FANTASY GROUNDS Virtual Tabletop's D&D License!

Officially licensed D&D electronic tools! For real! Fantasy Grounds, one of the leading virtual tabletops, has just released a set of D&D 5th edition licensed data packages. These include the D&D Basic Rules, packs for each of the core classes, and a pile of monster packs. Each states specifically that "This product is licensed from Wizards of the Coast." This appears to be the first officially licensed and branded electronic product. (thanks to Matchstick for the scoop)

Check out their D&D wares here. They mention that "The DMG is still in the works, along with the Hoard of the Dragon Queen, The Rise of Tiamat and Princes of the Apocalypse." and that "The basic 5E ruleset will continue to be provided directly within Fantasy Grounds to all licenses. These purchasable options add a new graphics theme that is officially branded, along with the library module support, and whatever other enhancements we could squeeze in, like tokens or portraits or decals."

Here's the announcement:
We are proud to announce that we are officially licensed to sell D&D source material and content inside of Fantasy Grounds! This is the beginning of a great new partnership between SmiteWorks and Wizards of the Coast that will benefit gamers worldwide.

You can purchase the D&D Complete Core Class Pack with all the class, feats, spells and equipment or you can purchase individual classes only. You can also buy the monsters in packs or as the D&D Complete Core Monster Pack. These products have been converted to work really tightly with Fantasy Grounds to give you the best possible gaming experience - we know you're going to love them. They contain all the great artwork and content from the official products and all the smarts and integration to work with Fantasy Grounds. Not only will you get the same content that can be found in print, but you also get an exciting new Fifth Edition theme, adventures and content customized specifically for ease of play inside of Fantasy Grounds.

For Dungeon Masters and players on a budget, you might pick up a Player Customization Pack and one or two Class Packs of your choice. Dungeon Masters can often get by with just the Adventure of their choice and one or two Monster Packs.

Don't forget that players can gift purchases through Steam for Dungeon Masters who have linked their license on Steam.


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First Post
If you go to a fast food place for a meal and then go see a movie and buy a drink and popcorn, you've spent what, probably close to $30? For an extra $10 you can get the Full license and have 100s of hours of gaming fun over many years. Of course, there's the added cost of the two modules for 5e, $100, so I can see how in the here and now it looks expensive.

If you aren't sure, try to find a game to participate in during the upcoming FG Con (April 17-19) where you can play for free and get an introduction (maybe even find yourself a group to join going forward).

I've been using FG for a little over three years and I've purchased a significant amount of DLC over that time for the RoleMaster and Castles & Crusades rulesets. I wouldn't call myself a heavy user either; on average I DM for about 3.5 hours a week. My current cost/hour works out to almost exactly $0.24.

You can't beat the long term value offered by FG, especially if you don't have 10s or 100s of hours to enter all the game content yourself.


If you pay the "ULTIMATE PRICE" :), then the rest of your group can just download an unregistered version, correct?

That could work.

I have house rules and a lot of home brewed content. How easy is it to a)create content from scratch (mostly already defined powers already in use) and b) copy an object (either class or monster) and modify it?


First Post
Here's a complete playthrough of the Lost Mine of Phandelver using Fantasy Grounds. (spoilers and language) this was done before the official D&D 5E support but it illustrates how Fantasy Grounds plays...



So here's my situation. I play a weekly game with my friend and family in the States. I DM from my computer. My friend has his own computer, while my sister's family (her, her husband, and their daughter) all use one single computer. We use Roll20 for our map needs. We communicate via Google Hangouts, mainly because I can use my phone, since my computer doesn't have a good camera or microphone. We play mostly Basic Rules, with a few exceptions (War Cleric in last adventure, Warlock in this one).

What would be the most affordable, reasonable use of FG, if any, in this case?


@Iosue - the most reasonably priced option for using FG here is:

you get 2x $4/month subscriptions to FG.
you use to suck in the Basic PDF (download from Wizards).

you dont get the theme and you dont get all of the classes or all of the monsters but you do get a goodly amount of stuff and you can try it all for $8.
but i would use the $3 basic rules to give that extra punch.
so you are $3 plus $8/month.

you might want to buy Lost Mines of Phandelver for $20 and kick start your learning experience and get gaming much quicker. but if you already played that hang out for the other adventure modules which will be ready real soon.

over time your players might want the bells and whistles of other class - $3each. only the GM needs to buy them for them to be available.

