Virtual Tabletop Poll

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The Virtual Tabletops I use to run or play game most often is:

Virtual? Is that what the kids call oak now?
1
6%
Maptool
4
25%
Roll20
9
56%
Fantasy Grounds
2
13%
EpicTable
0
No votes
TTopRPG
0
No votes
Something else I'll tell you about below.
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 16

alcyone
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Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by alcyone »

Wondering what virtual tabletops people are using. The games I run and play use Maptool and Roll20 mostly, and I have run FGII several times, and probably played with half a dozen more.

Also, for those who use tablets to play, how is that? I have a 2560x1440 monitor and I wish I had 4 times the space to play, and can't imagine using a tablet, but I'm interested in what your experience is.

And, if you do use a VTT, do you use its built in text or voice chat, or skype, or ventrilo, or teamspeak, or what?

Edit: adding links

Epic Table: http://www.epictable.com/
Fantasy Grounds II: http://www.fantasygrounds.com/
Maptool: http://rptools.net/
Roll20: http://roll20.net/
TTopRPG: http://www.ttoprpg.com/TTopRPG/index.htm
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AGNKim
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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by AGNKim »

I love Roll20, I think it's vastly superior to the others you listed.

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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by DMSamuel »

I have used Maptool, D20Pro, the WotC VTT, and Roll20. Of those, Roll20 is by far the best one and easiest to use. While I love Maptools and feel that it is a very good product, Roll20 has 2 things that put it on the top above the others:
1) Easy to use, easy to import maps, easy to add tokens, etc
2) Integration with Google+ and the ability to record the session easily

I used to use skype with maptools, and then skype with D20Pro... and it was an okay setup, but Roll20 blows it out of the water being able to run it in Google.
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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by Rhuvein »

Maptools!

I probably won't ever play in any game with Roll20. Just don't like the interface!

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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by mmbutter »

I run a number of games (C&C, RoleMaster, and Traveller in the past) on Fantasy Grounds with Team Speak for audio.

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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by pawndream »

I have run a few games on Roll20 and thought it was pretty good, especially after I worked out some minor technical glitches getting everyone able to hear each other. I used the built in audio features and have tried it both as a Roll20 application and Google Hangouts. I didn't notice any appreciable difference between the two options.

I have also run text-based games using mIRC, but that was a long time ago, in the boom-town days of the internet, i.e., late 90s.

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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by Rigon »

When I run games, I use MapTools, but I play in Tree's game and he uses Roll20. If Roll20 keeps improving, I may switch. But I really love MapTools ease of use.

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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by Buttmonkey »

I really hate MapTools. Port forwarding is a pain in the ass and the software has a fairly steep learning curve. I admit it can do some amazing things if you put in the time to get good with it. I remember constantly downloading new beta test versions of MT. Did they ever release another stable version?

I'm getting a new laptop soon (my current one is probably 12-15 years old) and will probably check out Roll20 when I upgrade.
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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by DMSamuel »

Since this thread is already here, I'll ask a question in it rather than starting a new thread...

Is Fantasy Grounds worth it?

or should I just stick with Roll20 and G+ with the built in ability to record sessions?
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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by mmbutter »

Fantasy Grounds is way better than Map Tools and Roll 20.

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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by alcyone »

Short Answer: No.

Also, if you find value in recording sessions, then there's your answer there; I don't know how to do that in Fantasy Grounds. Me, I don't want my ugly mug all over youtube stuffing my face full of cheetos and talking about lamias and succubi but YMMV.

Fantasy Grounds has some strengths:
1: So far it's the only tabletop with a working C&C character sheet (AFAIK). Maptool has the capability but not too many games actually have it working (you can make an xml/css page and tie it into the backend). Roll20 has the scripting capability needed, at least at some pledge levels but eventually it will be available to everyone, and sounds like Rom is working on it.
2: You can assemble groups of foes and drop them into initiative very easily, and it can even randomize their HP for you, and they themselves have draggable attack and damage dice.
3. If you are running a published module, it's nice because everything is hyperlinked and draggable. You can just drop readaloud text into a window, you can drag from monsters and treasures onto the initiative tracker, you can click spells that an npc has and bring them up to view.
4. Official, complete C&C adventures are available.
5. You can grab rolls from your character sheet and drop them on your foes. This really is nice to keep combat moving.
6. It's been updated recently so C&C now benefits from most changes to the core that otherwise support Pathfinder and 4e.

