How to Setup Discord for an RPG

This article will be a living document on how to setup discord for use with an RPG.

This is currently a work in progress, please leave a comment if you have any questions.

I recently setup my own Discord server to run a play by post game of ICRPG (which is basically a streamlined version of Dungeons & Dragons).

If you have questions come let me know on our Discord Server.

Steps

  1. Sign up for a Discord account
  2. Create a server
  3. Add categories and channels
  4. Add member roles
  5. Add a dice bot
  6. (Optional) Add custom emojis
  7. (Optional) Have players change their name on the server to their player name.
  8. TODO: Invite People

 

Sign up for a Discord account

An easy step one, if you’ve got an email address head over to their website or download the app to sign up.

 

Create a Discord Server

From the app you can click the new server + icon.

Let’s create a test server, we’ll name it Test Server and throw a picture from Spongebob in. We also are leaving the server region as US Central.

Are you ready? I’m READY!

Once you create the server it will give you the option to invite others, we’ll go over this a bit later, but you can copy the link if you’ve got somebody you want to add.

Now after you close or share this link you’ll be taken to the #general text channel. This is a basic channel for conversation and usually where new arrivals show up.

When in a text channel, the app works like any other texting or messaging app. You’ll see texts come in, you can even send images and emojis as normal.

Congratulations! You’ve created your first discord channel! In the next step well talk about adding sections and channels to better organize the server.

 

Adding Categories and Channels

If you click on the little menu button, the one with 3 stacked horizontal lines in the top left (also known as a hamburger button) you’ll see more info about your servers.

You can see that our Test Server has TEXT CHANNELS and VOICE CHANNELS categories.

Each of these categories has a General channel. Text channels are denoted by a # symbol while Voice channels have a little Speaker icon.

When using discord to run an RPG game I’ve found it helpful to create a couple categories.

  1. General – Use for whatever
  2. Info – Provide info or updates about the game
  3. In Character – This is where the story happens
  4. Player Logs – Private channels for each player to record stats, loot, notes, etc
  5. GM Resources – Private log for me to take notes, or upload images for later use

To create a Category you need to hit the triple dot button at the top right of the screen. This will open a menu and at the bottom is an option to add a category.

We’ll make a Player Log category. We can also mark it as private. You can see that it asks Who can access this category? For now we don’t have any player’s or roles setup yet so this is blank.

Private channels don’t show up for people unless they have access. Even when they open the list of channels and categories they will not see these options.

Now we can see the category has been created.

Clicking on the little ‘+’ icon next to the channel let’s us add a channels.

I’ll name this Player 1 for now since I don’t know my players names. I’m also not marking this channel as private because it will inherit the private setting from the category.

We can see that our channel was setup under our Player Log category. It even has a little lock to show that it is private!

You can rename channels at anytime in the future. I recommend changing them to the name of the player to make it easier for yourself as the DM.

 

Adding Member Roles

Our next step is to create member roles for our players. Roles give you a couple of things you can do.

Specify permissions – You can set permissions by role, then anyone who is added or removed from the role automatically gets the access they need.

Send notifications – Discord let’s you mention people by tagging their name with a @ symbol. This highlights text in their chat and will send a push notification to them if they have it turned on. This is great when you need a response from all your @players.

Open up your server menu again and select Server Settings.

Scroll down and click on the Roles option.

You can see there is a default role for @everyone. Click the new role button, or the ‘+’ button at the bottom right to add a new role.

I named this players and changed the role color to green because why not. There are a bunch of permissions. I’m leaving these at the defaults for now. You can take a look at them to see if you want then differently. Then go ahead and click save!

 

We now have a new category. We need to add a member. Heading back to the main chat screen we can see a button that looks like 2 people.

It’s just me here in the channel.

Clicking on my account we can then click manage user.

From here we can select players as a role.

Ta da! User set, now we can set permissions. Let’s say we wanted to add the player role to the general channel. Open up that channels settings by long pressing on the channel name or selecting the channel and hitting the triple for button.

Since I’m on the Google Play version I long pressed on the channel name.

Then click on Edit Channel.
Scroll down to User Management and click on Permissions.

Here you can either add individual members or roles. We’ll select roles and then players.

This opens up a bunch of options. You can set for this specific role.

Now you have 3 options for all of these permissions.

X – blocks the users from that option.
/ – inherits existing channel permissions
Check – Allows users to do that option.

Just go through the list and see what permissions need to be set. Most of these can stay as is unless you need something special.

Once you select one of the green check marks or red X’s it will allow you to save the permissions.

When you setup the channel where you’re going to have the story take place, I recommend you give @players read/write permissions, and change @everyone to only have read permission. That way anyone can spectate, but only players can respond.

 

Invite a Dice Bot

Now that you’ve got all you’re channels and permissions setup, it’s time to get rolling! Let’s invite Sidekick to our channel so we can roll some dice.

The Sidekick link above takes you to the readme page on github that talks about all the special commands you can run.

I recommend setting up a dice tray channel to play around with different commands. This can also be a great place for you’re players to figure out how the bot works.

Click here to invite sidekick to your channel. Follow the prompts to get him authorized.