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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:20 am
  

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With Gen Con online I have started looking at running games online. I know this has already been discussed in relation to Covid but that drifted into people playing other games and I wanted to focus just on Palladium games. Since a lot of these online services allow people to share materials and since Palladium is something of a niche I kind of wanted to see if anyone has posted anything for PB on these sites.

Questions:
1- What online services have you used for games as a GM, but also as players?
2- What game(s) did you run?
3- What did you like / dislike about it?
4- Did you find or post any materials for PB on that service?
5- Do you recommend this service

Thanks to all.

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Big game hunter, explorer extra ordinaire and expert on the Aegis Buffalo
Ultimate Insider for WB 32: Lemuria, WB 33: Northern Gun 1, WB 34: Northern Gun 2
Showdown Backer Robotech RPG Tactics
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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:27 am
  

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Lots of posts in this thread you should find helpful
viewtopic.php?f=30&t=161649

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Palladium System F.A.Q.s - viewforum.php?f=44
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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:28 am
  

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foilfodder wrote:
Lots of posts in this thread you should find helpful
viewtopic.php?f=30&t=161649

Already mentioned it and posted to it but thanks.

_________________
Northern Gun Chief of Robotics
Designer of NG-X40 Storm Hammer Power Armor & NG-HC1000 Dragonfly Hover Chopper
Big game hunter, explorer extra ordinaire and expert on the Aegis Buffalo
Ultimate Insider for WB 32: Lemuria, WB 33: Northern Gun 1, WB 34: Northern Gun 2
Showdown Backer Robotech RPG Tactics
Benefactor Insider Rifts Bestiary: Vol 1, Rifts Bestiary: Vol 2


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:03 pm
  

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Sorry Warshield73, didn't notice you Linked to the COVID thread, working on a small screen here.

If you are running a game I suggest choosing your platform by the features you need as a GM.
Communication features:
- chatroom?
- private message capability?
- voice chat?
- video chat?
game mechanics:
- die roller?
- virtual character sheets?
- virtual combat grid/map?
- built-in rulebook / game mechanics?

The last feature can be very time consuming. Even if you have a system like Fantasy Grounds or Roll20 capable of virtual characters and NPCs, gstting all those stats into the system will take much more time than actually running the session.

There is also the problem that each PB RPG has slightly different rules. Skill Bonuses, especially for Physical Skills differs depending on which game and edition you are playing.

You said you want to run a virtual session for the virtual Cons, but that leads to more questions:
- which PB RPG (s) do you want to run?
- are you going to prep one session and run it over and over with new players or create something new each time?
- will you pre-gen characters or let players bring/roll their own?
- do you expect veteran players familar with PB game mechanics, new players or a mix?

_________________
Palladium System F.A.Q.s - viewforum.php?f=44
Find out you've been doing it wrong for years!


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:31 pm
  

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Joined: Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:01 pm
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In my opinion, what you are going to run into is what hoops are you willing to jump through to run an "unsupported" system on the platform. Most platforms were set up to run D&D (specifically 5E). The farther you get from that, the more work it takes to run a smooth game. Then the second choice (in my mind) is: do you want to run a server to host your games, or do you want the platform to host your games? That second question will cut down your list of possibilities one way or the other. I live in a rural area, don't want to have to rely on my internet that much, so I don't want to run a server myself. I also like players being able to log on in between sessions for bookkeeping or planning without me needing to be there.

I use Roll20. I have been running Fantasy 1E Revised + the normal (?) mix of 2E and homebrew rules in the mix for about 2 years on that platform. That resulted in me writing a character sheet for it. Over time, between learning tricks of how to use Roll20, and just time spent tinkering with how to set things up, I am well set up. I have basically recreated the entire ruleset (or at least all of it that I use) in a game there. I have a macro for each spell, ward, psionic ability, poison, faerie food, etc. set up on sheets that can be referenced by players with just a couple clicks of a mouse. I have created a basic character sheet for almost all monsters and animals from the core book and Monsters & Animals. With all of that, I can run pretty much anything I want pretty smoothly. Not only that, I have a "Base" game that I don't actually run games in, but just copy that game when I want to start something new (like a one shot).

