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Tech Suggestions for Campaigning Online?


Technology


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Hello Gang,

I hope I'm posting in the right forum.

I would like to get the old band back together, a particularly funny and imaginative rpg group from college. The trouble is we have moved all over the place.

I know Tech exists for us to rpg online together, but I'm not sure where to look. PbP is a possibility, but I'd really like to find a way for us to interact in real time. Did I mention these folks are very funny?

Oh great sages and geeks, can you give a girl a hand?

Oh and... my proficiency is above "I know how to Skype" and way below hacking the pentagon.

Many Thanks,
A


I've been looking into d20Pro for something similar, but have not tried it yet. One of the appeals to me for this is you can import PCs from Hero Lab, which I already use.

They have a 30-day trial download available. May be worth a shot.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Maptools is also good

Taldor

We have some players that rotate between playing local and remote, one player that lives about 100 miles off so he's always remote... And another that lives on Nantucket Island about 600 miles away. We just use Skype. The local camera just points at the game table so remote players can see battle maps, area maps, handouts, pics or whatever. They don't even need a camera. We don't need to see their ugly mugs...in fact, we consider this a feature! Seriously, there's no local display for us to see the remote playere, anyway. We currently use that computer for kingdom tracking (we're playing the Kingmaker ap at the moment). A good speaker set and mic take care of ensuring everyone is heard.

It has worked for us for several years. It requires no extra work for the GM (I hated setting up for Maptools or other similar applications whewe gave them a try) and no tech curve for the players. It also fully supports playing by smartphone when necessary. Players have joined games from hotels and one player even joined a session while travelling... literally. He joined from a moving vehicle as he was on an overnight road trip.

Of course, we have to trust everyone involved to be honest about their die rolls. We've been gaming together for way too many years not to... But that doesn't stop us from goofing on one another. One of us published a set of 'rules' for Effective Remote Rolling (knowing when to blow a low-importance roll to draw attention away from the high rolls you make at critical moments, etc.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

What we use is an IRC server with a dicebot, and a shared combat map tool.

The dicebot is something one of us wrote in, honestly, an hour or two (he's been adding new features like a histogram of rolls, so people who think the dicebot hates them can check). I've written a few things in that vein as well.

The combat map I can't go into too much detail on; one of us is developing it and hopes to eventually market it as a full virtual table.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

We mostly all play around the same table, but we have one player in a distant city, and we frequently have a player or two with a child care issue that prevents in-person attendance. I use two laptops on the table: one for me (the GM), and a second facing the rest of the table for the in-person players.

We use MapTool as the virtual table-top. According to other discussion threads, other VTT tools might be a little better (e.g. d20Pro), but MapTool is open-source, cross-platform, and free. It's also easily adaptable to other game systems (like our recent GURPS one-shot). I know that I've gotten used to MapTool's quirks after about a year of use.

For audio, we use Skype. However, free Skype audio limits conference calling to three channels, so that might not be an option for you. I prefer audio-only with MapTool to cut down bandwidth, as the video is nice but not strictly necessary.

If the game is not combat-focused, we'll turn on the webcams for either video Skype (with one remote player) or a Google+ Hangout for face-to-face interaction. I've found that the G+ Hangouts tends to have a lot more lag and choppier audio than Skype, but it does allow more participants.

When we activate video, I turn on both webcams and do a three- or four-way video conference. That way, one cam is facing the table with the players and one cam is facing me. I kill the audio on one of the two cams in the room.

For dice-rolling... we all roll real dice. I'm old-school that way. I just trust the remote players not to cheat.

Good luck!


I second maptools. It has a bit of a learning curve, but can create really good maps that everyone can use interactively and quickly... In fact I find battles going faster than tabletop. So I highly recommend it!


Maptools also has the benefit of not feeling like I'm compromising anything by rolling for players, jury rigging webcams or taking anything away from the game, except maybe the face to face aspect

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Check out TTopRPG, works great and very easy to use. I've been using it for years.


Depends on your gaming style. If you are a free and loose type gaming group, go with G+Hangouts or Skype. If you like a little more structure, but don't want too much prep go with TTopRPG(Windows only though). If you have HeroLabs and build your creatures/NPCs/Characters in it go with MapTool or d20Pro. I personally use MapTool as it is the best out there for features. Yes, it doesn't have the best UI and may have a steep learning curve, but no other VTT out there has per token FoW, Events based on token moving over a square on the map, warding...


