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Help starting CnC over d20 or Fantasy Grounds 
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Lore Drake
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Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:37 pm
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Location: North Coast
Post Help starting CnC over d20 or Fantasy Grounds
Thinking of running games at a distance AND teaching the TROLLS how to run games.. looking for advice on how to start and what to do.

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:43 am
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Lore Drake
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Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:00 am
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Post Re: Help starting CnC over d20 or Fantasy Grounds
Here's a tip:

Use group initiative. I use it even for face to face games, but I found it to be a lifesaver for online games. Something about playing over a computer makes it impossible for players to consistently remember what they rolled for individual initiative. It seemed like it got messed up nearly every single combat round.

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:47 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:00 am
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Location: The Court of the Crimson King
Post Re: Help starting CnC over d20 or Fantasy Grounds
Buttmonkey wrote:
Here's a tip:

Use group initiative. I use it even for face to face games, but I found it to be a lifesaver for online games. Something about playing over a computer makes it impossible for players to consistently remember what they rolled for individual initiative. It seemed like it got messed up nearly every single combat round.


FGII, Roll20, and Maptool all have initiative trackers. FGII does per round ind. initiative easily and groups similar foes by default, and tells players when their turn comes. All of them can be configured to show the initiative or combat tracker to the players, and Roll20 and Maptool have special macro language to send your roll to the tracker.

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:11 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Help starting CnC over d20 or Fantasy Grounds
I think the first think you should do is play in some games online and get familiar as a player. If you are running your own content, horse around with that until you have the feel for playing online and then run a few combats to get going.

Here are my tips. If this all sounds like too much work, it doesn't have to be. Mostly if you can roll dice and get pictures up there you are 90% good and can play.

Learn:
  • How to get tokens, maps, or pictures into the tool and resize them, ahead of time and on the fly.
  • Apply a grid if you use one, figure out how to adjust unit size.
  • Learn how your tool points at things so you can say "This thing over here?"
  • Learn how to get characters and NPCs into the tool.
  • If your tool has macros or stored dice rolls, figure out how to roll arbitrary things.
  • If it's a desktop tool, figure out how your firewall works with it ASAP.
  • Figure out how you are going to communicate: (Discord, Skype, Roll20 chat?)
  • Learn how initiative works.
  • Get some maps and tokens. I like Fiery Dragon's Counter Collection Digital but there are lots of options. Roll20 has a built in store for those, and you can buy some tokens for FGII from their store. Everything will let you use your GIFs and JPGs. Maptool has another tool called TokenTool that lets you screenshot pictures and put them into rings or squares to make tokens.
  • If your tool is fancy, you can draw maps too.
  • Learn to center the view for your and players.
  • Get comfortable with switching maps. Having multiple maps means each can have its own scale and they'll load faster for players. I think in all of them you can put some players on one map and some on another.

Don't panic. If everything goes to hell you can roll your own dice, use paper sheets, and just throw up a grid to fight on and nothing will be much worse than gaming at a table. And you only have your own cheetohs to clean up.

Specific VTTs:

FGII: Learn everything about how it works, including targeting, planning encounters, using modules, etc. The more you understand how it wants to work the less you'll fight with it. You'll still probably fight with it if you are like me.
Maptool: Just make sure everyone has Java and Maptool installed beforehand and your firewall works. Maptool is great at enormous tiled maps, so if you plan to attack from a mile away in 5' squares, you can. Set up C&C specific properties in your tokens, at least one set for characters and one for monsters. That makes it easier for your or your players to write macros that reference those. If your players are programmers, if you give them a few properties just for throwing random JSON into they can come up with some pretty cool interactive sheets. The weird macro system I wrote for it uses JSON to store weapon inventory and other attributes. If you have time, make a base token for monsters and maybe a fancy one for each class. I can show you some examples. Then you can copy those if you need them. And you don't really need to do any of that to just use it as a dice roller and map.
Learn how to double click on a token in the token list view to center yourself on a monster or player or use the /center command.
Roll20: No connection hassles usually, since it's hosted. They've done work on their voice chat and maybe it works but none of our groups trust it right now. If you use that plan on a backup.Roll20 has fairly limited macros unless you have Pro and want to write to their Javascript API. You don't need to know too much. Learn to reference variables on your character sheet in your rolls, and you can do a lot of rolls from the sheet itself if you use it (when you set up the game say you want to use the C&C sheet). Learn how to send a roll to the initiative tracker. Setting up a "template" sheet for players that has an initiative macro on it already is helpful. Make your own macro to do monster initiative. Roll20 has a tool to help you align your maps to a grid (if you use a pre-gridded map). Learn to use it. That's true in all of the tools. If you care about distance, measuring, square size, etc. then make sure your maps know about it. It doesn't take long and can prevent arguments.

Voice: Discord and Skype work pretty well. You can also set up/rent a mumble or teamspeak server.

