R.I.P., Astral Tabletop

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Apparition

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Astral Tabletop just announced that all development is now suspended, and yearly subscriptions and the Astral Marketplace are being removed. Looks like that’s that for my favorite VTT. :worried:


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Bunch

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I doubt there is really enough of a market from more than 2-3 paid VTTs. FG is expanding hiring so I know they aren't hurting financially. Not sure about everyone else.
 

Sosthenes

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Both Foundry and Roll20 seem to do pretty well.

I do think there's more money for others, depending on how you structure it. If it's a single developer doing things, sure. You should be able to make as much money as a average indie developer (not much, but apparently enough to live on, even in the US). If you hire someone, that immediately gets more risky.

Still surprised that they went public with this. I mean, Roll20 didn't do any development for years, either. Still made money.
 

Jamfke

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I'm hoping that One Bookshelf will put together some folks to keep things going. I just really started getting into Astral and I find the interface is quite intuitive. I was working on several character sheets for different games but I guess that time was wasted unless they somehow manage to keep it up and running. There's a lot of talk about trying to get OBS to either make it open source or sell it off to whomever decides to back a crowdfunding campaign so they can do it themselves. Oh well, guess I'll start looking into Fantasy Grounds or Foundry. Owlbear Rodeo isn't bad for just tossing up a map and some tokens, but I really like having a character sheet online with automated functions.
 

EmperorNorton

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I've never used Astral, but I've used Roll20, Fantasy Grounds and Foundry.

Of the 3 I've used, if you are looking to get into one, I'd heavily suggest Foundry. It is by far the most slick and easy to use of the three.
 

Bunch

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Anyone know how Foundry is doing financially?
 

Torque2100

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God dammit. I just subscribed to them. In terms of sheer functionality, they absolutely blow Roll20 out of the water. This is really frustrating and a huge black mark against One Book Shelf, frankly.

Seriously, I sign up for a subscription to use a product only for them to pull the rug out from under me. It makes me feel cheated.

EDIT: They came through with a refund. Good on them for at least doing that. I am very disappointed, still and I hope it works out for them.

I guess I'll be switching to Foundry VTT since I already have it and Roll20 sucks a big fat one.
 
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Andrew J. Luther

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God dammit. I just subscribed to them. In terms of sheer functionality, they absolutely blow Roll20 out of the water. This is really frustrating and a huge black mark against One Book Shelf, frankly.

Seriously, I sign up for a subscription to use a product only for them to pull the rug out from under me. It makes me feel cheated.

I am fairly certain the response to my request for a refund will be "we've already got your money. Eat shit." Not sure if $120 is worth pursuing through a chargeback that will likely result in my DriveThruRPG account getting banned.

I guess I'll be switching to Foundry VTT since I already have it and Roll20 sucks a big fat one.
I would contact OBS customer service via the email on DriveThru. I’ve only ever seen people say that OBS is generally quite reasonable about stuff like this.

It’s worth an email to them, at least.
 

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God dammit. I just subscribed to them. In terms of sheer functionality, they absolutely blow Roll20 out of the water. This is really frustrating and a huge black mark against One Book Shelf, frankly.

Seriously, I sign up for a subscription to use a product only for them to pull the rug out from under me. It makes me feel cheated.

I am fairly certain the response to my request for a refund will be "we've already got your money. Eat shit." Not sure if $120 is worth pursuing through a chargeback that will likely result in my DriveThruRPG account getting banned.

I guess I'll be switching to Foundry VTT since I already have it and Roll20 sucks a big fat one.
Yeah I think you could easily get your money back. They're usually good people.
 

The Butcher

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I would be surprised if this is the last we’ve seen of OBS in the VTT segment.
 

Torque2100

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Yes, my customer service experience with them is flawless.
They got back with my very quickly and good on them for that. I should be getting a refund within 5-7 days.

I'm still really frustrated because what I used of their service was great. Unfortunately, I cannot justify continuing to pay for a service that is no longer being supported.
 

chuckdee

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I've never used Astral, but I've used Roll20, Fantasy Grounds and Foundry.

Of the 3 I've used, if you are looking to get into one, I'd heavily suggest Foundry. It is by far the most slick and easy to use of the three.
Agreed. Roll20 you have to depend on their infrastructure, and I've had problems with that. Fantasy Grounds, you have to deal with connection issues. It's supposedly better; though I have FGU, I haven't tried again, because Foundry was just start up and worked. And that was with the added complexity of getting it on an EC2 instance (which is actually genius!)

I never really liked Astral- didn't really give me a good first impression when I used it, then saw their TOC and it struck me the wrong way. They cleared it up, but by then, I was done with it.
 
