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  #1  
Old 03-28-2020, 11:24 AM
Damuri Ajashi is offline
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Online Dungeons & Dragons Quickstart?


Not Dungoens & Dragons Online but a PnP D&D 5e game that I can play with friends and family online.

Is there a real easy dummy proof site that will do the trick?


On a related note,
I have seen these "educational" D&D campaigns being advertised online but they are always full.
The campaigns promise historical content, math, reading, etc. Not sure if they really deliver but folks are willing to give it a try to pry their kids away from things like shellshock eggshooter games.
  #2  
Old 03-28-2020, 12:52 PM
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I have zero experience, but I think there are some intro videos about roll20

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  #3  
Old 03-28-2020, 01:42 PM
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https://roll20.net/
https://www.astraltabletop.com/
https://www.fantasygrounds.com/home/home.php
https://d20pro.com/

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  #4  
Old 03-28-2020, 01:46 PM
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Any technology that allows communication can be used to play D&D. My group's most recent session was over Zoom teleconferencing software, which worked reasonably well (though we had to be on the honor system for die rolls). Although some programs have built-in support for die rolls, maps, etc., it's not actually necessary. On of my friends who's been playing since the Stone Ages has even played over the phone.
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Old 03-28-2020, 02:44 PM
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Any technology that allows communication can be used to play D&D. My group's most recent session was over Zoom teleconferencing software, which worked reasonably well (though we had to be on the honor system for die rolls). Although some programs have built-in support for die rolls, maps, etc., it's not actually necessary. On of my friends who's been playing since the Stone Ages has even played over the phone.
20 years ago, I was in a group which played D&D on AOL Instant Messenger. One nice benefit of that was that AIM had a built-in dice-roller utility. We didn't have maps, but it was rarely an issue.
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Old 03-28-2020, 02:50 PM
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What Chronos said; basically for your small group you can use any mailing list, bulletin board, forum, or instant messenger that allows for both announcements broadcast to the entire party and for private chats between the dungeon master and a player or among smaller groups of players (for when the party is split up).
  #7  
Old 03-28-2020, 03:16 PM
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I strongly recommend roll20 as it is web-based, no installation, allows native voice chat, lots of visual tools and I'm very pleased with the free account, as I have not upgraded to the premium.
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Old 03-28-2020, 04:00 PM
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I know about roll20 but it seemed really complicated
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Old 03-28-2020, 04:02 PM
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I know about roll20 but it seemed really complicated
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Old 03-28-2020, 04:28 PM
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I played my first adventure over Roll20 last Wednesday (with audio provided by Discord on our phones). It was my usual group - the same 2 guys I've been playing D&D with for 30 years - continuing the adventure we started before the virus. It went great. I was skeptical at first, but after a few minutes it felt like a regular game, only with less math.

And yes, Roll20 is complicated. "Fortunately" for us, our DM has just been laid off, is single and is childless, which means that he had nothing better to do than to spend a couple of days figuring out how it works, before giving the rest of us a crash course on game night. It's actually a great system when someone else is doing the heavy lifting.
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Old 03-29-2020, 09:26 AM
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For what it's worth, professional table top game designer Robin Laws recommends basically whatever platform you already know.

If you want something that approximates the table-top grid & minis approach, you're pretty much stuck with the more complex platforms Stranger on a Train listed. They work pretty well and aren't too onerous for players iff the DM is willing and able to put in the time to learn the platform and do the digital gruntwork of setting stuff up. They also have pre-made adventure modules and add-ons for purchase that do a lot of the work for the DM, but there's still a fairly steep learning curve when you're first starting out.

For a "theater of the mind" approach, though, you really don't need anything more than a bog-standard conferencing or chat app. Most of them have dice-roller functions, because nerds.
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Old 03-29-2020, 11:05 AM
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Wizards of the Coast has all the Basic rules available for free to anyone. You can find them here.
  #13  
Old 03-29-2020, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by gdave View Post
For what it's worth, professional table top game designer Robin Laws recommends basically whatever platform you already know.

If you want something that approximates the table-top grid & minis approach, you're pretty much stuck with the more complex platforms Stranger on a Train listed. They work pretty well and aren't too onerous for players iff the DM is willing and able to put in the time to learn the platform and do the digital gruntwork of setting stuff up. They also have pre-made adventure modules and add-ons for purchase that do a lot of the work for the DM, but there's still a fairly steep learning curve when you're first starting out.

For a "theater of the mind" approach, though, you really don't need anything more than a bog-standard conferencing or chat app. Most of them have dice-roller functions, because nerds.
I think this is good advice, especially for anyone who is looking at trying to get started playing online, and has not done so previously. My online group (which has been pretty much defunct for a couple of years now) used MapTools for years, and Roll20 for a while, too, and while Roll20 is the less complex of the two, neither of them are terribly user-friendly, especially for new users. Both platforms really do need at least one player (preferably the GM) who knows the platform well, and can set things up and trouble-shoot. Even once we all got familiar with the platform, there was still always, IMO, too much of each session which had to be devoted to dealing with technical and connectivity issues.

