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D&D 5E Most User-Friendly VTT? (Dice Games In The Time of Covid)


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cmad1977

Hero
We use Roll20 and discord for D&D and Call I’d Cthulhu. For a different game we use discord and a whiteboard app/website. Both work great.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Not Roll20

And the award for most useless reply goes to ...

Seriously. It's fine if you don't like Roll20. A lot of people don't. Can you give any alternatives or reasons? Because even if it isn't great it seems to be one of the better options.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
First, skype is going away (supposedly) in about 3 months in favor of MS teams.

Last night my tech support friend from AZ and I had our first meeting on Zoom (he told me about skype then) and it was great. Not that hard to figure out, has a white board, and with the share screen feature I had a map on my second screen for him to see, etc. It is $15/month, but only for the host. So, we agreed each month one person would pay the fee by reimbursing me through paypal. With four of us eventually using it, that is $45/year or less than $1/session if we play weekly. Even on my budget, I can handle that!
I have also started using Zoom for my players. We started a new campaign with 7 players plus myself and the video conferencing of Zoom allows all eight of us to be onscreen together at the same time. Zoom goes fast enough that we do not find ourselves talking over one another due to lag, which is a godsend.

Since one of my players already has it for work we have the $15 per month subscription available to us, which means more than 40 minutes of playtime, as also has the shareable whiteboard to use. As DM I also can open up maps I have from my desktop and then 'share screen' to let others see them. Finally just for easiest use... I have an actual white board standing next to me on-screen that I use to write out initiative orders, as well as scribble out quicker maps that everyone can see alongside my head at all times. We don't need tokens, I just dry-erase their character initial as they move around the basic map.

I'm running them through Lost Mines of Phandelver, so I pull up and share screen on Schley's pretty maps for all the details, then just sketch the rooms on the physical whiteboard when we start combat.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
BTW - for those that haven't jerry-rigged their own version of "fog of war" before... I use an exceedingly cheap method for it, when sharing my screen as above. This method only requires only Microsoft Excel to use (for those without a paint program that can do layers.)

I open a new Excel page and import a Schley map. Then I go to the Insert tab, and select Shapes > Freeform Shapes. I then draw various filled-in shapes over individual sections of the map to cover them over. When it comes time to play, I can just delete each shape section that covers over the part of the map the party is going to. Easy as pie.
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
As others have said, it's fine for just showing maps. However, once you go to the GM side and try to do anything advanced Roll20 descends into a counter-intuitive UI that would make Kafka proud.

Is there a better option you'd like to suggest?
 

Nebulous

Legend
As others have said, it's fine for just showing maps. However, once you go to the GM side and try to do anything advanced Roll20 descends into a counter-intuitive UI that would make Kafka proud.

It can be confusing, yes. The macros are crazy. But I find so many people (myself included) who also find FG convoluted. I do wonder what makes different people react to the software differently?
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
I have also started using Zoom for my players. We started a new campaign with 7 players plus myself and the video conferencing of Zoom allows all eight of us to be onscreen together at the same time. Zoom goes fast enough that we do not find ourselves talking over one another due to lag, which is a godsend.

Since one of my players already has it for work we have the $15 per month subscription available to us, which means more than 40 minutes of playtime, as also has the shareable whiteboard to use. As DM I also can open up maps I have from my desktop and then 'share screen' to let others see them. Finally just for easiest use... I have an actual white board standing next to me on-screen that I use to write out initiative orders, as well as scribble out quicker maps that everyone can see alongside my head at all times. We don't need tokens, I just dry-erase their character initial as they move around the basic map.

I'm running them through Lost Mines of Phandelver, so I pull up and share screen on Schley's pretty maps for all the details, then just sketch the rooms on the physical whiteboard when we start combat.
Yeah, I love it so far. I noticed there is an option to share a second camera even, so if I decide to use a battle map I could have a camera showing it and move the PCs minis.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
BTW - for those that haven't jerry-rigged their own version of "fog of war" before... I use an exceedingly cheap method for it, when sharing my screen as above. This method only requires only Microsoft Excel to use (for those without a paint program that can do layers.)

I open a new Excel page and import a Schley map. Then I go to the Inset tab, and select Shapes > Freeform Shapes. I then draw various filled-in shapes over individual sections of the map to cover them over. When it comes time to play, I can just delete each shape section that covers over the part of the map the party is going to. Easy as pie.
LOL, I do the same thing in powerpoint and so does our DM when we play using the big screen on the wall. It works perfectly well with screen sharing as I discovered last night.
 


Nebulous

Legend
Yeah, I love it so far. I noticed there is an option to share a second camera even, so if I decide to use a battle map I could have a camera showing it and move the PCs minis.
I might have to try that out. Zoom and a second camera and use my table and minis. We got near the end of Lost Mine but weren't able to finish it.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Seriously, I would urge OP to buy a month of the lowest level Zoom subscription and use that.

Yeah, I've thought of doing that as well. But I don't really care for TOTM for combat, so I need at least a minimal battle mat. I'm considering trying zoom and a camera pointed at a real battle mat/minis but not sure I can pull it off.
 

Nebulous

Legend
Yeah, I've thought of doing that as well. But I don't really care for TOTM for combat, so I need at least a minimal battle mat. I'm considering trying zoom and a camera pointed at a real battle mat/minis but not sure I can pull it off.
I am wondering if I can do that too. I have so many maps and minis and props, it's my preferred way of gaming.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
I am wondering if I can do that too. I have so many maps and minis and props, it's my preferred way of gaming.
You should be able to if I understand the software properly. Like I wrote I just started it, so I could be wrong. But even with my limited understanding it is the best "lite" option I have found so far.
 

BMaC

Explorer
In addition to the poor UI experience, OP must also understand that using ANY virtual tabletop software will greatly increase DM prep time: it requires you to only to prep the adventure as normal but also all the electronic side of the VTT; depending on the features used this is a serious commitment.

If op anticipates only being virtual for the duration of the pandemic then adopt the most light weight solution possible.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I am wondering if I can do that too. I have so many maps and minis and props, it's my preferred way of gaming.

I have a laptop with a camera, I have a separate camera (my wife normally works from home) so we can get a camera on a tripod. But then we don't have a camera for us unless I can get both external camera and laptop camera working at the same time which is probably a little dicey. Then we're using a phone's camera ... blech.

Technology is amazing compared to what we had 10 years ago but still not as easy as I'd like it. Where's my VR room where I can just plug into the matrix? ;)
 


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