Pathfinder Comes to Virtual Tabletop!

Thursday, December 22, 2016



Paizo is pleased to announce that we've now officially partnered with Mesa Mundi Inc (D20PRO) and Smite Works (Fantasy Grounds) for Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Virtual Table Top content. Both will be offering full access to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game line, along with Adventure Paths and Modules! This new partnership will allow gamers from across the globe play the Pathfinder adventures they want, regardless of which service you prefer. With our expansive collection of amazing artwork, maps, and stories, these VTT platforms are a perfect fit for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

We're super excited to be working with Mesa Mundi and Smite Works, and to be able to bring the magic of Pathfinder to virtual groups in the next year!

Mike Kenway
Director of Licensing

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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Very nice to hear.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Any chance digital content for the VTT's will be available on Paizo.com so subscription discounts could led apply?

Liberty's Edge

Each VTT company is licensing the Paizo products to sell through their own web stores. (Not unlike an IRL brick-and-mortar store selling the products - in this case it is just digital product.) The products will be technologically specific, and tied, to that specific VTT. So it would be, technologically, very difficult to sell it directly through Paizo.

Aventhar wrote:
Any chance digital content for the VTT's will be available on Paizo.com so subscription discounts could led apply?

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
IronHelixx wrote:

Roll20.net, Yes - they are working out the licensing.

MapTools - almost a definite no.

Bummer. I'm a MapTool fan, but I'm biased.

(It's just "MapTool", there's no "s" on the end. :))

The user Jamz at the MT forums already has a feature implemented that allows a Hero Lab portfolio to be dropped onto an MT map and the token appears (with image for the token imported from the portfolio).

(We have hopes for a lot of cleanup in 1.4 and Jamz is a prolific contributor. :))

Liberty's Edge

Someone would have to pay to license the products from Paizo (like Smite Works, Mesa Mundi, and Roll20 are doing), so that is a very limiting factor in the case of an open source project.

azhrei_fje wrote:
IronHelixx wrote:

Roll20.net, Yes - they are working out the licensing.

MapTools - almost a definite no.

Bummer. I'm a MapTool fan, but I'm biased.

(It's just "MapTool", there's no "s" on the end. :))

The user Jamz at the MT forums already has a feature implemented that allows a Hero Lab portfolio to be dropped onto an MT map and the token appears (with image for the token imported from the portfolio).

(We have hopes for a lot of cleanup in 1.4 and Jamz is a prolific contributor. :))

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Very cool. I too have been spending more and more time on Roll20 but I've backed the d20Pro kickstarter and have been following along with interest. It's good to see this kind of licensing agreement!

The d20Pro blog has some more context for those of you who are interested in how this might play out:
http://d20pro.com/2016/12/22/official-pathfinder-content-coming-to-d20pro/

Liberty's Edge

http://d20pro.com/2016/12/22/official-pathfinder-content-coming-to-d20pro/


This is great news!

Silver Crusade

IronHelixx wrote:
FlySkyHigh wrote:

I wonder if there would be any market for sanctioned Society games on Fantasy Grounds (and maybe eventually Roll20).

I've always been interested in society games but my schedule at work makes it hard to work around usual group times.

There is sanctioned play online as we speak, on Roll20 and FG.

We even have an online con coming up in January TPKon.com .

I'm the VC for online play, drop me a line and we'll hook you up. :)

Jesse, you wrote your posts here under your forum alias, maybe ask someone to change it so people can contact you directly.

Grand Lodge

It's too bad Paizo can't construct the materials which could be downloaded to a person's VTT account ready to use. I know that's a software issue.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lisa Stevens wrote:
Fallyrion Dunegrién wrote:
Why not roll20?

Patience.

-Lisa

Like that's going to happen.

You know us better than that, Lisa.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I haven't used D20Pro or Fantasy Grounds, but I'm looking forward to this hitting Roll20. Well done, Paizo!

Will features like dynamic lighting on Roll20 be supported?

