Online Play Solutions for D&D Next?

So I have a group a people from my WoW guild that I do RPGS's with on a regular basis online. We have been playing 4e using RPTools with one of the other guys DMing who knows RPTools very well. However, they now want me to DM a game using D&D Next for them.

 

RPTools is fairly complicated with some learning curve that I don't really have the time or energy to spend on that right now. Does anyone know of another play solution that will allow me to use maps and die rolls? I don't want to have all of the monster stats and players powers automated. That can all be done traditionally with pencil & paper and voice. All we really want is a online map solution and die rolls. Any help is appreciated.

If it has to be free:

 

Roll20.net

 

The dice macro for Advantage is "2d20kh1" and Disadvantage is "2d20kl1"  (keep high 1, and keep low 1).

 

What I did was on the GM tab, make GM macros for 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10, 1d12, 1d20, 2d20kh1 (advantage) and 2d20kl1 (disadvantage).  Then check all those macros as public.

 

When each player connects have them show their macro toolbar and all those dice.  Now they don't even have to know how to write the macros.

 

As a player, I'd love Roll20 just fine.  As a DM, I can't recommend any other software more strongly than Fantasy Grounds 2.  There's an extension out for Next on the forums that handles 95% of the mechanics in 5E, which drops over the 4E ruleset.  Fully fledged character sheets, story entries, maps/images, encounters/npc templates, item/parcel templates, even customizable library modules (you'll have to build those yourself, but you don't need them).  You can build an entire hyperlinked adventure.  The combat tracker is nothing short of breathtaking, and you can drag an attack roll onto a token on the map to roll your attack (plus any mods you add to the roll) and auto-resolve against the target's defenses, reporting if it was a hit or not.  Drag your damage roll onto the same token and it will apply damage for the DM.

 

Anyway, FG2 is flat out amazing.  It's $24 for a player client, and $39 for a DM client, with a huge discount for group purchases (Like 60%ish off when 6 of us bought it together), or you can go for the big purchase of $149 for the ultimate license (which lets anyone connect to your games even if they don't have an FG2 license).  There's an upgrade option for that level of license if you really decide it's worth it down the road.

 

Anyway, that's my pitch:  Roll20 for free VTT, or FG2 for premium.

 

EDIT:  Smiteworks is currently finishing up their beta for FG3 (the version is jumping from 2.9.4 to 3.0.0, it's not a separate product) which will make creating your own character sheets/rulesets much easier and more accessible, as well.

I'll second on the Roll20 recommendation.  It's very simple to use, and if you want to dig into it a bit, the macros can be very useful (although not quite as powerful as RPTools).  Importantly, though, you and your players *don't* have to deal with any of the bells and whistles if you don't want to, and it still works fine.  I've done a few sessions where I set up character sheets, macros, maps, etc. and ran some very 4e-esque tactical encounters, and I've also done some Theatre of the Mind style sessions where I had just a few rectangles and tokens up on the screen to give the players a reference, and both worked fine (my players actually prefered the TotM sessions much much more).

 

The one problem I had with Roll20 wasn't so much with Roll20 but with the internet in general, I think.  One of the times, I had three of my players each using a different computer from the same house, all running over the same line.  When we tried to fire up the video chats, their router decided to take an impromtu vacation.

Yeah, if I did a Roll20 game again, just the basic dice across the bottom is all I would do.

 

I did make a blank character sheet and made some pre-built macros for saves and basic attacks, but ultimately they kind of sucked, because when I cloned the sheet for each player, it puts their name in front of every macro, which quickly scrolled off the screen edge.  :P

Roll20 is great for Next.

 

As for the Macros, Players will get far better use out of these than the DM, since their rolls seldom change.

 

The most useful Macro I have is:

 

/me Rolls for ?{Action| }
/r 1d20+?{Modifier|0}+?{Proficiency|0}+?{Bonus|0}d4

 

It will ask you to fill in Action, Modifier, Proficiency, and Bonus. Just type in what the roll is for, your Ability Mod, Proficiency Bonus, and 1 if you have Guidance/Bless/Resistance. The default values are a blank space, 0, 0, and 0.

 

You can make the same macro for Advantage and Disadvantage by changing the 1d20 to 2d20k1 (keep 1) or 2d20dh1 (drop highest 1) respectively.

