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Offline Intrepidations

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Virtual Tabletops
« on: March 16, 2020, 03:09:26 PM »
What does everyone use for virtual table tops?  I am looking for one that I can use a variety of games on.

Currently looking at Astral, has anyone here used that?
Thanks

Offline Siltoneous

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2020, 01:33:07 PM »
Good question.  Given the current state of affairs wrt Covid19, lots of people looking. Here's what I understand:

One of the big differentiators is where the VTT is hosted: Server or private machine.  I.e. Roll20 (and IIRC Astral) use dedicated servers everyone logs into and the game is run there.  The systems do not have individualized gaming rules, making it easy to run whatever you want.  The community provided characters sheets on each system can be complex, allowing the player to click a button right from the sheet (say for a Perception check or an attack). Don't know about Astral, but in Roll20 the GM pays for some kind of subscription (monthly or yearly) at some level (Plus or Pro), and the players simply join the game.  Roll20 does provide  voice through the Web (WebRTC), though it's pretty common to hear of people having connection issues with voice, so a lot of gamers run Discord/Zoom/etc... No official RM support there, and while there are a few RM character sheets, they too are old and not supported.  There is an end-user effort to get an updated character sheet built; look to the forums here.

The other main type is private machine hosted.  Fantasy Grounds (FG) and Foundry are taking this method, where the GM hosts the game off their own machine and people join to the hosts IP.  FG requires a FG client to join a game, whereas it seems Foundry is taking the standard WebBrowser and HTML route.

Fantasy Grounds is either pay monthly or one-time flat fee. Std license only allows other Std client owners to join, whereas the Ultimate license allows anyone to join (with the free FG client).  Pricing is complex now due to the release of a new FG client (Unity).  FG does have gaming rules built into the engine. Thus you can buy rule-sets right in FG, and have them ready to go for whatever game system you want.  Need to look up a table or chart?  Simply use the tools built into the client, no need to pull out your books (GM or players). Supported systems typical have fully enabled  game systems, like rolling up characters right in the client and fully fledged combat trackers (tracking aspects of combat like stun, bleeding, prone, etc...).  For supported games, it's quite nice; however not all games are officially supported (quite a few community resources exist). You can also simply fall over to the generic client (CoreRPG), similar to what Roll20 provides, and you play off that.  Voice is not provided via the client, so people usually fall over to Discord, Zoom or something like that. RMC is sold via FG, and while the Character Sheet is functional, it's old.  Rumor has it that a replacement is being tested; no idea if it's community based or official though, but I'd bet the former.

Foundry is still new; beta (release supposedly happening the end of March, 2020).  You can get the client only via Patreon support currently, but it's expected to sell at ~$50-$60 with $ breaks for backers sometime near the end of the month. It seems with Foundry everything behind the scenes is HTML, and seems quite interesting, with what appears to be some solid Fog of War functionality.  While it does have some gorgeous community provided character sheets (i.e. Warhammer Fantasy 4th Edition character sheet is stunning), not a lot is built for it yet.

Lot of people go by price frankly.  Pay once, or pay a little each month.  That said, Roll20 is pretty popular.  I.e. look at the GaryCon Virtual convention (26th of March ) and of the 160+ listed VTT games, Roll20 has about 90, while Astral shows up with 2, FG with 20, and other @ 56.
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Offline Zhaleskra

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2020, 10:01:12 PM »
I've used Roll20, but find the programming for character sheets to have a very steep learning curve. I like Fantasy Grounds as well, having purchased it well before having a Steam account. Layout wise, I prefer Fantasy Grounds. Rolling Dice wise, it's Roll20.
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Offline Siltoneous

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2020, 09:41:57 AM »
I'd agree with the Roll20 character sheet complexity.  I looked at one of the RM sheets a few weeks back; I then had a stiff drink and slept badly due to reoccurring nightmares of the code. ;)

FantasyGrounds (FG) uses XML and LUA scripting, and seems pretty straightforward.  Having never touched FG scripting before, I was still able to work up all the ShadowWorld races in a module that could be loaded during character creation fairly easily.  Not that I'm any kind of power programmer, rather I think it speaks to the ease of which the code can be manipulated.  Plus (and the primary reason I was able to do what I did) the Rolemaster Forum on FG's forums has some very helpful people, with more than a few from these forums I suspect. =)

With Fantasy Grounds Unity going open beta two days ago, I'm itching to see how the official RMC ruleset behaves with it. Lets hope we are blessed to see the CoreRPG RM sheet I've heard rumored.
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Offline Hurin

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2020, 11:10:12 AM »
Thanks for all the information Siltoneous; it was very helpful for me as I look to incorporate more online tools into my game. My friends far away have been clamoring for me to start a VTT game too, and I might take the deep dive into it once RMU comes out. So your summaries were great.

