Let's talk Virtual Tabletops!

I have tried a bunch of these. I vastly prefer Fantasy Grounds except for Foundry using a web browser as a client. It I want only a light weight browser based VTT, I use Owlbear Rodeo. The FG interface is actually good to run a VTT, once I got used to it I found other programs that use the standard Windows menus to be a poor fit for the use case. They added new icons about a year (?) ago that made it better.

Fantrasay Grounds is reasonably on par feature-wise with the other main platforms.

It has the deepest and most varied DLC store where you can just buy rulebooks or adventures and use them. That is an enormous timesaver. No other VTT comes close and there would be even more if Roll20 was not being anti-competive and blocking IP owners from making their products available on other VTT.

I find it pretty easy to enter new material.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
We mostly use Maptool, but some offshoots of the group use Foundry. On the other hand, a lot of groups expect the VTT to do more lifting than I do; I want it to support maps and tokens, maybe a little light fog-of-war, and possibly rolls some dice for me. I don't need it to handle mechanics.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
I have two gaming groups. We've been playing online since the pandemic, and we have no plans to change that in the near future.

My first gaming group is the oldest: six guys who meet every Friday night to play either 5E D&D or Call of Cthulhu. We also alternate between Foundry and Roll20: we take turns in the DM's Chair, you see, and the current DM gets to decide what VTT platform we will be using. Right now I'm the DM, and I chose Roll20 because it doesn't require additional software or IP/server/VPM configuration, and it lets everyone log in and tinker with their characters without me having to be logged in. Of the four of us who regularly DM, three of us have opted to use Roll20.

The DM before me is the odd-man-out; he always chooses Foundry. You'd have to ask him exactly why, though--every time I ask him what he likes about it, his response is something like "because it isn't Roll20" and while that's true, it's not a useful answer. He likes to stream animated maps, animated tokens, sound effects, ambient music, and animated spell effects, and Roll20 can really struggle with that stuff on nights when all their servers are busy. Foundry runs off of his computer, not a distant server...so he has a little more control over bandwidth. Maybe that's the biggest draw for him? It certainly would be for me.

My second gaming group is the newest: three married couples get together to play 5E D&D. I'm always the DM, but occasionally my spouse or my buddy Jay (different Jay) will run a one-shot or pickup game. We all use Roll20, but my spouse (who is also a DM for their own gaming group) prefers FantasyGrounds.
 
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FitzTheRuke

Legend
We mostly use Maptool, but some offshoots of the group use Foundry. On the other hand, a lot of groups expect the VTT to do more lifting than I do; I want it to support maps and tokens, maybe a little light fog-of-war, and possibly rolls some dice for me. I don't need it to handle mechanics.
I'm with you. I actively DO NOT WANT it to handle mechanics. I was annoyed when I checked out D&DBeyond's Maps that I had to create a campaign first. I literally just want it to do a map, with tokens. No fuss.
 

JEB

Legend
Played in Roll20 once, and it was just OK. I didn't find it intuitive to use at all; fortunately someone else was doing the heavy lifting as GM for that game, and was willing to teach us. There was also a weird technical issue with the audio, which Roll20 tech support quickly gave up on fixing - that certainly didn't help my bad impression.

I use Tabletop Simulator fairly frequently at this point, but mainly for playing my homebrew card game with folks; never actually used it for RPGs. I imagine it would work pretty well for such, however, as long as you're strictly looking to replicate the RL gaming experience (moving stuff around a table) and not expecting extra digital-only features.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
I've tried Fantasy Grounds once but I bounced really hard against its interface.

I've used Roll20 several times. I dislike the interface, but not as much as FG. I appreciate how easy is it to customize sheets and such. I'm unlikely to run a game on it, but I'm happy to play in one.

I've used extensively Owl Bear Rodeo (V 1). While I had several issues with fog, in general it gave me pretty much what I wanted. I really haven't had a chance yet to use V 2, but a friend of mine who played with me using the previous version, has been running a couple of campaigns with it and he told me he's quite happy.
 

Foundry is awesome, especially for Pathfinder 2e, but just in general. Taking time to curate a module list and get some real goodies feels great when they enhance play at the table, and the flexibility of the whole system is very much appreciated. The fact I can easily just draw maps inside or use ones others or mine have used is fantastic; the code and way of adding custom homebrew mechanics is very well done; compendiums and organisation is very easy; hell, there's things such as the journal system I haven't gotten my head around that also seem pretty clever.

It's just really wonderful for just 60 euro.
 

FG is my favorite. It has a ton of functionality and supports a number of systems. The down side is that there is a pretty steep learning curve starting out - if you can get over that curve it is great, but lots of people who try to pick it up on their own never do. Also the licenses are available for one time purchase (often on sale) which I like better than the subscription model of Roll20.

Roll20 is the McDonalds of VTTs. Its widely used, it works fine, but I don't know anyone who loves it. It is freemium, so you can get started at no cost, but if your GM wants to unlock the major features they need to pay an ongoing subscription.

Foundry is great for PF2 as pretty much all of the rules are available for free on the platform. It is community supported, which means it has wide support, but I have heard that lots of the modules and game systems can be buggy. It is also self hosted, which means that you need to configure your router for others to join you game, or pay extra for an outside hosting service (otherwise it is a one time purchase). Not a big deal for people who are tech savvy, but an extra barrier to get up and running if you are not. There are lots of modules, so if you want to spend a lot of time playing around with them you can customize your set up to run exactly the way you want.

Owlbear Rodeo is by far the easiest to get up and running. If you just want a bare bones map and token tool this should be your first choice. The newest version supports lots of customizable extensions so you can add more functionality, although I still don't think it compares to other platforms in terms of bells and whistles. It is freemium, and I think most users would be fine with just the free version.
 


We mostly use Maptool, but some offshoots of the group use Foundry. On the other hand, a lot of groups expect the VTT to do more lifting than I do; I want it to support maps and tokens, maybe a little light fog-of-war, and possibly rolls some dice for me. I don't need it to handle mechanics.
I personally prefer a bit more mechanical support (characters sheets and building up the set of dice for a roll), but similarly not full automation of everything. I'm inclined to say that the question of how much automation one wants is one of the major factors for choosing VTTs. I wonder how much separation in the market we will see in the future (at the moment a lot of tools seem to target full automation).
 

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