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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I was really, really happy when WotC canceled Morningstar because I'd been beta testing it and I found it typical of tabletop companies efforts into the iOS App ecology. Like Privateer Press' War Room, Morningstar didn't obey any of the normal iOS standards. They created their own UI with their own logic and I'm sure they thought it was a fine User Experience, but iOS already *has* those standards and regardless of whether your company managed to come up with something better, the point is we all *know* the rules of iOS and when you break them you make your product harder to use.

It seemed to me that maybe WotC was more interested in putting out a good product, rather than getting something, *anything* into the players' hands. That's good. You can run D&D without any of this stuff, so WotC can take their time and make sure the final product is aces.

I think that's why they felt comfortable giving a license to Smiteworks. Because for all it's eccentricities, it provides a polished experience. And by licensing the data to Smiteworks, they're removing like 90% of the weirdness of Fantasy Grounds.

A lot of Fantasy Grounds' wierdness comes from trying to build your own data modules. When you run FG, you're running a server from your computer that serves data to clients who connect. This is not something normal people do. Normal people don't worry about port forwarding. And you need to scrub or "parse" all the 5E data, which doesn't happen automatically, you need to download other programs fans made and those programs only work with the free stuff WotC puts online.

Whereas this license covers everything! Yay! All the monsters at my fingertips! Yay! Already I'm thinking about using this on my Surface Pro just to manage combat because at the table I have to flip back and forth between stat blocks in the MM. Pain in the butt.

I also like to customize monsters, which FG makes easy. I grab a monster from the MM, drag him into the NPC pane, and now I have a unique version of that monster. I can give him another monster's abilities just by dragging and dropping. So nice.

Anyway, it's not perfect and it's not for everyone, but it's a powerful program and deserves some attention.

Note tablet support is still iffy, the touch interface is a little wonky

Harry Dresden

First Post
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.

I've tried watching those videos but they are very blurry.


Would pdfs be a competing product to this? I mean would pdfs of the books make it easy to extract the data making these packs unnecessary?


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


First Post
What does FG have for printing capability? ie- could I use FG for online sessions and then have people bring printed character sheets to the next live session, complete with any updates made in FG?


One of our customers reported that the D&D Basic Rules wasn't downloading and installing the new theme for D&D. We found and fixed the problem. If you happened to buy the D&D Basic Rules pack, please run another update and you should be all set.

I think there are a few other little issues reported with some typos that slipped through QA, but we expect to push out some updates over the next few days to address those as well. Sorry for the issue -- especially since I was recommending for people to pick up the D&D Basic Rules pack at a minimum so they got the new theme.


Man another thing I love about FG is the Party Sheet. I can set a stealth DC or whatever and with one button have the entire party roll a perception check and see who made it without anyone even knowing I did it! So awesome.

Also, the language addon is so cool. I can format text in Draconic and people who speak Draconic see it as English, people who don't see it as this cool alien font. So nice.


First Post
We don't have this problem with our implementation. One of our 3 core developers is exclusively a Mac guy. He helped us assemble the Steam version and it works flawlessly with players and DM's inside or outside of Steam on either Mac or PC. I don't use Linux outside of server products, but my understanding is that it works just as well. Mac OS is basically a cousin of Linux anyway.
Will you be adding the Ultimate License as a purchase option on Stream?

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