[generic] Virtual Tabletops

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
So, I'm looking to get the VTT for me. Mostly I've experienced either Hangouts in the 'extra tools' days and Roll20. I've even run a bit of Roll20 Free for my Coriolis. Soon @AndrewW will demonstrate some of the finer depths of Roll20 to give me a leg up to run Pathfinder 2e APs on there.

So, maybe the weight of experience around me has pulled me in to the Roll20 future, with Discord providing the voice.

There are others though. The one that excites me is the Gallic https://lets-role.com/ though it is as yet only in Alpha. I have registered and will follow with keen interest.

There are others that all look to provide something:


Where are you? What works for you? Theatre of the mind and a shared whiiteboard (Google Draw works). Or macros and APIs?
I’m looking for something that works (fully or nearly) on both PC and iPad. My D&D group has two players who only have iPads, and while roll20 and Astral do their best to load in iOS browsers, they’re not really functional. Roll20 in particular doesn’t enable someone on an iPad to move the map display or (I think) tokens on it.

On Tuesday, at short notice, I shared a Paint window using Discord and drew things. And didn’t run anything complex where tactical positioning was important.

I’ve just backed Multiverse, which appears to be merging the idea of Virtual Tabletop and video game level-editor into something unique: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/playmultiverse/multiverse-rpgs-for-every-kind-of-player

Also I think https://jamboard.google.com s available to all users, and I’d not heard of it before this week.


The Guvnor
Staff member
Jamboard looks very useful. I does depend on your game style. I have run games with just an audio server and a few webpages.
I also have run fully crunchy Roll20.. so the more tools the better folks..

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
I've enjoyed playing about with a test table setup on the Let's Roll Alpha.


Outside of DnD5e it doesn't have the character sheet automation of the current big ones, but everything else is super nice. You get 250MB of storage. The one consideration is that you have to join to be selectable by a GM for 'The Table'. It's all free though.

Yes, this is where I will be for games where I am not wanting character sheet automation.

Maybe see you on there over the coming months?
I looked at Fantasy Grounds since my friend converted all the popular 2d20 games to it, so we have Conan, Star Trek and John Carter of Mars on VTT.

But the license for GM to allow non-licensed Players to join is pricey.
Sadly, Fantasy Grounds is not leveraging the "Age of Social Distancing" to drop prices low enough to attract a flood of the self-isolated GMs and Players. They could make more from this current burst of interest than their current business model.
Fantasy Grounds is on offer via Steam at the moment. If you have a small group it might be cheaper to buy everyone a standard licence than to get the ultimate licence, but the ultimate licence is also reduced there. You get the same program whether you buy direct or not.

It has a lot of features and a community which is good at getting the best out of it - and it’s also very complex with a steep learning curve. The last time I tried it seemed that some features required a mouse with a middle wheel/button, and I couldn’t fully interact with objects/maps with just a laptop trackpad.

The new Unity-based version is available, I think, but only as a pre-release version direct from Smiteworks. A full “anyone can join” licence for that is very expensive at the moment.
That's going in the toolbox!
Yeah I just discovered that recently too., would work for maps and other stuff for scene setting.
I tend to mostly have "Theatre Of The Mind" games so using any form of video / audio chat with character sheets online like Google Sites would cover most scenarios - https://sites.google.com/view/nights-black-agents-edinburgh/characters/oliver-ashcan-quinn
Sure they can't be updated online the way I've got it but that could be fudged somehow, even using Google Sheets or similar to track spends. Plus I use D&D Beyond for my D&D games.

I've looked at the Black Book but the functionality isn't quite there yet - https://theblackbook.io/


The Guvnor
Staff member
News from Discord:
Server screen share was born. We quietly added this feature to Go Live a few months back and are ready to show it off to the world. When hanging out in voice, hit the small icon that looks like a computer with an arrow and share your screen in your server, up to 10 people.
Now that makes Discord very viable if you don't need character sheets.
There are are good rpg/dice bots on Discord and we have one in the Tavern discord server.
A friend is using Discord window sharing plus GIMP to create a VTT of sorts. Only he can move things around but he’s put things on different layers so he can have a stable map and movable tokens on top and it works for people who are using phones to connect to Discord. No video though.

Google Meet and Zoom could do the same thing, I think.
Bottom line is that you can do all of that for free on Roll20 tho
You can but I find the user interface for Roll20 and most VTTs to be counter intuitive. That might be for multiple reasons but none of them feel intuitive to me and I've now tried Roll20, FG, Astral and Tabletop Simulator with the underlying feeling that they're trying to be more fancy than is needed; or at least more fancy that I need.

I'd also suggest that if we do use these tools we should be supporting them financially, mostly because that enables the companies / people behind them to add more scaling to their services. I might end up going with Roll20 anyway as whilst it feels clunky it's also less bloated.


The Guvnor
Staff member
You can but I find the user interface for Roll20 and most VTTs to be counter intuitive. That might be for multiple reasons but none of them feel intuitive to me and I've now tried Roll20, FG, Astral and Tabletop Simulator with the underlying feeling that they're trying to be more fancy than is needed; or at least more fancy
YMMV. Variety is great.
I have tried all the platforms over the last decade apart from Astral and Let's Role.
They all can deliver a great experience.
Frankly audio drop out is the biggest problem.
I often use my phone 4g to connect to Discord for audio and my broadband for whichever VTT the table uses. It can help.

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
I'm going for partial automation on Let's Role using the facilities on the 'Generic Character Sheet' template. Basically it will let you pick an attack, save, initiative or skill off the character sheet and will roll them for you as a one click.


The custom quickbar lets you define any other dice rolls you like such as damage for attacks and frequent spells as a one click roll.

Custom Bar.png

That should probably be enough for a quick play game. So far, Turn Order and Hit Point reduction will need to be entered in manually.

Looking good.