 

Another useful Macro for the DM would be (NOTE: leave no spaces between the brackets and the text):

 

[ [ 1d?{Die|20}+?{Modifier|0} ] ]

 

This just shows the result, not the actual roll, so the PCs keep guessing on the monster's Attack bonus or Damage bonus

 

Edited: the [[ creates invisible text on the forum

very cool. I love the rolld20 solution. Thanks for responses and macros.

I play on Google Hangouts and we basically play on honor system, since most of us have dice, but some use Roll20.

The Smithy Knew He'd Lost His Groove When Scalding Sparks Left His Chin Too Smooth Dwarvenshave

I use RPGTO, and I just ask all players to roll and add modifiers.     Rolling just raw and hving them add modifiers verbally speeds up play.   I suggest that they keep their charcter sheets out when they play and we avoid automation/macros (mostly because my players don't want to set up their on board character sheets). 

 

The integrated sound is not so good, so I have everyone mute it and we use Skype for sound.

 

We've been enjoying it.  Plus, I kind of like making maps inside that program as well, and if I run theater of the mind, I just throw down the PC tokens and monster tokens and arrange them in relative order so I can mark off hit points and keep track of everything right on the tabletop.

 

http://www.rpgtableonline.com/welcome.php

 

The basic set up is free to use.

 

 

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

Spykes wrote:

RPTools is fairly complicated with some learning curve that I don't really have the time or energy to spend on that right now. Does anyone know of another play solution that will allow me to use maps and die rolls? 

 

You know people are working on a Next Framework?

 

Besides if you only want online maps and die rolls and you are already familiar with MapTool, then you have everything you need.

My group used MapTools (RPTools) before but run into technical difficulties. We are now using Roll20 as so many above and really like it. So I agree with that suggestion.

Be3Al2 wrote:

My group used MapTools (RPTools) before but run into technical difficulties.

 

Would you mind letting me know what difficulties you encountered?  I'd be very interested in passing the feedback along.  Cheers!

Lowest possible tech: Skype over smartphone  

 

most smartphones now have front & rear cameras. You just set your table irl as you would and get everyone on a conference call. Switch views as needed. 

 

This was... A little hacky when we did it. But it works fine with 5E. It just requires precise communication if you use maps/minis. 

The_Jagged wrote:

 

Be3Al2 wrote:

My group used MapTools (RPTools) before but run into technical difficulties.

 

 

Would you mind letting me know what difficulties you encountered?  I'd be very interested in passing the feedback along.  Cheers!

 

I've played several games on RPT on a Late 2009 iMac (4GB RAM) running OS X 10.8 and Java 7.45. The interface worked well enough but the sound left everything to be desired. The more people that play the worse it becomes. I'd HIGHLY recommend putting in a 5 second maximum talk timer. When a player presses their Push2Talk key a timer pops up and they get five seconds to speak with a 1 or 2 second cool down.

 

I played one game were a bloke would Push2Talk and then go on and on and on. I believe his constant inbound stream of talking caused most of us other players to experience problems on our end. I've played several games but in that one game EVERYONE BUT HIM had to drop out and restart the Java environment at least once, including the DM.

E. Tallitnics on Google+, Roll20, and Twitter.

E-Tallitnics wrote:

I've played several games on RPT on a Late 2009 iMac (4GB RAM) running OS X 10.8 and Java 7.45. The interface worked well enough but the sound left everything to be desired. The more people that play the worse it becomes. I'd HIGHLY recommend putting in a 5 second maximum talk timer. When a player presses their Push2Talk key a timer pops up and they get five seconds to speak with a 1 or 2 second cool down.

 

I played one game were a bloke would Push2Talk and then go on and on and on. I believe his constant inbound stream of talking caused most of us other players to experience problems on our end. I've played several games but in that one game EVERYONE BUT HIM had to drop out and restart the Java environment at least once, including the DM.

 

What chat system where you using?  RpTools doesn't have a Voice Chat system.

I use roll20 for almost all my gaming.  They do have voice chat built in, but we use Skype or Google hangouts for our voice/video chatting needs.  Google hangouts even has a roll20 app that runs the map on the screen at the same time in the same window.

 

 

Remember this is a public forum where people express their opinions assume there is a “In my humble opinion” in front of every post especially mine.  

