What’s your VTT of choice?

edited June 20 in Show and Tell

I’ve been using Roll20 for years - not necessarily well and I’m seriously considering ditching my subscription and just using Maptools for my games - I’m mainly running Call of Cthulhu at the moment so don’t need all the bells an whistles…



  • JimPJimP 🖼️ 275 images Cartographer
    edited June 20

    I have Epic Table, but my siblings won't give me a date for play. He hasn't done any updates in a year.

    One of my siblings uses Fantasy Grounds, but I think it is expensive.

  • MonsenMonsen Administrator 🖼️ 46 images Cartographer

    I prefer Maptools myself, but I have a weird setup as we do our gaming face to face, but uses Maptools for a digital battle mat instead of physical miniatures, but everything else (rules, dice rolls) are handled the traditional way.

    Personally, I do enjoy the fact that it is NOT an online application, so we can run everything locally. No subscription fees, no limits to map sizes, full control. Bit more work to get started than just going to a webpage obviously, but for my use, it is great.

    I run the server (in player mode) on the machine connected to the projector so it only displays what the players see (I use combined vision from all the player tokens, no individual view) and then run a client on my laptop in GM mode to control it. Players can connect to the server if they want to, or just use laser pointer to point on the screen to tell me to move their token. This is a great setup since I can update things secretly using the GM client (like adding enemies, or even add a completely new map) without any disruption to the player view while I work.

  • taustinoctaustinoc Surveyor

    I've been using MapTool for a number of years now. We started when one player moved halfway across the country and he wanted to stay in the game (and everyone else wanted him to, as well). It quickly evolved into everyone local being too lazy to drive over, so we're all doing gaming through MapTool and GoToMeeting. (One drawback to MapTool is that it doesn't include any kind of audio or video conferencing, but from what I understand, that may actually be an improvement over the audio/video built into Roll20. Plus, there's a lot of other options for that which are free.)

    For basic functions - a map, and some tokens to push around - it's no more complicated than Roll20, unless you have remote players, and that's gotten a lot simpler in recent versions, with UPnP, Easy Connect or WebRTC (unless you are comfortable setting up port forwarding manually, which makes it very easy). The vision/fog of war/vision blocking features are pretty easy to figure out, and very useful.

    After that, there's only the temptation to automate with macros, which is a rabbit hole with no way out. 😀

    What I would recommend is that - MapTool being free to experiment with - you try it out, and if you run into problems, ask for help in the Discord channel, which is generally very friendly and helpful.

  • edited June 21

    I'm invested in Roll20.

    I've written up almost the entirety of 1st ed AD&D, spells and all, into it. So, it's too much time and effort invested in it to change to anything else even if it is better.

    Although I'm really liking the changes they are doing to the VTT and its presentation.


  • @Dak I completely understand that! For the Elric of Melnibone (MRQII/Legend) game I ran, I made a character generation macro that calculated characteristics, derived attributes and rolled on origin and background tables; basically all the player had to do was equip their character, give them a name, personality and allocate skill points.

    @taustinoc I'm not unfamiliar with Maptools, having used it in past. For Cthulhu, which is what I primarily run, I think it will be just fine and there's no need for fancy macros either - just basic die rolls, Cthulhu is such a straightforward game system you don't really need much. I have, however added made a macro roll whch rolls D100 and then 2 separate D10*10 rolls for the bonus/penalty die.

    @Monsen that set up sounds brilliant! I'll have to try.

    @JimP Yes, some of the paid VTTs can get expensive, which is why I'm looking at reverting back to Maptools as @Monsen points out, its very versatile...For home use you don't even need an internet connection.

  • taustinoctaustinoc Surveyor
    edited June 20

    There are frameworks for three Call of Cthulhu versions in the forums. I have no idea how good or bad they are, but they might be worth a look.


  • seycyrusseycyrus Traveler

    Fantasy Grounds!!

    Call of Cthulhu is a supported ruleset.

  • edited June 21

    I'm one of the Astral expats. I hadn't paid much attention to VTTs for ages: just relying on printed maps, pencil & paper, or GIMP on the few occasions I had a PC at hand. But then came the pandemic and I started playing with two cousins (we live nearly 1000km from each other)... it simply dawned on us that we might as well take advantage of the acquired familiarity with virtual meetings.

    Did my research and landed on Astral (I already had an account, but hadn't really used it). It had a great free tier, but I could still purchase a subscription when I could afford it. I still miss it.

    I haven't seen the latest Roll20 interface. I was invited 10 months ago to a private preview for the new-and-upcoming Roll20 interface.. perhaps this is it, but I haven't even logged in lately. Might do that today, seeing as my game was cancelled.

    To replace Astral, I landed on Owlbear Rodeo for maps, Discord (+bots) for chat and dice, and cloud-shared fillable PDFs for character sheets (or D&DBeyond for when 5E is the system being played).

    On a couple of occasions this year, I've even launched OBS studio to share my CC3+ screen as a camera and just draw live.

  • @taustinoc Thanks, I looked for some on their Discord but couldn't find any. I'll check them out.

    @seycyrus It's a supported ruleset on Roll20 also, but, I am not interested in, nor can I justify, buying the associated rulesets on the VTTs. I already have the Core books in print and PDF, I'm not buying them again.