I think getting RMU up on Roll20 will be vital to its success, given how important the VTTs now are to the marketing and buzz of games.
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Offline Siltoneous

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2020, 05:25:44 PM »
The VTT makers have come out with a number of free or reduced price VTT specials going on. I got most of these from https://www.reddit.com/r/VTT/, so feel free to check there.

Astral: https://astraltabletop.com/whats-new/2020-03-13
Quote
...we are opening up all of Astral's paid features so that everyone can safely play their favorite tabletop roleplaying games, together and without restriction. Until the end of April, all new and existing Astral accounts will be upgraded to Pro, no strings attached.

Roll20: https://blog.roll20.net/post/612497773955350528/stay-at-home-play-at-home
Free players get (until July): Free tokens, a 5E  module, a couple of Call of Cthulhu items, and a Monte Cook campaign called "The Strange"
Paid players get: Several 5E resources, and several sets of Art tokens.

Fantasy Grounds: https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forums/showthread.php?54437-Fantasy-Grounds-Community-Online-Virtual-Isolation-Days-gaming
Mega sale going on, especially with FG Classic; Standard Classic client is ~$10 US :o, and the Ultimate Classic client is like $90 (seems... high?).  There is also a 10% off sale on the new Unity client, Standard and Ultimate.

Course you don't need any of the major VTT's either.  MapTool has a lot of fans, as well as TableTop Simulator (on Steam).  Others use Google Docs/Sheets/Draw.  Lots of ways. =D

Stay safe all.
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Offline Siltoneous

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2020, 05:55:56 PM »
I think getting RMU up on Roll20 will be vital to its success, given how important the VTTs now are to the marketing and buzz of games.
I agree 100%, but it's a big shift in the gaming world.  By that I mean these 'character sheets' are computer code, and that involves a pile of other complications than a simple printed PDF sheet.  A person can do incredible things with the sheet, but software doesn't stand still. Beyond the creation of such a sheet (for a given VTT), who will provide the maintenance of those sheets? I doubt few gaming companies can afford staff for this kind of thing, and using contractors can be problematic (especially without adequate oversight).

I suspect that if the gaming system has good community support, and is welcoming of their communities fan support (with blessings for things like Character Sheets), then the gaming system will be just fine.  Absent that.....ugg.  Because as more and more people play this way, the gaming systems will be judged (fairly or not) by the quality (or lack there of) of the VTT's 'character sheet'.

For example; the Character sheet I've been following recently on the Foundry VTT is Warhammer Fantasy 4th Edition (latest version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMjXCLDDfWE&t=1348s. Completely community provided; it's hosted on github and is clean, well documented and organized. But it easily encompasses 100K lines of code.  Now when there's an API change (retirement, modification, replacement... etc..) that code might need to change, and who's doing that? In this case WFRP 4th fans with what I assume is an implicit blessing from Cubical 7; never seen one mentioned though.

Another example would be the RMFRP module for Fantasy Grounds. C*ap ton of code and a pile of work from a dedicated RM fan. With the new Unity client relying so much on CoreRPG (a system in FG), we'll see how the RMC system officially fairs.

=D  Fun times in the gaming community.  Take care everyone.
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Offline Majyk

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2020, 06:23:24 PM »
Yup Fantasy Grounds Classic for the win.

GM pays $90 vs $140+ish for an Ultimate license, and anyone can join the game for free.

Otherwise, everyone - players and GM alike - pays $10(reg. $40!) for a Standard license and you can join any other Standard GMd game after that.

Later, when FGU(FGIII) completes its Beta, you can upgrade($) to the newer build and have lots of wicked kewl features that FGClassic(FGII) doesn’t possess.

As above, I prefer FG vs Roll20.
R20 is free, but does cost $ if wanting all the bells and whistles, too, and just doesn’t have the rules support that FG does.

Everything is kludgey, I found, with it and I never felt I was playing RM using it, if that makes sense.

Much success whatever you choose, but try the free versions out and see what you like.
Join the Forums of each, and check out the LFG Topics that are rare but there.

Offline Hurin

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2020, 02:43:36 PM »
I have been looking into Roll20, and someone -- I think on their forums maybe? -- suggested that perhaps some of the ERA (or combat minion?) could be migrated to Roll20?

I don't know enough about programming to say whether that is possible, but just thought I'd pass it along.

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Offline Intrepidations

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2020, 05:10:41 PM »
Thanks for all the replies, lots to think about.

Offline Majyk

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2020, 01:57:25 AM »
XML importing is what that would be, at least for Fantasy Grounds.
I don’t know if Roll20 does that, too, but it might.

Offline Siltoneous

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2020, 12:48:58 PM »
Like Majyk, no idea if there is one for Roll20/Astral/etc...