Sovereign Court

QuidEst wrote:
Fallyrion Dunegrién wrote:
Why not roll20?
I don't think they do official partnerships of this sort. They're a primarily free model, after all.

They do. Currently Roll20 is working with Wizards of the Coast and DnD.

I really hope these other products are more user friendly and intuitive than Roll20. Roll20 is nice but the UI and inner workings need to be completely retooled imo.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

What is this? (i.e. where is this announcement in layman's terms for those who have never used any of this and have no clue what these acronyms are? :) )

Edit: went on the software's website and now I have +2 to my knowledge check... Q: what about those who already own various modules and APs from Paizo? will we be able to port those into this? or is this similar to Herolab in the sense that all the content must be purchased again from the software provider? (I'm thinking: if I want to run my old Legacy of Fire AP with this, do I have to buy the AP again???)


Purple Dragon Knight wrote:

What is this? (i.e. where is this announcement in layman's terms for those who have never used any of this and have no clue what these acronyms are? :) )

Edit: went on the software's website and now I have +2 to my knowledge check... Q: what about those who already own various modules and APs from Paizo? will we be able to port those into this? or is this similar to Herolab in the sense that all the content must be purchased again from the software provider? (I'm thinking: if I want to run my old Legacy of Fire AP with this, do I have to buy the AP again???)

You would have to purchase it all again via the Virtual Table Top (VTT) companies. Be aware though that you don't need the official Paizo material to play games with these VTT's as OGL licence means some community items can be created for use without payment.

I know Fantasy Grounds are however working to make the Paizo products a much higher quality and include tokens, art and non-OGL text within them.


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Plus if you can prove that you own a PFS scenario to one of the people that have already created it they can share it with you. And this isn't expected to have to change with the current agreement.

PFS Scenario Sharing info

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
Turelus wrote:
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Q: what about those who already own various modules and APs from Paizo? will we be able to port those into this? or is this similar to Herolab in the sense that all the content must be purchased again from the software provider? (I'm thinking: if I want to run my old Legacy of Fire AP with this, do I have to buy the AP again???)
You would have to purchase it all again via the Virtual Table Top (VTT) companies.

If I own the PDFs already, will this make it easy for me to import? For those who already own this, how user-friendly is this?

When I saw: GM license 40$, player license 8$... (is this per month? per year?) I kinda expected there is a catch. What I need now is a sample cost structure for say, a given 6 chapter AP so I can make a decision about this...

President, SmiteWorks

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Fantasy Grounds offers a 30-day 100% money back guarantee, so you are welcome to give it a try and then decide if it meets your need. All of the VTTs take some time to get the hang of them, but there are plenty of video tutorials, help documents and dedicated forums for each system that would be very open to helping out someone new to the environment.

Best of luck with whichever option you decide to go with.

Silver Crusade

As a player looking to get back into Pathfinder, are there any reasons FG or D20Pro is better than the other? Just trying to evaluate.


Purple Dragon Knight wrote:

If I own the PDFs already, will this make it easy for me to import? For those who already own this, how user-friendly is this?

When I saw: GM license 40$, player license 8$... (is this per month? per year?) I kinda expected there is a catch. What I need now is a sample cost structure for say, a given 6 chapter AP so I can make a decision about this...

That $40 is a one time fee, but all your players also need a $40 license, you can get a $140 license that leys players only use the demo install.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
Doug Davison, SmiteWorks wrote:

Fantasy Grounds offers a 30-day 100% money back guarantee, so you are welcome to give it a try and then decide if it meets your need. All of the VTTs take some time to get the hang of them, but there are plenty of video tutorials, help documents and dedicated forums for each system that would be very open to helping out someone new to the environment.

Best of luck with whichever option you decide to go with.

Time is what I'm lacking these days I'm afraid. I will need more info on the costs of Pathfinder material before I elect to give anything a try. Thanks for the info on the free trial though - I'll pass it along to some of my players.

Merry Christmas!