Do you need all that to run a game there? No. I am set up that way, because I started with no one that had played any Palladium game, and some hadn't even heard of it. Having all the rules in game where people could read as much (or little) as they want is pretty handy. With the way handouts work in Roll20, I can create links on character sheets to rules that are important for that particular character.

So, there is a sheet for Fantasy 1E. Last week, I submitted (and they were accepted and went live) 2 more sheets that should have you covered for Fantasy 2E and Heroes Unlimited 2E. The Heroes Unlimited sheet should cover for some (most/all?) of the other SDC systems, or at least that is my hope. Those 3 sheets will automatically calculate stat bonuses and derived stats from attributes (like carry/live, mph, etc). The buttons for combat rolls will pull in bonuses from hand to hand skills, stat bonuses, and (while it isn't automatic) you can add links to your weapon proficiencies so that when you update those, you don't need to change your attack bonuses also. The 1E system just used a grid/chart for skills. The 2E sheets will accept the skill base, progression, level, and will calculate your success rate based on that (while figuring in any IQ stat bonus). I have written a wiki page for each sheet, and each sheet (in the documentation tab) has a roll button that will print out the link to its wiki page in the in-game chat. Any "mundane" character should be extremely simple to set up. What eats up the time are spells, psionics, etc.

While it is going to be of somewhat limited use due to changes, I do have a public game that people can freely join. I have set my macro sheets to be controlled by everyone, which means that anyone that joins that game can transfer out my macro sheets through Roll20's Character Vault. While the macros are set up for my 1E sheet, it would at least give you a starting point. With a little knowledge of how macros work there, it wouldn't be hard to adjust things to whatever system you would be running. It would just take time.

There are 2 other Palladium character sheets available on Roll20, however they are both about 5 years old, and have seen no updates in that time. The Rifts character sheet is just a sheet that will hold information, and has no built in rolls at all. You would need to create macros from scratch, or trust people to roll physical dice and report the results to you. The "Megaverse" sheet is what I started using, and my sheets started as a complete rewrite of that one. It has a different layout and includes rolls for skills. However, the sheet code predates some features of Roll20, so you can't do certain things with those rolls that you should. Neither one of those sheets meet the minimum standards for a new sheet being submitted now, but are still (for now) grandfathered in and available to be chosen.

I'm not sure what you plan on running, but I expect that anywhere you go the following will be true: the more mundane the characters, the less prep time it will take to get going. Also, start testing things now (before you have any scheduled games). I don't care what VTT you go with, there WILL be a learning curve. Make sure you give yourself enough time to learn at least the aspects of the VTT you will need to run your particular scenario(s).


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:28 pm
  

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foilfodder wrote:
Sorry Warshield73, didn't notice you Linked to the COVID thread, working on a small screen here.

If you are running a game I suggest choosing your platform by the features you need as a GM.
Communication features:
- chatroom?
- private message capability?
- voice chat?
- video chat?
game mechanics:
- die roller?
- virtual character sheets?
- virtual combat grid/map?
- built-in rulebook / game mechanics?

The last feature can be very time consuming. Even if you have a system like Fantasy Grounds or Roll20 capable of virtual characters and NPCs, gstting all those stats into the system will take much more time than actually running the session.

There is also the problem that each PB RPG has slightly different rules. Skill Bonuses, especially for Physical Skills differs depending on which game and edition you are playing.

You said you want to run a virtual session for the virtual Cons, but that leads to more questions:
- which PB RPG (s) do you want to run?
- are you going to prep one session and run it over and over with new players or create something new each time?
- will you pre-gen characters or let players bring/roll their own?
- do you expect veteran players familar with PB game mechanics, new players or a mix?

It's no problem, I like to put the links in the titles so it doesn't go on forever but makes it harder to see.

I know what functions I'm looking at on these platforms I was just wanting peoples opinions on those functions.

Gen Con Listed Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, Astral and D20Pro. Now for me Fantasy grounds and D20 are out but I was hoping people had some opinions on these as well as what voice/video chat worked well with the platform.

