Random VTT rant

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ffilz

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I've got a set of number and letter tokens specifically for that kind of purpose when I can't be arsed to do anything else or when I have an unexpected encounter.
I need to set this up. I've run whole face to face campaigns with the NPCs being numbered counters of different colors. I have a little 3"x5" double sided tackle box that has these counters, some horse counters, and a few other bits from my old face to face gaming.

I didn't get serious again about miniatures or counters until I started running D20.

I did start with miniatures, and have used a mix of counters and miniatures. When I ran Champions, I gave players blank counters and they could decorate however they wanted. I think I still have them. Some were fancy, some were plain.

The nice thing about counters is you can stack them.

So managing tokens on VTT is actually a step up from counters for me because there is this cool artwork and I don't have to try and print it.
 

Paragon

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I need to set this up. I've run whole face to face campaigns with the NPCs being numbered counters of different colors. I have a little 3"x5" double sided tackle box that has these counters, some horse counters, and a few other bits from my old face to face gaming.

I didn't get serious again about miniatures or counters until I started running D20.

I did start with miniatures, and have used a mix of counters and miniatures. When I ran Champions, I gave players blank counters and they could decorate however they wanted. I think I still have them. Some were fancy, some were plain.

The nice thing about counters is you can stack them.

So managing tokens on VTT is actually a step up from counters for me because there is this cool artwork and I don't have to try and print it.

Yeah. You occasionally fall down the rabbit-hole of "There's just got to be an [X] out there somewhere" but otherwise its usually pretty easy to find something. If anything superheroes are one of the more difficult since characters are so idiosyncratic in their appearances.

But like the discussion goes, you can always drop back to letters or numbers.
 

ffilz

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Yeah. You occasionally fall down the rabbit-hole of "There's just got to be an [X] out there somewhere" but otherwise its usually pretty easy to find something. If anything superheroes are one of the more difficult since characters are so idiosyncratic in their appearances.

But like the discussion goes, you can always drop back to letters or numbers.
Most of the Champions counters people made were a logo or other graphic and not an attempt to draw their character (I was using 1/2" counters...). Some were just a name or initials. I liked the graphic ones, some pretty nifty ones. I had some fine point markers for players to use.
 

EmperorNorton

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I have a bunch of different colored D6 for when I want to run "maps and minis" style in person. A battle starts and I'll say what each color stands for and use the number on the sides to keep track of multiples of the same type (red dice are goblins, set 4 red dice 1-4 up on the map).

Like, yeah, awesome 3d terrain and painted minis for everything is cool, but unless you just enjoy doing that kind of stuff as it's own hobby, I never felt it was worth the time.

So for VTT, pictures on "pogs" is already better than that.
 

Sosthenes

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I think the default token set of Owlbear Rodeo does a decent job as "generic" tokens. It also allows you to have colored circles around them with a click, which is a neat way to simulate the old "red poker chips are ogres, two stacked red chips are ogre chiefs" trick.

Having said that, TokenTool is really awesome -- there's a new version where you can just drag a PDF on top of it and then you can drag the images out of every page. Which saves me a lot of time of removing text surrounding an image with GIMP...
(If only MapTool had a user interface as good)
 

Paragon

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I think the default token set of Owlbear Rodeo does a decent job as "generic" tokens. It also allows you to have colored circles around them with a click, which is a neat way to simulate the old "red poker chips are ogres, two stacked red chips are ogre chiefs" trick.

Having said that, TokenTool is really awesome -- there's a new version where you can just drag a PDF on top of it and then you can drag the images out of every page. Which saves me a lot of time of removing text surrounding an image with GIMP...
(If only MapTool had a user interface as good)

Well, to be fair, TokenTool has the advantage its trying to do a lot less things than Maptool does, so when they did the rework on it not too long ago they could almost do it from the ground up; there's been distinct improvements in Maptool, but they were only going to tear it down so far.

The biggest complaint I've had in the past with it--and this has also improved--is that the documentation has been so terrible.
 

Sosthenes

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If I remember correctly, MapTool basically "gave up" and now includes most of the browser technologies so that users can write their overlays in an even more bloated environment than Java.

