If you’re familiar with Critical Role, it’s easy to see that there’s a great audience for tabletop RPGs like D&D on Twitch. Growing a Dungeons & Dragons stream can be straightforward, but there are several things you can do to make the experience smooth and entertaining and encourage viewers to return for each session.
How to Stream D&D
Audio is the most important factor for streaming tabletop roleplaying games, especially for the Dungeon Master. Optimizing the microphones of the DM and each player should be a priority before streaming begins.
Sadly, D&D streams are well-known for having low-quality camera visuals, so taking the time to adjust the webcams and lighting for everyone is an essential way to stand out. To make the very best of any webcam of any quality, effective lighting will go a long way. You’ll also want to add the players’ webcam feeds to your stream.
An overlay and cohesive graphics on your Twitch page will look more professional and inviting. There are many overlay and graphics providers if you’re unable to make your own.
Nominating one person who is not the Dungeon Master to control all the technical aspects of the stream, such as scene changes and effects, is a fantastic way to free up the Dungeon Master’s hands for better storytelling and to keep the stream consistent.
How to Grow a D&D Channel
It’s time to go live, but going live with a solid setup is only a small part of the streaming experience. For streaming Dungeons & Dragons, there are a few things to keep in mind to facilitate growth and gather an audience that will keep coming back for more.
Keep Things Consistent
Find a time that works for all of your players and stick to that time. If you can’t play weekly, consider twice a month, or monthly instead: this will give the DM additional time to prepare for the show, too. Set a tone for the game and the world you’re playing in, and work hard with the players to keep that tone and atmosphere as consistent as possible.
Keep Things Professional
Solidify rules on what’s appropriate conversation during the livestream. Will there be restrictions on profanity or on difficult topics? Both in-character and out-of-character conversation may need boundaries. If players have disagreements, encourage them to wait until the stream is over to discuss them so that the issues don’t disrupt the show.
Keep Things Interesting
Plan your sessions ahead of time. Depending on the tone and intent of your game, it might be pertinent to plan for a minimum number of social, puzzle, and combat encounters each session to keep everyone engaged. Slower sessions can intrigue with well-crafted roleplaying, so providing players with a roleplay opportunity is a good way to curate a less intense session at the table. Plan fun and diverse NPCs with distinct features to make them more memorable if your players will encounter them more than once, and be ready to provide rich descriptions of the setting and the people within it.
Keep Everyone Informed
Have a portion of time set aside at the start of the stream to recap the previous episode’s events. This means that no one will miss out on any details that might affect the story. Consider assigning each player to recap the sessions, as this will help keep the players more engaged with the story, too.
Keep Chat Engaged
Use polls with the chat to influence how the DM approaches a fresh problem or event or how players react, or add a dice bot command for chatters to play with. Creating chances for the audience to affect the story, setting, or session will have a positive impact on curating a regular viewership.
Find Your Audience
Many Twitch and YouTube channels which focus TTRPGs promote and link to spaces, like subreddits and discords, with large communities of potential viewers. Remember to be aware of the rules when you post a link and make sure that the server or subreddit allows for self-promotion. Try to create some interest by talking about what your group has been up to, what the overall story or arc might involve, or even how chat can influence the stream.
Share Your Knowledge
Be ready to discuss with players and chatters about the game itself. If you’re homebrewing rules, consistency is key, and keeping a list of custom rules would make for a smoother experience with chatters who assume the game runs with the rules as written. New players may trickle into the audience, and they may want to learn a thing or two!
5 DnD Twitch Channels to Check Out
1. Critical Role
Critical Role is the most well-known of all the D&D shows on Twitch, featuring Matt Mercer as DM with fellow voice actors taking roles in his homebrew world of Tal’Dorei.
2. High Rollers
High Rollers is another widely known and UK-based team of gamers with a focus on narrative roleplay with full implementation of maps and character tokens.
3. The Unexpectables
The Unexpectables are less well-known than the previous but still well-loved on Twitch, these gamers play without webcams and use commissioned character art besides maps and other visuals for the viewer.
One Shot Questers is another theatre-of-the-mind stream, this group focuses on one-shot games which can start and finish in a single or few sessions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should we show the D&D board on the screen?
If you want more details to be readily available to players and viewers alike, showing the board is a good way to provide those details. Most streaming software can capture the maps and boards on Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds. If you’re of the more narrative persuasion, a board isn’t absolutely necessary.
What is the best type of music to play during a D&D stream?
Seek artists on Spotify and YouTube that specialize in ambient music; a good deal of indie ambient artists offer their playlists free for streamers to use, and many smaller channels can even provide permission on the individual level. Avoid using published musical scores from existing games or movies, as copyright protects those.
How can I show the dice roll on Twitch?
If you’re not using Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or any other platform which has a built-in dice roller on screen, another option is to set up either a Discord bot (such as Avrae) or a chat bot for Twitch that can respond to dice roll commands. Dice rolls don’t have to be explicitly visible, though: with enough trust between DM and players, a group can build the same trust with an audience that the rolls are being called with honesty.
Streaming a Dungeons & Dragons game can be an incredibly rewarding experience for the Dungeon Master and players alike. As long as you’re tackling the technical side of the stream and following the tips above, you’ll find the experience can extend to your audience and keep them coming back for more.