However, here is a link to a Fantasy Grounds forum post where (what seems) the patron Saint of RMC on FG has uploaded a couple of Excel spreadsheets to do ERA to FG conversion.  He states:
Quote
Attached are 2 XSL files that will do a basic conversion of ERA XML files to FG RMC files. It isn't the most elegant and doesn't include everything but it should get most of the tedious stuff done.
https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forums/showthread.php?39041-Converting-ERA-XML-Characters-into-FG-RMC-XML-Import-Format
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Offline vroomfogle

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2020, 01:22:13 PM »
Woah, it's been years since I've been here.

I've used FG a lot for 5e, and helped out some with the development of the RMC ruleset for FG. It's a really great system, although I think the UI with the radial menu is a bit dated. It's capable of a lot of automation and once you know how to take advantage of that, it's cool.  On the other hand, sometimes automation isn't so desirable - it's harder to tweak things, and sometimes (in the case of RM) it means having to input a lot of data, which can itself be time consuming.  And other times you don't really know what it's doing, and that can also be undesirable.

I'm currently looking to give Roll20 a try for RM, and will be interested in RMU character sheets, so maybe I'll tackle that.


Offline Hurin

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2020, 02:40:38 PM »
Welcome back M. Hanson! You have been missed.

I would love to see an RMU sheet for Roll20, which I think is the biggest of the VTTS. I think a lot of groups are moving to use the VTTs, especially in this moment of social distancing. I know our group is. I've also seen lots of posts asking for support for RM on Roll20. So this could be big for RMU.

If it helps to get you up to speed: there are currently RM1 and RMSS character sheets on Roll20, but as someone else noted, they are basic and a little spartan/dated. I didn't see any RMU sheet.

I'm not sure if player-generated content would be useful, but several of us have created character sheets and generators over the last few years, and posted them or links to them on these forums. I can think of well developed ones by Shorn and Jessica Ewers. Also, just in this last year, Thrud put together quite a nice character builder, with lots of bells and whistles, that you can use on mobile devices.

I am assuming you also know about JDale's character generator.

Finally, if you want to build your own, Marc has offered to pay $1,000 US for it: http://www.ironcrown.com/ICEforums/index.php?topic=19781.msg233427#msg233427
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

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Offline Siltoneous

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2020, 11:18:04 PM »
It isn't a sheet for RMu, but I did stumble across a maintainted RMSS one. I had posted in the ICERPG's subreddit about the work Dakadin has done on the new CoreRPG module for Fantasy Grounds (Classic and Unity).  As part of that thread, a person spoke up and said they'd been maintaining the RMSS sheet for Roll20.  Surprised the heck out of me, that's for sure.

Now to see it, you have to be at least a free member of Roll20, but here's the link.
https://app.roll20.net/join/4174018/Hx8C4A

If nothing else it'd be something to work with, and not be starting from scratch.
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Offline Hurin

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2020, 09:08:15 AM »
I did check out the RMSS one on Roll20; I just didn't know it was being maintained. Unfortunately for us, our group made the move to RMU years ago, so we will have to wait for that.

Now that I'm really getting into the VTTs, can anyone remember: was RMU going to get either ERA or Combat Minion support?
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

'Every party needs at least one insane person.'  --Aspen of the Jade Isle

Offline Siltoneous

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2020, 10:48:57 AM »
As you well know, that's not so much a decision for us as it is for Mr. Caldwell and co.  I'd certainly hope they would since both are sold as a Iron Crown products on DriveThruRPG.  I'm also hoping that Rolemaster Office will get it too... it can be a little confusing, but it is wildly customizable and produces some very nice character PDF sheets.
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Offline Hurin

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2020, 12:02:44 PM »
Rolemaster Office? Not sure I've heard of that; what is that?
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

'Every party needs at least one insane person.'  --Aspen of the Jade Isle

Offline jdale

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2020, 01:29:20 PM »
Now that I'm really getting into the VTTs, can anyone remember: was RMU going to get either ERA or Combat Minion support?

ERA: Yes. http://www.ironcrown.com/ICEforums/index.php?topic=19491.0

Combat Minion: Uncertain. http://www.ironcrown.com/ICEforums/index.php?topic=14077.msg219642#msg219642

If someone wants to work on Fantasy Grounds support for RMU, I will help however I can, and will be happy to bug Nicholas to get it approved. I can't think of any reason it would be a problem. I also have no idea how much work it would require to implement.
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Offline Hurin

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Re: Virtual Tabletops
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2020, 04:01:38 PM »
Thanks Jdale! That is great.

I am still easing into Roll20, but if FG gave RMU full support, I would definitely make the shift to it.
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

'Every party needs at least one insane person.'  --Aspen of the Jade Isle