Sigh, sometimes I wish there was some kind of "Dyson Logos" VTT, or even something that's on the same level as a roguelike. You want tokens? Well, you get the letter "t", that good enough? Pick any of those 6 colors.
 

AsenRG

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Yea, I think they want to sell prepped adventures and assets. If things like dynamic lighting or making maps on the fly were too easy, there would be less reason to buy maps with all the bells and whistles built in.

One the things that bugs me is the same thing that bugs me about DnD Beyond - they want you to buy everything all over again to get them to work within their environment.

I make it a point not to support any system/company/whatever that tries to make me buy anything twice...sometimes by sticking to only buying one thing, sometimes by dropping the system entirely:shade:.
 

Brock Savage

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Alright, you guys have made me reconsider using Pog style counters. I can see how it could be nice for a game like Vampire: the Masquerade to have a little portrait to depict major NPCs
 

Tommy Brownell

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Alright, you guys have made me reconsider using Pog style counters. I can see how it could be nice for a game like Vampire: the Masquerade to have a little portrait to depict major NPCs
That’s the real utility, IMO. It does lose something with generic monsters/soldiers/thugs/ninjas, etc…but it shines with identifiable characters.
 

Paragon

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If I remember correctly, MapTool basically "gave up" and now includes most of the browser technologies so that users can write their overlays in an even more bloated environment than Java.


Wouldn't have a clue; that's operating at a level in the program I've never bothered with.
 

Paragon

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That’s the real utility, IMO. It does lose something with generic monsters/soldiers/thugs/ninjas, etc…but it shines with identifiable characters.
It can still be a little useful when you have multiple types of opponents out; its easier to go "Oh, that's one of the Feral Nephilim Reavers" than "Let's see, what was #15 again?"

Personally, while I get the visual attraction to top-down tokens I consider them kind of the worst of both worlds.
 

ffilz

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It can still be a little useful when you have multiple types of opponents out; its easier to go "Oh, that's one of the Feral Nephilim Reavers" than "Let's see, what was #15 again?"

Personally, while I get the visual attraction to top-down tokens I consider them kind of the worst of both worlds.
One nice thing about top down tokens can be easier facing determination for games where facing is important. Otherwise, I do tend to agree that tokens that have side view images of some sort tend to be easier to distinguish. Sometimes board game counters would include a triangle pointing at one edge to denote facing.
 

Yeti Spaghetti

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One nice thing about top down tokens can be easier facing determination for games where facing is important.

I'll need to keep that in mind tonight as I employ my first top down token. After all, wheeling around to attack on another side comes with a modifier.
 

Brock Savage

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It can still be a little useful when you have multiple types of opponents out; its easier to go "Oh, that's one of the Feral Nephilim Reavers" than "Let's see, what was #15 again?"

Personally, while I get the visual attraction to top-down tokens I consider them kind of the worst of both worlds.
How so? In Roll20 tracking hit points etc can be done on the counter, there's no need to label multiples of the same opponent type.
 

Paragon

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How so? In Roll20 tracking hit points etc can be done on the counter, there's no need to label multiples of the same opponent type.

Well, remember I'm not a user of systems that try to offload that much stuff on the VTT. But over and above that, its an easy was to keep track of whether you have the right number of opponents out.
 

Paragon

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One nice thing about top down tokens can be easier facing determination for games where facing is important. Otherwise, I do tend to agree that tokens that have side view images of some sort tend to be easier to distinguish. Sometimes board game counters would include a triangle pointing at one edge to denote facing.

It fair, but you can have a rotatable arrow on the token, so...
 

Necrozius

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Necromancy!!!

How do people feel about Foundry?

I want to switch away from Roll20. I hate Roll20.
 

Stan

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I'm also tiring of Roll20. They've gone for years without fixing sound issues.

My kid recently tried Owlbear Rodeo and liked it. It's a very light VTT that's free.
If a grid isn't necessary, you can just use discord and add a bot or two for dice rolls and things.
 

Ram

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Necromancy!!!

How do people feel about Foundry?

