D&D General Do you want a 3D vtt?

Do you want a 3D vtt?

  • Yes

    Votes: 34 14.8%
  • No

    Votes: 122 53.3%
  • Maybe? I could me convinced.

    Votes: 69 30.1%
  • Lemon

    Votes: 4 1.7%

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I love using digital tabletop... in 2d. The premade assets available are legion, and while I don't always find what I'm looking for the search often inspires new ideas for characters, settings, encounters, etc, and I now have the tools and skills to make anything very particular that I really want if I need it badly enough to invest a few hours.

Maybe at some point in 10+ years there will be a sufficient library of 3d tabletop assets for me to have a similar relationship with it, and maybe the right tools will exist to make creating my own when I can't find the thing I really need a similarly achievable feat, and maybe I'll care enough to develop the skills to use them. At the pace at which AI assisted art creation is developing maybe it will only be 5 years from now and maybe it will be very easy indeed. But I just feel like it is intrinsically much more difficult to make 3d assets than 2d, so democratizing the 3d asset creation process the way 2d asset creation has been requires some serious software breakthroughs.

And, I don't really see what 3d gets us. Yes it would deal with flight, multilevel environments, and underwater scenarios a lot better, but those are a comparatively small part of the game because physical tabletop struggles with them as well. Meanwhile the cost of 3d VTT is that there is definitely going to be a period of it having substantially less available assets and tools for creating assets than 2d; a major constraint on creativity. Unless there is major technological advancements and very wide adoption of 3d, that will remain the case indefinitely.

Maybe 3d is the future of the game, but right now it's mostly a silly gimmick, and probably will remain so for the life of the upcoming edition. I think at best WotC is making a big investment in it one edition to early.

I think we have to see more before writing it off like that.
Maybe, but my overall argument is that the technology doesn't just have to get there to have a solid 3d vtt with some good assets and good functionality for it to really become an integral part of the hobby. It has to get to a place where creating your own assets for a 3d VTT is not vastly more difficult than creating them for 2d VTT (such that vast numbers of people create vast numbers of assets). Furthermore, at present WotC themselves produce a vast number of art assets for books (and magic cards) that can trivially be turned into tokens and handouts for a 2d VTT game, and maps for their modules that can be plopped straight into a 2d VTT, as do a vast array of 3rd party publishers.

I'm sure there will be really cool 3d VTTs in the near future that will be a lot of fun within their limited options, but there have to be multiple software breakthroughs and a major shift in the industry towards creating 3d art assets for published modules for 3d VTTs to win over most of us 2d VTT folks. This seems vastly more plausible to work out with the inevitable 2034 edition than the 2024 edition.

So, sure, my calling it a "gimmick" is a prediction that very well might age like milk (like all predictions), but given the underlying structural natures of the hobby and industry and the technological hurdles it presents I'll happily make the bet that 3d VTTs will not be a major part of most people's OneD&D experience.

I also think WotC knows this. I think the push has more to do with impressing investors and executives who don't play D&D and are baffled by these weird book games, who will see a videogame-like product in the 3d VTT experiment and think "okay, this makes sense for Hasbro to spend money on, I know what video games are, and they make tons of money", and has less to do with really hoping to make it a major aspect of their products in the OneD&D generation.


I crit!
They are not.
maybe mistake is too strong.

Defiantly something I don't want and I don't really see a big demand for it. The big and growing vtt's are all 2d. That might be due to a variety of issues but I do think 2d preference is a big one of those reasons.
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Yes, but I also want the VTT to support 2d maps and assets. 3d environments for big marquee encounters but 2d for the rest. And I want the 3d maps to support 2d tokens where it's just a picture of a creature on a token base.
Totally agree, at the very minimum one would want 2d maps of the countryside.


My table play via Foundry, but I still try to keep stuff relatively simple. Too much flash and video gameyness distract the players, and sucks valuable prep time for me as GM. So no, I don't want or need a 3D vtt.

But sure, if and when there's a low-cost, low-system req, easy to prep 3D VTT with lots and lots of available assets I probably try it. I doubt though that we see it in the near future.

I think it could be really cool if it worked, but I'm skeptical on the latter. I really don't want my D&D sessions to be derailed by technical issues, especially since the range of hardware in our group extends from low-end to high-end. I also think it would, perhaps dramatically, increase the cost to produce the content I really value (dungeons/adventure locations, monsters, etc.), and the natural inclination would be for the producer to minimize this kind of content to control costs.