Nylanfs wrote:
That $40 is a one time fee, but all your players also need a $40 license, you can get a $140 license that leys players only use the demo install.

I went with the basic license many years back, but have since upgraded to the Ultimate license so that those with only the Demo can join in my games. Since I GM quite a bit, it just made things easier in helping new people give it a try.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Lisa Stevens wrote:
Fallyrion Dunegrién wrote:
Why not roll20?

Patience.

-Lisa

Once again, Paizo reminds me not to underestimate them...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
cash4golda wrote:
As a player looking to get back into Pathfinder, are there any reasons FG or D20Pro is better than the other? Just trying to evaluate.

Fantasy Grounds

Positive Comparisons

1) has better automation of rules. For example, you can apply conditions to creatures such as blind or invisible, and it will remember to roll the miss chance when appropriate. You can set conditions for specific durations and it will remember to remove them. With a click of a button you can switch from AC to Touch AC, etc.

2)Allows players to create and edit their own character sheets without requiring a GM's permission for every little change.

3) has a pretty active community creating mods and extensions which enhance gameplay even further.

4)Is easier to plug images and text into.

Negative Comparisons

1) Often requires having many different windows/tabs open, and controlling the size of these windows can be a bit of a problem.

2) Only has basic Fog of War

3) Has a steeper learning curve. (This is because of the vast amounts more you can do with it, i.m.o. It is also mitigated by active and helpful forum member willing to jump on and teach you, as well as some pretty nice tutorials.)

D20Pro
Positives
1) Has/is developing vison-blocking-layers, light sources, vision, etc.

2) Has neat sound effects for hits, crits, etc.

3) Gives GM high levels of control over player's actions (there is a feature will allows you to approve the results of all dice rolls, modify them, etc.)

4) Has a neat feature where you can apply a spell to a template (such as a cone, radius, etc.) and it will roll the saves for every creature in the template.

Negatives

1) REQUIRES the GM to approve any changes to a player's character sheet.

2) Requires imputing the effects of every single spell. (or you can find some on the forum to download, but is not very intuitive nor friendly, as each character sheet then has to copy the effects... it's gotten better, but it's still pretty messy.

3) Uses conditions from 4E for Pathfinder. Inexplicable.

Hopefully the licensing will allow for clean up of some of the issues with both programs.

Both Mesa Mundi and Smiteworks continue to work on their programs and I've seen some real leaps and bounds in playability from both as well. I expect this will only continue under the licensing. Examples include Fantasy Grounds recently adding the ability to generate random encounters from tables with the click of a few buttons, tokens, descriptions, story, whatever you've got plugged in to roll (for 5e, for example, they have an example where it rolls the name, personality, minions, eye colors and shape, etc. for everything Beholder. Pretty spiffy.) D20Pro, as I mentioned is working on and improving the vision software.

My personal preference is for Fantasy Grounds (in part because I find it much easier to set up and run material, especially when it comes to stories, map links, etc. and because of my particular hatred for the way I have to approve every little change my players make to their characters. Levelling up is a P.I.T.A.)

Edit: Also Fantasy Grounds supports a very decent sized amount of non-D20-based games, such as Savage Worlds, Call of Cthulu, Basic Role-Playing (Runequests' system), etc.


sounds like I'd much prefer fantasy grounds, as a player and probably as a GM. But that's just me.

But is there any reason for a player to prefer Fantasy Grounds over Roll20? Seeing as Fantasy Grounds costs money upfront?

Grand Lodge

Thanks, Paizo Licensing!

I think this news is great and will make FG much more accessible for a wider range of GMs by providing pre-built platform-specific scenarios (especially new users). It's a huge time-saver and help for those who do not want to create their own content (or have not yet learned how). It's also especially helpful for more epic module content that carries a much larger prep time commitment.

For die-hard self-preppers who own the PFS/Pathfinder content, it doesn't change much, but may still come in handy for quick pickup or online CON games. It will be interesting to see how it develops over time.