_________________
Northern Gun Chief of Robotics
Designer of NG-X40 Storm Hammer Power Armor & NG-HC1000 Dragonfly Hover Chopper
Big game hunter, explorer extra ordinaire and expert on the Aegis Buffalo
Ultimate Insider for WB 32: Lemuria, WB 33: Northern Gun 1, WB 34: Northern Gun 2
Showdown Backer Robotech RPG Tactics
Benefactor Insider Rifts Bestiary: Vol 1, Rifts Bestiary: Vol 2


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:43 pm
  

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Comment: "I will not be silenced. I will not submit. I will find the truth and shout it to the world. "
Kraynic wrote:
In my opinion, what you are going to run into is what hoops are you willing to jump through to run an "unsupported" system on the platform. Most platforms were set up to run D&D (specifically 5E). The farther you get from that, the more work it takes to run a smooth game. Then the second choice (in my mind) is: do you want to run a server to host your games, or do you want the platform to host your games? That second question will cut down your list of possibilities one way or the other. I live in a rural area, don't want to have to rely on my internet that much, so I don't want to run a server myself. I also like players being able to log on in between sessions for bookkeeping or planning without me needing to be there.

I use Roll20. I have been running Fantasy 1E Revised + the normal (?) mix of 2E and homebrew rules in the mix for about 2 years on that platform. That resulted in me writing a character sheet for it. Over time, between learning tricks of how to use Roll20, and just time spent tinkering with how to set things up, I am well set up. I have basically recreated the entire ruleset (or at least all of it that I use) in a game there. I have a macro for each spell, ward, psionic ability, poison, faerie food, etc. set up on sheets that can be referenced by players with just a couple clicks of a mouse. I have created a basic character sheet for almost all monsters and animals from the core book and Monsters & Animals. With all of that, I can run pretty much anything I want pretty smoothly. Not only that, I have a "Base" game that I don't actually run games in, but just copy that game when I want to start something new (like a one shot).

Do you need all that to run a game there? No. I am set up that way, because I started with no one that had played any Palladium game, and some hadn't even heard of it. Having all the rules in game where people could read as much (or little) as they want is pretty handy. With the way handouts work in Roll20, I can create links on character sheets to rules that are important for that particular character.

So, there is a sheet for Fantasy 1E. Last week, I submitted (and they were accepted and went live) 2 more sheets that should have you covered for Fantasy 2E and Heroes Unlimited 2E. The Heroes Unlimited sheet should cover for some (most/all?) of the other SDC systems, or at least that is my hope. Those 3 sheets will automatically calculate stat bonuses and derived stats from attributes (like carry/live, mph, etc). The buttons for combat rolls will pull in bonuses from hand to hand skills, stat bonuses, and (while it isn't automatic) you can add links to your weapon proficiencies so that when you update those, you don't need to change your attack bonuses also. The 1E system just used a grid/chart for skills. The 2E sheets will accept the skill base, progression, level, and will calculate your success rate based on that (while figuring in any IQ stat bonus). I have written a wiki page for each sheet, and each sheet (in the documentation tab) has a roll button that will print out the link to its wiki page in the in-game chat. Any "mundane" character should be extremely simple to set up. What eats up the time are spells, psionics, etc.

While it is going to be of somewhat limited use due to changes, I do have a public game that people can freely join. I have set my macro sheets to be controlled by everyone, which means that anyone that joins that game can transfer out my macro sheets through Roll20's Character Vault. While the macros are set up for my 1E sheet, it would at least give you a starting point. With a little knowledge of how macros work there, it wouldn't be hard to adjust things to whatever system you would be running. It would just take time.

There are 2 other Palladium character sheets available on Roll20, however they are both about 5 years old, and have seen no updates in that time. The Rifts character sheet is just a sheet that will hold information, and has no built in rolls at all. You would need to create macros from scratch, or trust people to roll physical dice and report the results to you. The "Megaverse" sheet is what I started using, and my sheets started as a complete rewrite of that one. It has a different layout and includes rolls for skills. However, the sheet code predates some features of Roll20, so you can't do certain things with those rolls that you should. Neither one of those sheets meet the minimum standards for a new sheet being submitted now, but are still (for now) grandfathered in and available to be chosen.

