my group is very spread out and we require a virtual tabletop to play together, we all purchased fantasy grounds 2 but there have been some issues that two of the players have experienced and so far we have had little success with help on the FG2 forums, but that isn't the point of this post
basically we need a virtual tabletop to play with until we can fix their issues, or possibly forever if we like it a lot more / issues are never fixed. the players are not willing to pay money at this point, so it has to be a free one.
One thing to take into consideration is ease of use. i would prefer a very user friendly program to one that is very feature heavy and incredibly complex and hard to use. Because i am very new and so are my players, to un-complicate a program i can simply do the majority of it with pen and paper in front of my computer, but i require a program that has tokens and a map (preferably with a masking system like FG2 has, so i can hide parts of the map from the players until they explore)
integrated (text) chat is also a very desired feature, as is a dice roller, and anything else you think is very neccesary to play.
thanks in advance!
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I've been having a lot of luck with roll20.net. It's got a dice roller, integrated text chat (as well as support for voice, though no push-to-talk), and the chat persists through multiple sessions.
It's also got some built in player/monster tokens and a jukebox if you want to play victory music or something after an encounter. Also has a nice little yard stick that tells distances (though it does not account for the diagonal movement rule).
It's very simple to use, our whole group (6 people) figured it out in about 5 minutes.
Lessee what else. Um, private dice rolls for the GM are possible, and you can pull up maps and documents and such without showing them to teh players (though there is the option to do so) and you can add documents, maps, and all that to a tab that the players can access at any time, which is a good place to keep a loot list for shared loot, a sell pile, or something.
I like it, as you may be able to tell. It's currently in beta, but it functions well and isn't prone to crashing TOO often (in which case it takes ~10 seconds to refresh and fix it).
Roll20.net is great because: while it has less features than other VTTs it is very very easy to use. Additionally, they are continuing to work on it and are very responsive to bug reports.
The voice chat is the buggiest element of Roll20. If you can, use something else like skype for that purpose.
Do not let the chat archive grow to be too big. If it becomes too big itll take forever to load and will basically lock up the person trying to access it. The GM should copy the campaign without the chat archive periodically to clear it. If you want to save it beforehand that can be done with copy/paste or with saving it as a webpage complete.
If you need help using it I can probably spare some time.
My group uses maptools and it does have a bit of a learning curve, but the amount of features makes it worth it.
Ive looked into roll20 and it does look alot easier to use and would probably make for a good starting point.
So it comes down to how much time you want to invest.
For voice we use either skype, which is free, or my mumble voice server.
I like TTopRPG. Simple interface, great light/shadows/darkness engine, and can make dice rolling macros with static variables that you just increase as you go up in levels without changing the rolls. We use it in conjunction with Skype. It is written in a .NET language, so it is Windows only. The guy who programs it is working on porting it to OSX, but it is still in development. For new users, he has a great 'getting started' walk-through of all the features.
operation=Critical on 18-20
Advanced nerdy feature, normal people can just have a macro that says /roll d8+5. This is just how the program generates it. pretty easy to make macro dice rolls in the interface
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Ttop is extremely simple yet impressive.
I recently used it to for a scale combat map that covered several square kilometers. (city of Savith-Yhi)
On that one map I've added nearly 2,000 tags (one for each building on the map) and placed well over 500 creatures. No choke, no lag, no crashes.
Needless to say it still works great if you have a standard size map and just a dozen PCs and Critters to deal with.
Hide/Reveal, lighting, chat, dice rolling, and effect templates. I'm not sure what else anyone would need.
Totally free, not a trial or limited version.
Thanks again Mr. Pygon
Late to the party but I can never talk enough about maptools. I've used it for years with different players inhouse and externally and it's fairly easy to use. If not for two things, click and drag maps and stat block importing. I still havn't seen a VTT that could do either.
If I want to do something on the fly i open a windows folder find an image and drag it to the map. I then crack open a book copy a statblock and paste it into a macro.
The Pathfinder support of it has a strong user base and consistant updates. If you want to move into the advanced you can install maps for traps, lighting and all sorts of neat effects that add to the immersion.
Wow Don, I think that is the first time I have ever heard anyone call Maptools 'easy to use'. *grins*
I think theirs a myth that is "difficult" because you have to install your own campaign. Which, ammounts to opening a campaign file. ... Thats about it. It's about the easist VTT out there when it comes to actual use in game. Click and drag, it behaves like windows. Copy and paste, behaves like office.
I have used Maptools, Im sorry but my experience differs greatly from yours. I found Maptools to have a rather steep learning curve and I have heard this from many other Maptools users, even from those people that like Maptools.
I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but I always tell people to go to the forums and ask for help if they can't figure it out. It's fairly easy, so easy that I can't believe it when people tell me its difficult. I've had a dozen or so players in the last 6 years, none, even my technlologically declined wife, has had no problems installing a framework and pushing buttons. What element did you find difficult?
I like MapTool. The learning curve doesn't bother me. And, if you don't want to use the more complicated features, you don't have to. If you want, you can just download it, run it, draw a basic map and get going. Not much more complicated than anything else. And, down the line, if you want to try the other features, you can learn them at your own pace.