Drawbacks:
PC/Windows only.
Drawing tools are pretty bad.
Zoom/scale/move and window open/close stuff is strange.
Need to port-forward in your firewall to make it work (this isn't hard, but if your ISP are jerks it can become impossible)
I'd say there are fewer players, but I am not sure; I think they tend to be more active somewhere other than the TLG forums.

You didn't ask about Maptool, but I may as well say a few things:

It's a very capable system, and it's open-source if you really really need to monkey with it. It's programmable through a pretty ugly macro language, though since there is JSON support I think there is a way to use the only slightly less ugly Javascript language to do what you want to do also.

There is a tool called CharacterTool which is for making character sheets for your own system in Maptool. I don't know how it works, and I've spent hours trying to figure it out. And I write software for a living. If anyone else knows how it works, they haven't shared their C&C sheet.

There are a lot of us here who use it. Some have sort of template campaigns you can use that have nice property sheets to keep track of everything that's needed from the character sheet in play (if you make a sheet with Character Tool, ultimately it will talk to this property sheet anyway) and are nice people who share. They also have macros for initiative, healing, damage, and SIEGE checks, so though my last paragraph sounded a bit grim, in practice it's easy to use and has everything you need.

Maptool is free, and new features are prioritized by a voting system, which is donation based. That said, not much has been happening with it lately.

New Java updates seem to cause 15-20 mins of play time to be lost as people figure out workarounds.

Maptool has a pretty nice set of drawing tools, dynamic lighting, fog of war, and all that. Zooming and moving are intuitive.

Maptool is pretty stable these days. Our groups are more likely to have a Skype issue than a Maptool issue.
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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by DMSamuel »

Thanks for the detailed response...
Aergraith wrote:Short Answer: No.

Exactly what I needed to know. :)
Aergraith wrote:Also, if you find value in recording sessions, then there's your answer there; I don't know how to do that in Fantasy Grounds. Me, I don't want my ugly mug all over youtube stuffing my face full of cheetos and talking about lamias and succubi but YMMV.
I do it for the audio, not the video - I like to keep track of my campaigns and I often release actual play audio out on my website.
Aergraith wrote:Fantasy Grounds has some strengths:
1: So far it's the only tabletop with a working C&C character sheet (AFAIK). Maptool has the capability but not too many games actually have it working (you can make an xml/css page and tie it into the backend). Roll20 has the scripting capability needed, at least at some pledge levels but eventually it will be available to everyone, and sounds like Rom is working on it.
2: You can assemble groups of foes and drop them into initiative very easily, and it can even randomize their HP for you, and they themselves have draggable attack and damage dice.
3. If you are running a published module, it's nice because everything is hyperlinked and draggable. You can just drop readaloud text into a window, you can drag from monsters and treasures onto the initiative tracker, you can click spells that an npc has and bring them up to view.
4. Official, complete C&C adventures are available.
5. You can grab rolls from your character sheet and drop them on your foes. This really is nice to keep combat moving.
6. It's been updated recently so C&C now benefits from most changes to the core that otherwise support Pathfinder and 4e.
Hmmm... none of those things are really big enough benefits to justify the expense in $ and time to learn a new interface (even easy ones take time).
Aergraith wrote:Drawbacks:
PC/Windows only.
Drawing tools are pretty bad.
Zoom/scale/move and window open/close stuff is strange.
Need to port-forward in your firewall to make it work (this isn't hard, but if your ISP are jerks it can become impossible)
I'd say there are fewer players, but I am not sure; I think they tend to be more active somewhere other than the TLG forums.
I have no issue forwarding a port with my ISP, so that's not a problem, and I use a windows machine, so also not a problem. Not being able to zoom, scale, and move around the view of a map is a bit of a problem for me though. I like to be able to manipulate the map as much and as easily as possible.
Aergraith wrote:You didn't ask about Maptool, but I may as well say a few things:

It's a very capable system, and it's open-source if you really really need to monkey with it. It's programmable through a pretty ugly macro language, though since there is JSON support I think there is a way to use the only slightly less ugly Javascript language to do what you want to do also.

There is a tool called CharacterTool which is for making character sheets for your own system in Maptool. I don't know how it works, and I've spent hours trying to figure it out. And I write software for a living. If anyone else knows how it works, they haven't shared their C&C sheet.

There are a lot of us here who use it. Some have sort of template campaigns you can use that have nice property sheets to keep track of everything that's needed from the character sheet in play (if you make a sheet with Character Tool, ultimately it will talk to this property sheet anyway) and are nice people who share. They also have macros for initiative, healing, damage, and SIEGE checks, so though my last paragraph sounded a bit grim, in practice it's easy to use and has everything you need.

