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Which Online Virtual Tabletop Do You Use?

Which online virtual tabletop do you use?


  • Total voters
    102

Lackofname

Explorer
I used Maptools back in the day, but eventually found it too much work. Now I'm getting back into things and need to learn Roll20 by the first session next Sunday.
 

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jaerdaph

#BlackLivesMatter
I think I've fallen in love with owlbear.rodeo. It's a free but very barebones browser-based VTT. There is no audio or video component - you will need Google Meet, Zoom, or Discord for that. I recommend Discord because of all the dice and RPG bots available. There are also no tools for character sheets. What you get: maps, tokens, fog of war, drawing tools, barebones dice tray, and a laser pointer. All tokens, maps, and other images live on your computer so there are no limits on file size or storage space. There's hardly any learning curve compared to other VTTs. It also works beautifully on desktops, tablets, and phones (but there is no app - you need to use a web browser on all devices).

That said, it is very barebones. There are no user accounts - everything works on a custom URL that you can password protect at creation, but you can't change that password later, so anyone with the link and password will always be able to get in. It "remembers" what map and token images you "uploaded" from your computer with a cookie (they don't use third party cookies though), so if you clear your cookie cache, you will have to add everything again since it pulls the images from your computer. There are no defined roles like GM or Player, but the original URL creator has some rights other users don't (like hidden tokens etc.). The creator is the only one with access to the tokens and maps they upload, but other users can load their own tokens and maps too (which the original creator won't be able to see unless the user shares them). You are also only considered the original owner on the device where you originally created the URL.

All things considered, the pros outweigh the cons if you are looking for something lightweight and easy that pairs nicely with your other online gaming tools like Discord. The developers are committed to keeping it simple and not trying to replicate other VTTs like Roll20.

 


Need an option to give multiple responses. For games that benefit from a map and minis, I use Roll20 (its easy and does the job). For games that don't necessary benefit from maps and minis, I just use Zoom or Google Hangouts occasionally sharing my screen when I have things I need to the players to be able to see.
 

I think I've fallen in love with owlbear.rodeo. It's a free but very barebones browser-based VTT. There is no audio or video component - you will need Google Meet, Zoom, or Discord for that. I recommend Discord because of all the dice and RPG bots available. There are also no tools for character sheets. What you get: maps, tokens, fog of war, drawing tools, barebones dice tray, and a laser pointer. All tokens, maps, and other images live on your computer so there are no limits on file size or storage space. There's hardly any learning curve compared to other VTTs. It also works beautifully on desktops, tablets, and phones (but there is no app - you need to use a web browser on all devices).

That said, it is very barebones. There are no user accounts - everything works on a custom URL that you can password protect at creation, but you can't change that password later, so anyone with the link and password will always be able to get in. It "remembers" what map and token images you "uploaded" from your computer with a cookie (they don't use third party cookies though), so if you clear your cookie cache, you will have to add everything again since it pulls the images from your computer. There are no defined roles like GM or Player, but the original URL creator has some rights other users don't (like hidden tokens etc.). The creator is the only one with access to the tokens and maps they upload, but other users can load their own tokens and maps too (which the original creator won't be able to see unless the user shares them). You are also only considered the original owner on the device where you originally created the URL.

All things considered, the pros outweigh the cons if you are looking for something lightweight and easy that pairs nicely with your other online gaming tools like Discord. The developers are committed to keeping it simple and not trying to replicate other VTTs like Roll20.

I'd never seen owlbear.rodeo before. That's kind of cool (although the lack of hex maps is an issue for me).
 


jaerdaph

#BlackLivesMatter
In owlbear rodeo, you could add a hex map and turn off (square only) grid snapping. Another nice feature of the grid snap feature: it's sort of a hybrid where it will snap tokens to the grid but you can still place tokens a little off the snapping points.
 

jaerdaph

#BlackLivesMatter
Owlbear Rodeo tokens are really cool. When you import any image as a token, it can be designated as one of three types: Character (eg PCs, NPCs, monsters), Prop (eg furniture, treasure chests, barrels), and Vehicle/Mounts (eg horses, carts, rowboats). Any type of token can be locked but this is especially useful for prop tokens you don't want to be moved around accidentally. Any type of token you add can also be made invisible to others.
The tokens are smart too - props are always on the bottom "layer", vehicles/mounts next, and then characters on top. If you move characters onto a vehicle/mount and then move that rowboat, for example, the characters go along for the ride. There isn't a hierarchy though within each type of token - the last character token moved will always be on top of another character token in the same space, so no need ever for send to front/back etc.