Turelus wrote:
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:

What is this? (i.e. where is this announcement in layman's terms for those who have never used any of this and have no clue what these acronyms are? :) )

Edit: went on the software's website and now I have +2 to my knowledge check... Q: what about those who already own various modules and APs from Paizo? will we be able to port those into this? or is this similar to Herolab in the sense that all the content must be purchased again from the software provider? (I'm thinking: if I want to run my old Legacy of Fire AP with this, do I have to buy the AP again???)

You would have to purchase it all again via the Virtual Table Top (VTT) companies. Be aware though that you don't need the official Paizo material to play games with these VTT's as OGL licence means some community items can be created for use without payment.

I know Fantasy Grounds are however working to make the Paizo products a much higher quality and include tokens, art and non-OGL text within them.

Saw the announcement on Facebook and came her to ask this very question as the comments didn't help. So my understanding then, is, that since I own nearly all of the hardback rulebooks (except the ACG), and Bestiaries, and 5 Adventure Paths, I would have to buy all of them again in order to run them through Fantasy Grounds or d20pro? In addition to paying a fee to use the VTT?

I'm sorry, but that's just not affordable for a lot of people. This reminds me of Hero Labs charging the full price of a book to buy the license for their generator. How the hell is someone supposed to afford buying the actual product, and the VTT product? God forbid they're buying the Hero Lab product too!

Do all of the players have to buy these products too? So each person in a game has to buy the rulebooks in order to use them? Or can one person share their books with others in the game?

If people have to rebuy everything they've already bought, especially those who have been longtime subscribers to Paizo, I just don't know if this will pick up. I mean, even if you could link your account to the Paizo website to verify purchases won't really help, because lots of people don't buy through Paizo, or even from a website at all!

I would love to find a good VTT thats easy to use, as I'm forced to Skype into a game with my cousins nowdays and it's kind of inconvenient, but as much as I would like a VTT, I dislike having to rebuy everything even more.


Lisa Stevens wrote:
Fallyrion Dunegrién wrote:
Why not roll20?

Patience.

-Lisa

or Bunthorne's Bride?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gwn Lwc wrote:


Saw the announcement on Facebook and came her to ask this very question as the comments didn't help. So my understanding then, is, that since I own nearly all of the hardback rulebooks (except the ACG), and Bestiaries, and 5 Adventure Paths, I would have to buy all of them again in order to run them through Fantasy Grounds or d20pro? In addition to paying a fee to use the VTT?

I'm sorry, but that's just not affordable for a lot of people. This reminds me of Hero Labs charging the full price of a book to buy the license for their generator. How the hell is someone supposed to afford buying the actual product, and the VTT product? God forbid they're buying the Hero Lab product too!

Do all of the players have to buy these products too? So each person in a game has to buy the rulebooks in order to use them? Or can one person share their books with others in the game?

If people have to rebuy everything they've already bought, especially those who have been longtime...

Yes, the GM would have to buy the VTT versions in order to access them for use with each particular VTT, just as with Hero Lab.

No, the players would not have to do the same. The burden really rests with the GM on costs.

Your other option with some VTTs would be to input all the material yourself. For instance, I was about 60% done entering the revised Curse of the Crimson Throne into Fantasy Grounds before this announcement. This has taken me about 30 hours of work so far, at best guess. I will likely finish towards the end of the month or the beginning of next month, before the official licensed release. I'll be able to run my version of it without spending any additional money. If they offer a solid 6 part adventure path for $60 or less, I'll gladly pay again to avoid the 50-60 hours of work it would take to put it in all myself.

If they end up supporting Pathfinder with features like they have 5E, I'll pay for those too.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Nothing says you have to buy the content in these VTTs.

Paizo is just giving you more options.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

Pass.


It looks like d20pro has a 20% off sale going, and Fantasy Grounds is 25+% off on Steam at the moment.

I haven't tried either one, but with a player in my Friday game likely moving next month, this announcement and the sales make it pretty tempting.