Maptool is free, and new features are prioritized by a voting system, which is donation based. That said, not much has been happening with it lately.

New Java updates seem to cause 15-20 mins of play time to be lost as people figure out workarounds.

Maptool has a pretty nice set of drawing tools, dynamic lighting, fog of war, and all that. Zooming and moving are intuitive.

Maptool is pretty stable these days. Our groups are more likely to have a Skype issue than a Maptool issue.
About 4 years ago I ran a several-month campaign using maptools, so I am very familiar with the product. I found myself fiddling with it all the time, though, and sometimes having connection problems due my computer being bogged down. So I was looking for a 'lighter' alternative. It appears that FGII is not that...

What about roll20 - any thoughts on that program?
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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by alcyone »

Roll20 is getting better all of the time, is "good enough" for replacing your wooden table, and is accessible from Linux, Windows, and Mac (maybe tablets too, haven't tried that.) You need to donate to get some of the more recent premium features (like dynamic lighting) but I think after a time they'll trickle down to the free version.

Character sheets are on the way.

The site has some basic looking for group stuff and an active support forum that the developers read.

So, overall, it's looking good. The character sheet thing is sort of a compromise on the part of the creators, who don't really want it to become a system-specific tool, so it's probably always going to feel a bit generic.

The biggest drawback for me right now is the macro stuff is pretty clumsy and it's hard to share your macros in an easy way. Even if you are the CK and are willing to do the work to get everyone set up, it's not as easy as putting your macros in a box and just sharing them to everyone. On the other hand, nothing else really can do that either. In Maptool you can inherit your token from one that does have all of that stuff, so that's about the closest thing. Fantasy Grounds isn't big on per user customization, so it puts all of that stuff into the system itself, and does a good enough job you probably won't need much else besides the dice and modifier shortcut stuff beyond the character sheet.

One thing to be aware of, C&C is house-rule heavy. The more the VTT does for you, the more it will do it the way your house rules don't.
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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by mmbutter »

Aergraith wrote:Short Answer: No.

Also, if you find value in recording sessions, then there's your answer there; I don't know how to do that in Fantasy Grounds. Me, I don't want my ugly mug all over youtube stuffing my face full of cheetos and talking about lamias and succubi but YMMV.
Recording of the chat log is automatic in FG - it even formats the log in html for posting. You'll find it in the campaign's directory. If you use voice chat, I recommend using Teamspeak with FG, and TS has a recording feature as well.
Aergraith wrote: Drawbacks:
PC/Windows only.
Drawing tools are pretty bad.
Zoom/scale/move and window open/close stuff is strange.
Need to port-forward in your firewall to make it work (this isn't hard, but if your ISP are jerks it can become impossible)
I'd say there are fewer players, but I am not sure; I think they tend to be more active somewhere other than the TLG forums.
There are solutions for Mac and Linux as well. I do very little drawing within FG itself (I setup my maps ahead of time with GIMP, and for stuff that needs to be indicated on the map during game sessions, I use dropped tokens.) The zooming and other stuff is very intuitive once you've done it a couple of times. Only the GM requires port-forwarding and there are several VPN solutions that you can use with FG to get around ISP limitations on port-forwarding. The Fantasy Grounds forums have a very active C&C community. Smiteworks (the company that produces FG) even runs "online cons" several times a year where you can spend the weekend playing RPGs with people from around the world...

That said, if anyone wants me to demo C&C on FG to them / their group, I'm am very happy to do it at nearly any time. Just let me know. I have an "unlimited" license so I can host any number of the "free" demo licenses for a game - no cost to try it out just have to download and install the software.

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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by alcyone »

Oh, another nice thing about Fantasy Grounds II: if you buy a module or spend a few hours setting one up, you won't need the paper copy if you do your job right, or even a PDF. You can hyperlink your overland (or any) map (or a flowchart, or whatever) to each location, have draggable groups of monsters (encounters) right on the location, read-aloud and GM text, and of course you can have both GM and player maps also hyperlinked to the location entries. If you have everything there, there is no need to look at the original module. The A# modules I have seem to be set up pretty well in this way.

If you need to enter a module by hand you can do it through the UI. I find the editing controls to be pretty weird, and you might have to format stuff before you paste it from your PDF, but you can do it. You don't have to restat anything that is in the rulebooks, just link it. If a monster isn't in the M&T there is a place to add per-campaign monsters.

