Online play?

der_kluge

Explorer
I ran a campaign a couple of years ago, and it was great, but it dissolved because of ... adults, and life. Typical stuff.

I've been thinking about restarting that campaign (with different players), but something more online, and not in person. I ran a PbP (on CircvsMaximvs) for a while, and really enjoyed it - until the site became a cesspool of humanity. But I really liked the immersion and story-telling factor of that platform. I'm considering doing something like that here, although to be honest, ENWorld seems far too slow some of the time, unless it's gotten better.

I'm somewhat interested in the idea of using some of the online platfoms that exist, although I'm completely ignorant of such things, and part of me is concerned about scheduling to some extent, since I do travel a lot for work. So, it doesn't completely alleviate the whole adult problem. Plus it just seems like more work in general, since it seems like I'd need a bunch of tactical maps. Plus I'm really into NPCs, and the PbP format really allows me to get creatively wordy with my NPCs and story - way moreso than I could with a real-time platform. Though I'm not completely opposed to it.

I want thoughts/opinions on this. What are you using, pros/cons, what other options exist that I'm over-looking here? Thanks
 

Hussar

Legend
Well, I've been playing on VTT's for about 15 or so years now. There's pros and cons to any of them.

You can go the cheap route of something like Maptool, and, depending on the framework you can probably download from their site, you can get somethign that will automate most of what you need during play - character sheet, tracking spells, etc. The downside is that you will have to do a lot of the work on the DM's side yourself.

Or, you can go the Fantasy Grounds route - where the DM's side has TONS of goodies, but, the actual virtual tabletop is a horrible kludge of garbage UI where even doing something as simple as dropping labels on the map becomes a chore.

Or, there's Roll20, but, I haven't used it, so, I have no opinion.

I have been seeing some very, very cool things coming out of Virtual Gametable recently if you're familiar with that.
 

shawnhcorey

Villager
I suggest Myth Weavers. It has a good community and lots of tools for PbP. Each game is a separate sub-forum where you can create threads and sub-folders. Most games are Pathfinder or D&D but you can find players for just about every system.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Roll20 lets you control access to your game, advertise, have a private forum for posts, and use a grid (or many) along with live chat - maybe if your players wanted to talk tactics on a shared space? And if I can figure out how to use it, it's gotta be user-friendly :geek:
 

Tallifer

Adventurer
We play in the theatre of the mind, using roll20 to roll the dice, type and shwo the occasional image; and using Google Hangouts for its somewhat superior ability to provide sound and voice for up to ten players.
 

der_kluge

Explorer
This is frustrating. I've searched through those forums (and this one), yet none seem to have the ability to post inline photos. I want to be able to post a picture of an NPC and put text next to the image of what the NPC is saying. I think it ends up making the PbP look really good. Yet, none of them seem to have that ability. I can "upload" a picture, but it just adds it as an attachment. Seems like vbulletin doesn't want to include this as a feature anymore. All these PbP forums that I'm looking at, all look like garbage, since they're just plain text (sometimes colored). Is there no site that will allow me to add in inline pictures?
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
This is frustrating. I've searched through those forums (and this one), yet none seem to have the ability to post inline photos. I want to be able to post a picture of an NPC and put text next to the image of what the NPC is saying. I think it ends up making the PbP look really good. Yet, none of them seem to have that ability. I can "upload" a picture, but it just adds it as an attachment. Seems like vbulletin doesn't want to include this as a feature anymore. All these PbP forums that I'm looking at, all look like garbage, since they're just plain text (sometimes colored). Is there no site that will allow me to add in inline pictures?
RPOL has the ability to insert inline images in it. I think only DM's can do it, but I've played in many games where there were images posted in the threads themselves.
 

shawnhcorey

Villager
Is there no site that will allow me to add in inline pictures?
Myth Weavers allows inline pictures but it doesn't store them. You have to post them to another site, like Instagram, and link them inline.

To include an image that is not uploaded as an attachment and is located on another website, you can do so by copying the full URL to the image, (not the page on which the image is located), and either pressing the 'Insert Image' icon or by typing
after it, ensuring that you do not have any spaces before or after the URL of the image. You can insert pictures from your albums in this way too.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Depend on your style of play. If theater of the mind, you can just use Google Meet, Skype, or Twitch. If you want to share maps you can share windows using these tools.

If you want to use tokens that players can control, then you'll want a proper VTT.

Roll20 is my preferred VTT platform as a player.

Roll20 is a good tool and easier to use than Maptools or Fantasy Grounds, but I still find it too much work to prep maps and removing fog of world on the fly is not very convenient unless you put a lot of time prepping the maps.

If you are not building your own campaigns and adventures though, and are willing to spend the money, buying published adventures on Roll20 or Fantsy Grounds is the way to go. All the prep work is done for you. I'd probably go with Roll20 as it seems easier to use, and you don't have to install anything. But a lot of people swear by Fantasy Grounds and the new Fantasy Grounds Unity version should be a big improvement on the interface.

One thing I really like about Roll20 is the system they set up to publish and find games. Makes it easy to find games to join or players to join your games.

My main complaint with Roll20 and its community is that so many DMs running games on it use Discord. I hate the Discord interface. I'm not sure if people are having issues with Roll20s voice functionality, because if voice is built in, why require a separate service just for voice?

I played around with Map Tools but it required more of an investment of time to learn it, enter content, and get it set up correctly for play than I was willing to spend.

If you want to build your own campaigns, I've been following World Anvil. I've been using RealmWorks but it is no longer being developed. Also, I've been running a campaign in Rappan Athuk, which is part of Frog God Games "Lost Lands" setting and they'll be releasing Lost Lands on World Anvil. I no longer have the time to put in all the work to put content into RealmWorks myself and new new content is going to be release on their content market, so having a huge amount of content the fleshes out an entire campaign setting would be great.

Hope this is useful.
 

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