D&D (2024) What do you think One D&D will do to the VTT industry?

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Mike Shea talks about this in this video at 26:49. Basically, there is a significant chance they just won't get this thing to work well enough. Shea also thinks they will keep their license with roll 20 etc, and just let other VTTs do 2d tabletops. Personally I have no interest in a 3d VTT
My concern is that WotC won’t care. Once it’s viable, even if shaky and worse than any other VTT, WotC has no reason to keep those other licenses active.

But then, this is all solved by people simply not insisting their VTT of choice has perfect brand integration. You can still use D&D Beyond and roll dice in Roll20. You don’t have to have officially released modules on Roll20 or Foundry. You can put in all the work of finding or scanning or importing the maps, tokens, etc for all the modules you run. That will be an easy sell, right?

Even if D&D Beyond is 10% easier to use, people will flock to it. If they have a sub that gives you all the books and access to the VTT and you have all the maps, minis, tokens, etc there and can easily part it out and reform it…yeah, people will flock to it. If it works.
 

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My concern is that WotC won’t care. Once it’s viable, even if shaky and worse than any other VTT, WotC has no reason to keep those other licenses active.

But then, this is all solved by people simply not insisting their VTT of choice has perfect brand integration. You can still use D&D Beyond and roll dice in Roll20. You don’t have to have officially released modules on Roll20 or Foundry. You can put in all the work of finding or scanning or importing the maps, tokens, etc for all the modules you run. That will be an easy sell, right?

Even if D&D Beyond is 10% easier to use, people will flock to it. If they have a sub that gives you all the books and access to the VTT and you have all the maps, minis, tokens, etc there and can easily part it out and reform it…yeah, people will flock to it. If it works.
Side question: do you use maps in your dnd style games, or do you have the players draw their own?
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Side question: do you use maps in your dnd style games, or do you have the players draw their own?
I run theater of the mind specifically to avoid the headache of maps, minis/tokens, terrains, storage, flocking getting everywhere, etc. Players are free to draw their own maps. But I don't correct them if they're wrong.

If they have the time to survey an area and properly map it, and I have a map for that, I'll give it to them. Or vague overland maps that are more "in world" maps, not to scale etc, they can have those, sure. For my West Marches 5E game I had a hex map and I revealed the hexes as the various groups explored. They seemed to dig that.

I've played with maps and lighting and tokens etc on Roll20. It's fine, I guess. Way more time goes in than fun comes out. But, when someone insists on some kind of markers or minis & maps set up, I use index cards, dry-erase boards, dry-erase hex/square mats, Legos, beads, wood blocks, or whatever else is handy in face-to-face games...or I'll draw up a quick thing on Roll20 if I have to.

I play in other people's games and a lot of them seem to be really into the maps and lighting tricks on VTTs. Some obsessively so. I had a DM delay a game because he couldn't get the fancy lighting to work right on Roll20. It took him hours and hours to figure out how to set up the lighting for some room and he was way proud of it, turned out we were in that room for maybe two minutes of game time. He showed off the cool lighting, we all said some variation of "that's neat" then we left the room.
 

I run theater of the mind specifically to avoid the headache of maps, minis/tokens, terrains, storage, flocking getting everywhere, etc. Players are free to draw their own maps. But I don't correct them if they're wrong.

If they have the time to survey an area and properly map it, and I have a map for that, I'll give it to them. Or vague overland maps that are more "in world" maps, not to scale etc, they can have those, sure. For my West Marches 5E game I had a hex map and I revealed the hexes as the various groups explored. They seemed to dig that.

I've played with maps and lighting and tokens etc on Roll20. It's fine, I guess. Way more time goes in than fun comes out. But, when someone insists on some kind of markers or minis & maps set up, I use index cards, dry-erase boards, dry-erase hex/square mats, Legos, beads, wood blocks, or whatever else is handy in face-to-face games...or I'll draw up a quick thing on Roll20 if I have to.

I play in other people's games and a lot of them seem to be really into the maps and lighting tricks on VTTs. Some obsessively so. I had a DM delay a game because he couldn't get the fancy lighting to work right on Roll20. It took him hours and hours to figure out how to set up the lighting for some room and he was way proud of it, turned out we were in that room for maybe two minutes of game time. He showed off the cool lighting, we all said some variation of "that's neat" then we left the room.
Yeah I'm going to start a OSE campaign with The Hole in the Oak and I'm wondering if I could just run it theater of the mind. This group is 5e players, and usually we use owlbear rodeo, but I increasingly find pushing tokens around a screen to just not be interesting.