The extra functionality with Hero Lab has been well worth all the money I've sunk into it.

I'll have to keep an eye on this option as well and see how it works out! One thing I've always wanted out of a VTT is a proper Fog of War/Line of Sight effect though. I think which ever one has the best option there will wind up with my money if I choose to make such a purchase.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Roll20 has excellent Fog/line of sight/Dynamic lighting (can't speak for the other two)... I anxiously await Roll20 being added to the list.

Hero Lab is well worth the money.

Scarab Sages

IronHelixx wrote:
Marik Whiterose wrote:
What does this mean for Game Space? Is it officially dead?
Gamespace is long deceased.

Could we have some official word on this?

Having tried a number of VTTs, I still find TTop to be the easiest to use even without it allowing integration with anything. We did try d20Pro and the upload of HeroLab content into it was sketchy at best. Most of the PCs loaded had their spell lists and other bits missing. I was supremely disappointed as that single bit of automation would have cut down on my prep time enormously.

Was so hoping for Paizo to hook up with HeroLab and produce a VTT within RealmWorks.

Grand Lodge

Agelaus wrote:
Was so hoping for Paizo to hook up with HeroLab and produce a VTT within RealmWorks.

On the organization side there are a series mods made by community member "Delux-Oz" for Fantasy Grounds called DOE:Locations and DOE:Organistions.

They bring Fantasy Grounds up to Realms Works levels of campaign management. I own RealmWorks, but have basically moved over to those instead.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber
azhrei_fje wrote:

Bummer. I'm a MapTool fan, but I'm biased.

I like MapTool too... but I stopped using it a couple of years ago. I used to be that one odd guy who would post MapTool games to the the PFSOC mailing list, pick up a few players who knew MapTool, and then try to convince a few others to download it and try to use it. Eventually I gave in and started using Roll20 like everybody else. And, while there are a few things that I can't do that I wish I could do, at this point Roll20 is really quite powerful, and has some advantages over MapTool. Last I checked (which was 1.5 years ago), MapTool's development wasn't stopped, but it was very slow, and looked like it might die at any moment.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber
IronHelixx wrote:
Someone would have to pay to license the products from Paizo (like Smite Works, Mesa Mundi, and Roll20 are doing), so that is a very limiting factor in the case of an open source project.

I almost hate to ask this question, because it might move something out of "don't ask, don't tell" into "you can't do this any more", but....

Will we still be able to operate the way we do right now? That is, upload our own maps by images taken out of the scenarios and modules, and use those maps in the Roll20 campaigns we set up for our own players? Or, will that be declared to be explicitly forbidden, and the only way to use Paizo maps and such will be through the officially licensed Roll20 channel?

I certainly hope that the way we operate right now will continue to work. Even though we're uploading to a server that's "out there" (or "in the cloud" if you want to use a trendy term), the maps are only being shared with a few people-- your gaming group, in exactly the same way you'd share a printed map with the gaming group around your table. While I know that IP laws and lawyers can make an argument that this is not the same thing at all, and that there are companies that would say absolutely no, I'm hoping that Paizo won't be one of those companies.

I'm guessing the added convenience of having maps and tokens "just available" through the Roll20 subscription will be worth it for paying for the service. I hope it is not a case of "OK, now you have to pay a tax to play the way you've been playing all along, oh, and, you can't even make small changes to the maps in your image editor, you have to use exactly the ones we supply."

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

One other potential advantage of d20Pro over Fantasy grounds -- it's developed in Java, so should work on any platform that has Java. Pratically speaking, that means that you should be able to get it to work on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Fantasy Grounds is developed just for Mac and Windows, which means you have to run it through WINE to use it on Linux. While I've had good luck running quite a number of things under WINE, it is one more dependency (*) that creates a possible point of failure, and could introduce some wonkiness.