 

Things you should check out because they are cool, like bow-ties and fezzes.

https://app.roll20.net/home  Roll20 great free virtual table top so you can play with old friends who are far away.

http://donjon.bin.sh/  Donjon has random treasure, maps, pick pocket results, etc.. for every edition of D&D.

The_Jagged wrote:

 

E-Tallitnics wrote:

I've played several games on RPT on a Late 2009 iMac (4GB RAM) running OS X 10.8 and Java 7.45. The interface worked well enough but the sound left everything to be desired. The more people that play the worse it becomes. I'd HIGHLY recommend putting in a 5 second maximum talk timer. When a player presses their Push2Talk key a timer pops up and they get five seconds to speak with a 1 or 2 second cool down.

 

I played one game were a bloke would Push2Talk and then go on and on and on. I believe his constant inbound stream of talking caused most of us other players to experience problems on our end. I've played several games but in that one game EVERYONE BUT HIM had to drop out and restart the Java environment at least once, including the DM.

 

 

What chat system where you using?  RpTools doesn't have a Voice Chat system.

 

OK, then I'm off base. I'm referring to RPG Table Online.

E. Tallitnics on Google+, Roll20, and Twitter.

The_Jagged wrote:

 

Be3Al2 wrote:

My group used MapTools (RPTools) before but run into technical difficulties.

 

 

Would you mind letting me know what difficulties you encountered?  I'd be very interested in passing the feedback along.  Cheers!

 

I know you didn't ask me specifically, but one of the issue I ran into was having to downgrade java to get it to work at all. The other issue I had was for whatever reason even though it prompted for how much memory to use it still only used the minimum setting and would constantly throw errors. Once I have to ask a player to edit a batchfile I simply have to give up, because many players I have had refuse to try to understand how to open and edit a batch file.

 

Edit: most of my players would rather use the horribly buggy rpgtableonline because they can go to a link, enter a game and import/reimport their sheet with little effort. Pretty much no feature/buggy can replace that

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

sleypy wrote:

 

The_Jagged wrote:

 

Be3Al2 wrote:

My group used MapTools (RPTools) before but run into technical difficulties.

 

 

Would you mind letting me know what difficulties you encountered?  I'd be very interested in passing the feedback along.  Cheers!

 

 

I know you didn't ask me specifically, but one of the issue I ran into was having to downgrade java to get it to work at all. The other issue I had was for whatever reason even though it prompted for how much memory to use it still only used the minimum setting and would constantly throw errors. Once I have to ask a player to edit a batchfile I simply have to give up, because many players I have had refuse to try to understand how to open and edit a batch file.

 

Edit: most of my players would rather use the horribly buggy rpgtableonline because they can go to a link, enter a game and import/reimport their sheet with little effort. Pretty much no feature/buggy can replace that

 

Speaking downgrading Java: To what version!?

E. Tallitnics on Google+, Roll20, and Twitter.

version 6

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

Thanks! I was considering that since their FAQ doesn't mention anything about v7...

 

In case any other Mac OS X users are following this: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1572

E. Tallitnics on Google+, Roll20, and Twitter.

sleypy wrote:

 

The_Jagged wrote:

 

Be3Al2 wrote:

My group used MapTools (RPTools) before but run into technical difficulties.

 

 

Would you mind letting me know what difficulties you encountered?  I'd be very interested in passing the feedback along.  Cheers!

 

 

I know you didn't ask me specifically, but one of the issue I ran into was having to downgrade java to get it to work at all. The other issue I had was for whatever reason even though it prompted for how much memory to use it still only used the minimum setting and would constantly throw errors. Once I have to ask a player to edit a batchfile I simply have to give up, because many players I have had refuse to try to understand how to open and edit a batch file.

 

Edit: most of my players would rather use the horribly buggy rpgtableonline because they can go to a link, enter a game and import/reimport their sheet with little effort. Pretty much no feature/buggy can replace that

 

Yeah, like many programmes, there was a period when it would not run with Java 7 (it does now).