The PC miniatures can be virtual avatars of the players, at least to be useful for streamers who produce their actual-play shows, or machinimas. Youtubers using this VTT would be a great advertising.

The issue for streamers is that a lot of people don't watch, they just listen to the game like a podcast. So they have to be able to describe what's going on without referencing a shared image.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Yeah I'm going to start a OSE campaign with The Hole in the Oak and I'm wondering if I could just run it theater of the mind. This group is 5e players, and usually we use owlbear rodeo, but I increasingly find pushing tokens around a screen to just not be interesting.
Oh, neat. Hope it goes well. Love me some OSE and I've heard great things about Hole in the Oak. I've no experience with Owlbear Rodeo.

You absolutely can run most combats with theater of the mind. It all depends on what works for you and your players. I have one person in one of my D&D groups who will literally refuse to play without some kind of maps and minis. So definitely check with your players first.

If you have or are planning to get some of Sly Flourish's stuff, there's some good tips in Lazy DM's Workbook and Lazy DM's Companion. He might have free versions up on his blog or on YouTube. It amounts to 4-6 pages of great advice. The short, short version is: over describe, err on the side of simpler combats, recap often, and be generous to your players. You'll likely want to give monsters/combatants interesting physical descriptions etc to mark them in the players' minds. "The guard with the limp is by the fireplace, the guard with the eye patch is at the table playing cards." There's also some old Dungeon Craft videos where he's talking about Ultimate Dungeon Terrain where he talks about essentially theater of the mind play.

It can be a lot of fun but it takes some getting used to and trust all around. Have fun with it.

ETA: Started a thread for it. Hopefully others will chime in.
 
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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
My concern is that WotC won’t care. Once it’s viable, even if shaky and worse than any other VTT, WotC has no reason to keep those other licenses active.

But then, this is all solved by people simply not insisting their VTT of choice has perfect brand integration. You can still use D&D Beyond and roll dice in Roll20. You don’t have to have officially released modules on Roll20 or Foundry. You can put in all the work of finding or scanning or importing the maps, tokens, etc for all the modules you run. That will be an easy sell, right?

Even if D&D Beyond is 10% easier to use, people will flock to it. If they have a sub that gives you all the books and access to the VTT and you have all the maps, minis, tokens, etc there and can easily part it out and reform it…yeah, people will flock to it. If it works.
Yeah, this. I'll keep Foundry for other systems. But if the WotC's VTT is play ready, I would certainly jump to it to at least run WotC published material. I have only run one WotC published adventure (Curse of Strahd) since 5e came out. I usually run home brew and third party stuff. But if their VTT is easy to use and has everything prepped AND also automates area of effect spell saves and damages and other things to speed up combat, not only would I likely to jump to their VTT I would likely focus on WotC published material.

I like the VTT experience. I hate the prep.
 


Hex08

Hero
I like the VTT experience. I hate the prep.
I'm the opposite. I deal with the VTT experience because it lets me play with friends that I don't live close to anymore, but I do like the prep (usually). I always kind of enjoyed the prep for my games almost as much as running the game itself.

My fear is with 3D VTTs and tons of automation it will eventually start to feel like a video game rather than an RPG.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
WotC will absolutely be pulling the licenses from other VTTs and saber rattling over them including anything that’s not in the SRD once their VTT is on the market. Guaranteed.
They could but they went back to the OGL after 4e and they did not need to. They allow the DMSGuild. I know that they could pull it but the publicity would be very bad and they really do not need. If the Digital D&D table is that good it will pull the traffic on its own merit.
I don’t know that I completely agree with this video, but it’s worth a listen.

The predictions are possible but if WotC are really smart they will set up the VTT to allow non WoTC games. Publish and API to allow the community to support non WoTC games and make a ton of money selling terrrain assets and skins to play CoC or Shadowrun, via MTX.
Done really right Digital D&D could become the "Metaverse" and forget what ever Zukerberg is arsing around with.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
i really do not believe WoTC will pull third party licences. If their VTT is good enough it will pull the playerbase in on its own merit and the other rival systems will stagnate and wither on the vine. If it is not good enough an environment hostile to third parties will not really help. DMs will use it if it makes things easier. If it only makes running published material easy but no customisable that will restrict the uptake.
If is makes homebrew harder that will limit the uptake.
D&D is a DM's game this has to be a value proposition to DMs
 

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