A friend of mine is in a 5D D&D group, which tried to use Roll20 for the first time last week; he sent me a note, asking me what my group used, as their first foray with Roll20 was extremely frustrating and confusing.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 03-29-2020 at 11:17 AM.
  #14  
Old 03-29-2020, 11:45 AM
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If you're running a published adventure, I highly recommend Fantasy Grounds. I just ran my first session with it yesterday, and was really impressed. But I'm not doing a homebrew campaign - I'm running Strange Aeons for the Pathfinder system, and you can buy the entire campaign as a module for Fantasy Grounds. They've got all the monsters in there, fully stated and set up to work properly with their system, all the maps, monster tokens. You can even click on boxed text and have it appear in a chat window! It's really slick, and most importantly, vastly reduces how much time you need to spend learning the software. I just needed to learn how to work the map, and, by extension, the initiative tracker, since those things are tied together in FG. Everything else we could do with paper character sheets and a Discord channel. If I'd had to learn how to import and set up all my own content, that would have been a significantly steeper learning curve.
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Old 03-29-2020, 12:32 PM
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My gaming group played a virtual game of Ticket to Ride on Saturday with Tabletop Simulator. It worked pretty well, has a dice rolling utility, and it allows you to easily set up miniatures on a game surface. We figured Tabletop Simulator would work well enough for a DnD campaign, and we plan to try that next. We just left our Google Hangouts session running in the background to provide audio. I'm not sure if Tabletop Simulator has an audio function built in but likely it does. Nearly everything on Steam does, from what I can tell. It's $20 per license (or four for $60).

I looked into Roll20 which seems wonderfully featured but so complicated that we would all spend hours learning how to use it rather than actually playing. No thanks.

Side note: We won't be using playing Ticket to Ride or any of the other games in the "Workshop" any more. It seems those are all just ripoffs of people's copyrighted content. We want game creators to get paid so they make more great games. We let Ticket to Ride slide since every person in the game already owned a copy and we couldn't meet in person due to the apocalypse.
  #16  
Old 03-29-2020, 10:46 PM
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I'm planning to use roll20 for two different groups on the same adventure: a group of 11yo kids (including my daughter), and a group of adults. Yeah, it's really complicated, but I've done a lot of the setup work for the kids, and hope that with a 20-30 minute tutorial I can get them going. For the adults, I'm hoping they can figure out how to set up a character, and we can puzzle the rest out from there. It looks to have a lot of features that I don't every really need to use. With the 5e character sheets and all the macros built into them, I think a lot of that stuff will be covered.
  #17  
Old 03-30-2020, 12:45 AM
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Here's something took us forever to figure out: if you want the initiative order table to work, click on your character on the map, and then go to your character sheet and press Initiative.
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Old 03-30-2020, 02:01 PM
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We've been using Roll20 for our home game for a couple years now, since my daughter went off to college and had to play remotely.

I wouldn't describe Roll20 as complicated. I would describe it as complex.

It's like Excel. Sure you can write a full application on top of Excel which fetches data from different sources and has a custom UI on top with workflows... Or you can type in 5 numbers and add them together at the bottom.

Roll20 in its most basic form you can, for free, put player tokens and monster tokens on an empty grid, give them names, and move them around. You don't need to use more of the features than that... but if you want more they are there.

Now of course me being a geek I have custom maps with walls and dynamic lighting so the players only see what their characters' torches illuminate, macros for dealing with naming and displaying monsters, animated spells, and the players and DM just need to click on the attack, spell, whatever on their character sheet to take that action. Once you learn to do all this stuff it's really neat... but you don't need any of this.

Over the last two weeks 3 of my game store games have moved to Roll20 and I've helped them get set up. The first day it was a little bumpy but after 4 or 5 sessions I think there'll definitely be stuff we all miss if we move back to in person games.

One thing that did ease the transition. Most of the players I knew were already using DnDBeyond to handle their character sheets, some of them even bringing tables or laptops into the store to access them online. There's a really well done chrome/firefox plugin called Beyond20 that lets you use your DnDBeyond character sheet to make all your rolls in a Roll20 game without having to set up your character sheet in Roll20. I think about 2/3rds of the players are using that now.

Last edited by Pixel_Dent; 03-30-2020 at 02:02 PM.
  #19  
Old 03-30-2020, 03:41 PM
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Most of the players I knew were already using DnDBeyond to handle their character sheets, some of them even bringing tables or laptops into the store to access them online.
I thought that was pretty extreme, until I realized what was missing .

So far, I've set up my game with some maps, some tokens, and some character sheets. I've added some soundracks from the jukebox, and I plan to add some stat blocks to monster descriptions. I figure we'll do most of the rolling from the sheets, but if it's confusing, folks can roll real dice.
  #20  
Old 04-01-2020, 09:11 PM
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All right, I've run two sessions through roll20 now.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with it. There's a fair amount of setup, and it's not super user-friendly, but for a free product it's very impressive.

