Tools & Apps for online RPG conferencing

Hello,

in times of the Plague when "social distancing" is required, we still want to play D&D / Pathfinder.
So let's try it online... but how?

Any good apps & tools & whatever to play online with about 5 players (with hopefully good enough internet speed)?
Should be compatible on several OS / platforms like Windows, Android, and iOS.

If there is a thread about this, please share.

Thanks in advance!
 

ART!

Explorer
I am finding Roll20 to be a bit of a mess for newbies. How-To's and instructions are all over the place - both in terms of instructions and in terms of where the information is, and some of the info sources are outdated,no longer supported, etc.

Between starting up a new game, this dang virus, and all the other stresses of life, I don't need the aggravation.

I'm seriously considering Astral VTT, or finding something else.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
If you are looking at Fantasy Grounds as your VTT, then look at FG College and sign up for any of their free classes. They have classes on all sorts of topics, from getting started, creating characters, to advanced GMing topics.
 
If you don't mind theater of the mind you could also simply use something like Discord/Skype for either chat or video conferencing. I'm not certain whether they support rolling dice in chat out-of-the-box, but I'm fairly confident that there are add ons that do just that.
 
Thanks to you guys!
Last weekend we tried roll20 - and good that we tested one evening before the actual session...
roll20 looks good, I like the options, being used to CAD programs it wasn't hard for me to learn the basic stuff to run the VTT for my player.
But the communication didn't work, so we stopped using that part of roll20 and used Google Hangouts.
That all went quite smoothly, though good headsets for better speech quaility are recommended...
 
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Len

Prodigal Member
Voice chat is definitely a problem with Roll20. We had exactly the same problem last week and used Discord for voice.
 

uzirath

Adventurer
Voice chat is definitely a problem with Roll20. We had exactly the same problem last week and used Discord for voice.
My group has been lucky so far. We've had two sessions running GURPS with Roll20 (plus one tech demo) with no problems. I wonder how it scales up with the number of users? So far it has been five of us, but we have two more players who will be joining in the coming weeks.
 

Nebulous

Hero
We have had good success with Roll20 and Discord so far. I admit the first two sessions were crappy, I just couldn't get a hang of the new software, but I practiced every day until the third session and it was a night and day difference, I could actually run it fairly close to the speed of an in person game. If i could get a hang of all the macro and shortcut keys and automation it would actually be faster than in person.
 

uzirath

Adventurer
If i could get a hang of all the macro and shortcut keys and automation it would actually be faster than in person.
I'm good with the shortcut keys but don't have any macros so far. The thing that slows me down is the interface with the token/map library. Many of my maps are too hi-res so I have to downsample them. Organization in terms of folders is a bit of a pain, too. I'd like to be able to just upload my entire local folder structure (I have thousands of tokens and maps), but there's no way to do that.

Last night's session, though, felt more like a regular face-to-face game than I was expecting. I had to call a quick break at one point when they ended up doing something entirely unexpected and I needed to gather a few more graphic resources. But we all needed to stretch anyway.

That's another thing... holy moly did I feel stiff afterward! At a F2F game, I'm always walking around the table and run the game mostly standing up. Sitting hunched over my laptop for four hours was awful. Maybe I should investigate wireless headsets so I can at least get up and pace around the room. Heh.
 

Nebulous

Hero
I'm good with the shortcut keys but don't have any macros so far. The thing that slows me down is the interface with the token/map library. Many of my maps are too hi-res so I have to downsample them. Organization in terms of folders is a bit of a pain, too. I'd like to be able to just upload my entire local folder structure (I have thousands of tokens and maps), but there's no way to do that.
Yes, uploading and organizing tokens and maps into neat folders in a huge pain in the ass, I don't know how to do it right, or quickly, or what I'm doing incorrectly.

