Guest Blog: Online Region Resources part 2

Friday, March 27, 2020

Yesterday, we posted a blog about play-by-post (PbP) benefits and experiences and ways play Pathfinder Adventure Card Game online. Now we continue the conversation, with a focus on virtual tabletops (VTTs) and general links and resources. If you missed Payton’s blog about home gaming options on Tuesday, I recommend you check it out, as it is a great overview of the online resources available to gamers!

From Jesse Davis (IronHelixx), Regional Venture-Coordinator, Online Region:

Watching the virtual gaming space adapt, evolve, and grow over the last thirty+ years has been an interesting and exciting experience. It's grown from simple, kludgy, rudimentary tools to realistic 2-D, and even 3-D, tabletop experiences rivaling its analog progenitors, and even exceeding them in certain aspects. The virtual tabletop has allowed friends and family spread wide-and-far to continue, or even begin, their campaigns that otherwise would never have happened; its allowed people from all over the world to “sit” at virtual-tables together in ways impossible in the past; allowed those with no access to game-spaces to play when they would otherwise be without; and extended opportunities for those unable to attend conventions to finally take part in such events from the comfy confines of their own homes. Watching the org-play opportunities explode online over the last decade has been even more exciting to watch. The online world is now a vibrant 24/7, 365 community filled with gaming opportunities, for every system and style of play that you can imagine. We look forward to where it goes from here - and look forward to you joining us and becoming part of the virtual gaming community we love so much.

Virtual Table Tops

Living in an area with little in the ways of Society games locally, and between my job and family being unable to drive the hour to Toronto where games are abundant, I found myself drawn to the online community. While there is a little more of a learning curve compared to physical games, I found a welcoming and robust community drawn from all across the globe eager to take a new player under wing and show me the ropes. A few years later and I somehow ended up being the Venture Captain for the VTT Community and am now helping new players with the transition to online.

What is VTT? VTT stands for Virtual Table Top and is a system of online play utilizing a representation of the physical table top for maps and tokens. Instead of flip maps we use digital copies and images instead of mini’s/tokens. The most popular VTTs used for organized Play are Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds , which are usually accompanied by Discord or Google hangouts for voice chat capacities. Finally, when a game is done the GM will fill out the chronicle sheets using a PDF editor like Foxit or Adobe Reader and email them out to the players.
— James Bartlett (Finegas), venture-captain VTT

I got involved in the VTT games a few years ago, and I have never looked back. The community is incredible. We have so many GMs and players from so many diverse backgrounds. Everyone is made to feel welcome, from new players looking to dip their toe into society play, all the way through to 5 Star and 5 Nova GMs, looking to help with conventions. One of my favourite things about our online community, is that everyone is always happy to help. Have a rules question? Come and ask in one of the rules channels. Need some support setting up your first table? Just ask! And (my personal favourite), asking if someone is happy to run their children through their first game, to help them learn about internet safety. Honestly. The PFS and SFS community worldwide is fantastic. And I believe we are lucky online to have built that same community feel- Just stretched over a few more miles!
— Helen Yau, venture-lieutenant VTT

Want to know the real secret to playing Society games online? It's easy. Really easy! If you can send an email, you can play online. The various virtual tabletop systems available are all fantastic and have many incredibly useful tools and options that you can use to build some amazing experiences and unforgettable games. With all these tools available it can sometimes seem daunting to get involved, but the most important part of the game is the players and GMs, with those and a short introduction to the basics of playing online you can jump in and be playing games with your regular group, or nufriends from across the world, the same evening you decide to try. We'll be very glad to see you there!
— Rich Lowe, venture-lieutenant VTT

Roll 20 my chosen virtual tabletop "VTT" is a robust tool that allows people from all over the world to join up and play Pathfinder/Starfinder just like we were sitting together in the same room. Moreover, it allows beginners and experts with the system to sit at the same table and use basic to advanced tools as each chooses. From relying on the built-in dice roller, to using character sheets or building simple to complex macros.
— Steven Mombourquette, venture-agent VTT

