Getting started with Online PFS/SFS Gaming

While the prospect of getting to play in an online game of PFS / SFS or other RPG can seem daunting, its pretty easy to get started

Hardware Requirements
A fairly modern PC or MAC.
4GB or more of Ram is recommended.
either Google Chrome or Firefox browsers.
A cheap stereo headset.

Software / Apps
1. Signup for a free account at roll20.net
2. Download the Discord client
3. Signup for a Warhorn account

I’ll Take you through some of those apps now.

Virtual Table Top (VTT)

The VTT software will handle things such as dice rolling, chat, map and token display. It will also allow some degree of automation and customisation.

The most common VTT for PFS / SFS games is Roll20.
Roll20’s free tier is all you need as a player, the higher paid tiers will be useful if you intend to GM.

other VTTs such as Fantasy Grounds. Maptool and Astral are also available but beyond the scope of this tutorial at this time.

Discord

Discord is a lightweight messaging / voice chat application. There are a number of servers that are used for RPG groups to organise games.

Some useful discord servers:-
PFS / SFS organised play
Cosmic Crittermanders
Starfinder Nexus

Warhorn

Many groups use Warhorn to manage game signups, and each GM or group will have an individual Warhorn site for their games, once you have joined a site you will be able to see all the games in their EVENT SCHEDULE.

Some useful links:-
The Island – UK based EU friendly SFS/PFS games
Cosmic Critermanders
Dutch / German SFS/PFS Online – games run in English
Second Breakfast
Glass Cannon Podcast Fans
Starfinder Nexus
Jay’s Fantasy Grounds

To signup for games – see the putting it all together section below.

TimeZones

Be aware that the global nature of online play means you will need to play careful attention to the timezone of any games you want to join, and any daylight saving time differences between your home timezone and that the game is run in.

In a perfect world all games would be listed in Universal time, but thats not always the case.

Time Code Abbreviations
UTC – Universal Time
CET – Central European Time
GMT – Greenwich Mean Time
BST – British Summer Time
EST – Eastern Standard Time
EDT – Eastern Daylight Time
PST – Pacific Standard Time
PDT – Pacific Daylight Time
CST – Central Standard Time
CDT – Central Daylight Time
MST – Mountain Standard Time
MDT – Mountain Daylight Time

Useful time conversion website timebuddy
it shows your local timezone, add the timezone of the game’s host to make sure you arrive on time – remember to check the finish time too, we all need sleep sometime.

Etiquette
Please be aware that if the GM sends you an RSVP, that you reply in a timely manner, including information such as the level of the character you wish to play so they can calculate appropriate tiers etc. If for any reason you cant make it to a game, remove youself from the warhorn listing and email the GM at the earliest opportunity.
Remember that you will be playing with a global player base, and that some comments you find humorous others may find distasteful or offensive.


Flutters Guide
there is an excellent guide here to playing PFS online


Putting it all together
Armed with all this useful information you are ready to get involved in your first game.

peruse the discord servers and warhorn groups till you find a game you want to play in their EVENT SCHEDULE.



Click on the game you want to play – remember to check the Timezone!

If the game has space, then SIGN UP TO PLAY.

However the game may be full, you can JOIN PLAYER WAITLIST, waitlisted players are listed on the right hand side of the page.
(dont dispair if the games are full, people often drop out and you can easily find yourself with a seat).

Once you have signed up for the game, keep an eye on your emails for the RSVP from the gamemaster. Reply to this promptly and you will be sent a link to the the VTT.

Now is the time to log into the game (before the game start time) and check things look ok. If possible contact the GM, tell them that you are new and perhaps ask them to join the game a few minutes early to iron out any issues you may have.

if you are using discord for voice, then you might like to test its working before the game – you may need to adjust its settings to your headset etc.


Once you join a voice channel, you will see a box like this at the bottom left of your discord window. Click the cog (highlighted above) to enter the settings menu.


From the settings menu – click the Voice & Video link.


Using the dropdowns shown, select both your input and output devices (probably your headset) and if you want to use Push To Talk. You can check your Mic here also & adjust the sensitivity of the mic if you are using Voice Activation.

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