((*) You could also argue, with some justification, that Java itself is a dependency that could introduce wonkiness, at least Java is explicitly developed for all the platforms in question. WINE is stuck reverse-engineering the Windows API to try to make stuff work with Linux that isn't supposed to work with Linux.)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
rknop wrote:
at this point Roll20 is really quite powerful, and has some advantages over MapTool.

What are they?

I'm still big into MapTool, and I have yet to see any other VTT come even close.
The only things they have more that I see are 1) eyecandy, which I can understand is attractive, but you quickly dump it, when you understand what you can have with MapTool, and 2) pre-imported content, which MapTool lacks due to being primarily system-agnostic to give anyone freedom, but it's not like the content can't be imported...

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
IronHelixx wrote:

Each VTT company is licensing the Paizo products to sell through their own web stores. (Not unlike an IRL brick-and-mortar store selling the products - in this case it is just digital product.) The products will be technologically specific, and tied, to that specific VTT. So it would be, technologically, very difficult to sell it directly through Paizo.

Aventhar wrote:
Any chance digital content for the VTT's will be available on Paizo.com so subscription discounts could led apply?

Not really. I was actually thinking about a voucher system similar to what Paizo does with Syrinscape.

Make the purchase here, get a discount, then go over to the VTT company's site and redeem the purchase with a voucher code from them directly and through their system.

Not difficult at all.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber
Astral Wanderer wrote:
rknop wrote:
at this point Roll20 is really quite powerful, and has some advantages over MapTool.

What are they?

I'm still big into MapTool, and I have yet to see any other VTT come even close.
The only things they have more that I see are 1) eyecandy, which I can understand is attractive, but you quickly dump it, when you understand what you can have with MapTool, and 2) pre-imported content, which MapTool lacks due to being primarily system-agnostic to give anyone freedom, but it's not like the content can't be imported...

* Easier to get working with random players. They just go to a website and it's done. They don't have to worry about downloading Java, downloading MapTool, running MapTool, putting in the right URL.

* Roll20 has a full Pathfinder character sheet which is really quite powerful. I liked the token attributes of MapTool, and they did a lot of what I wanted, but the sheets on Roll20 are much more comprehensive.

* Network effects. Everybody I've run into runs Roll20. I used to have to convince people to download MapTool to play with me. It eventually just wasn't worth the hassle. Related to this:
---* People seem to find Roll20 easier to learn. If you run PFS games with random people, rather than just playing every week with the same people, this can make a difference.
---* Roll20 is what online conventions I've seen have used. This doesn't mean it's better, but it does mean that using Roll20 is just the path of least resistance.

There are probably more -- since it's been 2 years since I used MapTool, I don't remember things that it had or didn't have. Is it possible for different players to be on different pages? Does MapTool understand measurements on the map? (I remember being able to move tokens to wherever, but I don't remember if I could measure the distance (using game rules for diagonals, etc.) between two spots.) Can a player move his token along a specific multi-segmented path, measuring the distance along the path, and showing the path to everybody else during the move?


Aventhar wrote:
...similar to what Paizo does with Syrinscape.

Speaking of Syrinscape: There's also a Community Extension (Plug-In) for Fantasy Grounds that integrates with Syrinscape so that you can control Syrinscape from within Fantasy Grounds, including having sounds automatically play when certain GM-defined events occur - its called DOE: Sound and it's by yours truely :-)

Oh, and for the record, its "Dulux-Oz" not "Delux-Oz" :-p

Dark Archive

I'm a Fantasy Grounds user with an Ultimate License, and I'd like to say thank you and congratulations to both Paizo and Smite Works!

This can be nothing but good for all companies involved, and countless hours of fun experiences and gameplay for us players/DMs.

Dark Archive

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
rknop wrote:

One other potential advantage of d20Pro over Fantasy grounds -- it's developed in Java, so should work on any platform that has Java. Pratically speaking, that means that you should be able to get it to work on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Fantasy Grounds is developed just for Mac and Windows, which means you have to run it through WINE to use it on Linux. While I've had good luck running quite a number of things under WINE, it is one more dependency (*) that creates a possible point of failure, and could introduce some wonkiness.

