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Advice on on-line gaming for a complete novice

payn

Hero
*Finding players through Roll20...lets say its a casual vibe. Reddit remains probably the best place to find players, but that can also be very interesting.
This. My advice is to walk up to a big campaign, but never start one with people you dont know. Do some one shots and get to know a gamer pool of reliable folks whose playstyle matches your own first.
 

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embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
So after nineteen years with the same group (and gaming FtF since 1979), I am considering trying gaming on-line. The local game community here is drying up since the last FLGS closed.

I have used VTT at my table for years (MapTools). I have high-speed Internet access.

I've looked at Roll 20 and Fantasy Grounds, but I'm not sure which is the better choice. The cost isn't an issue.

I've never done Zoom or Skype or similar programs.

I've starting watching gaming sessions on YouTube, but without any practical background I'm not able to evaluate the technical aspects involved.

Anyone have advice or input?
I use Roll20, though from what I understand, FG is equally good. Both have their strengths and weaknesses which can be found in other threads.

Zoom is dead easy to use. By the end of your first time using it, you will be an expert.

If you are using a PC, I recommend that, if you only have one monitor, you use the half-maximize feature in Windows. If you drag a window all the way to the left or right side, it will take up one half. You can then select another program (like your browser) to take up the other half. You can actually break it down into quarters and adjust just how much you want each window to take up proportionally. For example, I have my browser take up the leftmost two thirds. The remaining third is then split with Zoom on top and Facebook Messenger on the bottom.

Whatever you choose, you will get used to it. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice practice practice.
 

turnip_farmer

Adventurer
I use Roll20, though from what I understand, FG is equally good. Both have their strengths and weaknesses which can be found in other threads.

Zoom is dead easy to use. By the end of your first time using it, you will be an expert.

If you are using a PC, I recommend that, if you only have one monitor, you use the half-maximize feature in Windows. If you drag a window all the way to the left or right side, it will take up one half. You can then select another program (like your browser) to take up the other half. You can actually break it down into quarters and adjust just how much you want each window to take up proportionally. For example, I have my browser take up the leftmost two thirds. The remaining third is then split with Zoom on top and Facebook Messenger on the bottom.

Whatever you choose, you will get used to it. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice practice practice.
Just a personal thing, but I refuse to use Zoom for gaming. So much of my working life is didn't sat in Zoom calls. It would feel like putting on a tie and going to the office to play DnD.
 

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
Just a personal thing, but I refuse to use Zoom for gaming. So much of my working life is didn't sat in Zoom calls. It would feel like putting on a tie and going to the office to play DnD.
That's why I'm terrible with my personal email.

I get about 150 emails a day at work. The last thing I want to do is read more email.
 

OK, GM'd my first session tonight (Zweihander RPG), went extremely well.

Player recruitment was amazing: within 72 hours I had a full table after posting for players, enough response so that I could cherry-pick. None had played Zweihander, but that is no problem. I did recruit two former players of mine who had moved away, which was a reward in and of itself.

The automated PC sheet making rolls for the players was extremely well received. I still roll actual dice because Zweihander's Bestiary hasn't been released on Roll20 yet.

Roll20 is amazing; one example is a online game log that any player can edit, used to list NPCs, loot, interesting facts...what a feature.

I may never return to F2F playing. For the first time in 19 years I gamed at home, with all my data, books, and comforts to hand, working off two TV monitors instead of a laptop screen.

It has changed my view of the hobby forever.
 

Mustrum_Ridcully

Adventurer
If you've used Maptools in the past, maybe keep at that. I have been using that for a while an are fairly familiar with the tool, though I don't really use all the features (like lights or fog of war based on tokens and stuff. I just block out the stuff the players aren't supposed to see until they complain they should be able to see something by now. :) )
Character Sheets everyone had their own however they liked, for Initiative i have an Excel Sheet.
The biggest prep work for my D&D 4 and my D&D4-based/inspired homebrew Star Wars campaign so far has been making maps for encounters. I like to make it big. It's a good idea to build a repository over time of NPC/monster tokens, furniture, textures and the like.
I used the old offline Dungeon Tools for my D&D 4 campaign.

Another GM has been using Roll20 for a longer Dungeon World campaign. That worked mostly with theatre of the mind, so we mostly had a big map of the region we travelled through and only occassional some encounter maps. But Dungeon World combat is so bare bones/simple that it doesn't matter. The neat part was that there are also Dungeon World character sheets for us players, so we could manage our characters completely inside Roll20.
Currenly that GM is running a Pathfinder introductory game, and he got a Pathfinder adventure to play that with. Apparently at least for this adventure, there was a Roll20 content pack (for money, seperate from the adventure itself) and that came with maps and other stuff ready-made for use.
 

If you've used Maptools in the past, maybe keep at that. I have been using that for a while an are fairly familiar with the tool, though I don't really use all the features (like lights or fog of war based on tokens and stuff. I just block out the stuff the players aren't supposed to see until they complain they should be able to see something by now. :) )
Character Sheets everyone had their own however they liked, for Initiative i have an Excel Sheet.
The biggest prep work for my D&D 4 and my D&D4-based/inspired homebrew Star Wars campaign so far has been making maps for encounters. I like to make it big. It's a good idea to build a repository over time of NPC/monster tokens, furniture, textures and the like.
I used the old offline Dungeon Tools for my D&D 4 campaign.

Another GM has been using Roll20 for a longer Dungeon World campaign. That worked mostly with theatre of the mind, so we mostly had a big map of the region we travelled through and only occassional some encounter maps. But Dungeon World combat is so bare bones/simple that it doesn't matter. The neat part was that there are also Dungeon World character sheets for us players, so we could manage our characters completely inside Roll20.
Currenly that GM is running a Pathfinder introductory game, and he got a Pathfinder adventure to play that with. Apparently at least for this adventure, there was a Roll20 content pack (for money, seperate from the adventure itself) and that came with maps and other stuff ready-made for use.
No way. Roll20 Pro is incredible. The Fog of War and Dynamic lighting is incredible, a generation+ ahead of MapTool. The PC sheets I references are interactive: to tap your weapon listing in your sheet, Roll20 rolls to hit and damage. Saving throws, imitative, effects, all that is a simple click on the page.

I abandoned 'theater of the mind' more than a decade ago, and I'm never going back. VTT all the way.
 

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