The basic 5e rules are very well-incorporated. You can pull up a compendium and add a spell to a character sheet by dragging it onto the character. You can create a new character using the basic rules just by going through their generator ("charactermancer"). It's nowhere near as spiffy as the D&D Beyond generator is, but it's workable enough. I think you can add the books to your compendium, but that costs money.

Some stuff is not at all obvious, though. The GM can add a whole bunch of pages to the adventure, with underlying pictures or maps. For example, I had a town map that I put up when players were generating characters, and an image of a storm-tossed ship during the intro scenario, and then a couple of grid maps for when they were exploring a ruin. As GM there's a tab that I can use to put player eyes on a new page, which is great. But the character tokens don't transfer. As far as I can tell, I have to create a new token for each PC every time they go to a new map, and then I have to link that token to the correct character file. If there's an easier way to do it, I haven't found it.

And I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out how to do things that seem relatively simple, like allowing players to show their character sheets to one another.

The learning curve is pretty steep. But I kinda like learning new systems like this, so I don't mind too too much.
  #21  
Old 04-02-2020, 03:32 PM
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We've been using Roll20 to for the Mapping ability, Discord for communication (Roll20's lag is real), and D&DBeyond for our character sheets.

Chrome has an extension, Beyond20, which integrates D&DBeyond with Roll20 pretty seamlessly.
  #22  
Old 04-02-2020, 09:51 PM
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Some stuff is not at all obvious, though. The GM can add a whole bunch of pages to the adventure, with underlying pictures or maps. For example, I had a town map that I put up when players were generating characters, and an image of a storm-tossed ship during the intro scenario, and then a couple of grid maps for when they were exploring a ruin. As GM there's a tab that I can use to put player eyes on a new page, which is great. But the character tokens don't transfer. As far as I can tell, I have to create a new token for each PC every time they go to a new map, and then I have to link that token to the correct character file. If there's an easier way to do it, I haven't found it.

And I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out how to do things that seem relatively simple, like allowing players to show their character sheets to one another.
Figured both of these out after spending another few hours with the program and in the support files:
1) Linking tokens to character sheets is not intuitive, but once you know how to do it, it doesn't take too long. Create a character. Put a token on the map. Link the token to the character. Link one of the colored bars to a stat like HP (which is done through a drop-down menu with over a hundred choices, listed alphabetically, even though HP is the obvious one). Now go back to the character sheet, while that token is selected, and call that token the default token for the character. Having done that dance, now you can just drag the character sheet onto a new map, and the correctly-linked token will show up.
2) Showing sheets to other players is apparently something users have been asking for for years. AFAICT, the only way to do it is for the GM to give everyone the right to control and edit the character, and then they can all look at it. So it's something to do on a temporary basis.
  #23  
Old 04-03-2020, 07:50 AM
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There are lots of moments using Roll20 where you go, "oh wow, that's neat!" but they always follow a few minutes of trying to figure it out in the first place.

I ran a session for my pre-Covid group using Roll20 and we didn't like it much. The video/voice functions were not working properly for all players and the interface is not intuitive. It also required a ton of setup on my end and "lots of setup" is not my particular style of DMing. If you're not artistic (I am not artistic) you have to do a lot of work finding usable assets on the internet and properly sizing them to the Roll20 grids. This is fiddly and annoying to do.

We're going to give it one more shot but will probably switch to a something like Google Meet and just have everyone use paper character sheets and roll their own dice.
  #24  
Old 04-03-2020, 04:09 PM
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There are lots of moments using Roll20 where you go, "oh wow, that's neat!" but they always follow a few minutes of trying to figure it out in the first place.

I ran a session for my pre-Covid group using Roll20 and we didn't like it much. The video/voice functions were not working properly for all players and the interface is not intuitive. It also required a ton of setup on my end and "lots of setup" is not my particular style of DMing. If you're not artistic (I am not artistic) you have to do a lot of work finding usable assets on the internet and properly sizing them to the Roll20 grids. This is fiddly and annoying to do.

We're going to give it one more shot but will probably switch to a something like Google Meet and just have everyone use paper character sheets and roll their own dice.
That makes sense. I'm not especially artistic, but I love fiddling with things, so it's been pretty frustrating/satisfying for me.

Took me about 45 minutes of frustration to realize that the native video/audio doesn't play well with Firefox, for example. When I switched to Chrome, it worked great.
  #25  
Old 04-07-2020, 09:55 AM
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Roll20 was just too complicated for me.

I just started using videoconferencing app with actual pen and paper with an online dice roller.

It works OK but requires more administrative time than normal.