  • Epic Table can be used offline. But like I said, no players.

  • Has anyone tried Foundry VTT? I like what I'm reading about it being a perpetual (pay once, use forever) license. Looks like there's lots of support both from developers and from third-parties.

    Does anyone have any direct experience they can share?

  • dagorhirdagorhir Traveler

    My current campaigns are on Roll20. I will eventually use Foundry in the future.

    Yes @Maidhc O Casain , it's a pay once license to use Foundry but you need to have it hosted somewhere which is subscription based. If you are comfortable setting up port forwarding, you can self-host the Foundry server but the performance is very dependant on your internet upload speed.

    You can technically use the same license you an install on your home computer and the hosted install, so long as only one can be used at a time, like you only use the home install to do prep work and you are the only DM using the hosted install.

  • JimPJimP 🖼️ 275 images Cartographer
    edited June 21

    I was one of the low level kickstarters, but I haven't had much time to play with it. But it is easy to upload my own maps to. It has a nice tutorial, I think you can try that without paying. I mean the demo.

    Edit: Click on the 3 horizontal lines upper left of their site. Five pages of systems they support.

    edit 2: English, French, German, Russian games, and a few I'm not sure of.

  • edited June 21

    @Maidhc O Casain I've not used Foundry as a GM but I have been a player and it is very good. From what I've seen, I think its better than Roll20 in terms of fucntionality and ease of use - once you get over the learning curve of course - but that's the same with all these tools.

  • I use Owlbear Rodeo. It has all the functionality I need and is easy to use.

  • Thanks, @dagorhir, @JimP and @jmabbot.

    I've got a nice home system and a very solid 5Gig internet setup, with the option for a wired connection. So self-hosting should work for me. I'm leaning toward giving it a try.

    (Time is limited, though, so investing the time to get past the learning curve for any of them might be a barrier).

  • Another vote for Maptools. I've used it both as a local digital replacement for a battle mat, and also for remote gaming. It's great for both, though it does require a bit more set up as has been noted up thread. It is super versatile and you can't beat the price.

  • Another + for Maptools is the way it handles resources. For instance, I just added CC3's entire symbol directory in less time than it's taken me to write this post...

  • FrostyFrosty Traveler

    I started playing again after not playing anything like table top since high school and was invited to a Roll20 game that some people I had met in MMO over the last 8 years. Long story to I am playing on Roll20 Cthulhu. And one thought if someone else is running roll20 glad to share the few macros or tables I have created. For those not on roll 20 if any of the hand outs research etc i done I could share that. The one thing that I wish existed was an interactive murder board sort of things for players.

  • You could sort of make one with tokens and an appropriate background...

  • FlyteachFlyteach Traveler

    I'm a Fantasy Grounds user.

  • FrostyFrosty Traveler

    Yes I saw that.. could use a cork board background maybe even stick a map in the background or Map layer. I see tokens of images used on the board and you can hide them on the GM layer and one could use the draw feature to draw lines between. But what I wish is I could link a token to a handout.

  • 6 days later
  • FrostyFrosty Traveler

    I saw something where someone linked images on the token layer to handouts.. going to expirment and let you know.

  • hsv216hsv216 Surveyor

    Im using Fantasy Grounds.

  • I bought Fantasy Grounds, steep learning curve.

  • debreosdebreos Newcomer

    I ran FTF from 79-88, then had a 32 year break from the hobby (marriage does that!). Restarted early 2020, and began FTF - then Covid occurred. Started using Roll20 (for maps, handouts, battleboard) and Discord (for voice) in April 20, and have been running a weekly game (AD&D 1/2e) ever since. I like it because it is easy to import files, and CC is the ideal place to create battlemaps. The recent changes in Roll20 are definitely an improvement. Also, I'm the only one who really needs to invest in a subscription - the players don't need to spend their cash. They have character sheets for a vast array of systems, but (sadly) not the one I want - because I am just restarting my Bushido campaign. To get over that, I have set up a character sheet template in Google Sheets, together with a character creation page - useful, since in Bushido skill rolls are calculated from attributes, skill levels, etc. And I'm having to build some new maps in CC - a player map for Kyushu, for example. I haven't really looked at other VTTS, 'cos Roll20 does all I need at the moment. I have found the lighting and "fog of war" very useful in only revealing what I want the players to see - in one game, certain players could see certain things, and had to try to describe them to the rest, for example. Good fun.

  • seycyrusseycyrus Traveler

    Ha! That's the same thing people say about CC3+ !

    Both of them are definitely worth the time investment. Best in their respective arenas.

  • I decided after several days to forgo fg, and got a refund. While many like it, I found the interface tedious and the modules, etc. to be too expensive for me.

  • I'm not. I was trying to learn the interface. That others learned it wasn't enough for me. The videos suggested to me are 2 years old. The interface undergoes changes almost daily.

    Someone else there asked for the videos to be updated. Several people made excuses. Several people asked which ones. They didn't need to ask, any video for before interface v4.4 needed updating.

    The wiki wanted me to do steps that don't exist.

    I gave up. I'm too old to deal with such attitudes.

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