If you are running for the Trolls, it probably makes sense to use FGII, the product with actual C&C support. It's well-integrated with the game.
On the other hand, everyone I play with uses Maptool or Roll20. I like playing Maptool because I can write useful character macros and CKs like it because dragging and dropping stuff onto the play surface/table is quick and usually works. Because maps are infinite and easy to zoom and move around, lots of CKs will drop lots of maps of different sizes and scopes to the play area just to keep moving. Roll20 has no firewall issues to deal with (well, maybe NAT if you use the built in voice chat), and at least with some browsers drag and drop to the map library works OK.

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:46 pm
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Mogrl

Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 7:00 am
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Location: Arizona and St Louis
Post Re: Help starting CnC over d20 or Fantasy Grounds
`Good luck with that. Steve was supposed to play in my game to learn Roll 20, and I told him Aergraith could teach him FG.

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:43 pm
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Ungern
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2015 4:59 pm
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Post Re: Help starting CnC over d20 or Fantasy Grounds
I have used FG for over 6 years. My standing offer of availability is still on the table.


Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:23 pm
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Lore Drake
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Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:37 pm
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Location: North Coast
Post Re: Help starting CnC over d20 or Fantasy Grounds
On of my players InFerno (Tanner) I think has applied to try to be in your game. We're all going to try here.. if we can get the trolls along all the better.

Captain K

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:51 pm
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Ulthal

Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:00 am
Posts: 518
Post Re: Help starting CnC over d20 or Fantasy Grounds
I have been using Roll20 since 2013 and love it. There is a basic character sheet that can be used, but that is pretty much it for support. I have a Pro account to get full access to the API and other advanced functionality.
  • API - A programming interface where you can build all kinds of functions, or use many that already exist and are easily dropped in. For example I have written my own initiative script so I as the DM can select all tokens participating and with one click set the initiative order and make the turn order window open. I am working on a script to add a monster character from a database of the monsters I have pulled from the monster and setting books.
  • Map sizing, if you dont have a grid on the map this is a bit difficult, but there is a built in tool that you can use to drag to cover a 3x3 portion of the map grid and it will scale to that, you can then tweak this by manually stretching/shrinking the map edges. If you make your own maps you can get this pretty much dead on, if using maps from the market this should happen easily, if you use other maps from the web, it can be more difficult. If you do make your own maps and don't want to have a grid show, then off in one place on the map that is not normally shown, have a portion of the grid you can use for sizing.
  • Fog of War, the basic FoW is nice, and works the same as FG and MapTool, but with the paid accounts you get access to Dynamic Lighting, this lets you build a vision blocking layer and layout the lines for your walls, and it will restrict what your characters can see, and if you use tokens that show your facing you can even include an arc of sight. This can also restrict movement. Pro tip, use a tool like the GIMP to make maps, or to manually trace your maps and save the walls as path, then export as an SVG file, this can then be loaded to a website that will generate a script to make the line of sight blocking lines for you.
  • With the paid account you can have multiple games set up, I use these extra games to build out my adventures, then use the transmogrifier tool to move the maps, tokens, handouts, etc. into the active game that I have my players joined to. This keeps the total size of the individual game down and improves speed.
  • On the paid version, you only need to have one player as the GM that pays for this.
  • Judicious use of handouts allow you to share images, text, and I use it for certain pieces of treasure, like magic items, so the players can have an easy reference to them once they are identified. You can also include hyperlinks within them to other handouts to link things together.
  • Roll Tables are nice to add some basic tables to the game, there are some API scripts that use them to do some interesting things, like the abilitiy to automatically change the token for shape shifting character like the druid.
  • We use Google Hangouts for voice/video
  • There is an online store to buy things like tokens, maps, and much more. There are even map tiles to help in building maps directly on the system.
  • Art library that allows you to upload your own maps and other images, search the web for free images maps, tokens, etc., access to premium content for paid subscriptions, and of course to all content purchased from the store.
  • An active forum for help/tips/tricks on running games in the system, and for help with API use.
  • The API is java script based, and fairly simple to use, it is fully documented, and the community is quick to help.
  • Character sheets can have a lot of power and functionality, I am working on a replacement for the one already available on the system, going slow since I am not a web programmer, the sheets are built in HTML/CSS, Java script can also be embedded in the sheet for a lot of functionality
  • For even free accounts, the macro system can be quite powerful, though there is a lot of things I would like to see added into it, including an if/then/else construct.
I could go on but will stop here. Feel free to reach out if you want to learn more.


Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:19 am
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Red Cap
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Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:28 pm
Posts: 313
Post Re: Help starting CnC over d20 or Fantasy Grounds
And if you're interested in Fantasy Grounds instead, then just about everything he said also applies, except that it's already built in with the $10 Castles and Crusades ruleset purchase. (Even includes everything in the PHB and M&T already setup and ready to go, complete with the full text of those books available within the software while playing.)


Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:45 pm
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Ungern
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2015 4:59 pm
Posts: 79
Post Re: Help starting CnC over d20 or Fantasy Grounds
Something people may want to consider is that TLG benefits when you choose the VTT they have a business agreement with. Every little bit helps when supporting your favorite gaming company. At $10 the C&C ruleset is amazing value for your money... the equivalent of an overpriced fancy coffee at one of them specialty places.

Either way though, let's get gaming.


Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:07 am
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