We'll see if people get sick of it.
  #26  
Old 04-09-2020, 07:09 AM
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Okay, having run several sessions, roll20 is really growing on me. The setup is intense, but worth it: my players all have their most common combat actions in a quick-menu on the character sheet, and can make a weapon or spell attack with a single click, giving both their attack roll and their damage. I can ask for wisdom saves from the party and get them really quickly. And if someone's struggling, I can open their character sheet and make the roll for them. Meanwhile, it's really easy to upload images, and there's a robust community; I have a few dozen NPC images that I can pop up on the screen when they're talking to someone new. And there's music and sound effects in the background.

It's not perfect, but it's pretty good.
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Old 04-09-2020, 07:55 AM
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After our second session I decided to throw out the map system entirely. I'm going to plug in my drawing tablet and scribble on a blank grid like I do when I run sessions in the real world. I'll still use the tokens for bad guys and probably maintain a set of image resources like barrels and trees and stuff.

The integration between character sheets and rolling IS very nice. Initiative tracking is picky as hell and doesn't always work seamlessly.
  #28  
Old 04-09-2020, 11:17 AM
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Initiative tracking is picky as hell and doesn't always work seamlessly.
Yeah, that slowed me down. I need to figure out why sometimes a player clicks on Initiative and it adds it to the turn tracker, and sometimes it doesn't.
  #29  
Old 04-09-2020, 12:09 PM
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Yeah, that slowed me down. I need to figure out why sometimes a player clicks on Initiative and it adds it to the turn tracker, and sometimes it doesn't.
We were trying out Roll20 for one of my groups on Sunday (see next paragraph), and it appears that the trick is that a player has to have specifically selected their token on the map, *then* click on Initiative, for it to add to the turn tracker.

As to why we were trying Roll20: I have an old D&D group, with which I had first started playing RPGs back in 1982. We're spread out between Wisconsin (where I grew up) and Illinois now, but we get together to game a couple of times a year, including a spring gathering which we usually have at my house; this spring's gathering was supposed to be next weekend.

For a few weeks now, we've been discussing trying to do a few games online, since we can't do face-to-face. Several of us take turns GMing for the group, using a couple of different game systems; the guy who runs our 5E D&D game is pretty experienced with Roll20, and he volunteered to set things up to run his game for us using it.

The test run we did was kind of fraught. The biggest issue is that one of the players lives in a rural area in Wisconsin, and his broadband isn't particuarly robust. Roll20 is apparently pretty data-intensive, and he could rarely hear us chatting (or be heard), and using his video was right out. Even when all of us turned off transmitting video, to make things easier for him, it really didn't help much.

Another of the players only uses an iPad; she doesn't have access to a desktop or laptop computer. While Roll20 does work on her iPad, it's fussy (especially for using the map), and it keeps disconnecting her audio.

I think that, if the entire group was (a) on really good broadband connections, (b) all on actual computers, and (c) everyone was really facile with using their computers (a couple of the players keep struggling with the commands), it would be different, but I can foresee that this game is going to be painful to play.

(Parenthetically, I'm going to be running a Fate game for the group, as well. I refuse to try to run it with Roll20; I set up a Discord server for the group. We're sticking with voice chat only, but it's working brilliantly so far, even for the guy with the crappy internet, and the woman on the iPad.)
  #30  
Old 04-09-2020, 06:07 PM
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Oh man, don't get me started on Roll20's integrated voice chat. Buggy as hell and there's always one player (different every time it seems) who can only hear a couple of people. We use discord for voice.
  #31  
Old 04-10-2020, 01:22 AM
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Yeah, that slowed me down. I need to figure out why sometimes a player clicks on Initiative and it adds it to the turn tracker, and sometimes it doesn't.
Dude. Post #17.
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Old 04-10-2020, 08:31 AM
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I wonder if anyone would be interested in a Doper campaign.
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Old 04-10-2020, 10:01 AM
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I wonder if anyone would be interested in a Doper campaign.
That might work if it was organized by timezone. If someone in Pakistan is running a game it might be awkward if they are starting at 4 PM which is 4 AM to me.
  #34  
Old 04-10-2020, 11:17 AM
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Dude. Post #17.
In my defense, I've watched a half-dozen videos with tips, played through the tutorial twice, and read a lot of articles on the forums about how to use the program. I missed your tip earlier. Thank you for offering it!
  #35  
Old 04-14-2020, 08:56 PM
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I just joined a campaign using D&D Beyond that plays through Discord.

The DM isnít good, but Iím going to stick with the campaign maybe until I get a hang of it and try to start my own.

I really donít want to game master but itís so hard to find a decent one.

Iím interested in Fate because of the flexibility of the system and Blue Rose because of the romance.
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  #36  
Old 04-25-2020, 09:21 PM
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OK so I finally got comfortable enough to use roll20 to take advantage of the free Lost Mines of Phandelver module.

I got the Pro subscription.

Can i use my pro subscription to mimic classes from the Player's Handbook and monsters from Mordekainen's Tome of Foes?

BTW, I love the fact that you can buy module sets with all the maps, monsters and storyline pre-loaded. It's almost as good hiring a professional GM.