I'm not sure what you plan on running, but I expect that anywhere you go the following will be true: the more mundane the characters, the less prep time it will take to get going. Also, start testing things now (before you have any scheduled games). I don't care what VTT you go with, there WILL be a learning curve. Make sure you give yourself enough time to learn at least the aspects of the VTT you will need to run your particular scenario(s).

Thanks, this pretty much what I was hoping to get. I was already leaning Roll20 since most of the people who have brought this up seem to use. I am mainly thinking about running this as I have not been able to get an in person long term gaming group going in more than 5 years. I'm not in love with the idea of online play but I'm thinking I might want to try it.

I plan to probably run Rifts, I would love to do my Heroes/BTS/Nightbane game but that woudl be difficult to do as a first run.

Question, do you use voice/video chat in your games and if yes which do you use?

_________________
Northern Gun Chief of Robotics
Designer of NG-X40 Storm Hammer Power Armor & NG-HC1000 Dragonfly Hover Chopper
Big game hunter, explorer extra ordinaire and expert on the Aegis Buffalo
Ultimate Insider for WB 32: Lemuria, WB 33: Northern Gun 1, WB 34: Northern Gun 2
Showdown Backer Robotech RPG Tactics
Benefactor Insider Rifts Bestiary: Vol 1, Rifts Bestiary: Vol 2


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:35 pm
  

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Warshield73 wrote:
I plan to probably run Rifts, I would love to do my Heroes/BTS/Nightbane game but that woudl be difficult to do as a first run.

Question, do you use voice/video chat in your games and if yes which do you use?

I have no idea how the HU2 sheet would handle Rifts. I expect some things would be fine, and others would take some extra notes or something to keep track of. Anyway, you can create a game for each available sheet and see what you can do with them.

I don't use video (don't even own a camera for my computer), and I use Discord for voice. Part of the nice thing with Discord is how nice it is for messaging outside the game (scheduling groups, group reminders, or direct messages) because of being able to assign Roles to people and use rolls to trigger alerts. It is also a nice way to send a setting image that you don't think is worth uploading for display in Roll20 (this is sort of what the terrain you are traveling through looks like). I use Discord enough in out of game communication, that I would probably still use it for things if I was using the built in video/sound of Roll20 during a game. That may or may not be true for you depending on how you run your games.

Before I talk (or speculate) about the chat tech in Roll20, I should say a few general things about how Roll20 works. When you load a game, you are loading everything (maps, characters, handouts, etc.), even items that have been archived. In Roll20, archiving something is more for organization (reduce clutter) than it is for data management, because it is assumed you may need access to that stuff again if the players do something unexpected. As you add things to the game, it becomes heavier (data wise) whether from assets you upload (which count against your account storage quota) or assets you purchase on the marketplace (which don't count against your storage quota) and use as maps, tokens, and so on. While it takes quite a while, you can get an incredible amount of data wrapped up in a single game. I haven't seen any recently, but I have seen people in the past post that they couldn't copy their game, and later a dev would post back that their game is so large that the AWS server is timing out during the copy function. Now, everything is operating in a browser tab. I'm not familiar what limitations that imposes, but I know that limits the amount of data that can be handled to a certain extent.

That brings us to the bad reputation Roll20 video and voice have. From watching the tech support forum, my suspicion is that the size of your game affects the amount of bandwidth left for video and voice, because it is all operating in that one browser tab. I haven't seen any direct dev statement, but I have seen people post (people that play 5E and purchase ready made adventures and campaigns) that they have good chat service running a small adventure, but have lots of problems on a large, full campaign like Curse of Strahd, or Dungeon of the Mad Mage. My speculation is that you might have good luck with their chat tech running a DIY game like you will need to do with any Palladium game until you have a bunch of data wrapped up in it. How much that might be, I have no idea.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:59 pm
  

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Kraynic wrote:
Warshield73 wrote:
I plan to probably run Rifts, I would love to do my Heroes/BTS/Nightbane game but that woudl be difficult to do as a first run.