Thanks for some great suggestions everyone.

The particulars for this situation are... 4-6 players, only 2 of whom could drive 2 hours and be together. We are situated... Chicago, NYC, Upstate NY, Washington DC, Montana, and maybe London. (Dave, Montana, really? WTF? Sorry Montana, Dave says you're great.) You get the picture. Not in a room together.

We are wicked good storytellers, comedians, and roleplayers. So in a dream scenario we would all be able to see and hear each other well. At a minimum we would all at least be able hear each other.

We are often devious, and would like to send a message to the GM privately. It could be part of the system, or we could, ya know, text on our phones for that part.

Our GM does use maps and figures for changing scenarios; combat, who is in trap radius, who gets seen first by stealthy attacker, who is too far away to get in the conversation with the barroom wench, etc. So again ideally we would each be able to see what the GM is doing on the map-- on our individual computers.

From what I gather so far... either maptools or d20pro for the maps

And Skype, Google+, TTOpRPG for communicating.

roccojr made me laugh with the effective remote rolling technique. I have had similar thoughts of throwing less important rolls, and being more devious on more important ones. It was fun to hear it out loud.

If anyone cares to tailor their advice for this more detailed scenario, I'd be appreciative.

A


MapTool and Ventrilo/Mumble/Skype. MapTool handles all but the VOIP. It is free and can work on any system that supports JAVA. You can send private messages via MapTool, true individual FoW, warding(way to block tokens from oving into an area), warp points, can import any statblock to make a token(HeroLab/PC-Gen/PDF)...


Thanks Neo,

That's lots of helpful advice. Now to go practice with maptools a bit...


Apocalypso wrote:

Thanks Neo,

That's lots of helpful advice. Now to go practice with maptools a bit...

I just gave a MapTool/Framework training session the other night. If you need any help, let me know and I can set some time aside to show you how to use the program.


Wow Neo,
That would be great!

I'll start off by asking if maptools.org is the right place to download from?

A


Maptools can be found at:
http://www.rptools.net/

Here's a link to a Maptools campaign file with the framework in it already:
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B9arT6JwDrF2TXlkSjh2djh5cTQ

You should be able to download that. Then start Maptools and File > Open Campaign and open the PFSBlank campaign you just downloaded.

With luck, you'll be looking at a map of the Inner Sea region and you should see a couple tokens named "Blank Token You Can Use".

You can then follow these instructions to setup one of those tokens:
https://docs.google.com/a/paladinpgm.com/document/d/1Es94WTUhRCp8DSmO0pTtgG 4ohoEjUcZBkt33YQrjOsk/edit

Or you can use the Import Stat Block button and copy & paste in monsters from the PRD.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Apocalypso wrote:

Thanks for some great suggestions everyone.

The particulars for this situation are... 4-6 players, only 2 of whom could drive 2 hours and be together. We are situated... Chicago, NYC, Upstate NY, Washington DC, Montana, and maybe London. (Dave, Montana, really? WTF? Sorry Montana, Dave says you're great.) You get the picture. Not in a room together.

We are wicked good storytellers, comedians, and roleplayers. So in a dream scenario we would all be able to see and hear each other well. At a minimum we would all at least be able hear each other.

We are often devious, and would like to send a message to the GM privately. It could be part of the system, or we could, ya know, text on our phones for that part.

Our GM does use maps and figures for changing scenarios; combat, who is in trap radius, who gets seen first by stealthy attacker, who is too far away to get in the conversation with the barroom wench, etc. So again ideally we would each be able to see what the GM is doing on the map-- on our individual computers.

From what I gather so far... either maptools or d20pro for the maps

And Skype, Google+, TTOpRPG for communicating.

roccojr made me laugh with the effective remote rolling technique. I have had similar thoughts of throwing less important rolls, and being more devious on more important ones. It was fun to hear it out loud.

If anyone cares to tailor their advice for this more detailed scenario, I'd be appreciative.

A

If you decide to go the TTopRPG route stop into DM Tools Chat and look for Pygon. He's the creator of TTop and is usually more than happy to give walk-throughs, demos, ect.

Andrew


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