I wish someone would update some of the "classic" modules like the Giants-Drow-Lolth series.

What is the best module to buy on roll 20 today?
  #37  
Old 04-26-2020, 07:00 AM
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OK so I finally got comfortable enough to use roll20 to take advantage of the free Lost Mines of Phandelver module.

I got the Pro subscription.

Can i use my pro subscription to mimic classes from the Player's Handbook and monsters from Mordekainen's Tome of Foes?
No. Those are entirely separate issues. You can purchase any WotC book through Roll20 and have the info pre-loaded into your Roll20 Compendium, but that doesn't require a pro subscription. The pro subscription gives you extra bells and whistles within the Roll20 engine (dynamic lighting and such like), but doesn't come with any extra content for any particular game.

Quote:
BTW, I love the fact that you can buy module sets with all the maps, monsters and storyline pre-loaded. It's almost as good hiring a professional GM.
As a mostly GM, I really like having the maps, tokens, player handouts, etc., pre-made. The "fog of war" feature is great for dungeon crawling adventures.

Quote:
I wish someone would update some of the "classic" modules like the Giants-Drow-Lolth series.
The Giants segment of that actually has been updated, and is available through Roll20 as "Against the Giants", on its own or as part of the "Tales From the Yawning Portal" bundle (which, in dead tree form, is an adventure book from WotC).

Quote:
What is the best module to buy on roll 20 today?
I don't know if it's the best, but the aforementioned "Tales From the Yawning Portal" is, IMHO, a pretty good deal. The book updates a number of "classic" dungeons to 5E. Which means, in the Roll20 implementation, it comes with a wide variety of maps, tokens, monsters, treasures, and other assets. It's also implemented as a bundle of "add-ons", which in Roll20 means that you can easily add them to an already in-progress game. (Most adventure modules on Roll20 require you to create a new game with them to use them). It's also only $29.95, which is cheaper than many of WotC's adventures.
  #38  
Old 04-26-2020, 10:27 AM
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I began running Dungeon of the Mad Mage last night. Purchasing the content on Roll20 made set up a lot simpler.

We're still using Discord for voice and video and D&D Beyond for character management. I cannot recommend the Beyond 20 add on for Chrome enough. It integrates D&D Beyond and Roll20 nearly seamlessly.
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  #39  
Old 04-29-2020, 11:24 AM
Damuri Ajashi is offline
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Originally Posted by gdave View Post
No. Those are entirely separate issues. You can purchase any WotC book through Roll20 and have the info pre-loaded into your Roll20 Compendium, but that doesn't require a pro subscription. The pro subscription gives you extra bells and whistles within the Roll20 engine (dynamic lighting and such like), but doesn't come with any extra content for any particular game.
OK so I just bought the player bundle and the monster bundle. I am still not getting some of the races/classes like the aarakokra and the less gimpy versions of monk. Is there another supplement book I need?

Is there any way to home brew magic items?

Quote:
As a mostly GM, I really like having the maps, tokens, player handouts, etc., pre-made. The "fog of war" feature is great for dungeon crawling adventures.
I am running Lost Mine of Phandelver (LMOP) for my kid and his friends so they don't spend so much time playing video games during this shutdown. I've run this module live and this is a lot easier. If only there was some way to mute players from my end, it would be great.

What else would you recommend I look at from marketplace? Anything you consider a "must buy"

Quote:
The Giants segment of that actually has been updated, and is available through Roll20 as "Against the Giants", on its own or as part of the "Tales From the Yawning Portal" bundle (which, in dead tree form, is an adventure book from WotC).
I saw that. I bought the add on for $5.

Quote:
I don't know if it's the best, but the aforementioned "Tales From the Yawning Portal" is, IMHO, a pretty good deal. The book updates a number of "classic" dungeons to 5E. Which means, in the Roll20 implementation, it comes with a wide variety of maps, tokens, monsters, treasures, and other assets. It's also implemented as a bundle of "add-ons", which in Roll20 means that you can easily add them to an already in-progress game. (Most adventure modules on Roll20 require you to create a new game with them to use them). It's also only $29.95, which is cheaper than many of WotC's adventures.
Sunless Citadel and Forge of Fury are free to play right now and I don't anticipate ever running them again considering how good LMOP is for teaching people the game. I purchased Against the Giants for $5 and if it turns out that i have to buy a bundle it's only $5. The G1-2, D1-3, Q1 series is the best module I ever ran.

I am not going to home brew any campaigns in the near future. What else would you suggest I buy?

What neat tricks do you wish you knew when you first started using roll 20?

I have Curse of Strahd and Storm King's Thunder in addition to the aforementioned player bundle and monster bundle
  #40  
Old 04-29-2020, 11:26 AM
Damuri Ajashi is offline
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Originally Posted by Maus Magill View Post
I began running Dungeon of the Mad Mage last night. Purchasing the content on Roll20 made set up a lot simpler.