EDIT: sorry - you would need 3 subscriptions. but if you like it after one month Id use Steam to buy the 4 pack and you get 4 outright licenses for the price of 3. one for you, your friend, your family and one to gift/sell to someone later.


Very cool. This is what I was saying about getting a tried and true dev. These guys clearly know what they are doing. Glad Wizards is starting to wise up.


First Post
Eh, I'll spring the $13 for the basic rules and a 1 month on ultimate to run a few games and take it for a test drive. It'll be a good gauge on not only how much value I'm getting from the core utilities but also on how much customization and manual entry I can do and how much time the PHB and MM supplements would save me.

Marty Lund

aramis erak

Somewhat, it would make copying and pasting easier, but not getting everything interconnected and related. Although that doesn't facter in the sometimes wierd copying that happens from pdf's

That usually happens because companies use a character ID number shift (usually to one of the Unicode PUA regions), and bind in a shifted-to-match version of the font.

Note that doing so actually breaks the PDFs for an important use - by the visually impaired - because it prevents text-to-speech from working, too.

The other major cause of weird copying is OCR text - which often gets it wrong.


Ok, so here are a couple of absolutely outstanding YouTube videos that will answer pretty dang near all of your questions about playing 5E D&D on Fantasy Grounds. They're very high quality, well thought out, and extremely informative. They're done by one of the many extremely helpful members of the FG community named "Xorn". If you watch any video on how Fantasy Grounds works, watch this:

HERE is Xorn's 5E Player Quickstart video. It does a superb job of laying out the basics of character creation, the Combat Tracker (the true gem of FG's functionality), and even a few rounds of mock combat where he explains the basics of using a battlemap, etc.

IMPORTANT NOTE: At the beginning of the video, Xorn builds his character by scratch, manually filling out the character sheet. What you get when you buy the 5E addons - is automation. Oh so sweet automation. Example: Say you were making a 1st level Fighter. You'd roll your stats, but then you'd reach into the little 5E compendium, drag and drop the Fighter class onto your character sheet, and *BING!* - automation. Fantasy Grounds will automatically populate all the relevant fields having to do with the Fighter throughout your sheet. It'll ask you what you want your Skills you want to be proficient it (just click your choices) and then automatically select them, and setup their bonuses in the Skills tab. It'll automatically add your Armor and Weapon proficiencies to the appropriate sections in the Abilities tab, it'll automatically add all your Features to the Abilities tab, etc. Then, say you want to be an elf - same deal. Drag n' drop the 5E elf onto your sheet, and it'll ask you if you want to be a High Elf, Wood Elf, or Drow Elf - make your selection, and *BING!* everything on your sheet gets filled out automatically. Traits, Languages, your Speed. It'll do the same thing with Equipment. Go HERE to see screenshots of what I'm talkin' about. But what's REALLY cool is that when you level, you repeat the process, and the table does all the automation. Your 2nd level Fighter will get what a 2nd level Fighter gets, and it'll be automated on the sheet. While FG is not a digital toolset, eeeeee - it gets dangerously close.

I also wouldn't confuse the "macro's" he setup at the bottom of the screen with the crazy macro heavy world of other VTT's. Everything can be done from the character sheet. In fact, my players pretty much use their sheets for (almost) everything. They'll occasionally drag n' drop ye olde "Perception Check" down there, something like that, but otherwise they kinda like using the sheet.

Nutshell: I can create a 1st level character in about 5 minutes. 10 minutes if I take a little time. And be ready to play. Frankly, the longest time sink would be rolling my ability scores (and deciding where to put them) and choosing equipment and spells.

HERE is Xorn's video called 5E FG Behind the DM Screen. Again, just a fantastic video. Very detailed, pretty easy to understand, but if it's totally new to you there might be some information overload, so definitely get some hands-on experience (download the demo).

Pro Tip: In the end, it's allllll about the Combat Tracker. Combat Tracker, Combat Tracker, Combat Tracker. Frankly, I can't even remember how the heck we did this on paper back in the day. And honestly, I'd rather eat my own head than go back to it. I'd (at the very least) project FG onto the wall for me and the players to see and use the Combat Tracker if nothing else.

I will say this: when I first discovered Fantasy Grounds a few years ago, I learned 90% of how to use it from Xorn's (4E) videos. I'd basically be flipping back and forth constantly from the table to YouTube constantly. Get to the part in the video about, I dunno - creating Effects or something - watch it - pause it - then go try it on the table. I'd then pretty much screw it up on the table (I'm kinda dumb), so I'd have to flip back to the video and watch that part again, rinse, repeat, etc. You get the picture.