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Bunch

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Agreed. Roll20 you have to depend on their infrastructure, and I've had problems with that. Fantasy Grounds, you have to deal with connection issues. It's supposedly better; though I have FGU, I haven't tried again, because Foundry was just start up and worked. And that was with the added complexity of getting it on an EC2 instance (which is actually genius!)

I never really liked Astral- didn't really give me a good first impression when I used it, then saw their TOC and it struck me the wrong way. They cleared it up, but by then, I was done with it.
I've been using FGU since it came out. Early on in the beta it had some issues. Now that it's put of beta I've had no problems. I'd say most of the complaints on connectivity were related to FG Classic and firewalls. Those don't seem to be an issue anymore. If I remember right FG Classic used some custom or old networking libraries from when Smiteworks bought FG. The Unity version uses modern libraries so a lot of the issues are gone.
 

Apparition

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My Saturday night group switched from Roll20 to Foundry a couple of weeks ago. Too early to say how I feel about Foundry, although it does look nicer than Roll20 and my friend that GMs really likes it.

Myself, I think that I will try Mythic Tabletop the next time I GM. It’s open source, which is a huge selling point.
 

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We are moving back to in person gaming. VTT has some benefits, but figures, faces (masked still), and flinging dice wins. :smile:

There are so many partial VTTs out there right now. I think the waning of the pandemic will bring a reckoning. I have been tracking dozens of VTTs for a year now. It is a very busy space.
 

chuckdee

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I've been using FGU since it came out. Early on in the beta it had some issues. Now that it's put of beta I've had no problems. I'd say most of the complaints on connectivity were related to FG Classic and firewalls. Those don't seem to be an issue anymore. If I remember right FG Classic used some custom or old networking libraries from when Smiteworks bought FG. The Unity version uses modern libraries so a lot of the issues are gone.
That's fair. I'd tried it with FGC, and was grandfathered in from my ultimate license to FGU.

My Saturday night group switched from Roll20 to Foundry a couple of weeks ago. Too early to say how I feel about Foundry, although it does look nicer than Roll20 and my friend that GMs really likes it.

Myself, I think that I will try Mythic Tabletop the next time I GM. It’s open source, which is a huge selling point.
Mythic Tabletop is the other that I want to try. It does look pretty cool, and FOSS is good. Foundry just worked though, which took my focus off of Mythic, though I did back the KS.
 

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Anyone following Mythic Table? I just signed into it today. Probably about the same as Owlbear Rodeo in function, but they appear to be moving forward with some extra bells and whistles, albeit at a slow pace.
 

chuckdee

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Anyone following Mythic Table? I just signed into it today. Probably about the same as Owlbear Rodeo in function, but they appear to be moving forward with some extra bells and whistles, albeit at a slow pace.
They just had a successful Kickstarter, so had some cash infusion. They don't seem to have ramped up from that, however.
 

Apparition

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I knew it was only a matter of time once Roll20 purchased DriveThru and Astral Tabletop.


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deflagratio

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With the official purchase of D&D Beyond by WoTC and the D&D Beyond roadmap already hinting at a full VTT, I'm not surprised that some of the players in the space are looking to see if it's still worth the investment.
 

Apparition

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With the official purchase of D&D Beyond by WoTC and the D&D Beyond roadmap already hinting at a full VTT, I'm not surprised that some of the players in the space are looking to see if it's still worth the investment.

Yeah. The only ones that seem safe are D&D Beyond, Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, and Foundry.
 

deflagratio

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Yeah. The only ones that seem safe are D&D Beyond, Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, and Foundry.
My entirely uneducated prediction is that 2025 is when D&D Beyond will hit hard on the VTT Front. Should allow plenty of time for the Former Microsoft execs to scout talent and point them in the right direction. They'll spent 2023 getting the In-person play and theater of the mind tools in order. That gives them all of 2024 to develop battlemap experience/flow of play online experience, and then they launch at some point in 2025 just as the hype of the new edition is starting to drop off. During that time I suspect they'll be horse racing different video call companies to be integrated into the experience, because the past VTT efforts have proven that it's better to just use dedicated software for that experience. My guess is that it will be Teams because of all the former Microsoft execs.

I also guess that the upcoming VTT will be announced as part of the new edition festivities and that WoTC will not sell licensed content on the other VTT's. This is what will kill the other VTT's. If they can't get official D&D support, the majority of their player base will vanish.
 

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My entirely uneducated prediction is that 2025 is when D&D Beyond will hit hard on the VTT Front. Should allow plenty of time for the Former Microsoft execs to scout talent and point them in the right direction. They'll spent 2023 getting the In-person play and theater of the mind tools in order. That gives them all of 2024 to develop battlemap experience/flow of play online experience, and then they launch at some point in 2025 just as the hype of the new edition is starting to drop off. During that time I suspect they'll be horse racing different video call companies to be integrated into the experience, because the past VTT efforts have proven that it's better to just use dedicated software for that experience. My guess is that it will be Teams because of all the former Microsoft execs.