We're still using Discord for voice and video and D&D Beyond for character management. I cannot recommend the Beyond 20 add on for Chrome enough. It integrates D&D Beyond and Roll20 nearly seamlessly.
I am not familiar with D&D Beyond What does it offer that roll20 does not?

I was thinking of getting Dungeon of the Mad Mage but the price tag deterred me. The $50 modules seem like a lot for what you get (except maybe the Tyranny of Dragons set) compared to the physical version.

Last edited by Damuri Ajashi; 04-29-2020 at 11:27 AM.
  #41  
Old 04-29-2020, 01:24 PM
gdave is offline
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Originally Posted by Damuri Ajashi View Post
I am not familiar with D&D Beyond What does it offer that roll20 does not?

I was thinking of getting Dungeon of the Mad Mage but the price tag deterred me. The $50 modules seem like a lot for what you get (except maybe the Tyranny of Dragons set) compared to the physical version.
D&D Beyond and Roll20 are completely different animals.

D&D Beyond is an online tool for digital management of D&D content. WotC (for whatever reason) doesn't sell PDFs of its books. Nor does it maintain a System Resource Document for D&D, unlike most other RPGs. (Caveat: The Basic Rules are available as a free PDF and through an SRD, but that only gives you the, well, basic rules and a small subset of races, classes, and monsters).

Instead, if you want a digital copy of the material, you have to subscribe to D&D Beyond, and then buy the digital copy, which generally costs as much as the physical book. I personally think it's a terrible set-up, but a lot of folks like it. One big advantage is that you're not getting separate PDFs for each book - you're getting a single, integrated, searchable digital document/user-friendly database, which incorporates all of your purchased material.

It also has digital character sheets which integrate all of that info. So, you don't need to keep looking up your class features or spells or magic items - just click on it on your character sheet, and you see the write-up.

But, none of that directly lets you play online - it just puts the information at your fingertips.

Roll20 is a "digital tabletop" that lets you and your players share a common map, tokens, art assets, dice rolls, etc. But, it doesn't actually come with any of that - you have to purchase all of that stuff separately.

It's my understanding (but I have NO experience with it) that D&D Beyond has a native capacity to interface with Roll20, so if you have bought material on D&D Beyond, you can import it into your Roll20 account. But! D&D Beyond, again, isn't a digital tabletop. If you have maps and art you got through D&D Beyond, they won't be formatted to be usable as playable maps and tokens on Roll20. You can, though (I think), bring character information over, so that if you built a character in D&D Beyond using material you bought through that service, you can create that character for a game in Roll20 and keep the info. I think.

So, you might wind up buying a physical book from WotC. Then buying that same material in digital format through D&D Beyond. Then buying that same material AGAIN through Roll20.

BTW, as to your comment about what you're getting for the money, keep in mind you're not just getting the written information, you're getting maps and tokens and other assets that are already formatted and ready to plug'n'play in a virtual tabletop. You actually don't need that - you can scan and import and format the maps from the books yourself, and make tokens using artwork online, but it's a LOT of work.
  #42  
Old 04-29-2020, 01:53 PM
gdave is offline
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Originally Posted by Damuri Ajashi View Post
OK so I just bought the player bundle and the monster bundle. I am still not getting some of the races/classes like the aarakokra and the less gimpy versions of monk. Is there another supplement book I need?
The various races and classes and other player info are scattered through a bunch of books. I'm honestly not that familiar with how Roll20 bundles character stuff (for characters, I and the folks I play with either just use the free Basic Rules or use offline resources and manually add stuff to the character sheets). But, for all of the official options, you'd need material from: The Players Handbook; The Elemental Evil Players Companion (aarakokra, among other things); The Sword Coast Adventurers Guide ("the less gimpy versions of monk", among other things); Xanathar's Guide to Everything (more of "the less gimpy versions of monk", among other things); and Volo's Guide to Monsters.

Quote:
Is there any way to home brew magic items?
I'm not very conversant with this, but at the least, you can write something up, share it with a player, and they or you can manually edit their character sheet and manually add the info.

Quote:
I am running Lost Mine of Phandelver (LMOP) for my kid and his friends so they don't spend so much time playing video games during this shutdown. I've run this module live and this is a lot easier. If only there was some way to mute players from my end, it would be great.
I'm not a aware of a way to manually mute a specific player in Roll20, but you can disable incoming broadcasts in the Setting tab (gear symbol in the upper right). That's one of several reasons why I prefer Discord for the voice chat element.

Quote:
What else would you recommend I look at from marketplace? Anything you consider a "must buy"

I saw that. I bought the add on for $5.

Sunless Citadel and Forge of Fury are free to play right now and I don't anticipate ever running them again considering how good LMOP is for teaching people the game. I purchased Against the Giants for $5 and if it turns out that i have to buy a bundle it's only $5. The G1-2, D1-3, Q1 series is the best module I ever ran.