Tools and Links:

Tool Quick Suggestions by type:

VTT:

  • Personal groups moving online:
    • Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds w/ Discord
  • Conventions moving online:
    • Roll20 w/ Discord
  • Regional gaming groups/Org Play lodges moving online:
    • Roll20 w/ Discord
  • Regional gaming groups/Org Play lodges moving online:
    • Roll20 w/ Discord

PbP:

OrgPlayOnline Discord (For PFS[1|2]/SFS/PACG):
http://OrgPlayOnlineChat.com

VTTs:

PbP Forums:

PACG Online:
https://acg.orgplayonline.com

Discord Org-Play Lodges:

Tools for Filling in Chronicle Sheets:

Voice/Video Tools:

Tokens Makers:

Upcoming Online Events:

VTT:

PbP:

Additional Online Play Resources for events moving online:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RymYlTucCRdrRwuh2yWlLfPwmFWBq2dG5bmfYm2Q57w/

Once again, shouting out a ginormous thank you to Online Regional Venture-Coordinator Jesse Davis and his team for sharing their knowledge and experience with our community!

See ya back next week for our spotlight blog. Until then, stay safe, wash hands, and – Explore, Report, Cooperate!

Tonya Woldridge
Organized Play Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Online Play Organized Play Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition Pathfinder Society Starfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Starfinder Society
5/5 5/55/55/5

8 people marked this as a favorite.

For organized play roll 20 seems to be by far the most common option (to the point that a game on roll 20 doesn't really need to announce that it's on roll 20). Its free to play, cheap or free to dm, and most importantly it has the easiest learning curve of anything I've tried.

With a little help you can go from "whats this roll 20 thing" to pressing a button and having your character attacking in 15 minutes. From there you can add complexity as you desire it... or don't as you desire. You don't need a sheet, you don't need a long program the game works fine on Hitting AC [[1d20+12]] for [[2d6+6]] damage. if someone is telling you you need to have an entire page of code to swing a longsword, eye the newspaper menacingly and tell them you're not a computer programmer.

Starter Roll 20 guide

How to fill out the starfinder roll 20 simple sheet the most common sheet used in the discords. Sheets are incredibly handy, but optional if they don't work well for you.

Learn to roll 20 adventure I hope to have this working by monday

For DMs

basic table making guide

How to fill out a chronicle sheet with foxit

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:

For organized play roll 20 seems to be by far the most common option (to the point that a game on roll 20 doesn't really need to announce that it's on roll 20). Its free to play, cheap or free to dm, and most importantly it has the easiest learning curve of anything I've tried.

With a little help you can go from "whats this roll 20 thing" to pressing a button and having your character attacking in 15 minutes. From there you can add complexity as you desire it... or don't as you desire. You don't need a sheet, you don't need a long program the game works fine on Hitting AC [[1d20+12]] for [[2d6+6]] damage. if someone is telling you you need to have an entire page of code to swing a longsword, eye the newspaper menacingly and tell them you're not a computer programmer.

Starter Roll 20 guide

How to fill out the starfinder roll 20 simple sheet the most common sheet used in the discords. Sheets are incredibly handy, but optional if they don't work well for you.

Learn to roll 20 adventure I hope to have this working by monday

For DMs

basic table making guide

How to fill out a chronicle sheet with foxit

Can't say enough how much I appreciate you making and posting the links, Norse!

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Thanks for all of these resources!

Hmm

Sovereign Court 3/5 Venture-Agent, Washington—Kent aka KitsuneWarlock

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you for writing this all up in one easily likable post! My two lodges have already moved online and are actually playing more Society games now than ever!

Everyone stay safe and don't forget to explore, report, cooperate and preserve!

Scarab Sages 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

Thank you for putting all this together!

2/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston aka NielsenE

Any tips/best practices people have found for how to pre-configure Fantasy Grounds encounters to deal with CP scaling?