((*) You could also argue, with some justification, that Java itself is a dependency that could introduce wonkiness, at least Java is explicitly developed for all the platforms in question. WINE is stuck reverse-engineering the Windows API to try to make stuff work with Linux that isn't supposed to work with Linux.)

You should be able to continue that way. The PFRPG rules will still be part of the Core Rules of Fantasy Grounds and will be usable the same way they are now. It was posted over at SmiteWorks that there would be a Core Rulebook and Bestiary offering via the SmiteWorks store, which would give polish and a facelift to the OGL content, but that nothing would be disabled or prevented in the use of the current OGL content. You would still need to make sure that whatever you do for your game is for personal use only and not distribute it to others, sell it, etc. You know, the usual.

One other potential advantage of d20Pro over Fantasy grounds -- it's developed in Java, so should work on any platform that has Java. Pratically speaking, that means that you should be able to get it to work on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

rknop wrote:

Fantasy Grounds is developed just for Mac and Windows, which means you have to run it through WINE to use it on Linux. While I've had good luck running quite a number of things under WINE, it is one more dependency (*) that creates a possible point of failure, and could introduce some wonkiness.

((*) You could also argue, with some justification, that Java itself is a dependency that could introduce wonkiness, at least Java is explicitly developed for all the platforms in question. WINE is stuck reverse-engineering the Windows API to try to make stuff work with Linux that isn't supposed to work with Linux.)

When the Unity version of Fantasy Grounds is released, it should address platform-dependencies.

Liberty's Edge

@RKnop, We'll still be able to export and import our own maps into the VTTs, and such, if you already own the PDF material. There will be no requirement to repurchase the products to use them, if you already own them in PDF form. That requirement would pretty much kill PFS Online Play. (This initial initiative is currently for Rulebooks, APs, and Modules - PFS Scenarios are not going to be available right away, from what I have been made to understand.) So we should be good to go.

rknop wrote:

I almost hate to ask this question, because it might move something out of "don't ask, don't tell" into "you can't do this any more", but....

Will we still be able to operate the way we do right now? That is, upload our own maps by images taken out of the scenarios and modules, and use those maps in the Roll20 campaigns we set up for our own players? Or, will that be declared to be explicitly forbidden, and the only way to use Paizo maps and such will be through the officially licensed Roll20 channel?

..."


rknop wrote:

* Easier to get working with random players. They just go to a website and it's done. They don't have to worry about downloading Java, downloading MapTool, running MapTool, putting in the right URL.

* Roll20 has a full Pathfinder character sheet which is really quite powerful. I liked the token attributes of MapTool, and they did a lot of what I wanted, but the sheets on Roll20 are much more comprehensive.

* Network effects. Everybody I've run into runs Roll20. I used to have to convince people to download MapTool to play with me. It eventually just wasn't worth the hassle. Related to this:
---* People seem to find Roll20 easier to learn. If you run PFS games with random people, rather than just playing every week with the same people, this can make a difference.
---* Roll20 is what online conventions I've seen have used. This doesn't mean it's better, but it does mean that using Roll20 is just the path of least resistance.

There are probably more -- since it's been 2 years since I used MapTool, I don't remember things that it had or didn't have. Is it possible for different players to be on different pages? Does MapTool understand measurements on the map? (I remember being able to move tokens to wherever, but I don't remember if I could measure the distance (using game rules for diagonals, etc.) between two spots.) Can a player move his token along a specific multi-segmented path, measuring the distance along the...

1) Java is on any pc, and if it isn't it takes a minute more than the ten seconds to download and launch MapTool.

Players "just going to a website" still have to register (which ironically can take longer than download and launch MapTool) and get used to everything.

2) I don't know what you mean here, since MapTool is like clay and you can make it far more comprehensive than what Roll20 will ever be, especially if you don't want to waste your money on it, while MapTool is fully free and fully customizable.