I also guess that the upcoming VTT will be announced as part of the new edition festivities and that WoTC will not sell licensed content on the other VTT's. This is what will kill the other VTT's. If they can't get official D&D support, the majority of their player base will vanish.
It won't kill the other VTTs. They have worked just fine before official content. FG for years had no partnership with D&D and simply made virtual rules implementations of the written rules. Far easier to do without getting sued since it's not copying text. They might have to scale down their operations but the companies going to keep running.
 

chuckdee

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Yeah. The only ones that seem safe are D&D Beyond, Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, and Foundry.
There are others that are pretty safe- mostly because they're fan creations. I don't see Mythic going anywhere, and Role has a lot of support.
 

deflagratio

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It won't kill the other VTTs. They have worked just fine before official content. FG for years had no partnership with D&D and simply made virtual rules implementations of the written rules. Far easier to do without getting sued since it's not copying text. They might have to scale down their operations but the companies going to keep running.

But those years weren't competing against the official VTT of D&D, which will also be the sole official source of official content (In my hellscape prophecy).
 

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But those years weren't competing against the official VTT of D&D, which will also be the sole official source of official content (In my hellscape prophecy).
True but at this point people now have a lot of sunk cost into them. It's going to be interesting to see what a semi new edition does if it trys to cut off support for other VTTs. Do those players just stay with the 5e edition vs 5e+?
 

Nick J

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True but at this point people now have a lot of sunk cost into them. It's going to be interesting to see what a semi new edition does if it trys to cut off support for other VTTs. Do those players just stay with the 5e edition vs 5e+?
There's a whole new generation of folks who've probably never been subjected to the edition treadmill, where WotC suddenly renders all of your books and paraphenalia "obsolete". I'm curious to see how they'll respond? If I had to guess, I'd say chances are they'll probably gobble it up and be excited for something new and shiny. As for the old hands who've been at it this RPG thing a long time, they very well might stick with the tried and true if the planned obsolescence is too deep.
 

deflagratio

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There will always be a percentage of people who don't want to convert to a new platform, including not wanting to change to a new edition. But will they be enough to keep those other platforms profitable? I doubt it. There's also the possibility of players of other games keeping a platform afloat, but I don't think the numbers are there. The bulk of the RPG Market is official current edition D&D. This is all assuming that WoTC doesn't screw up like they did with 4th Edition.
 

Stan

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I'm getting the impression that a new edition will be more of a 5.1 than a full rewrite so very little (beyond the phb and mm) will be obsolete.
 

Bunch

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I think it will be 5.1-5.5. Will they suddenly tell all those VTTs they can't sell the products anymore or will they just stop allowing them to sell new stuff. They already started pulling the ability to buy older 5e product in the case of a few books (the two that got combined into sort of one). If you have the older stuff that didn't go away but no one else can buy it.

One thing is unique this time. The advent of VTTs and online play that makes it a desirable market has also made a market for finding players of any edition. The ability to impose a rule change is as limited as when 3.5 went away or more. Likewise the power of streaming players that made d&d so popular can be a weapon against them. If those players aren't bought off or have the desire to switch they could keep the 5e train rolling with variety editions like what happened with 3.5 to 4e transition.

I think it is unlikely they cut off the other VTTs. My guess is they may delay the release for non house VTTs to give themselves an advantage but alienating those non house DMs seems unwise.
 

Brock Savage

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There's a whole new generation of folks who've probably never been subjected to the edition treadmill, where WotC suddenly renders all of your books and paraphenalia "obsolete". I'm curious to see how they'll respond? If I had to guess, I'd say chances are they'll probably gobble it up and be excited for something new and shiny. As for the old hands who've been at it this RPG thing a long time, they very well might stick with the tried and true if the planned obsolescence is too deep.
D&D 5.5 could easily be a board topic all on its own. I can't speak for new gamers but I am pretty certain people like myself who have been around the block a few times aren't going to rush out and buy a new set of $150 corebooks unless the changes warrant it. Which I doubt.

After an initial read-through I almost never use my 5e core and expansion hardcopies, preferring to use 5e.tools for a reference. I don't have any moral qualms as I have paid for all it and am simply accessing the content in a more convenient manner since WotC does not offer pdfs.
 

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D&D 5.5 could easily be a board topic all on its own. I can't speak for new gamers but I am pretty certain people like myself who have been around the block a few times aren't going to rush out and buy a new set of $150 corebooks unless the changes warrant it. Which I doubt.