I've been just preloading the base version and then on-the fly adding extras when I need to, but I tend to do something a little wrong and the map/tracker loses some of the linkages they should have. I've also just been adding the extra HP as tmp HP in the combat tracker when called for and that seems to work.

But was wondering if its better to instead prep the max-scaled version and just remove things now.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
NielsenE wrote:

Any tips/best practices people have found for how to pre-configure Fantasy Grounds encounters to deal with CP scaling?

I've been just preloading the base version and then on-the fly adding extras when I need to, but I tend to do something a little wrong and the map/tracker loses some of the linkages they should have. I've also just been adding the extra HP as tmp HP in the combat tracker when called for and that seems to work.

But was wondering if its better to instead prep the max-scaled version and just remove things now.

Check out the Fantasy Grounds College discord, lots of great information and people more than willing to help with anything FG related.

FG has a decent learning curve, but man do I love it. Link to Fantasy Grounds College home site for anyone wanting to learn more about FG.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.

From EN World: Playing Virtually? Don't Miss These Deals

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Wow. This is causing my head to spin.

I purchased the gold(?) tier of Roll20 and trying to figure it out. Lots of trail and error. And I am still trying to find good guides.

Roll20's feature are pretty poorly written.

5/5 5/55/55/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gary Bush wrote:

Wow. This is causing my head to spin.

I purchased the gold(?) tier of Roll20 and trying to figure it out. Lots of trail and error. And I am still trying to find good guides.

Roll20's feature are pretty poorly written.

Programmers having a penchant for thinking everyone else is a programmer and can follow both the logic and the unstated rules of why a computer does what it's doing.

I think most of what you're looking at is probably people making their own sheets or doing advanced features. Its like learning how to drive and saying "Oh bootleg turn this looks like fun lets start there..."

The drivers ed level version stuff is linked in the first post.


Fantasy Grounds is far superior to other VTTs. I wouldn't play anything on Roll20. Just my opinion...

5/5 5/55/55/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
James Goodman 960 wrote:
Fantasy Grounds is far superior to other VTTs. I wouldn't play anything on Roll20. Just my opinion...

Four hours of playing with it, with help, and I couldn't get a mesmerist to attack with a crossbow. I don't know whats on the other side of the learning curve, but on roll 20 I hit a button it does what i tell it to and I have a pretty picture to move around on the map. I don't know what else you'd need, or what fantasy grounds was supposed to do to justify the extra cost and complexity.

For getting started at least roll20 is a lot easier and more importantly, seems to have most of the gamers. Since the local coyotes are NOT allowed to have PFS numbers (I asked) you need some human beings to play with on the same system.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

2 people marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
James Goodman 960 wrote:
Fantasy Grounds is far superior to other VTTs. I wouldn't play anything on Roll20. Just my opinion...

Four hours of playing with it, with help, and I couldn't get a mesmerist to attack with a crossbow. I don't know whats on the other side of the learning curve, but on roll 20 I hit a button it does what i tell it to and I have a pretty picture to move around on the map. I don't know what else you'd need, or what fantasy grounds was supposed to do to justify the extra cost and complexity.

For getting started at least roll20 is a lot easier and more importantly, seems to have most of the gamers. Since the local coyotes are NOT allowed to have PFS numbers (I asked) you need some human beings to play with on the same system.

I spent some time, with help from others who had a little more experience than me but not much more, and I am beginning to get more comfortable with Roll20. So much so that I am now planning my first online table for 4/11.

I have not tried fantasy grounds, nor do I think I will. The reason for that is I started with Roll20 and I don't want to try to learn a second system at this time.