I am not going to home brew any campaigns in the near future. What else would you suggest I buy?
If you're not homebrewing anything, and just running straight out of the box, I don't think anything else is a "must-buy".

Quote:
What neat tricks do you wish you knew when you first started using roll 20?
The one I see cited most often is adding characters to the initiative order. If you launch the Turn Order interface, and everyone first clicks on their own token, then goes to their character sheet and clicks on "Initiative", Roll20 automatically rolls their initiative and adds them to the Turn Order.

The maps have multiple layers (GM Info, Players and Tokens, Map and Background). You are supposed to be able to move assets between layers, so you can have a token on the GM layer that only you can see for a hidden or invisible creature, and then move it to the Player and Tokens layer so the players can see it when it pops out. Every time I try to move stuff between layers, though, it borks the map. I'd recommend not doing that.

If you go to the Compendium (the "i" in the circle in the upper right), you can drag and drop class info, spells, gear, and whatever directly into character sheets.

When you go to a new map, players can add their tokens to the map themselves by dragging and dropping their characters from the Journal tab onto the map. You can add tokens to the map by doing the same with monsters and NPCs.

You can change the position of the maps in the map menu at the top. The interface for moving the characters from one map to another is a bit clunky - you have to drag and drop the "Characters" banner, and you might have to use other maps as waystations if the icons for the two maps you're switching between are physically far apart in the interface. Moving the map icons themselves near each other, then moving the "Characters" banner, is sometimes easier.

If you left-click and hold on a point on a map with the pointer tool and simultaneously long-press the Shift key, it re-centers everyone's view of the map on that point.

You can use the "Advanced Dice Roller" tool to roll different numbers of dice and add modifiers. You can also just type r/d20+3 or whatever in the chat window and that rolls a die with modifiers.

For D&D sheets and games, there's a setting buried somewhere (I can't remember where right now) that allows you to toggle Advantage/Disadvantage on and off for each roll (I think the default is to always roll with Advantage).

Quote:
I have Curse of Strahd and Storm King's Thunder in addition to the aforementioned player bundle and monster bundle
Sounds like you're set up for a good while!
  #43  
Old 04-29-2020, 04:56 PM
Damuri Ajashi is offline
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Originally Posted by gdave View Post
The various races and classes and other player info are scattered through a bunch of books. I'm honestly not that familiar with how Roll20 bundles character stuff (for characters, I and the folks I play with either just use the free Basic Rules or use offline resources and manually add stuff to the character sheets). But, for all of the official options, you'd need material from: The Players Handbook; The Elemental Evil Players Companion (aarakokra, among other things); The Sword Coast Adventurers Guide ("the less gimpy versions of monk", among other things); Xanathar's Guide to Everything (more of "the less gimpy versions of monk", among other things); and Volo's Guide to Monsters.
I have the PHB, volo's guide from the monster bundle and Xanathars from the player bundle, but I cannot figure out where to download the elemental evil player companion, swod cost adventure guide.

Quote:
I'm not very conversant with this, but at the least, you can write something up, share it with a player, and they or you can manually edit their character sheet and manually add the info.
Yeah I am just figuring out what i can and cannot do with this platform.

Quote:
I'm not a aware of a way to manually mute a specific player in Roll20, but you can disable incoming broadcasts in the Setting tab (gear symbol in the upper right). That's one of several reasons why I prefer Discord for the voice chat element.
Right now I am just yelling at the kids.

Quote:
If you're not homebrewing anything, and just running straight out of the box, I don't think anything else is a "must-buy".

The one I see cited most often is adding characters to the initiative order. If you launch the Turn Order interface, and everyone first clicks on their own token, then goes to their character sheet and clicks on "Initiative", Roll20 automatically rolls their initiative and adds them to the Turn Order.
I still haven't figured this out and i keep track of initiative on the side.

Quote:
The maps have multiple layers (GM Info, Players and Tokens, Map and Background). You are supposed to be able to move assets between layers, so you can have a token on the GM layer that only you can see for a hidden or invisible creature, and then move it to the Player and Tokens layer so the players can see it when it pops out. Every time I try to move stuff between layers, though, it borks the map. I'd recommend not doing that.
I tried doing that once and all the tokens disappeared. Now i just drag them from the side.

Quote:
If you go to the Compendium (the "i" in the circle in the upper right), you can drag and drop class info, spells, gear, and whatever directly into character sheets.

When you go to a new map, players can add their tokens to the map themselves by dragging and dropping their characters from the Journal tab onto the map. You can add tokens to the map by doing the same with monsters and NPCs.

You can change the position of the maps in the map menu at the top. The interface for moving the characters from one map to another is a bit clunky - you have to drag and drop the "Characters" banner, and you might have to use other maps as waystations if the icons for the two maps you're switching between are physically far apart in the interface. Moving the map icons themselves near each other, then moving the "Characters" banner, is sometimes easier.

If you left-click and hold on a point on a map with the pointer tool and simultaneously long-press the Shift key, it re-centers everyone's view of the map on that point.

