to the features.

The Pivot

With an initial working character sheet and integrated dice roller, things were getting exciting! But before post timeline implementation began, the Discord Bot API was discovered, which brought new options! Instead of starting from scratch, the bot provided a way to fuse the dice roller and character sheet onto a platform with millions active users.

Simple commands were create to roll dice, add damage to a character, and roll initiative. Everything integrated with Discord, and synced on a player's character sheet. But some users weren't comfortable with the text commands needed to run the game with the Discord Bot. This led to the break-through feature of the Game Table; a simple clickable interface to manage and play an role-playing game with the narrative dice system.

With the unfortunate events of the COVID-19 pandemic, many players suddenly found themselves at home, and unable to play with their regular groups. RPG Sessions suddenly became the tool to help fill the gap perfectly, offering players the ability to continue their games and adventures without physically being together around a table. Features continue to be developed as we reach out to the users for feedback and learn how they play their games.

Since the launch in 2019, RPG Sessions now has over 15,000 users, 45,000 characters made, and approaching 1 million dice rolls. Players all over the world have the tools they need to play the narrative dice system online with ease.

Check out RPG Sessions

© 2021 Jeff Ross | Developed using the Foundation framework. You are awesome.