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General Help with tools for large on-line game

brehobit

Explorer
Hi folks,
A group of old friends distributed all over the US have been using Fantasy Grounds for years now and it works well (pathfinder, 5e and a bit of blades-in-the-dark). But our next pathfinder game looks like it will have 6 players and will be more intrigue oriented than we normally do (even than our BitD game). So...

We are looking for thoughts on how to handle such a large group, mostly from a technology viewpoint. If we were playing in person we could, on occasion, break into other rooms or do whatever. Maybe have 2 DMs. But all that seems hard on-line.

Anyone have any experiance about making things like this work? We are particularly worried because Pathfinder tends to be fairly slow (at higher levels at least) even with a smaller group. And the intent on this one is to make it until level 18 or so...
 

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What VTT do you use, and what voice method? We have a 6 player group in Roll20 using Skype. Roll20 allows for multiple GMs, so that's easily covered. You can use Skype to handle asides (rolls should be GM rolls to keep others from seeing them), but AFAIK it will require hanging up on the original call to create a new one.
 

Coroc

Hero
Hi folks,
A group of old friends distributed all over the US have been using Fantasy Grounds for years now and it works well (pathfinder, 5e and a bit of blades-in-the-dark). But our next pathfinder game looks like it will have 6 players and will be more intrigue oriented than we normally do (even than our BitD game). So...

We are looking for thoughts on how to handle such a large group, mostly from a technology viewpoint. If we were playing in person we could, on occasion, break into other rooms or do whatever. Maybe have 2 DMs. But all that seems hard on-line.

Anyone have any experiance about making things like this work? We are particularly worried because Pathfinder tends to be fairly slow (at higher levels at least) even with a smaller group. And the intent on this one is to make it until level 18 or so...
Just use some Skype or such. It makes everybody more comfortable. I am not to much into these chat programs but it should work fine, best transfer the picture on the TV near the gaming table. We do it like that if only some of our group can participate and others do need to babysit in parallel or similar issues.

Of course we are mature enough to not fudge dices, if this is an issue use a movable camera, also for maps etc.
 


mrpopstar

Sparkly Dude
Hi folks,
A group of old friends distributed all over the US have been using Fantasy Grounds for years now and it works well (pathfinder, 5e and a bit of blades-in-the-dark). But our next pathfinder game looks like it will have 6 players and will be more intrigue oriented than we normally do (even than our BitD game). So...

We are looking for thoughts on how to handle such a large group, mostly from a technology viewpoint. If we were playing in person we could, on occasion, break into other rooms or do whatever. Maybe have 2 DMs. But all that seems hard on-line.

Anyone have any experiance about making things like this work? We are particularly worried because Pathfinder tends to be fairly slow (at higher levels at least) even with a smaller group. And the intent on this one is to make it until level 18 or so...
You're lucky to have each other, @brehobit. I'm in a group consisting of a Dungeon Master and five players. We meet via group audio using the Discord app on our smartphones and rely heavily on the DM’s verbal descriptions to set the scene.

It is my recommendation that the Dungeon Master lay out a map and use tokens to represent each creature involved in a scene to help them keep track of where everyone is. Doing that improves their ability to narrate the results of the adventurers' actions.

The experience is elegant if you all just relax, take joy in hearing each other's voices, and forget about using any imposing technology distractions. Roll dice and trust each other with your fun. I anticipate you'll love it!
 

MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
I currently use Discord and Roll20 to run an online game for 6 players.

Discord allows you to set up multiple voice channels on a server which can be useful when someone needs to pull you to the side to talk in private. I've also set up private text channels on our server for each player. You could use direct messages for this but I personally find it much cleaner to have channels dedicated to the game. That way if I want to reference something later I don't have to scroll through a ton of other messages.

You can also get some fancy bots for Discord. I sometimes use one that plays music in voice channels just by giving it a link to a Youtube video. Useful for when I want to quickly play a piece that I have not uploaded to Roll20.

For Roll20 or really any virtual tabletop my biggest tip would be to encourage the players to familiarize themselves with it. VTTs often aren't very intuitive so even if you know the ruleset you're using inside and out it can be confusing finding everything in the software. You say your group has been using Fantasy Grounds for years which is great. If you like it, stick with it as that experience is invaluable.

Streamlining the experience will be different for every group and you just have to find out what works and what doesn't for you. You might want to ask questions like:
Is your group comfortable with implementing time limits on turns?
When a player rolls an attack do you find it saves time for them to roll damage at the same time?
Do players like to narrate the action on their actions once they are resolved or do you just move on to the next player's turn?
 

FG will handle 6 players without a problem. I'm currently running a game with 7 players and no problem. Its 5E so it doesn't have the ... details of a PF game.

What I would do is make sure that all the players have actions for their characters to help with effects and automation. Make sure everyone uses their hotbar for shortcuts to not just actions, but to things like cover and modifiers.

IMO, where the delay in play is going to come is two fold;
1) players not having their mind made up what they are going to do when their turn comes. And that is independent of online or in person. Just make sure your players are paying attention and ready to go when its' their turn.
2) Adding modifiers of all sorts to their rolls. Other than the links I mentioned before, you can also add additional effects to the library or even make and share a story that has all the effects links on it.
 

tommybahama

Explorer
Do players like to narrate the action on their actions once they are resolved or do you just move on to the next player's turn?
At our table some players narrate what they are attempting to do and our DM always narrates the outcome of the die roll unless it is a kill, in which case the player gets to do the honors. I really enjoy this part of combat and it's worth the extra few seconds it takes to resolve.
 

Waterbizkit

Explorer
Roll20 is what my friends and I have tried playing around with as a VTT and it works well. We're lucky enough that we don't usually need it though since we can typically meet in person. It's nice to have as a back up option however and to be familiar with it should we need to use it.

For voice we have a Mumble server. It's very useful for all our gaming needs. We use it primarily for online gaming, but when we've used a VTT in the past we still use our Mumble server for voice. It's convenient because you can have several different, clearly labeled channels that you can switch to with a click.

For example, we have a generic "gaming" channel that sees the bulk of our use, but we also have a "factorio" channel for our factorio server, a channel dedicated to MMO's, and a couple of others as well. You get the idea. So in your instance, having one generic channel for the whole group and then one or two side channels for private discussions would be ideal.

I'm sure other chat services offer similar things, mumble is just what we use.

Good luck finding something that will work for you and your group.
 

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