I want to switch away from Roll20. I hate Roll20.
First, I recommend Fantasy Grounds as the VTT to try. I bought Fantasy Grounds (Classic) over 15 years ago and used it extensively. The best money I've spent on software. I recently (whenever the kickstarter was) put up more cash for Fantasy Grounds Unity and have been using that.

Second, talking about any VTT with any specificity requires talking about which game system(s) you will be running. There will be critical points within any system that may set one VTT apart from another.

Ok, now... over this past summer I played in a group over Foundry and a group over Fantasy Grounds both using Savage Worlds SWADE rules. There was no comparison that Fantasy Grounds has a more mature implementation of that ruleset and, from my personal observation from those sessions, Fantasy Grounds was easier for folks to just use if they weren't already familiar with it. I am a fan of Foundry and want it to improve, but it has a ways to go to match the experience on Fantasy Ground. I like SWADE as an example in this because it isn't 5E so it gives a feel for someone what playing something other than 5E is like. And folks do play other systems over Fantasy Grounds, but as one would imagine, the vast majority of games are going to be 5E.

I have not yet tried Owlbear, but this also points out that you want to know what you want your VTT to do. if all you need is Owlbear then it may suit you just fine... but if you want character sheets, rules automation, then it won't.

Fantasy Grounds will let you use the demo, so check it out. You can even play using only the demo if the person running the game has an ultimate license. There are also plenty of people posting actual play videos on Fantasy Grounds and posting videos just about using Fantasy Grounds. If you are a video fiend, there is plenty.
 

Necrozius

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Fantasy grounds looks great but I'm worried about the costs (ie, my friends would have to get paid subsciptions too).
 

under_score

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Necromancy!!!

How do people feel about Foundry?

I want to switch away from Roll20. I hate Roll20.
Foundry is great. I've been using it for nearly a year I think. Haven't touched Roll20 or FG since.
Having used Roll20 and FG both for years, I can't imagine someone finding Foundry more difficult to use. It's extremely user friendly.
 

Nick J

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Necromancy!!!

How do people feel about Foundry?

I want to switch away from Roll20. I hate Roll20.
I bought it a few months back and have only played around with learning it and haven't run anything with it yet, but I like it. It has a pretty decent Mythras sheet from what I can tell (that is actively developed) and not as cluttered/complicated as the Roll20 sheet. I like that you can just plug in a form-fillable PDF character sheet one of the plug-ins for systems that aren't directly supported and I like that it has a GM-side server and browser connectivity for the player-side. So no external software to buy for the whole group and I'm not hamstrung by file upload limits (aside from practical considerations of upload bandwidth speeds during a session).

I think there's a bit of learning curve as all of these things have and is definitely a bit more involved than Roll20, but no more complicated than Fantasy Grounds. I'm giving strong consideration to using it for when I roll out my Thennla/Mythras game sometime in the next year. Then hopefully I can ditch the $5/mo. subscription to Roll20. We'll see.
 

Bunch

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Fantasy grounds looks great but I'm worried about the costs (ie, my friends would have to get paid subsciptions too).
Only one person has to pay for an unlimited license is only one if you gms.
 

ffilz

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How are the other VTT for recruiting players, especially for non-D&D games? My Glorantha game would be dead without Roll20 recruitment.
 

TJS

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It can still be a little useful when you have multiple types of opponents out; its easier to go "Oh, that's one of the Feral Nephilim Reavers" than "Let's see, what was #15 again?"

Personally, while I get the visual attraction to top-down tokens I consider them kind of the worst of both worlds.
Letters.

O for Orc.

The only issue is when you have two of the game thing. Oc = Org Og = Ogre.
It's like nethack!

Although as I try to avoid grids, I would probably just use O for both and make the Ogre bigger.
 

under_score

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I bought it a few months back and have only played around with learning it and haven't run anything with it yet, but I like it. It has a pretty decent Mythras sheet from what I can tell (that is actively developed) and not as cluttered/complicated as the Roll20 sheet. I like that you can just plug in a form-fillable PDF character sheet one of the plug-ins for systems that aren't directly supported and I like that it has a GM-side server and browser connectivity for the player-side. So no external software to buy for the whole group and I'm not hamstrung by file upload limits (aside from practical considerations of upload bandwidth speeds during a session).

