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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Roll20 Article on Slate - Welcome to the Virtual Tabletop (Finally, there’s a good way to play Dungeons & Dragons online)

Roll20 (and Dungeons & Dragons 5e) have a nice article up on Slate.

Yep, the D&D media love just keeps rolling along.

Gail couldn't have timed her licensing of Gary's works better if she had had a crystal ball...

Here's a small piece from the article:
But if technological developments partly supplanted D&D’s appeal, they may yet also contribute to its recent resurgence. The leader here may be Roll20, a web-based system that attempts to re-create the experience of classic pen-and-paper gaming—not just for Dungeons & Dragons, but for other titles as well. The sophisticated application creates a shared platform for many of the game’s fundamental elements, allowing users to simulate dice rolls and move character and monster tokens around maps (drawn by the game master or imported from the community-generated library). 
Though it’s not quite the same as sharing a pizza in someone’s basement while fumbling for your lucky 20-sided die, it comes surprisingly close. Log in and you’ll be given the opportunity to create a new game or join one in progress. Take the former option, and an array of tools in the sidebar will allow you to draw maps, place monsters, and otherwise prepare things for your players. It’s simple enough to draw a crude map on one of the graphing paper–like templates, but members of Roll20’s community also create and distribute more sophisticated art resources through the site’s marketplace. A shareable URL lets others join the game. Once they do, their faces will pop up in video streaming boxes in the lower third of the screen, offering something like face-to-face interaction.
It seems like there is hope for the hobby yet.

Hey, maybe Gail could license some of Gary's work to Roll20...


  1. It's amazing how one day there is not a good solution then BOOM WotC comes along and made an apparently unworldly solution like magic.

    Sarcasm aside, I am hopeful for Roll20 and they appear to be set up to take advantage of this nicely.

  2. I was on Roll20 while a friend was deployed. It's not ready for prime time. You need to write your own macros to do just about anything, which is great for computer geeks and not so wonderful for everyone else that just uses them. We also had to use Google hangouts to do everything that wasn't on the board because the voice stuff just doesn't work reliably. We spent a lot of time chatting because the DM workload is really high due to the automation being poor. Add in the fact that it's a really expensive subscription service for what you get and there are just better VTTs out there.

    1. I've use it with OSR games and no automation is needed.

      If I were playing Rolemaster or the like, I'd go FG2 with the purchase of the ruleset

    2. There has been improvement with Roll20's native voice and video teleconference. There may not be so much of a need to go to Google Hangouts any more, although you still can, and you can add Roll20 as a Google Hangouts plug-in. There is a physical advantage: Google Hangouts gives a "close-up" of the person speaking and that is nice if you video record your game.

      The people who can design character sheets for a game with HTML and CSS scripts are the kings of Roll20. If you choose the right character sheet for your game, convenient buttons for dice-rolls are everywhere on the sheet and you wouldn't need to set up your own macros any more. I encourage you to look over the improvements on Roll20 again, they have had explosive growth and claim 1.6 million users.

  3. roll 20 isn't really setup for games that don't need minis and maps. If you need something custom (like character sheets for a game that isn't officially supported)you have to pay for the ability to add it yourself. I prefer to just use google hangouts and let people roll their own physical dice and tell me the results (because if you're playing with people whom you can't trust to roll honestly, you're playing with the wrong people).

    1. I use maps with fog of war - never used minis with it - I'm a minimalist with Roll20.

      In truth, generally dont use character sheets either. Just dont see the need.

    2. I encourage people to learn the full range of features on Roll20. They have a Tutorial for that purpose now, a fake "game" which interactively takes you through the different features in the menus. Previously, they had a set of instructional videos which are still there.

  4. They misspelled "Traveller." Boo. :-)

  5. It's amazing. It's like the last decade I've been using VTT's have all been a bad dream. Now that Slate has found me a solution we can all wake up from our long national nightmare and use Roll20! Where has it been all our lives?

  6. Since I already have most of the D&D 5e stuff purchased on FG2, I'll stick with that. It's much cheaper in the long run and has, in my experience, a much better feature set and implementation.

  7. +Fantasy Grounds - so much more!

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Nothing against Roll20 but I have to echo other's opinions and mention that Fantasy Grounds is certainly a great piece of software and offers all the licensed D&D 5e content currently available in print in addition to a lot of other licensed rule sets. Not only rule sets are available but other great third party materials like the newly released Tome of Beasts and Primeval Thule.

    Definitely check it out, it's a great community and not too hard to get into a game and experience Fantasy Grounds.

  10. I like that news media are improving the coverage of our hobby. In the beginning it was a long string of misconstrued facts about our hobby. There was even the incredibly twisted and phony claims of Satanism and suicide in the 1980s. But NOW we have numbers, NOW the media try to be more careful, and SOON actual players will be in the media and we will have infiltrated them completely, bahahahaha!



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