3) That's a huge lot into the eyecandy, fad & co. area. When you have your MapTool framework, the only things players have to learn are how to connect to the server (3 clicks), how to move their tokens (drag & drop), how to add states/light/other stuff (right click on token and choose) and how to use their attacks/saves/skills/etc (click on the related button and input data if prompted).
I have no idea what's actually difficult for even the most random of players.

4) Yes, you can do all of that in MapTool. Move freely, move by squares, move by hexes, have the one-two diagonal counter, and so on.
Not to mention fog of war, vision blocking, lights, and a lot other features of the map alone, keeping in mind that the map itself is really the least interesting feature of MapTool.
As I said, beyond the eyecandy part, I have yet to see any VTT come even close to MapTool. And they even charge you, where MapTool is free.
I don't mean to offend anyone, but watching people running to Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds is really like watching moths throw themselves in the fire.
I'm personally very glad to have brought my own online group away from Roll20 and into MapTool, and now that they tasted it, they love it.


rknop wrote:
IronHelixx wrote:
Someone would have to pay to license the products from Paizo (like Smite Works, Mesa Mundi, and Roll20 are doing), so that is a very limiting factor in the case of an open source project.

I almost hate to ask this question, because it might move something out of "don't ask, don't tell" into "you can't do this any more", but....

Will we still be able to operate the way we do right now? That is, upload our own maps by images taken out of the scenarios and modules, and use those maps in the Roll20 campaigns we set up for our own players? Or, will that be declared to be explicitly forbidden, and the only way to use Paizo maps and such will be through the officially licensed Roll20 channel?

I certainly hope that the way we operate right now will continue to work. Even though we're uploading to a server that's "out there" (or "in the cloud" if you want to use a trendy term), the maps are only being shared with a few people-- your gaming group, in exactly the same way you'd share a printed map with the gaming group around your table. While I know that IP laws and lawyers can make an argument that this is not the same thing at all, and that there are companies that would say absolutely no, I'm hoping that Paizo won't be one of those companies.

I'm guessing the added convenience of having maps and tokens "just available" through the Roll20 subscription will be worth it for paying for the service. I hope it is not a case of "OK, now you have to pay a tax to play the way you've been playing all along, oh, and, you can't even make small changes to the maps in your image editor, you have to use exactly the ones we supply."

This was discussed a bit on the Fantasy Grounds forums and over there the general consensus was that nothing will change. The difference will be you will have the option to buy pre-made monsters with tokens and art rather than using the OGL modules and making your own tokens or using generic ones.

As everything comes under OGL Paizo can't really (to my knowledge) stop someone using free content and putting the work in themselves, nor using maps from PDF screenshots/rips for personl games. As always as long as you're not sharing the non-OGL items within a community or online I don't think they will care too much.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

Re: MapTool vs. Roll20, I did prefer MaoTool. But, speaking from experience, when I tried to get a PFS game together, using MapTool instead of Roll20 meant from the very beginning, a bunch of players didn't even consider joining the game. And, getting the game started, there was always a hassle with a couple of players who couldn't get it all working- whereas they'd already fought that battle with Roll20 in the past. This is what I'm talking about with Network Effects. Everybody already uses Roll20, and there are a lot of players out there ready to go. For a regular group, yeah, I can see where it makes sense to get going with MapTool. But for PFS play, it adds a lot of hassle and overhead. Whether or not that *should* be the case, from experience or *is*.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber
Turelus wrote:
As everything comes under OGL Paizo can't really (to my knowledge) stop someone using free content and putting the work in themselves, nor using maps from PDF screenshots/rips for personl games. As always as long as you're not sharing the non-OGL items within a community or online I don't think they will care too much.

The OGL isn't relevant here. I'm talking about uploading ripped maps and tokens based on screenshots. None of that is OGL. And, uploading that is sharing it online. My argument is that sharing it online with your gaming group is no different from sharing your maps with your around-the-table group, and I think Paizo has gone with that interpretation as well. But there are others who disagree.

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