Question, do you use voice/video chat in your games and if yes which do you use?

I have no idea how the HU2 sheet would handle Rifts. I expect some things would be fine, and others would take some extra notes or something to keep track of. Anyway, you can create a game for each available sheet and see what you can do with them.

I don't use video (don't even own a camera for my computer), and I use Discord for voice. Part of the nice thing with Discord is how nice it is for messaging outside the game (scheduling groups, group reminders, or direct messages) because of being able to assign Roles to people and use rolls to trigger alerts. It is also a nice way to send a setting image that you don't think is worth uploading for display in Roll20 (this is sort of what the terrain you are traveling through looks like). I use Discord enough in out of game communication, that I would probably still use it for things if I was using the built in video/sound of Roll20 during a game. That may or may not be true for you depending on how you run your games.

Before I talk (or speculate) about the chat tech in Roll20, I should say a few general things about how Roll20 works. When you load a game, you are loading everything (maps, characters, handouts, etc.), even items that have been archived. In Roll20, archiving something is more for organization (reduce clutter) than it is for data management, because it is assumed you may need access to that stuff again if the players do something unexpected. As you add things to the game, it becomes heavier (data wise) whether from assets you upload (which count against your account storage quota) or assets you purchase on the marketplace (which don't count against your storage quota) and use as maps, tokens, and so on. While it takes quite a while, you can get an incredible amount of data wrapped up in a single game. I haven't seen any recently, but I have seen people in the past post that they couldn't copy their game, and later a dev would post back that their game is so large that the AWS server is timing out during the copy function. Now, everything is operating in a browser tab. I'm not familiar what limitations that imposes, but I know that limits the amount of data that can be handled to a certain extent.

That brings us to the bad reputation Roll20 video and voice have. From watching the tech support forum, my suspicion is that the size of your game affects the amount of bandwidth left for video and voice, because it is all operating in that one browser tab. I haven't seen any direct dev statement, but I have seen people post (people that play 5E and purchase ready made adventures and campaigns) that they have good chat service running a small adventure, but have lots of problems on a large, full campaign like Curse of Strahd, or Dungeon of the Mad Mage. My speculation is that you might have good luck with their chat tech running a DIY game like you will need to do with any Palladium game until you have a bunch of data wrapped up in it. How much that might be, I have no idea.

Thanks for the input, a lot of this lines up with what I have been seeing for games posted for Gen Con is that they are run on Roll20 or Astral or even Fantasy Ground but they use Discord for voice.

I haven't used Discord much at all. I am on it but have only played with a few of the functions but it is something that I have been working more on lately for other reasons.

I think the big thing I am wanting to avoid is spending a lot of time to put stuff on a website and then when my players do something unexpected not being able to adjust on the fly.

_________________
Northern Gun Chief of Robotics
Designer of NG-X40 Storm Hammer Power Armor & NG-HC1000 Dragonfly Hover Chopper
Big game hunter, explorer extra ordinaire and expert on the Aegis Buffalo
Ultimate Insider for WB 32: Lemuria, WB 33: Northern Gun 1, WB 34: Northern Gun 2
Showdown Backer Robotech RPG Tactics
Benefactor Insider Rifts Bestiary: Vol 1, Rifts Bestiary: Vol 2


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:18 pm
  

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How "battle map" oriented are you in your games? Do you use a lot of hex by hex (or square by square) movement? If you are wanting real detailed maps, it can be a real pain to be prepared until you have uploaded and set up a ton of maps. On the other hand, the higher your rate of movement is, the harder it is to keep it on a reasonably sized map that is still at a scale where you would expect to even be able to see character tokens. For ship battles in the Fantasy game, I have actually just used a plain water map and only used it for relative position and distance (sort of one step up from drawing on a dry erase board).

The more things you can do on a generic background, the easier it is to adapt in the beginning. One thing that can stretch your resources a little is that any image (token or map) can be flipped vertically or horizontally with a right click menu. If you are using top down images/assets, that will allow you to reuse them some without always instantly looking the same. You can also add tints to them, though sometimes that isn't so great on a full size map.