You can use the "Advanced Dice Roller" tool to roll different numbers of dice and add modifiers. You can also just type r/d20+3 or whatever in the chat window and that rolls a die with modifiers.

For D&D sheets and games, there's a setting buried somewhere (I can't remember where right now) that allows you to toggle Advantage/Disadvantage on and off for each roll (I think the default is to always roll with Advantage).
Thanks for all the suggestions, I think I'm doing most of them but I am still figuring out how to do intiative.

Quote:
Sounds like you're set up for a good while!
Hopefully.

Thanks again!
  #44  
Old 04-29-2020, 09:38 PM
gdave is offline
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After a quick googling, it looks like EEPC and SCAG, along with a couple of other books, simply haven't been added to Roll20 yet. If you have the physical copies, you can manually type that info into the character sheet, or just have it on the side as a reference.

I'm surprised that SCAG isn't available, as it was a very popular expansion of player options, but that's where things seem to be at right now.
  #45  
Old 04-29-2020, 10:39 PM
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FWIW, I haven't bought any content for Roll20, but I have access to D&D Beyond via a friend. It's pretty trivial to enter class abilities, spells, etc. onto the 5E character sheet manually. My group just went up a level, and I'll be doing that for two players.

The video/audio is driving me bonkers in my game for kids, though. It's sometimes a little glitchy, and whenever it glitches, every single child wants to list, simultaneously, who they can see and who they can't see. Which means everyone talking at once, so they all start over, only louder. Meanwhile someone opens two tabs with the game, generating insane audio feedback, and one person has a bad internet connection so it all falls apart.

We haven't gotten any gaming in the last two times we tried; I just let htem chat in Google Hangout after an hour of failed tech support.
  #46  
Old 04-30-2020, 05:00 AM
GreedySmurf is offline
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I'm playing in two different campaigns at the moment, using slightly different solutions.

Campaign One - has really embraced Roll20, and it works really well for battle maps for combat and on line dice rolling. The 3D dice are very cool. For some reason, we don't use the voice/video in Roll20, but rather have a channel on Discord for the voice comms.
A couple of the players, and the DM in fact, do not have fantastic internet connections, so the connections struggle with video, so we don't bother, it's all voice chat via Discord.
To get the most out of Roll20 a subscription is useful, so in this case a few of the players chipped in to gift some credits to our DM for a subscription.

Campaign Two - the DM had a bad experience with Roll20 a while ago and doesn't like it. We use Zoom with full videoconference, (intention is for each player and the DM to take a turn paying for a months subscription so we're not limited to 40 min call.) Rolls are made with your actual dice on the honour system. DM shares his screen to show us a map from time to time. but there is no battle map at all, which to me makes for confusing combats. (I've been using minis and battlemaps since 2E days, so a strong preference for me).

Across both games, most players use D&D Beyond for character creation and tracking. I'm remote from the people I'm playing with, and I never updated my books from 3.5E days anyway, so I was happy to spend a few dollars to buy content on D&D Beyond.
  #47  
Old 04-30-2020, 05:58 AM
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Last night we used Roll20 with Beyond. Someone figured out how to link them up so that you could roll in Roll20 by clicking on a stat in Beyond. Very cool.

We stick with Discord for audio because it seemed more stable and also you could access it on your phone. In Roll20 the DM has to have a paid membership for you to access a game on mobile.
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Last edited by Acsenray; 04-30-2020 at 06:00 AM.
  #48  
Old 04-30-2020, 10:10 AM
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Because of the quarantine, Zoom has opened up what you can do with the free version. The paid version still gets you more, and I don't know the details, but I do know that you're not limited to 40 minutes any more.

I'm DMing now, and I have all of the maps in a Google Slides document (Powerpoint or whatever would also work), with black rectangles covering rooms of the map. When we need a map, I share my screen, and move black rectangles out of the way as they explore rooms. I also have, off to the side, shapes representing common areas of effect for spells (circles and cones of various radius), that can be moved onto the map as appropriate. There's also an "annotate" feature that other users can use to draw on the shared screen, such as to show where their characters are (though if you're doing that, you don't want to scroll around, because the annotations don't scroll with the underlying window). I'm not sure why, but the "annotate" tools for a shared screen work much better than the "whiteboard" that's also built into Zoom; if you want a whiteboard, you'd be better off just screen-sharing a big blank white window.
  #49  
Old 04-30-2020, 11:16 AM
Maus Magill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
Last night we used Roll20 with Beyond. Someone figured out how to link them up so that you could roll in Roll20 by clicking on a stat in Beyond. Very cool.

We stick with Discord for audio because it seemed more stable and also you could access it on your phone. In Roll20 the DM has to have a paid membership for you to access a game on mobile.
Sounds like you're using the Beyond20 Chrome extension.

I ran my second session last night, and my only complaint with using Beyond20 is having to roll monster initiative individually.
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