I think there's a bit of learning curve as all of these things have and is definitely a bit more involved than Roll20, but no more complicated than Fantasy Grounds. I'm giving strong consideration to using it for when I roll out my Thennla/Mythras game sometime in the next year. Then hopefully I can ditch the $5/mo. subscription to Roll20. We'll see.
Well, I've been meaning to check out Mythras in Foundry for a while, so this comment pushed me to go setup a world and create a character.
I ran through Anathaym's Saga, taking time to setup some items as I went. So as I added Professional Skills to her sheet, I created those skills in the Items Directory so they'll be drag and drop going forward. All the standard skills start out on the character sheet, with descriptions copied from the book and autocalculating their correct starting values. All the Attributes autocalc correctly as well, so that was good to see.
Combat styles and weapons were also very easy to get created and added to the sheet. I appreciate that the Combat Styles template has a field for recording both weapons and traits. Armour is a little more fiddly. If you create an armour item in the directory, you can't assign it a location, because it queries the character sheet for available locations. But when you add it to a character sheet, the location is blank and you have to open the item from the sheet to change the location. It's not a big deal, but I could see it being unintuitive to players.

I went on to create a Bear. Currently the NPC and Creature sheets have not been made, so I had to create it with a character. This does leave creature sheets with a lot of character related clutter, but functionally it works fine. It's quick to delete/edit standard skills from the sheet, hit locations and natural armor can be edited on the fly, weapons and combat styles as well (there's no requirement to add these things to the Directory before applying to the sheet, that's just something I do for character stuff that might be used by another character or NPC). I did try to add the Intimidate and Night Vision abilities to the directory, but the Ability template doesn't exist either. The Abilities section of the character sheet is just freetext.

There are some other template issues. There's a template for creating spells, but it can't be added to a character sheet. I think it's better to just create spells as skills. I'm not sure.

There's pretty much no automation in the game. You can roll initiative, roll attacks, roll attack locations, roll damage, all off your sheet easily enough, but the system isn't tracking your AP or comparing results or modifying damage based on armor or parries, or applying the damage. That's all manual still.

Apparently I did something to Anathaym's sheet while I was trying to add spells that broke it, cause now the sheet won't open at all. Restarted Foundry and can't recover it. So I'd be worried about losing data. Maybe make a backup before play begins.

So there's a lot of work yet to be done, but I do think it's in fairly usable state right now, and of course all the non-system specific benefits of Foundry work fine. I actually put Mythras aside a while ago, after trying to run a game on Roll20, but now I'm tempted to start another game up here.
 

Yeti Spaghetti

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How are the other VTT for recruiting players, especially for non-D&D games? My Glorantha game would be dead without Roll20 recruitment.

Can I ask you how you recruit? Do you use the Roll 20 LFG finder tool, or do you advertise in the Community forum?

One big thing that I DO dislike about the site right now is that whenever I post in the Community forum on the LFG section, my posts aren't getting any views. I filed a ticket and they said they fixed it, but I tried another post and again, no views. So whenever I share info there, no one is seeing it.

With the LFG finder tool, I have to list my game under "Other" with a small handful of games, thus guaranteeing that fewer people are going to search for it and find it. As much as I've had a change of heart about Roll 20 over the summer, this is one big issue for me that makes me TOTALLY agree that their functionality and customer service need MAJOR overhauling.

It won't take much for a competitor to come along and do both of those things better, while offering the same clear, easy-to-use, intuitive basics that Roll 20 does.
 

ffilz

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Can I ask you how you recruit? Do you use the Roll 20 LFG finder tool, or do you advertise in the Community forum?

One big thing that I DO dislike about the site right now is that whenever I post in the Community forum on the LFG section, my posts aren't getting any views. I filed a ticket and they said they fixed it, but I tried another post and again, no views. So whenever I share info there, no one is seeing it.