If nothing else, you can resort to the old white screen with a grid and use the (relatively crude) drawing tools to layout where different obstacles, cover, etc. are while setting out tokens for player/npc locations. A lot will depend on the expectations of you and your players. If you are used to very tactically detailed movement that is set up on a board, you will require more preparation. If you are used to just using description for some things, then generic backdrops and relative position will work pretty well. I do find that I have trouble getting people used to the meticulous adherence to grid movement/combat from D&D 3 (and later) or Pathfinder to even be able to grasp what I describe if it isn't laid out fairly close on a map, while people that aren't trained to that style of play are more able to adapt to doing things on or off of a specifically detailed map.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:46 pm
  

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Kraynic wrote:
How "battle map" oriented are you in your games? Do you use a lot of hex by hex (or square by square) movement? If you are wanting real detailed maps, it can be a real pain to be prepared until you have uploaded and set up a ton of maps. On the other hand, the higher your rate of movement is, the harder it is to keep it on a reasonably sized map that is still at a scale where you would expect to even be able to see character tokens. For ship battles in the Fantasy game, I have actually just used a plain water map and only used it for relative position and distance (sort of one step up from drawing on a dry erase board).

The more things you can do on a generic background, the easier it is to adapt in the beginning. One thing that can stretch your resources a little is that any image (token or map) can be flipped vertically or horizontally with a right click menu. If you are using top down images/assets, that will allow you to reuse them some without always instantly looking the same. You can also add tints to them, though sometimes that isn't so great on a full size map.

If nothing else, you can resort to the old white screen with a grid and use the (relatively crude) drawing tools to layout where different obstacles, cover, etc. are while setting out tokens for player/npc locations. A lot will depend on the expectations of you and your players. If you are used to very tactically detailed movement that is set up on a board, you will require more preparation. If you are used to just using description for some things, then generic backdrops and relative position will work pretty well. I do find that I have trouble getting people used to the meticulous adherence to grid movement/combat from D&D 3 (and later) or Pathfinder to even be able to grasp what I describe if it isn't laid out fairly close on a map, while people that aren't trained to that style of play are more able to adapt to doing things on or off of a specifically detailed map.

For me I mainly use maps for relative location and basic distance, just enough for players to know where they are.

What I want to avoid is having to put tons of info into a system before I even start playing. I have been playing with Astral on and off for the last year, I think just because it's advertised on DriveThru and I had heard a few negative things about Roll20. Now I am really leaning towards Roll20 just because that seems to be where I will find the most PB players.

It would be easy to choose if there was any real VTT support for PB but since it all has to be self done then it just comes down to what possible players would prefer.

_________________
Northern Gun Chief of Robotics
Designer of NG-X40 Storm Hammer Power Armor & NG-HC1000 Dragonfly Hover Chopper
Big game hunter, explorer extra ordinaire and expert on the Aegis Buffalo
Ultimate Insider for WB 32: Lemuria, WB 33: Northern Gun 1, WB 34: Northern Gun 2
Showdown Backer Robotech RPG Tactics
Benefactor Insider Rifts Bestiary: Vol 1, Rifts Bestiary: Vol 2


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:01 pm
  

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I tried Astral quite some time back. The character sheet system disappointed me. I did end up creating the sheet I use on Roll20, so I can't say that was exactly easy, but it is so much nicer than anything I could cobble together with the system that Astral had at the time. Once done, it wasn't hard to submit to the Roll20 github and make it available to everyone. I'm sure things have changed, and I haven't been back to see how things have progressed with Astral.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:54 pm
  

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Kraynic wrote:
I tried Astral quite some time back. The character sheet system disappointed me. I did end up creating the sheet I use on Roll20, so I can't say that was exactly easy, but it is so much nicer than anything I could cobble together with the system that Astral had at the time. Once done, it wasn't hard to submit to the Roll20 github and make it available to everyone. I'm sure things have changed, and I haven't been back to see how things have progressed with Astral.

Astral seems OK, what I liked was that I didn't have to do whole character sheets into the system and it seemed more generic. As soon as I started looking at Roll20 it was clear that it was a D&D platform with everything else bolted on. Truthfully if it wasn't for the dice roller I would probably just start in like google meetings.

