posted Tuesday, January 20th 2009 by
Dungeon Mastering Advice
I’d like to share a handy tool that I’m currently using to organize an online D&D campaign. It’s called Google Calendar, it’s free to use, and as I’ll explain, it’s very useful for bringing players together.
Not so long ago I ran a D&D campaign over internet chat, with players spanning four continents at once. I had players from England, Canada, the US, Finland, South Korea and Australia. The most difficult task was organizing a game time. In order to play, we had to settle on a weekly four hour time slot when a DM and four or more players were available, and these players had wildly differing schedules and time zones.
This time, I’m using Google Calendar. The first step is to sign up and create a new calendar for your group – you’ll need a Google Account or GMail address, but these are free. Pick a week, and then, entering “Day” or “Week” mode by the tab at the calendar’s top-right, mark with your name the times you’re available to play.
Next, enter the calendar sharing options and invite players by entering their e-mail address, giving the permission to “Make changes to events”. Ask them to do mark their times available the same as you did. Be sure that everyone has configured the correct time zone in their Google Calendar settings.
Now, you can use this calendar to look for matches where five or more people are marked available for a contiguous four-hour period. Pick one of these as your game time.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks. In a truly international D&D game you will have a lot of people who can’t make times match up; this isn’t the calendar’s fault, but it is rather frustrating to put a lot of work in only to find nobody’s available at the same times. It also requires each player to contact you in order to ask for an invite. Still, if that’s not a problem, then this may be a useful effort-saver.