 

There is also an issue with the launch and Java 7 because  Oracle decided to remove the ability to use wild cards in the java command line.  So you can no longer issue a command like "java maptool-*.jar" and expect it to work.  Very annoying

Roll20 is the one we use now, from Hero System, Pathfinder, DCC, Savage Worlds, to our current D&D 3.5 it works fine as a battlefield, dungeon crawl and dice roller. Several years ago we used RPTools exclusively, but as the group (7 of us) migrated to Window 7 from XP, it became very unstable and we rarely could get it to connect everyone's laptop on a reliable basis and the constant Java updates frustrated several players constantly.  We tried Fantasy Grounds, one of the other DMs and a couple of players bought it, but they didn't like it compared to RPTools or Roll20.

 

For voice we use a basic conference phone, since I am on Verizon there is no extra charge for long-distance.  It only allows for 3 party calls (two players are not local), but better reception/clarity than any online chat system.

 

Quick question to everyone: If those issues are resolved (so no downgrade, no launching problems and no network port forwarding hassle) would you try Maptool again?  There is currently a Release b90 available here, although its not on widespread release yet.

The_Jagged wrote:

 

Quick question to everyone: If those issues are resolved (so no downgrade, no launching problems and no network port forwarding hassle) would you try Maptool again?  There is currently a Release b90 available here, although its not on widespread release yet.

 

I used maptools for a bit but honestly found the learning curve to do anything cool with it a little steep.

 

Roll20 just sort of works fine right out of the box I guess, and as you learn more about macros and things it just gets better.

 

I do love tokentool, so if you have anything to do with that thank you very much.  I recommend it to anyone who uses any kind of VTT.

 

 

Remember this is a public forum where people express their opinions assume there is a “In my humble opinion” in front of every post especially mine.  

 

Things you should check out because they are cool, like bow-ties and fezzes.

https://app.roll20.net/home  Roll20 great free virtual table top so you can play with old friends who are far away.

http://donjon.bin.sh/  Donjon has random treasure, maps, pick pocket results, etc.. for every edition of D&D.

Paraxis wrote:

Roll20 just sort of works fine right out of the box I guess, and as you learn more about macros and things it just gets better.

Interestingly, thats how I tell people to use MapTool ;)  If you try and jump straight into using any of the player-created frameworks, its going to blow your brain.  But to start off just using it as a online whiteboard, its really very easy.

 

Anyway, I am passing all feedback along.  So all comments appreciated

The_Jagged wrote:

 

Quick question to everyone: If those issues are resolved (so no downgrade, no launching problems and no network port forwarding hassle) would you try Maptool again?  There is currently a Release b90 available here, although its not on widespread release yet.

 

I'll try it out and provide feedback.

 

Honestly, a functioning frameworks is a requirement before I can consider convincing people to switch to maptools. They will deal with relogging 10 times, busted chat, networking issues, broken fog of war and a token paywall, all for the ability to with a few clicks import their new character sheet and have all the macros auto created. 

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

Perhaps I can recommend a framework for you?

 

The MacroPolicebox: Second Regeneration (D&D 4E Framework)

 

I have to add the caveat that it is not the framework that I use, however it is actively supported and does (I believe) have a utility to import characters from DDI.  I am happy to help with any queries or problems people might have with Maptool.

So I tried out the beta version. All of my previous issue appear to be fixed with this verision. The new launcher is much nicer, and I think it will be easier to explain. I like the brief comments inside each field for memory and stack size.

 

I have aready been looking at Starman's framework and keeping an eye on the D&DNext framework. I'll probably take another look once the beta version is released, hopeful MacroPolicebox will be upgraded to function with a version other then just b87.

 

Thanks for the information.

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

sleypy wrote:

hopeful MacroPolicebox will be upgraded to function with a version other then just b87.

Starman tells me that that restriction has been lifted for a while now, so it will work in b89 and probably in b90 as well.

Really? I looked up a bug I was experiencing a few days ago and the resolution was b89 isn't supported.  I'll update that post then since I am still experiencing the same issues.

 

Thanks again!

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

I sent a PM with my feedback before realising that my comment sent this thread into MapTools feedback. I will try it and if I like it I will suggest my group to test if it works out. We used b87 before, so some problems might relate to that.

 

Tree features of Roll20 my group seem to like very much:

  1. Having access to the sheet between sessions and be able to update macros
  2. Being able to use a playlist for sounds within the application
  3. Having an easy list of all characters available at all times