Using Fantasy Grounds for Face-to-Face?

Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
The FG kickstarter has got me really excited. I've been using FG for >10 years. Recently, I've gotten news that my group is moving back home just as I did. I've noticed that some have mentioned that they use FG for their face-to-face games. I have a few questions:

How does that work?
What is your set up?
How WELL does it work?
Etc.

Thanks for your time!
 
I used Fantasy Grounds to run Curse of Strahd for my offline group. I used it to keep notes and maps and manage combat. I can say that having the combat tracker and quick access to NPC sheets was amazing. Being able to look up a spell or something when a question came up was great. Had one player complain about me using FG to roll my dice because he couldn't hear and didn't know if I was rolling or making up results.
 

epithet

Explorer
There are a few ways to use Fantasy Grounds in a face-to-face game. One popular use is to display the map on a TV, and some folks get really fancy and use a flat screen built into a tabletop, putting physical minis on it.

There is an option to enable manual die rolls if you want to make full use of the combat tracker, spell slot tracking, etc. while letting your players roll their physical dice. You can still take advantage of the FG virtual dice for making saving throws for a large group of targets or for any NPC the DM doesn't feel like rolling for himself.

I think if I were to do it I'd have a player-view up on the tv from a connected PC and run the game from a laptop, letting the players roll their dice while I used the virtual dice. If you go check out the Fantasy Grounds forums, you'll see several threads discussing how other DMs have run a home game using FG, from completely automated games where everyone is using a laptop to almost completely traditional games where the DM is just relying on Fantasy Grounds for the combat tracker and to look up rules.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
I think it runs really well. I don't have a built in table like lots of people do (check out this thread; https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forums/showthread.php?33834-Map-resize-to-TV-resolution-for-Face-To-Face-games)

What we do is I connect to the TV on my wall and run a second instance of it there and have the map maximized on it. Then some to all of the players bring laptops. They either share the laptops or one or two of them run the characters. People sit around on couches and chairs and its very casual and comfortable.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I know a DM that brings a LCD display that he lays flat on a table (he has some cylindar-shaped things he uses to keep it raise a bit off the table) and puts a sheet of plexiglass on top. He throws up the maps using FG and uses miniatures on top of them.

My impression was that FG makes it easy to quickly size the map appropriately. But he was also using RealmWorks, which seemed like over kill and too much software to deal with.

I recently had a case commissioned by Collabrewate and have also been thinking of backing the FG kickstarter, but currently using Realmworks to display maps is sufficient for my needs. It feels like FG would just be a lot of money for more complexity. When I finish my current campaign, I might get FG with an adventure. If I have all the content pre-entered, it might get me over the learning curve.
 

mrrockitt

Explorer
This is a good way to start with FG MNblockhead. You can of course enter everything by hand into FG as with Roll20 but there being so much published content with all the dice rolls and macros already made to ease you (and your players) into using it is what lifts it above other VTTs for me. Once you get used to it however, creating your own content is relatively easy to do and rewarding but time consuming.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
My impression was that FG makes it easy to quickly size the map appropriately. But he was also using RealmWorks, which seemed like over kill and too much software to deal with.

I recently had a case commissioned by Collabrewate and have also been thinking of backing the FG kickstarter, but currently using Realmworks to display maps is sufficient for my needs. It feels like FG would just be a lot of money for more complexity. When I finish my current campaign, I might get FG with an adventure. If I have all the content pre-entered, it might get me over the learning curve.
IMO the benefit of FG is not the map or the tokens, but rather the Combat Tracker. It's integrated with the map tokens and looks like an initiative tracker, but does much more than just initiative. It tracks hit points, AC, effects (shield, mage armor, ongoing damage, spell concentration, prone, poisoned, cover, etc etc) and allows the DM to run NPC attacks/action and save off of it. Also tracks things like if a reaction is used, number of rounds, etc.

Combat in FG takes my group about 1/3 of time it takes us with just minis and paper on the table. The more NPC's, the better the ratio. I ran the party of 5 against a tribe of 45 orcs with no problems, and tracked actual hit points, effects and all that, and the player never had long periods where I had to take NPC actions etc.

I suggest you give it a try, but when you do, don't do it in a vaccumn. Check out https://fantasygroundscollege.net/ and take a free class. Get into a one-shot organized game of AL, PFS or SFL. Or, if the time is right, play in a FGDaze or FG Con game; https://www.fg-con.com/

Also, if you try out a module and license before the KS ends, you can get a full refund within 30 days if you don't like it.It will be the current/classic version, but you will see the power of the CT and the current program. The KS videos will show you what's coming (great stuff, but not game changing compared to the current power of the system, imo).
 

Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
I suggest you give it a try, but when you do, don't do it in a vaccumn.
Thanks, LoreEntrails! I'm very conversant/proficient with FG for playing online (started using it Dec 2004! Gah! I'm old!!) and I've found your suggestions for offline/face-to-face very helpful.

I've decided to give it a go in the not so far future keeping everyone's tips close to mind. Thanks everyone!

Hope this thread was helpful for others as well.
 

mrrockitt

Explorer
IMO the benefit of FG is not the map or the tokens, but rather the Combat Tracker. It's integrated with the map tokens and looks like an initiative tracker, but does much more than just initiative. It tracks hit points, AC, effects (shield, mage armor, ongoing damage, spell concentration, prone, poisoned, cover, etc etc) and allows the DM to run NPC attacks/action and save off of it. Also tracks things like if a reaction is used, number of rounds, etc.