I have also considered using World Anvil for running the game, it has a dice roller and has lots of cool features but it's not a VTT.

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Designer of NG-X40 Storm Hammer Power Armor & NG-HC1000 Dragonfly Hover Chopper
Big game hunter, explorer extra ordinaire and expert on the Aegis Buffalo
Ultimate Insider for WB 32: Lemuria, WB 33: Northern Gun 1, WB 34: Northern Gun 2
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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:19 pm
  

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Warshield73 wrote:
As soon as I started looking at Roll20 it was clear that it was a D&D platform with everything else bolted on.


I guess we had opposite reactions to what each vtt was. In working up a sheet on Astral, I felt like it was made for a more simplistic game like D&D that would have fewer skills, stats, and won't likely be switching weapons often. With Roll20, they officially support certain systems more, with 5E certainly being the primary one. But, they leave it open to anyone willing to upgrade the subscription for access to the sheet editor, you can pretty much build anything you want with html, css, and javascript. The sheets do run in a sandbox, so there are limitations, but people have made some pretty impressive sheets.

I have no previous knowledge of any of those things, but there are some pretty decent sheet authors on there which allowed me to get advice and swipe code ideas from their sheets. Roll20 only officially supports 13 game systems (as in they built and maintain sheets for them), there are another 30 odd sheets written by game publishers, but there are over 700 sheets available for different games and specific editions of games. Due to varying age of the sheets (which affects what features were available at the time) and skill of the authors, some are pretty simple, but some are pretty complex like the (seemingly under constant development) GURPS sheet. The tabbed Savage Worlds sheet is pretty impressive also (it has setting options for Savage Rifts).

They do seem to try to keep the core systems relatively system agnostic. To be honest, their dice roller works fine for pretty much anything you need to do in Palladium and most other games, but there are some newer games with more complex dice usage that really can't be done (or are very difficult) with Roll20's fairly simplistic dice roller.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:56 pm
  

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Kraynic wrote:
Warshield73 wrote:
As soon as I started looking at Roll20 it was clear that it was a D&D platform with everything else bolted on.


I guess we had opposite reactions to what each vtt was. In working up a sheet on Astral, I felt like it was made for a more simplistic game like D&D that would have fewer skills, stats, and won't likely be switching weapons often. With Roll20, they officially support certain systems more, with 5E certainly being the primary one. But, they leave it open to anyone willing to upgrade the subscription for access to the sheet editor, you can pretty much build anything you want with html, css, and javascript. The sheets do run in a sandbox, so there are limitations, but people have made some pretty impressive sheets.

I have no previous knowledge of any of those things, but there are some pretty decent sheet authors on there which allowed me to get advice and swipe code ideas from their sheets. Roll20 only officially supports 13 game systems (as in they built and maintain sheets for them), there are another 30 odd sheets written by game publishers, but there are over 700 sheets available for different games and specific editions of games. Due to varying age of the sheets (which affects what features were available at the time) and skill of the authors, some are pretty simple, but some are pretty complex like the (seemingly under constant development) GURPS sheet. The tabbed Savage Worlds sheet is pretty impressive also (it has setting options for Savage Rifts).

They do seem to try to keep the core systems relatively system agnostic. To be honest, their dice roller works fine for pretty much anything you need to do in Palladium and most other games, but there are some newer games with more complex dice usage that really can't be done (or are very difficult) with Roll20's fairly simplistic dice roller.

My impressions of Roll20 were largely from there introductory videos on YouTube. They were all focused on D&D, in addition to being ridiculously long and off topic. Also just a quick search of the site showed a large percentage of material.

I have decided to probably use Roll20, again it seems to be where the players are. I am curious to know if any GMs pay for the service or do they just use the free service?