Another drawback I thought of is it's a bit of a pain for characters to choose their own tokens. For the avatar that represents the actual player, you have to instruct them to make it the right size and drag it to a specific folder on their machine (but shortcuts are provided, though helping non-computer literate people find them is a bit maddening). For the tokens, IIRC, the GM needs to assign them from their own pool of tokens.
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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by mmbutter »

If you apply a grid on the map before adding any tokens, the C&C ruleset auto-scales the tokens to the grid size (taking into account small, medium, and large identifiers for monsters as well).

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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by alcyone »

Thanks.
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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by BoomerET »

Anyone at all familiar w/ Roll20 as a GM. I'm creating a character sheet, and could use some input.

If you haven't see the sneak peak, it's on the C&C G+ page.

(Macros, what fields you'd like to see, etc)

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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by alcyone »

The macros are pretty basic in Roll20, so what I set up are:

Attributes:
HP
AC
HD
BtH
Bonus/Penalty for each SDWICC

Then a macro for each of:
Every weapon the character will use to attack and its damage
Any spell with variable Initiative, putting the result in the Tracker
Every siege check, which says in the macro if it is prime or non-prime. Ideally you have two lists of these, with and without level.

Now, in Maptool, (and maybe if you are using JavaScript for the sheets?) there are more things to do
Either have an array of weapon objects or just weapon1,2,3, each with:
attack bonus, magic bonus, misc bonus, for each of attack and damage
A macro to decrement or increment HP by user input. In Maptool you need to have a separate hp cur/max but Roll20 has that built in.
Simplify the SIEGE check macros to take user input for level/bonuses so they can serve double duty and you can get by with fewer of them.

I think that's pretty much what you need in order to play. Lots of other nice things, but we manage with less in Maptool or Roll20 depending on how the backing sheet store is set up.

Rolls should always be set up to show the actual dice roll followed by the bonuses. This is default when you do like "I roll [[1d20+Strength+BtH]] for [[1d8+Strength]] if I hit." but be aware if you collect the result in a variable to "show your work". Then CKs who do crit/fumble for instance have the roll to look at (Roll20 will also do red/green on min/max roll).

Players should be able to quickly add stuff that isn't fully described. "You find a long pointy thing that detects as magic" If they can't write it down somewhere, even the note section, then they can't get my with just the sheet.

Really nice to have is spells prepared/cast/spellbook, but if you have access to the notes/bio area even if you are using a sheet, that is good enough. The easier that is to track, the more likely a person playing a missing player's character will have an accurate sheet to use.

Also, bear in mind that lots of CKs allow multiclassing, which is always a wrench in the works, but there will still be one BtH. You may have to have HD1, HD2, HD3 for hit dice.
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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by alcyone »

And nobody asked, but if you are doing a Maptool game, your character key/value store should at least have everything that is on Nate's (nwelte), and also the heal/damage macros. He might share them if people ask nicely.
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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by alcyone »

Oh, and visually your sheet looks great, Boomer. If it's CSS/HTML it might 90% port to Maptool (though not the mechanical part).
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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by BoomerET »

Thanks for the info Aergraith, I appreciate it.

Unfortunately, Roll20 Character sheets can't use Javascript. I don't know anything about macros or how they work in Roll20, so I'll have to take a look.


Trolls,

Any chance I can get some geek credz for my Roll20/Hero Lab work?????


BoomerET

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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by alcyone »

BoomerET wrote:Thanks for the info Aergraith, I appreciate it.

Unfortunately, Roll20 Character sheets can't use Javascript. I don't know anything about macros or how they work in Roll20, so I'll have to take a look.
Oh, that is really disappointing. Macros right now in Roll20 are very lame. You can't store interim results in variables, I don't think you can ask for user input, no conditionals(!). There is sort of a conditional for counting successes for systems that have a target number for multiple dice (it prints how many success you got) but you can't really use it for D&D type rolls.

I was hoping that the Javascript API and the character sheet would go hand-in-hand.

Of course, this is a game we can all play at the table with no macros at all, but as anyone who has used Hero Lab to play Pathfinder or 3.5e knows, a high level character with lots of buffs, curses, magic items, cursed items, potions, and situational modifiers will get their turn resolved a lot faster if they can just track each bonus and penalty in one place and have all of the macros and sheet variables do the right thing. If you have to hard code 20 macros and change each of them for whatever is going on (or when you level), what is the point?
BoomerET wrote: Trolls,

Any chance I can get some geek credz for my Roll20/Hero Lab work?????


BoomerET
Yeah!
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Re: Virtual Tabletop Poll

Post by alcyone »

I think Roll20 can use JavaScript via the API, but it doesn't look like many of the sheets are doing that right now. I don't know exactly how it works and I don't have a Mentor account.
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