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New DM here. I have dabbled a bit with D&D in the past, including playing on FG back in 2010. I'm now looking to get back in to it and start up an adventure with my wife and a few friends. My friends are remote, so it would necessitate playing online. I really enjoy rolling actual dice though, and I fear that using a VTT like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds would kind of cheapen the experience. I'd like to run a pre-written adventure, most likely Mines of Phandelver just to ease the DMing burden rather than create my own adventure right off the bat.

How much more work would it be to just use Discord and basically play without any VTT, doing everything manually? Would this slow down the game too much? I'm eventually shooting for like a 70%/30% RP to combat ratio because I really enjoy theater of the mind vs. tactical maps/dungeon crawls. Is this insane? Should I just use a VTT and get on with it?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi, and welcome to RPG.SE! This question, as currently written, has an extremely high chance of being closed due to being opinion-based. If you can reformulate it a bit, maybe to focus on dealing with running 5e combats exclusively in theater of the mind-style play, you will have a much better chance of getting useful answers. Also, I'm not clear on how you feel the VTT would dampen your experience; you don't have to use the built-in dice rollers if you don't want to, and you've not listed other reasons why you dislike the VTT approach. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Oct 28 '20 at 16:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the answer to this is inherently opinion-based because it comes down to how tightly your particular group is tied to hardcore tactical wargaming. Me, I don't get excited about spell templates and the details of where everyone is standing and moving, so to me, theater of the mind for combat is completely valid. It's not necessary to lay out the battle mat, except possibly in the most complex encounters. But I know players who think that's a terrible way to play D&D and would be horrified by leaving behind the mat. As it is, the question is too vague to really answer. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 2 '20 at 18:42