With the LFG finder tool, I have to list my game under "Other" with a small handful of games, thus guaranteeing that fewer people are going to search for it and find it. As much as I've had a change of heart about Roll 20 over the summer, this is one big issue for me that makes me TOTALLY agree that their functionality and customer service need MAJOR overhauling.

It won't take much for a competitor to come along and do both of those things better, while offering the same clear, easy-to-use, intuitive basics that Roll 20 does.
Mostly I recruit by making space in my game for new players and let people find it. I have tried advertising in the LFG section but got no response.

Offsite I have recruited at Unseen Servant, Google+ (before it went away), ODD74, Here, and Facebook.
 

Arcane_Avatar

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I been running lots of game using FVTT. For someone with minimal IT skills its a relatively short learning curve although if people are coming from another VTT most of the stuff has already been learned. I've run Mythras, Casting the Runes, Night's Black Agents and have set up Call of Cthulhu, Dee Sanction, OSE Scum & Villainy, Alien, Vaesen and am waiting for some current games to complete before I start up a game I have set up but not yet started. The Mythras system does as of now drops APs when taking part in combat and there are macros to reset AP's and others that offer the ability to apply Passions or Augments to skill rolls. It's recently had Tenacity added as a box to track that. It has the basics, except for magic, available and the one time cost is way cheaper than FG or a paid Roll20 sub.

Recruiting: You may have seen my posts here, I also post in the Mythras Discord and anywhere else that has a strong Mythras presence for Mythras players. Other games I do a similar thing. Posting random Game Available requests has never produced squat. And, TBH, there are plenty of rando's out there that express an interest and never follow through.
 

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I'm considering renting a webserver to run Foundry. Anyone else done that? I have the technical skills to handle the webserver, I was just wondering if there were any in-software quirks to be aware of before I pull that trigger.
 

Tom B

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Foundry VTT is as complicated as you want it to be. If you just want the basics, it's pretty easy. Adding maps is pretty easy to figure out, and there are a lot of free ones already available. It's easy to make it more complex than you expected, so I only use the basics. If there's a feature I think might be handy in a certain situation I go ahead and add it. Incrementally, it's easier to learn. (My latest was adding the calendar and weather and customizing it for Wildemount.)
 

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Psychopomp Psychopomp FVTT can be run on just about anything that minimum specs as given on the Foundry web site. Lots of people run on Oracle or AWs and there are guides for that plus there are several hosting companies who do all the tech stuff for you but you probably don't need that. The Foundry Discord has lots of installation help available.
 

Necrozius

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Yeah I’m totally sold on Foundry. I watched a few introductory videos and it blows Roll20 out of the water in terms of features and cost.

Will start by running off my own server, but if that doesn’t work out, they have a partnership with a web host for an inexpensive server setup.

nice
 

under_score

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Yeah I’m totally sold on Foundry. I watched a few introductory videos and it blows Roll20 out of the water in terms of features and cost.

Will start by running off my own server, but if that doesn’t work out, they have a partnership with a web host for an inexpensive server setup.

nice
I recently moved my Foundry game to the Forge hosting. It's $4.50 a month and the performance is much better for my players than when I was self-hosting, so I felt like it was worth it. The good thing is that it's extremely quick and easy to upload your world, so if you start off running something local it'll take you all of 5 minutes to migrate it to the Forge.
I actually recommend doing any of your world building locally and then migrating it before each session, just so you've got that local backup in case something goes wrong with the Forge and you can easily switch to another hosting plan if you want.
 

Necrozius

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Update: I went for Foundry and purchased a hosting server from their partner (I don't trust my Wifi Router).

It's looking good so far. Thankfully I've been working with web software for 20 years, so it isn't overwhelming.
 

under_score

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Update: I went for Foundry and purchased a hosting server from their partner (I don't trust my Wifi Router).

It's looking good so far. Thankfully I've been working with web software for 20 years, so it isn't overwhelming.
What game are you going to be running on it?
 

Necrozius

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What game are you going to be running on it?
I'm transferring my 5e Witcher campaign (using classes from Adventures in Middle Earth).

After that, the Alien RPG for sure. Or Tales from the Loop. Whichever I can convince my players of first...
 
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