2/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston aka NielsenE

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I've used a couple VTTs and I think any arguing over which is better/easy/superior is wasted time & energy, and polarizing for the community. The important lessons I've seen are

a) Avoid any built in audio/video in the VTT. Anytime a group has tried to get that to work we spend 30-60 minutes trying to get it to work for everyone. Fall back to Google Hangout/Zoom/Discord/etc something that solves the problem as its main function.

b) Learn the bare minimum of the tool first. In most cases this is how to have a named token, how to move a token, and how to roll a die. If you need to tell the GM the modifier and do the math in chat, that's still fine. With those three things you should be able to game. Yes, you'll need copy of your character sheet outside the VTT (paper, digital on device, etc doesn't matter, whatever you're used to). I know many people who never move beyond this point and are happy. They are happier if you don't push them to do more.

c) incrementally grow your understanding of the tool(s) if you wish. I can't give as targeted advice here as the useful paths are different in different tools, but here's where you learn how the various platform lets you automate aspects -- whether its through macros or through an in-VTT character sheet or whatever. But in any case the first thing to learn here is how to save/edit/export/upload character automations between games.

d) Acknowledge that the tools typically always lag the rules or get something wrong. Don't blame the tools during the session. Don't get frustrated. Be able to fall back to step b) and use the tool at the bare minimum with manual/spoken adjustments. After the session book some time with someone to troubleshoot if you want.

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PC Woof quick start sheet for starfinder roll20

Spoiler:
I've expanded my NPC sheet to be fairly usable by PCs. If you have the sheet on the table and a character in hand they can be roll 20 ready in 5 minutes or its free.* perfect for new people, or someone that wandered in from a simple table to an official one or vice versa. Its also REALLY good at filling out monsters quickly (which is what i originally made it for)

If you're familiar at all with roll 20 skip down to meat and potatoes. The jist is instead of filling out a character sheet with your int bonus your engineering ranks your ysoki bonus you fill in your engineering score of 14

This one is for starfinder, and uses the generic roll20 template so it can work with either the simple sheet (which is the most common in SFS pickup games) and the official sheet (which you'll need to play that free roll 20 threefold conspiracy) You can turn on an option to use the simple sheets much prettier attack displays.

To do:

Fix the many bugs I'm sure i missed (regulate some extra spaces put in at the ends of things)

Expand the sheet beyond 1 melee and 1 reach weapon.

Add in an auto calculate for Bluffs, feints, intimidates, demoralizes,

Add in tripple attack and quad attack abilities.

*its free regardless.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

PC Woof quick start sheet for starfinder roll20

** spoiler omitted **

Would you happen to know the differences between the simple character sheet and the "Starfinder by Roll20" character sheet?

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johnlocke90 wrote:


Would you happen to know the differences between the simple character sheet and the "Starfinder by Roll20" character sheet?

The DM sets the sheet when they make the table.

To the user: The forms to fill them out are different. The displays are different: the simple sheet for example displays a futuristic looking Blue and red attack notice, the official one displays a futuristic lighter blue and white one.

I've been told that the simple sheet is easier for new people, and the official sheet handles high level play a lot better.

[explanation by someone who's degree is in trees] To the people making them, they use different template languages. So you tell the simple sheet "put these dice in this pretty picture" with the Official sheet it hears "mets ces dés dans cette jolie photo" and breaks down going..."what?" [/explanation]

The simple sheet is the more common in online SFS ( I can't remember the last time i saw a sheet by roll20), but the official adventures come with the starfinder by roll 20 sheet.

being able to skip that entire explanation to the new people is why i revamped the PC woof to be sheet agnostic... :)

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If anyone has been thinking about trying starfinder on roll20, I can turn your character into a functional roll20 token in about 5 minutes. I just need to see your character in some form (PDF, picture of dead tree, hero lab printout) and a pretty picture of your character (a google image search is fine). Just shoot me a PM here or wave at me on one of the discords.

May be able to do the same thing for pathfinder 1 next week. I don't think i know pf2 well enough to make a similar sheet for that.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

Fantasy Grounds sales this week, all 20% off:

Pathfinder RPG - The Tyrant's Grasp AP 6: Midwives to Death
Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Asylum
Starfinder RPG - Starfinder Armory
Starfinder RPG - Signal of Screams AP 3: Heart of Night

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