Maps are smart too. They remember what tokens you placed on them between sessions. Square grids are extremely easy to set up if you know the columns and rows dimensions in squares. If the image file name contains the dimensions (eg 20 x 30), it will automatically set it up at those square dimensions (but you can still do it manually).

Oh, and hex maps are on the list of features to be added soon.
 


jaerdaph

#BlackLivesMatter
@MNblockhead Finally started to play around with Role a bit. It's still Kickstarter backers only beta testing (although you as GM can invite in non-backer friends as players), so not a lot of the features I'm interested in are ready to go yet (custom character sheet creation in particular). So far, the audio and video is very smooth and easy to set up in the program.

Initially Role was supposed to be a "theater of the mind" but now you can import maps and tokens. Very easy to set up and configure maps and grids, both square and hex, and tokens are easy to import and scale, but it's nowhere near the options available in Owlbear.Rodeo yet (save for hex maps) and certainly not Roll20 yet either (all with regards to tokens and maps).

The dice options are more robust than Owlbear as you can add bonuses/penalties from character sheets, but again not at Roll20 levels. No Fate/Fudge dice yet though.

Custom character sheets aren't available yet but there are a few premade templates for D&D, Lancer, Mothership, and some other games. Sheets and maps and tokens (and other assets like images and PDFs) can be shared between your games (called Tables), and deleting something from a table doesn't delete it from your account and will still be available on your dashboard library (where you can delete things permanently). Nothing is automatically imported into a table (game) when you create it so you have to populate it with assets from your computer or dashboard library - this is so you can have multiple tables and not be overwhelmed in a new one with everything from elsewhere already inside. I like this a lot.

I don't think I can evaluate it yet until more of the upcoming announced features are added, but I am very impressed with the work the developers are doing and the frequent updates. The high quality audio and video are pretty sweet right now though.
 


MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
@MNblockhead Finally started to play around with Role a bit. It's still Kickstarter backers only beta testing (although you as GM can invite in non-backer friends as players), so not a lot of the features I'm interested in are ready to go yet (custom character sheet creation in particular). So far, the audio and video is very smooth and easy to set up in the program.

Initially Role was supposed to be a "theater of the mind" but now you can import maps and tokens. Very easy to set up and configure maps and grids, both square and hex, and tokens are easy to import and scale, but it's nowhere near the options available in Owlbear.Rodeo yet (save for hex maps) and certainly not Roll20 yet either (all with regards to tokens and maps).

The dice options are more robust than Owlbear as you can add bonuses/penalties from character sheets, but again not at Roll20 levels. No Fate/Fudge dice yet though.

Custom character sheets aren't available yet but there are a few premade templates for D&D, Lancer, Mothership, and some other games. Sheets and maps and tokens (and other assets like images and PDFs) can be shared between your games (called Tables), and deleting something from a table doesn't delete it from your account and will still be available on your dashboard library (where you can delete things permanently). Nothing is automatically imported into a table (game) when you create it so you have to populate it with assets from your computer or dashboard library - this is so you can have multiple tables and not be overwhelmed in a new one with everything from elsewhere already inside. I like this a lot.

I don't think I can evaluate it yet until more of the upcoming announced features are added, but I am very impressed with the work the developers are doing and the frequent updates. The high quality audio and video are pretty sweet right now though.

