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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Oh cruel fates! Why do you conspire against my pocketbook!?! ;)

Yes, the price did give me pause...then I thought about how easy I find using FG is. I've never really used it to play yet, even though I've owned it be 6 years or so. I did "run" it once with my brother, for about 20 minutes (all the time we had). It was easy to use and easy on the eyes.

That said...I get to go do my taxes tomorrow morning and my return should be more than enough for the upgrade to Ultimate and the MM & PHB stuff. Yay! :)

For all of you on the fence; give the demo a try. If you like that, plunk down a month or two subscription and give it a serious run through. If you like it even more, get the perma-license (best deal if you plan on running a consistent game month to month to month for who knows how long).

Oh, and FG is just outright pretty! :D Easy on the eyes and I get a much better feeling of "sitting around a table" than I do with the other VTT's I've tinkered with (MapTool, Roll20, Battlegrounds, kLoOgE [or whatever it's called], and some others I can't remember). With those, I always felt like I was "role playing on the computer"...but the look and feel of FG doesn't do that for some reason.


Paul L. Ming

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I suspect this will be a good purchase for folks who have steady groups who are willing to "pay to play" and may or may not own some or any of the 5E books already. I would like if they would put together a "5th edition only" package license deal, I'm not really interested in the 3rd ruleset, pathfinder ruleset and support for 4th (but no content for it hurr hurr). In fact just breaking up those editions into independent packages would be a nice approach.

It's not really the tool I'm looking for though. $40 for a character builder (with a bunch of other tools I don't need) is steep enough, but then another $50 for the MM and $50 for the PHB content, after already buying the books, puts this WAY beyond any price I'd pay for it. I'd pay $50 for digital versions of those content combined and included with the program, but I'm not really interested in re-buying my books at full price in digital format. And I'm sure as heck that all but 1 of my players can't even afford the base product.

Hopefully WOTC will develop some kind of stand-alone software that is more directed at player-side gameplay for a more reasonable price.


First Post
The price point is just too steep for me, I don't need the map building/digital play space tools, really all I am looking for is a character creator. And I don't think I could convince my friends to share, we all want to be able to make characters whenever we want, not just when linked to one person.

I'm still holding out for a Herolab license.


@smiteworks Is there a way to auto up/down scale adventures?

We link story entries to encounters that have a list of monsters, like
5 - Trolls
1 - Owlbear
2 - Orcs

Whenever you build an encounter, it will show X copies of that token underneath each entry and then you can drag those to a map to set the pre-placement. If you want to scale it down, you just decrease the number appearing and it removes the tokens from the end of the list. If you want to add more, you just increase the number appearing and place the new tokens -- or drag in a new NPC or monster to the list and do the same.

The one thing it doesn't do at the moment is automatically recalculate the new CR and XP value for those encounters. We preset all these based on their recommended levels, but you'd need to adjust up or down from there. We were talking about adding an auto-calculate CR and XP button to the interface in the near future though.

A picture is worth a thousand words:
View attachment 67788


First Post
Smiteworks, are you the exclusive license holder of D&D 5e digital tools, like right now you are the first, but does your licence state that you and only you can create official 5e digital tools?

Mod Note: Please see my post below. ~Umbran
Last edited by a moderator:

Fantasy Grounds looks neat and I'm not really worried about the cost, unless one has difficulty finding a game after footing the bill. It's pretty easy to find a game on Roll 20 for free. I did notice they've got FG forums, but no 'Looking for a Group' function as on Roll 20. Something similar to this on Fantasy Grounds would do much allay any similar fears and give players and DMs an idea of what experience they might expect after the buy-in.


First Post
One of the points of confusion I'm seeing here is that people think the $150 purchase (or $10/month subscription) is to pay for the D&D content. While I don't use FFG (we're on Roll20), from what I gather, the license or subscription covers the use of their software package, which is ultimately designed to support internet-based rpg-ing. So, once you pay for the FFG license, you can use it to play any RPG you want. If you want to use the built-in content packages for those RPG's, you would have to buy that as add-on content, but I also imagine the system has generic system-agnostic support that you can use to play any game, with dice rolls, tokens and map uploads.