I would very much like one because the likelihood of me finding an in-person group to play with is between zilch and nil. If 3D is the closest I'll get to the physical tabletop, warts and all, I'll take it.

I appreciate why others may not like it though: by its very nature it's going to require a lot more work to make maps and models, it's going to demand more of computers and browsers running it, and if they're going to do something like that I'd rather they go all the way with animation... which again requires more work than most will put in. Sometimes you don't need 3D models and maps for a countryside trail or a camp or an unimportant hut, and it would be wasteful to do such a thing. However, some people would enjoy making them and more would enjoy moving their characters around it. But who's making the content, who's allowing what on their VTT, who's paying for it, and how much?

Virtual tabletops already have enough technical hurdles, and 3D will only introduce more. In a way I can already see the problems with it, in the same way too many accessories brought to a physical table slow things down. Bells and whistles make a lot of noise.

At the very least I'd give it a go. If I don't like it, there's always 2D.


Upon further reflection and I am going to sound like the 4 Yorkshire men but the biggest issue to more graphically capable VTT is aesthetic expectation.
By that I mean that the higher quality the tools the more the expectation that the map will match the capability of the tools. 40 years ago I played in a session where the map was drawn in the inside cardboard of a cigarette packet.
I spent years playing on flip mats with maps drawn on the fly and now in FantasyGrounds with either professional maps or ones drawn using tools like Dungeondraft.
I could in theory have a graphics pad attached to my PC and sketch out a map and import that for a random encounter but I do not because such a map will not match the aesthetic expectation I have set for myself (not including the group here because I have never discussed this with them).
I noticed something similar on Critical Role, at the beginning Matt Mercer used traditional paper maps. They do not work that well for a streaming audience and he switched to 3d terrain. When he was using paper the gang arrived in a city and he outlined the places of interest and when they went somewhere and something happened he pulled out a map from a sheaf of about 20 he had prepared.
When he switched to 3-d terrain there is less use of maps, and the maps are slightly generic. A sewer, a street, a temple and so on where as before I suspect he would have drawn custom maps.
Higher fidelity maps means more prep time and 3d maps will take a lot of prep for custom maps. So it is a good model to sell prefabricated adventures.
Another possible long term benefit, in my mind, is that, by the time 3D VTT become mature they will enable augmented reality play at the table and telepresence play. Where the technology will enable something closely resembling real life at the table experience for groups that can only get together online.

King Babar

God Learner
I said "Maybe", but I lean heavily towards "No". I don't like the idea of a 3D VTT primarily because I believe it will create a closed ecosystem that won't be friendly to third party products of any kind.

Also the potential for microtransactions, which I really don't want to see in a ttrpg, is incredibly high with a 3D VTT.


Jedi Master
I'd love a well designed, DM friendly 3d VTT. I've always mixed the use of TOM and Grid depending on the needs of a specific encounter. What I hate about 2D maps (either in person or on Roll20) is how difficult it is to use a flat grid for a dynamic, 3D battlefield (expense on the in-person side, lack of functionality on the Roll20 side). Give me an easy way to create a city street where rooftops are in play or a multi-level dragon lair battlemap, and I'm in.

I would like it. I play online enough that a really good, visually appealing VTT and 3D could be a cool way to do that - as well as a cool way to do something with the VTT that's really hard to do at a live table.

Of course, that means I want a good VTT, but I think it's possible.

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
No. I have far too much homebrew in my version of D&D (most notably that it's actually Level Up) for a VTT to be in any way worth my money.

You could and presumably it will have the published books prebuilt, but it is D&D, and the nice thing about D&D is that one can go off script and do one's own thing.
You'd need to be able to drag-and-drop entire building or dungeon rooms with no more than a couple keywords first. It's a huge ask for all of the stuff to be pre-built and ready to go, but if it's not there the need to build it all in 3D will keep anyone from wanting to dm in the space.


I said "Maybe", but I lean heavily towards "No". I don't like the idea of a 3D VTT primarily because I believe it will create a closed ecosystem that won't be friendly to third party products of any kind.

Also the potential for microtransactions, which I really don't want to see in a ttrpg, is incredibly high with a 3D VTT.
I miss when they called D&D microtransactions Dungeon and Dragon magazines.

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