I concur with your comments on Role. I don't like, however, that you need to count the number of squares or hexes on the horizontal and vertical lines. That makes it impractical to pull up a map spontaneously in play.
 

jaerdaph

#BlackLivesMatter
I concur with your comments on Role. I don't like, however, that you need to count the number of squares or hexes on the horizontal and vertical lines. That makes it impractical to pull up a map spontaneously in play.
Yeah, I can see that. Most of the VTT maps in my collection are 12x12, 20x30, or 30x30, so it's not really an issue for me because I can usually tell. I also like to "optimize" the maps and add elements in GIMP so I'm trying to get into the habit of adding the dimensions to the file name so they go right into Owlbear.Rodeo.
 

jaerdaph

#BlackLivesMatter
Also, Owlbear Rodeo released v1.6.0 a couple of days ago and it adds some nice new features, notably the ability to group maps and tokens in groups (folders) as well as select multiple maps and tokens. Plus the maximum map zoom-in has been substantially increased. I was able to get one of my tokens on one map to about the size of a tea cup saucer!
 

Scott Christian

Adventurer
I swear I posted inside this thread? Is there a similar thread?
We use Roll20. But I don't find it that great. There are a lot of things it could improve upon.
I am backing Roll. I think it is very user friendly so far. They have to add some things (and they are working on it), but from what I've seen it is really good.
 

Thomas Shey

Explorer
Maptool user here. No question its got a serious learning curve if you want macro functionality, but I just need map-and-token manipulation tool, and don't have to pay for it or be dependent on someone else's server.
 

jaerdaph

#BlackLivesMatter
I swear I posted inside this thread? Is there a similar thread?
We use Roll20. But I don't find it that great. There are a lot of things it could improve upon.
I am backing Roll. I think it is very user friendly so far. They have to add some things (and they are working on it), but from what I've seen it is really good.
I'm really glad I backed Role too. A couple of days ago they announced they are going to be concentrating now on rolling out the Creator Suite that will allow users to build their own character sheets from drag and drop parts eliminating the need to understand complex macros, APIs etc. I can't wait to see that in action!
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I’ve just bought Foundry VTT in preparation for WFRP as the current Roll20 just doesn’t support it well enough.

Ive been impressed with the features so far.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Was it just us? Or was Roll20 acting very strangely last night?

We have been playing a 5E Eberron game on Roll20 ever since the pandemic struck, and it's been going fairly smoothly for the most part. Sure, there would be the occasional dropped connection or stuck video feed, but nothing that couldn't be fixed in a few seconds by reconnecting or refreshing the browser. But last night? Last night was dumb.

The dynamic lighting kept messing up: one player would lose sight through their own game token and start seeing through a different player's token.

The audio and video kept messing up: different people would only be able to see and hear one or two other players, and reconnecting wouldn't fix the issue...instead, it just shuffled the players. (You can see Bob and Sue, but not Carl and Eric? Reconnect, and now you can see Bob and Carl, but not Eric or Sue. Reconnect, and now you can only see Sue. Reconnect, and you can see everyone except Sue. Sue reconnects, and she can see you just fine but can't see Eric, and can only hear Carl. Etc.)

The maps kept messing up: first, the map wouldn't load until you moved your token...and then the map would disappear if you moved your token again. The compendium kept messing up: you'd try to look up a spell or a monster, and it would freeze the game for several seconds and never display the results...until half an hour later, when it would flood your screen with every failed search result all at once.

We tried everything we could think of. We tried reconnecting, we tried closing and restarting, we tried clearing our browser caches, we tried dis/enabling our VPN, we tried using Edge, Chrome, and Explorer, we tried restarting our routers. We eventually switched our audio and video to Discord and only using Roll20 for the battle mat and dice roller...but with only half of us able to see the map or roll dice at any given moment, it was still just a frustrating mess. We ended up quitting the gaming session early, right in the middle of an encounter, because we couldn't get the technology to cooperate.

I love Roll20 as a virtual tabletop...but last night was unacceptable. The Roll20 Server Status website says there were no issues...nothing but green checkmarks on all servers for last night and the past several days...but we beg to differ. Was anyone else having issues?
 

Scott Christian

Adventurer
I'm really glad I backed Role too. A couple of days ago they announced they are going to be concentrating now on rolling out the Creator Suite that will allow users to build their own character sheets from drag and drop parts eliminating the need to understand complex macros, APIs etc. I can't wait to see that in action!
I am geeked about the Creator Suite. We'll see how it holds up.

I am even more interested to see what they do with cards, since one of the games I play runs on cards. We'll see and fingers crossed.

But for now, they have shown that they seem to know what they are doing.
 

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