So the price tag for D&D for the complete D&D set is $50. Looking at the $150 price tag is a bit like looking at a video game and saying, "oh, that costs $400, because I need to buy a Playstation 4 to play it."

As a point of comparison, I pay $10 a month for a Roll20 subscription that allows me to use some dynamic lighting features, upload extra maps, and write my own javascript programs to add on more complex functionality. (Allowing me to do things like resource tracking with macros, simplify session prep and roll hitdice for monsters as I place their tokens on the table.) There is an auto-calculating 5e character sheet, but it includes no game "content", so I have to key in all of my own monsters, spell descriptions, etc. The benefit, for me, is that the point of entry is free, so there is a huge pool of players from which I can recruit for my game. And I was able to DM my game for 4 or 5 months before ultimately deciding that the subscription was worth it. But I can totally see the draw to use FFG.


Mod Squad
Staff member
Smiteworks, are you the exclusive license holder of D&D 5e digital tools, like right now you are the first, but does your licence state that you and only you can create official 5e digital tools?

Let's us all be aware that we are not entitled to details of licensing agreements, or other business information. Let us not put them on the spot on such matters too much, please and thank you.


I tried almost all of virtual tabletops out there and I found that Fantasy grounds is very expensive and not very intuitive and simple to use. I found many free solution that are much better than FG.
For maybe 5 years I use TTopRPG virtual tabletop because my party is scattered around.
I used it for d&d 3.5, pathfinder, d&d 4ed, savage worlds and now d&d 5ed. It's free and very simple to use. We used it with skype for VoIP communication and hamachi for VPN.
And you don't need any licence for systems. You can play almost any system with it. Even FATE rolls are implemented.

If anyone wants to try it and could use some help, just send me PM and I would gladly help. Even provide you with macroes for all character rolls for 5th.


New Publisher
But if I don't own a PS4.....or FG license, that is part of the entry cost. So, to play full D&D, 9t is 150, plus 50, plus 20 every adventure, on top of owning the same content in paper form. I know some won't like this opinion, but that's a lot of money.

Haven't used FG, mainly because of the cost, but I've heard good things. Overall, this sounds like a great move for gamers and especially for WotC--fifteen years, and now they finally have digital tools that aren't trending for embarrassment! (Rhetorically, what took 'em so long to just license it to somebody with a functioning and commercial successful product? :p)

My only complaint is that I've already thrown my digital D&D dollars behind Roll20. Still happy with that decision, but I suppose FG could merit a look.


Good for those who use a virtual tabletop, but it's pretty useless to me. I was hoping for a tablet app to use around a physical table, similar to what Dungeonscape/Morningstar was supposed to be.


Good for those who use a virtual tabletop, but it's pretty useless to me. I was hoping for a tablet app to use around a physical table, similar to what Dungeonscape/Morningstar was supposed to be.

I'm going to guess that something like this is in the works as well. Whether it's a tablet app, a desktop thing, or both-- who knows. Seems to me that FG serves a particular need. So does HeroLab or its equivalent.

But I guess we'll see.

(And while Umbran is totally right that Smiteworks has no obligation to share license terms and perhaps has incentives or requirements not to do so-- Man, it's hard to resist asking).



We are not at liberty to share any information about the license terms.

As for looking for groups, we set up individual forums for different game systems and most people post there and occasionally on the FG calendar page (or both).


Does it run on Mac? All my players have macs...


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.


First Post

Let's us all be aware that we are not entitled to details of licensing agreements, or other business information. Let us not put them on the spot on such matters too much, please and thank you.

It is a very relevant question though, if they are going to be the only company with a D&D license that would be major incentive to me to buy their product (I want digital tools), if they are just the first of many, I am going to have to wait though to see what the market looks like because their current offering doesn't line up very well with my needs, I could make it work but it is a lot of money to spend if it isn't my last option to consider.

With Roll20, you get "character sheets" that don't interact with what's going on in the game.

When was the last time you used roll20? And that false economy stuff is BS: I have used roll20 for two campaigns and only paid because I felt like I should.

I am a little worried that wizards is gonna get aggressive towards roll20 now, which could kill my games I have going now, at least for a while.

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