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Virtual Tabletops

Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
edited January 2012 in Critical Failures
Our gaming group is considering experimenting with a virtual table due to the ever increasing difficulty of getting 4 or 5 family men together in the same place at the same time.

The DM has experience with Battlegrounds and a projector for games he runs in person so is thinking toward Fantasy Grounds. Obviously as he is the one putting in the work he gets preference but I was wondering if people had any other recommendations I should point him at?

I know quite a few people use Maptools but it does seem quite labour intensive from my brief experimentations a while ago. Seeing as Fantasy Grounds costs real monies I'm hoping that it streamlines things a bit.

Any other ideas? Is the official D&D virtual table in a useable state yet and does it actually offer any integrated rules things to make life easier?

Jam Warrior on


  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    What game are you looking to play, Jam?

    Fantasy Grounds II is great, but you need the appropriate module for the game you want to play, and there isn't one for 4E if that's what you're looking for. You can build the module yourself, but doing that would be just as labour-intensive as setting-up Maptools.

    EDIT: No, the D&D Virtual table never saw the light of day outside of the closed beta. Reports are that it was basically buggy beyond use, and then support for it's continued development dried-up as DDI fell by the wayside because Wizards is run by monkeys.

    EDIT x2: I'm actually really stupid. There is a 4E module available for Fantasy Grounds, which probably makes it your best bet.

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    It would indeed be 4e. If virtualising gives a bit more control over the ridiculous amount of temporary effects we now need to keep track of at mid-paragon then all the better!

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Have you downloaded the demo and/or watched the tutorial video for Fantasy Grounds II? They'll give you a good idea if it's the tool for you.

    With Love and Courage
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    The default answer that I give is Maptools, at It's free, and it's far better than the vast majority of virtual tables out there. Of course, you've already mentioned this and seem to think it is labor-intensive. Perhaps you don't know about campaign frameworks.

    Maptools has numerous DnD frameworks (including 4th edition). Frameworks are simply campaign files that have most of the macros and background stuff already programmed in. You can see several of these frameworks at the maptools forums here:

    The most popular ones are Veggiesama's and Rumble's, apparently. There's also one by DeviantNull that seems to have some fans (the framework looks like a character sheet and all of the powers are links... the link takes you to the forum thread which gives you a full tutorial on how to use it).

    The easy part of Maptools is the drag and drop nature of objects and icons. You can take any image and just drag and drop it into the virtual tabletop to make an object (in the object layer) or character icon (token layer). Making new tokens/objects is simply a Google search away and can be done on the fly.

    Note that any virtual tabletop will give the DM some prep-time hell, as they will have to find some tokens to use and images for the maps. At least in Maptools, these elements are easy to do (even on the fly).

    EDIT: Apparently, there are also parsers that allow you to copy/paste monster stats directly from a PDF into some text field and convert it automatically into a rudimentary monster token with all of the powers and such programmed in:

    After parsing the text into a token, you can save the token as a file (right-click it and save), and just drag and drop that token (extension of .rptok) into any of your DnD campaigns.

    Hahnsoo1 on
    PSN: Hahnsoo | MHGen: Hahnsoo, FC: 4141-2384-3379
  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime FiresideWizard Registered User regular
    To go another direction with this.

    Have you thought about using a nice web-cam and mounting it to a location where you could run your maps via skype? We play Pathfinder with a friend who recently moved away and setup the with a computer/camera at one of the seats. So its pretty much just like having him there with us. We setup his POV camera so it has a nice view of the map and the rest of the table.

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    Critical Failures - Havenhold CampaignAugust St. Cloud (Human Ranger)

  • jkruse05jkruse05 Registered User regular
    Once you learn the interface MapTools is relatively easy to use and easy to adjust on the fly. If you trust your players the extra frameworks aren't even necessary, and there are massive amounts of cut-out props and textures available. It can take some time to get started, but once you've collected resources and started rolling it comes quite naturally. You can also cut down on the workload by keeping your maps nice and simple, I have a tendency to over do it with props and details.

  • weirdspaceshipsweirdspaceships i will eat your still-beating heart Registered User regular
    To echo MagicPrime, there's a guy working on an app for Google+ Hangouts that emulates dice rolling and all kinds of table-top related goodness within the video chat frame.

  • NolanTNolanT Registered User new member
    I used MapTools for awhile as a DM and I didn't like it very much. So eventually my friends and I built this:

    I think it's pretty neat. Hopefully others will agree when we open it up fully in the coming months.

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