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Rise of the Dungeon Sysop? Tech support for DMs

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
During some VTT configuration research, I came across an article on Medium, titled I want to hire a Dungeon Sysop by Michael J.J. Tiffany:

I was thinking about finding someone I could pay for a few hours work to configure Foundry just how I would like it to be. So, I was interested to see I'm not the only game master looking for a bit of tech support.

One could argue that if you need tech support, you're using the wrong platform; that systems need to be more user friendly; or why spend money to pay someone to teach you how to play. All good questions.

Here is where I'm at.

I love the Foundry VTT I use as my primary TTRPG platform, but I do find myself sinking hours into configuration, testing, and troubleshooting. One of the platform's strengths is how extendable and customizable it is and the active community of plugin developers. But it is also a weakness because you can sink a lot of time testing things, breaking things, troubleshooting things, etc. To an extent, I enjoy that, but it can get to a point where it feels like work and I would rather spend a bit of money for someone who can set things up how I want in a couple hours, instead of the many more hours I would have to spend researching, testing, troubleshooting, configuring, etc.

As for prepping maps, etc., I would rather do that myself. It is really easy to put in walls, doors, etc. for line of sight in Foundry and I enjoy it. It help me prepare for the game. I actually need to spend less time prepping because instead of reading and taking notes, and forgetting a lot of what I read, by actively prepping the map and monsters, etc., I do a much better job retaining the details and being prepared for, and not forgetting about, traps and encounters.

But it would be nice to have someone "on call" so if I want to use some more advanced features, I could have someone spend 20 minutes on a screen share and show me how to do, or help me troubleshoot an issue.

For example, I've used Codementor.io in the past to get help when learning Python. It would be nice to have something like that for the VTT.

Before I settled on Foundry, I was leaning towards Fantasy Grounds. Mainly because I mostly run 5e and FG is probably the best VTT in terms of 5e support. But even with that, the amount of time I put in just watching videos, reading their support articles, interacting with discussion groups, was an inefficient way to get started with the tool. If I were to use FG, I would be tempted to pay someone for a two hour training session and maybe some support to keep me up and running quickly.

I feel that I'm probably in a small minority. So many people have an issue with the concept of paid game masters that I expect similar reactions about paid tech support / consultants for game masters. But I'm curious if anyone has actually paid for, or provided paid-for, VTT tech support.
 

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MGibster

Legend
I've had some difficulty using Tabletop Simulator for my games. I only paid $20 for it and it's absolutely amazing that I rely on some people people to create content for it at no cost to me so I can use it for D&D. But in addition to my regular DMing duties, I've had to comb through assets (maps, figures, furniture, objects, etc., etc.) for TS to find what I want to use for the game adding a significant amount of prep work for me to complete.

In some ways I'm a little surprised that TTRPGs don't make more use of technological developments after the last fifty years. Twenty-one years ago, I expected we'd have adventures making use of MP3s. Imagine being able to playback an automated distress signal or a Call of Cthulhu scenario where the Investigators get a hold of a Dictaphone wax cylinder recording with some clues. But such a thing never materialized for some reason. (Perhaps because it would be expensive to hire actors. Even bad actors.)
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I've had some difficulty using Tabletop Simulator for my games. I only paid $20 for it and it's absolutely amazing that I rely on some people people to create content for it at no cost to me so I can use it for D&D. But in addition to my regular DMing duties, I've had to comb through assets (maps, figures, furniture, objects, etc., etc.) for TS to find what I want to use for the game adding a significant amount of prep work for me to complete.

In some ways I'm a little surprised that TTRPGs don't make more use of technological developments after the last fifty years. Twenty-one years ago, I expected we'd have adventures making use of MP3s. Imagine being able to playback an automated distress signal or a Call of Cthulhu scenario where the Investigators get a hold of a Dictaphone wax cylinder recording with some clues. But such a thing never materialized for some reason. (Perhaps because it would be expensive to hire actors. Even bad actors.)
Automating stuff takes technical skill & more importantly things need to play out like you planned, but on the subject of sound specifically, arkenforge has a very well developed sound thing built in



It also has some pretty extensive free assets built in
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I've had some difficulty using Tabletop Simulator for my games. I only paid $20 for it and it's absolutely amazing that I rely on some people people to create content for it at no cost to me so I can use it for D&D. But in addition to my regular DMing duties, I've had to comb through assets (maps, figures, furniture, objects, etc., etc.) for TS to find what I want to use for the game adding a significant amount of prep work for me to complete.

In some ways I'm a little surprised that TTRPGs don't make more use of technological developments after the last fifty years. Twenty-one years ago, I expected we'd have adventures making use of MP3s. Imagine being able to playback an automated distress signal or a Call of Cthulhu scenario where the Investigators get a hold of a Dictaphone wax cylinder recording with some clues. But such a thing never materialized for some reason. (Perhaps because it would be expensive to hire actors. Even bad actors.)
Foundry supports playlists and also sound regions, where the sound changes based on room or other defined region. I've used other tools for bringing sound to my games. Paid for Syrinscape for a time. It is great, but too fiddly for me. I'd only go back to it if there was a player who took on the role of Syrinscape DJ. I mainly used Apple Music playlists for background ambience.

Now I can integrate that with my maps. I don't have to go to another app, webpage, or program to change music or sounds. Its all in my VTT and can be automated by character tokens entering an area and when the party splits, each player will hear the sounds appropriate to where their token is. I don't set up sound for all my games, but its nice to use sparingly.
 

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