Fantasy Grounds
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Post Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 2:46 pm ... ured_app=1

Looks interesting.  Apparently supports 3.5, 4 and Pathfinder.  I might wait for a few reviews though before taking the plunge.  Apologies if this is old news but I haven't seen it mentioned.


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Post Posted: Wed May 14, 2014 3:19 pm 

It is the Cadillac of Virtual Tabletops. The virtual dice rolling is the best in the business and there are a lot of add-on products.

It supports a wide variety of rules Fantasy Grounds Wiki

It main competitor at this point is Roll20 at Roll20: Web-based online virtual tabletop for all roleplaying games (RPGs)

The difference is that Fantasy Ground you pay for the software once and that it. However everybody needs to have a copy unless you pay for the pricey ultimate edition. In which case your players can use the demo to connect to game as if they are regular player.

Plus you will need to have the Fantasy Ground port open on your router if you are the referee as the software acts as a mini-server to serve up the whiteboard, chat, dice rolling, and other shared automation.

Roll 20 in contrast is a server based application that you connect to using your web browser. The free version is limited only providing a whiteboard, chat, text/image sharing, and dice rolling. You have to upgrade to one of the paid plans to get character sheets and automation. One is $5 a month and the other is $10 a month.

For those reading who are not familiar was virtual tabletop are. They are a way to play tabletop roleplaying games over the internet. In fact they can be used to play pretty much any boardgame over the internet.

It does this not by setting a "game" like Baldur's Gate or World of Warcraft. But rather by combining the following.

A common whiteboard on which to display images, allow drawing, and the placement of tokens or game pieces if desired.
The Whiteboard will have fog of war capabilities one an advantages of VTTs over sitting around a table.
A text chat windows, (some have voice as well)
A means of rolling dice and displaying it to everybody.
A way of sharing text.

Some virtual tabletop have automation features. Mostly these feature boil down to one of three categories.

1) A "live" character sheet. It looks like a character sheet but will update numbers accordingly. You can also drag stuff off like the name of a skill and it will make the correct skill roll with the correct modifiers.

2) Random Tables, for example a critical hit chart, or random treasure.

3) Combat Tracking. Basically drap from the PC and NPC list everybody who is participating and it will handle the turn order as well as slots to write down damage and mark status.

The combinations of this stuff allows tabletop RPGs and Game to be played over the internet. It is a complement to face to face gaming instead of supplanting it. Numerous groups, including mine, have played with VTTs, held a few face to face and went back to VTT and so forth and so on. While using the same books and tools throughout.

It main benefit is that it allow geographically separate gamers to do tabletop RPG and thus vastly expands the opportunities for a individual to find a game.

Because of the general preference for face to face contact, it generally viewed as a supplement to when no option for physically getting together exists.

I can't stress this point enough, you are doing the same things, with the same books, with the same tools with VTTs as you are with a regular game. This is very different than CRPGs like Dragon Age or MMORPGs like World of Warcraft.

As for Fantasy Grounds vs Roll20, you really can't go wrong with either. They have different tradeoff but they both do the job equally well.

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