Can FG accomodate house rules. Eg say I have a new spell. Can I input how it works into the program? Or what if I have houseruled Conjure Woodland Beings to take out the sentence about obeying orders? Can I delete that?

Jan van Leyden

Plus there is the question of what happens if WotC stops making 5e. Is the license still valid then? It might matter to those who paid 150$ up front to play limitless D&D.

That's definitely a reason to have a close look at the end user license agreement for the D&D 5e packages. I would expect that those items will be removed from the store, but much better to check it out beforehand.

Is the EULA accessible somewhere?

Jan van Leyden

In all of this discussion the topic of the still outstanding DMG hasn't been touched. The DMG contains (as far as I know - still playing 4e:) ) lots of optional rules with which you can tailor the game to your needs. Does FG plus DMG allow you to activate/deactivate those rules? Is the functionality already programmed into the product?


I've already discovered the kind of remote play that works for our group, and digital tools aren't high on my list of "wants" for 5E...but I'm very glad to see this agreement come to fruition. Licensing to proven, established developers is undoubtedly the right way to go...good luck to all involved!


It does run on Mac and Linux under WINE. The easiest solution for most Mac users is to purchase the license for FG from Steam for Mac and then purchase all the DLC directly from our store. It's like a one click install at that point. When you launch it from Steam on your Mac, you'll go to your settings and link it with your Fantasy Grounds forum username and password so it can retrieve any DLC purchases you've made. The only issue we had with Mac is that the DLC bought directly in Steam doesn't auto-download. Those are not flagged as Mac compatible on Steam for that reason, but if you accidentally buy them anyway -- just shoot a note to and we can add it to your FG forum account.


Hmmmm, isn't there's a way to try it first? i'm not sure i'm keen on spending 40$ on something I just want to try...



Hola guys - the coding etc behind these frameworks is incredibly complex. Converting a source book to work with Fantasy Grounds is also complex. The DMG is about half way thru the conversion and is expected to be available around the end of May. All products need to be reviewed by the Wizards before being released too. Other adventures will be available before then.
You cant try out the licensed material without buying it but you can download the demo version and use to create many of the Basic rules for free. You can get a subscription for as low as $4/person or $10 for the ultimate which allows unlimited players with or without licenses.
Much of the DMG is tables etc. These will all have auto rolling and stuff. Some of the optional rules will be able to be turned on and off. Some rules will be left to GM interpretation.
Most spell effects are not automated. It is incredibly difficult to code automation for all the myriad effects etc available. There are some seriously powerfully effects to help implement and track spell casting. Spells with effects automatically expiring at the correct time, buffing or reducing stats or skills etc while others are just descriptive providing players and GM with the visual clues that the spell is still in effect.
If you buy 5E content thru the FG or Steam stores its yours to use with FG indefinitely irrespective of the status of the FG / DnD license. If the license expires FG will no longer be able to sell new content but will continue to stock it in order to replace it for you when installing on a new computer etc.
I think that is the last crop of questions covered :)

Jan van Leyden

Most spell effects are not automated. It is incredibly difficult to code automation for all the myriad effects etc available. There are some seriously powerfully effects to help implement and track spell casting. Spells with effects automatically expiring at the correct time, buffing or reducing stats or skills etc while others are just descriptive providing players and GM with the visual clues that the spell is still in effect.

Now this is pretty open... Care to answer three concrete questions how these spells from the Basis Set work in FG?

Disintegrate prompts a saving throw from the target to be either disintegrated (killed and lost) or suffering some damage. If the damage reduces the target to 0 hp, it is disintegrated.

Death Ward lets the target survive the next lethal attack within 8 hours. It is reduced to 1 hp instead and the spell ends.

Faerie Fire grants CA on attacks versus the target(s). The spell's duration is determined by the caster's concentration (up to 1 minute).

How does concentration work?

How does targetting work? See Faerie Fire.

I don't want to diminish the quality or the effort that went into the product in any way, but these are serious usability concerns in my book.

My biggest issue with automation in VTTs is to make it clear which parts and details are automated and which aren't.


Can FG accomodate house rules. Eg say I have a new spell. Can I input how it works into the program? Or what if I have houseruled Conjure Woodland Beings to take out the sentence about obeying orders? Can I delete that?

Yes, you can create your own spell effects. You'll want to use similar syntax to the spells in the D&D basic rules or the Class Packs and then you'll see how it picks up on certain wordings and effects.

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