Personally, I prefer MapTool BECAUSE OF the other features. I like being able to download a framework somebody created and have the macros available. (Haven't dared try to write macros of my own yet. 8^)
I play in a face-to-face game and run an online game over MapTools.
If you have some experience/knack for programming, MapTools rocks. I have so many things I've coded in that my players just love. Click an attack button, get a list of options based on your character's Feats/Skills, let MapTool do all the calculating for this or that. Combat runs so much faster and more effeciently.
Add Hyperlinks for Feats/Skills/Conditions so any questions about, "What does such and such do exactly" are just a mouse click away.
Keep track of daily channel, spell, bardic performance use.
Its so easy, as DM, to forget about things that are occurring over time during a hectic battle. I have Maptools automatically handling things like...
Stabilizing unconscious characters
Duration of buffs/debuffs
Reminders on a player's turn that they are suffering from X/Y/Z conditions
And the great thing in Maptools? Once you get the hang of modifying/adding to the code, you can constantly improve your gameplay. A player brings up a point like, "Can we auto calculate for when my Dragon Ferocity attack lands a critical, the amount of staggered rounds?" A week later, when we play again, the code has been modified to handle this.
Very cool, I'm a big fan of MapTools!
I use Combat Assistant (CA) for the mapping/initiative tracking. It's as simple as it gets - no minis, no chat. It was initially designed without even functionality to use a JPG background - in the good old days you'd draw all your maps.
Playing on Roll20 is great, but I can't for the life of me work out how to set up a game in Roll20. Either someone has to guide me through it or I'll have to find a youtube tutorial. In CA, lining up a grid and adding blackout spots is pretty super easy - 5 minutes work for a whole PFS game. 15 minutes if maps are being difficult with funky lines.
Roll20 is the better version of Maptool (which I've never liked); there's no reason to go back to Maptool. Not sure why anyone still uses it, unless they ran into the same problems of setting up a game on Roll20 that I did, but I think games are even tougher to set up in Maptool than they are in Roll20?
I'm keen to try out the others like Fantasy Grounds and TTopRPG. Hadn't heard of rpgwithme.com either.
I should add we have bots in IRC (the chat we use with CA) that spit out information about spells/feats/conditions as well, dicebots that spit out dice rolls and that you can set up macros for - basically all the stuff that Roll20 and Maptool do as well. You don't have to know any programming, just the one line command that tells the bot you want that information.
All of them are as easy to learn as knowing you have to type !roll 1d20+1 to get a dice roll.
Roll20 loses me with the shrinking fonts as I zoom out, and how I have to manually count out all my movement.
If you only use the functionality Roll20 replicates, Maptool is fantastic and easy to use. Some of the extra features maptool supports (macros, dynamic auto-calculated fog of war, wedging whole character sheets into minis) can be kind of a pain, but if they're more trouble than they're worth... just don't try using them.
And some people have issues with firewalls when hosting it but... that is an issue only for the 5 or 10 minutes it takes you to work out how to set up port forwarding the first time it ever comes up, then you're groovy.
Roll20 has a ruler tool to count out movement.
Why is counting out movement hard anyway? You have to do that in person as well.
It isn't especially hard to count out movement, but it's even easier than that is when I can just drag a mini over until the big number floating next to it is equal to how far I can move, let it go, and tada.
And... the issue I have with the Roll20 ruler is, again, if I'm working out, say, range increments for a composite longbow, I'm zooming so far out to get the relative locations of the minis involved in frame, the display of how long my line is shrinks down to the point it's impossible for me to read it.
Maptool's also the better option when you're switching around between several maps by a fairly wide margin if I recall.
|Mythic Evil Lincoln|
Just a note, if anyone is having an issue using or setting up a game in Roll20 feel free to post on the boards there. I'm sure someone will help you (good chance it'll be me).
I did notice you were a big muckity-muck over at Roll20, I expect I will be hashing out some stuff with you in the future to figure out some things once I really dive into the program.
On the FantasyGrounds front....I played in a few levels of a campaign as a player before several people dropped and the game ended, and I will say that I really enjoyed Fantasy Grounds. I will note however that there is a good deal to learn about it in order to use it well, especially as a GM.
I really like it but I would rather have just a plain tabletop with good ways to add my stuff to it than a tabletop tied to certain rules and have to learn how to access those rules. Also it is fairly expensive when there are free alternates. I have access to the PRD, I have books, why would I need to have my tabletop give me the rules also.
Keep It Simple Stup...Sillyhead.
I like that motto and feel like it would apply well to this sort of thing.
Im not a big muckity-muck on Roll20, Im a user that got conned into helping people. (joking :D)
Basically, I was too helpful as a user and they asked me if I wanted to be officially helping people instead. :)
Avatar-1, yes, there is a wiki, the link to the wiki is at the top of the Roll20 webpage (in the black bar). The link to the Forums is also there. If you post in the Roll20 Specific Questions forum I would be happy to help answer any of your questions.