Combat in FG takes my group about 1/3 of time it takes us with just minis and paper on the table. The more NPC's, the better the ratio. I ran the party of 5 against a tribe of 45 orcs with no problems, and tracked actual hit points, effects and all that, and the player never had long periods where I had to take NPC actions etc.

I suggest you give it a try, but when you do, don't do it in a vaccumn. Check out https://fantasygroundscollege.net/ and take a free class. Get into a one-shot organized game of AL, PFS or SFL. Or, if the time is right, play in a FGDaze or FG Con game; https://www.fg-con.com/

Also, if you try out a module and license before the KS ends, you can get a full refund within 30 days if you don't like it.It will be the current/classic version, but you will see the power of the CT and the current program. The KS videos will show you what's coming (great stuff, but not game changing compared to the current power of the system, imo).
You are right about the combat tracker it is awesome!

Not forgetting some of the excellent extensions others have made too, dulux-oz's DOE stuff is brilliant, especially the Sound and Locations ones!
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I hear you regarding the Combat Tracker. I can see using this for adventures that I can buy through Fantasy Grounds.

The learning curve and prep time is what holds me back. I've already invested a lot of time into RealmWorks, using Hero Lab for combat tracking.

I also have all the source books (but not adventures) in D&D Beyond.

My understanding is that to take advantage of the features you are talking about, I would have to re-purchase all of the D&D Books. In other words, say the new Saltmarsh book becomes available on FG. I would consider buying FG and buying the Saltmarsh adventure on FG, but if I also have to buy the PH, DMG, and MM, that's just too expensive for me right now.

I think it is far more likely for me to buy FG for NON-5e games that I'm just running adventures for, not whole campaigns.

On the other hand, if there were some integration with RealmWorks, that could change everything. But it seems more likely that FG will instead prefer to continue to develop its own campaign-management features.

It's a great but also stressful time to be a gamer. There is lots of competition and a lot of great tools out there. But I can't keep paying for the same content and I don't have the time to keep learning new complex software applications. I just want to sit down and play a game without breaking the bank.

I'll probably back the Kickstarter at the Newcomer Standard level ($35). I *think* that would allow me to display maps locally on my horizontal display and, hopefully, use the combat tracker.

IMO the benefit of FG is not the map or the tokens, but rather the Combat Tracker. It's integrated with the map tokens and looks like an initiative tracker, but does much more than just initiative. It tracks hit points, AC, effects (shield, mage armor, ongoing damage, spell concentration, prone, poisoned, cover, etc etc) and allows the DM to run NPC attacks/action and save off of it. Also tracks things like if a reaction is used, number of rounds, etc.

Combat in FG takes my group about 1/3 of time it takes us with just minis and paper on the table. The more NPC's, the better the ratio. I ran the party of 5 against a tribe of 45 orcs with no problems, and tracked actual hit points, effects and all that, and the player never had long periods where I had to take NPC actions etc.

I suggest you give it a try, but when you do, don't do it in a vaccumn. Check out https://fantasygroundscollege.net/ and take a free class. Get into a one-shot organized game of AL, PFS or SFL. Or, if the time is right, play in a FGDaze or FG Con game; https://www.fg-con.com/

Also, if you try out a module and license before the KS ends, you can get a full refund within 30 days if you don't like it.It will be the current/classic version, but you will see the power of the CT and the current program. The KS videos will show you what's coming (great stuff, but not game changing compared to the current power of the system, imo).
 

mrrockitt

Explorer
Absolutely fair enough mate. Perfectly understandable that you would not want to buy all of the books again, would feel the same myself.

Just to say though, keep a close-eye out during the FG Unity Kickstarter campaign as they have been doing a few competitions to win the Ultimate license and different selections of books, you never know :)

Like this one which has now finished I believe:

http://www.fantasygrounds.com/home/FantasyGroundsUnityPromo.php
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
I hear you regarding the Combat Tracker. I can see using this for adventures that I can buy through Fantasy Grounds.
...
My understanding is that to take advantage of the features you are talking about, I would have to re-purchase all of the D&D Books. In other words, say the new Saltmarsh book becomes available on FG. I would consider buying FG and buying the Saltmarsh adventure on FG, but if I also have to buy the PH, DMG, and MM, that's just too expensive for me right now.
Not really, to leverage the CT doesn't require the purchased DLC. But it does require you have monster stat blocks. But, for instance you can get all of the ~400 1d6 Adventures "Monster-A-Day" monsters for free in an FG module. https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forums/showthread.php?44066-1d6-Adventurers-Monster-Compendium

It also requires the PCs to have populated FG character sheets. That can be done manually or with the included SRD data. Placing the tokens on the map etc is pretty trivial.

Overall, I think you have a pretty good idea and what the benefits and costs are though.

The learning curve and prep time is what holds me back. I've already invested a lot of time into RealmWorks, using Hero Lab for combat tracking.

I also have all the source books (but not adventures) in D&D Beyond.
Understandable.

I'll probably back the Kickstarter at the Newcomer Standard level ($35). I *think* that would allow me to display maps locally on my horizontal display and, hopefully, use the combat tracker.
Yep, you will have no problem doing that. And their are some newer features to make the map full screen and to scale it to 5ft per 1 inch. Let us know on the forums if/when you go that route and need help.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Yep, you will have no problem doing that. And their are some newer features to make the map full screen and to scale it to 5ft per 1 inch. Let us know on the forums if/when you go that route and need help.
Thanks. Will do.
 

Advertisement

Top