So, you have a friend that wants to game but can’t make it to the table, what should you do? Perhaps they live somewhere else, or maybe they are on vacation, or perhaps they are in a care center after having a tracheotomy? Well, no worries so long as they can talk, type, or write flash cards they can join you at the table!
Our friend was recently in the hospital and then care facility for a month, once he was off the strong pain meds and realized he was missing game we had to do something. So, we hooked him up with a net book complete with web cam from one of the group, and then setup my trust laptop also with web cam to take care of things on our end. We used Skype since I already have an account and is conveniently free for this sort of thing. Of course another program if you have one handy would work as well.
We used this for two games and it worked pretty good. While we had some issues with the volume these were mostly due to an air compressor that was running on our friends end and nothing else as the problem was not as evident in session 2 when the compressor was not being used. Also I would recommend that if you have a USB web cam that you place the camera on the game side up higher if it is an option so it isn’t on one person all night, we didn’t think of this until after the game.
As an alternative, I have some friends who have used Second Life for RPGs with distant people. To be honest, I didn’t really get Second Life the first time I checked it out. I can understand the appeal, I just find it doesn’t hold my interest. Perhaps I am much to busy in my first life to want to manage a second one too.