But, I'm also running official products too, Forge of Fury and Curse of Strahd, and those come really well packaged and organized. It's when I want to add my own stuff that it gets wonky.
 

uzirath

Adventurer
But, I'm also running official products too, Forge of Fury and Curse of Strahd, and those come really well packaged and organized. It's when I want to add my own stuff that it gets wonky.
I've been meaning to buy a few adventures just to see how they work in Roll20 and steal stuff from them. The GURPS market, sadly, isn't strong enough to produce the same quantity of digital assets. (But at the rate my kids are converting their friends, maybe there is hope yet!)

I'm running a quasi viking setting. Anyone know of any good Roll20 adventures that might have useful swag?
 

Nebulous

Hero
T
I'm running a quasi viking setting. Anyone know of any good Roll20 adventures that might have useful swag?
What are you looking for exactly? I will say that if you are using the dynamic lighting and fog of war Roll20 offers, the official maps come with it all installed. It was not fun figuring out how all the layers interact, I was pulling my hair out, but once I got the gist of it I'm ok. It's fun now.
 

uzirath

Adventurer
What are you looking for exactly?
I tend to run wide open games where the PCs go in many directions. I’m just trying to build a good library of Nordic themed ships, towns, and encounter layouts (both interior and outdoor). I don’t use dynamic lighting. I can apply fog if I need it.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I'm good with the shortcut keys but don't have any macros so far. The thing that slows me down is the interface with the token/map library. Many of my maps are too hi-res so I have to downsample them. Organization in terms of folders is a bit of a pain, too. I'd like to be able to just upload my entire local folder structure (I have thousands of tokens and maps), but there's no way to do that.

Last night's session, though, felt more like a regular face-to-face game than I was expecting. I had to call a quick break at one point when they ended up doing something entirely unexpected and I needed to gather a few more graphic resources. But we all needed to stretch anyway.

That's another thing... holy moly did I feel stiff afterward! At a F2F game, I'm always walking around the table and run the game mostly standing up. Sitting hunched over my laptop for four hours was awful. Maybe I should investigate wireless headsets so I can at least get up and pace around the room. Heh.
So, for roll20, if you're in a game as DM and open the art library, you can click upload and then drag files into the box 10 at a time (5MB max per shot). You can also tag (or mass tag) items for easier location later.

This is as close to "mass" import that roll20 gets, in part due to the fact that it is browser based and that has limitations.

As for fatigue, I recommend elevating your laptop so it's at a comfortable eye level when you sit (this actually helps with how you look in your webcam, if you're using one) and use a USB mouse and keyboard (if you have them). This will greatly reduce strain due to posture. Of course, using a wireless headset and walk around is a great idea as well.
 

Nebulous

Hero
I tend to run wide open games where the PCs go in many directions. I’m just trying to build a good library of Nordic themed ships, towns, and encounter layouts (both interior and outdoor). I don’t use dynamic lighting. I can apply fog if I need it.
You are doing what I'm doing, just accumulating set piece maps that look potentially good. Keep doing that. I have found a mix of complex dynamic lighting maps and simple fog maps i erase as we go is a fun combination. But you have GOT to understand how all the layers and tokens interact, otherwise you will be endlessly frustrated. It's not good to figure out in session.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
THE most useful Roll20 shortcuts are CTRL-O, CTRL-K, and CTRL-M, or quick switch to Object layer (O), DM layer (K), and Map layer (M). If you grab a token or image, holding shift while you do the above will move that token/image to the indicated layer. IE, if you're on the the DM layer and you grab a roomful of tokens using the select tool, you can then hit SHIFT-CTRL-O to drop them all on the Object layer at the same time.
 

Imaculata

Adventurer
I taught myself how to use Roll20 in just under 2 hours, with the aid of their tutorial, and with the advantage of already having the session prepped.

I quickly uploaded the map I already made, and cobbled together some simple player markers in Photoshop. I searched for some simple tokens for spell effects and dragons, and sorted those into folders. I also looked up some fitting soundscapes and sound effects. I was able to quickly explain to my players how to use the interface, and then we ran our session just fine.

I was surprised how well our group was able to not talk over each other. More so than in real life. :D
 

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