After an initial read-through I almost never use my 5e core and expansion hardcopies, preferring to use 5e.tools for a reference. I don't have any moral qualms as I have paid for all it and am simply accessing the content in a more convenient manner since WotC does not offer pdfs.
5e has expanded beyond it's usual hard core fans and geeky people. The current market is a wider economic scope that especially for the next few years might not be able to afford a rules switch. A mishandled switch this time could be as bad as the 3.5 to 4 transition
 

Stan

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D&D 5.5 could easily be a board topic all on its own. I can't speak for new gamers but I am pretty certain people like myself who have been around the block a few times aren't going to rush out and buy a new set of $150 corebooks unless the changes warrant it. Which I doubt.

After an initial read-through I almost never use my 5e core and expansion hardcopies, preferring to use 5e.tools for a reference. I don't have any moral qualms as I have paid for all it and am simply accessing the content in a more convenient manner since WotC does not offer pdfs.
Within a week, someone will come out with a detailed list of changes, like class tweaks. For people who don't want to repurchase, I bet it will be easy to make note of the changes relevant to their game. I never bought any of the 3.5 stuff and wasn't lost.


5e has expanded beyond it's usual hard core fans and geeky people. The current market is a wider economic scope that especially for the next few years might not be able to afford a rules switch. A mishandled switch this time could be as bad as the 3.5 to 4 transition

Agree. I bet they are planning a marketing push to coincide with the first WOTC-made movie. They don't have time to get a new edition out before then. Would they want to confuse new players with a big change right after that? Probably not. But companies have made obviously stupid decisions before, so who knows.
 

Bunch

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Within a week, someone will come out with a detailed list of changes, like class tweaks. For people who don't want to repurchase, I bet it will be easy to make note of the changes relevant to their game. I never bought any of the 3.5 stuff and wasn't lost.
And with VTTs as long as you don't copy the text exactly you can make and "Extension" that makes all the changes in the background.

Might not even charge for it.

Same with a knock off adventure. If I have someone do a map another do the encounters minus any copyright text. It'll limp along. The revenue will dip probably quite a bit but the companies can keep going
 

Brock Savage

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5e has expanded beyond it's usual hard core fans and geeky people. The current market is a wider economic scope that especially for the next few years might not be able to afford a rules switch. A mishandled switch this time could be as bad as the 3.5 to 4 transition
Good points have been made by you and Stan Stan but this is the one that is the real wildcard for me. RPG hobbyists are accustomed to edition churn and have either accepted it or developed ways to work around it. Springing this on a generation of young gamers who are quick to call out blatant cash grabs could easily blow up in WoC's face.
 

Bunch

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Good points have been made by you and Stan Stan but this is the one that is the real wildcard for me. RPG hobbyists are accustomed to edition churn and have either accepted it or developed ways to work around it. Springing this on a generation of young gamers who are quick to call out blatant cash grabs could easily blow up in WoC's face.
There is no generation alive that is completely unfamiliar with edition treadmills if only because of video games. Even my 6 yr old knows about edition changes for Minecraft.
 

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D&D 5.5 could easily be a board topic all on its own. I can't speak for new gamers but I am pretty certain people like myself who have been around the block a few times aren't going to rush out and buy a new set of $150 corebooks unless the changes warrant it. Which I doubt.

After an initial read-through I almost never use my 5e core and expansion hardcopies, preferring to use 5e.tools for a reference. I don't have any moral qualms as I have paid for all it and am simply accessing the content in a more convenient manner since WotC does not offer pdfs.
The amount of change is going to be wierd. When 2e came out I felt it was simultaneously too little and too much. The mechanics seemed mostly the same but the tone went from wild and arcane to safe to show to mom. That rubbed me the wrong way at the time and I never bought a book for 2e until long after 3e came out.
3.5 I was playing a cleric at the time and they felt like they got nerfed brutally. I recall buff spells going from durations of hours per level to 10s of minutes per level. I was single and flush with cash and back in to the hobby big time so the upgrade was no big deal financially. They nerfed a lot though so I was annoyed.

I'm no longer a build monkey so I don't know that I will notice changes. That reduces the likelihood I go buy any new books right away. The changes I do hear about are all filtered through the various political views people have and honestly I can't say the swing my temptation to buy or not buy either way.

So here's my guess for a rollout. Continue like they have with modenkainens. Minor changes so everything is backwards compatible for now. The anniversary release will get cool new cover art and take it or leave it levels of rules changes. QR code or something will grant access to the in house VTT implementation(free or discounted price/content). Other VTTs will still be supported but you'll have to keep buying the rules like currently. That gives the in house system a leg up on competitors without shooting the existing people in the foot. WotC can in their mind win over time as people default to their VTT implementation without losing the revenue or complete goodwill from existing VTT customers.
 
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