_________________
Northern Gun Chief of Robotics
Designer of NG-X40 Storm Hammer Power Armor & NG-HC1000 Dragonfly Hover Chopper
Big game hunter, explorer extra ordinaire and expert on the Aegis Buffalo
Ultimate Insider for WB 32: Lemuria, WB 33: Northern Gun 1, WB 34: Northern Gun 2
Showdown Backer Robotech RPG Tactics
Benefactor Insider Rifts Bestiary: Vol 1, Rifts Bestiary: Vol 2


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:22 pm
  

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Warshield73 wrote:
My impressions of Roll20 were largely from there introductory videos on YouTube. They were all focused on D&D, in addition to being ridiculously long and off topic. Also just a quick search of the site showed a large percentage of material.

I have decided to probably use Roll20, again it seems to be where the players are. I am curious to know if any GMs pay for the service or do they just use the free service?


Fair enough on the videos. Just over 50% of the games played on Roll20 (if I remember their last release of numbers right) are 5E, so it certainly gets its share of promotion on twitch and youtube.

A lot depends on how much you end up doing with Roll20. You can certainly start out with the free account. You won't have dynamic lighting (but you may not use it a lot anyway), but will still have access to Fog of War, so you can block out the view of the whole map and manually reveal what you want. You are restricted to 100mb of storage and I think 5mb for the max image upload size. You still can make as many games as you want, have as many players in those games as you want, so if you don't need anything else, you are fine without paying.

Plus gets you the dynamic lighting, so that the map gets revealed to players based on what is visible according to their character token vision settings, the map lighting settings, and what lines you have drawn on the dynamic lighting layer (this vtt layer doesn't show up for free accounts). It also doubles your upload file size limit and greatly increases your account storage quota (3GB, I think?). If you start using music or ambient tracks of your own, you will want the storage if nothing else. As far as I am concerned, Plus is good if you will only run a game or 2, will usually be running published content, or really like to play with music.

Pro gets you access to custom sheet creation, which you probably aren't interested in, but it also gives you access to a couple other things. First is the Transmogrifier tool. That allows you to move handouts, characters, complete map pages (dynamic lighting intact and with all tokens in place), and rollable tables from one game to another while you are in a game. This isn't the best way to move a LOT of things, since you can copy a game and then delete what you don't want at any account level, but it is great to move maps and npcs at the very least. It also allows you to fairly tightly control the amount of data that is in your game by using a map library game to hold maps you don't need at the moment. You can have one for npcs and backup copies of PCs, and another for a Bestiary. And you can move those assets in with a few clicks of a mouse. You also gain access to the api, meaning that you can use javascript to automate some things in the game. While you can write your own if you have the skill, there are a lot that are already available for install in the api settings page for each game (that doesn't show up for any lower sub level). For example, in my games, there are 4 that I use all the time:
Group Initiative allows me to select however many npcs are on the map and roll initiative for all of them instead of one at a time. It is set for 5E as far as what initiative bonus it looks for, but is configurable for any sheet. You can even have it list a stat in decimal form as a tie breaker.
Initiative Duplicator is a little script that was written for me by on of the community members that writes a lot of those scripts. It allows me to select a token (or multiples) and select how many times they should appear in the initiative order. It is set up so that each successive entry for a single token is 20 lower than the previous. You can see how that is nice with the Palladium initiative system.
TokenMod allows you to write macros that will interact with just about everything on a token. When you run a command it will affect all tokens you have selected at once. If the lights just went out, you can remove everyone's vision, or give it back again, or assign status markers to the tokens, or hide/reveal name plates and health bars on npc tokens. It is pretty handy.
Universal Chat Menu is a script that isn't in the selection on the settings page, but has a thread on the forums where you can copy/paste the code for your game. It allows you to write generic macros that will pull roll buttons that are written into whatever character sheet you use. I use this to set up buttons that pull up all of a certain type of roll for my players. While some of them have changed slightly, the result I was getting looked like this: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/7480610/ All the blue names of skills and attacks are pulled in as they were entered on the sheet, and clicking on one calls the roll for that skill or attack from the sheet. Since these menus can be set up as token actions, all roll buttons on the sheet can be triggered without needing to have the sheet open. This saves time, especially for those that are running an older computer that doesn't load anything fast. Since this script is just the framework and you have to customize it for your sheet and what you want to see, it will work for any sheet. I think I came up with examples for all 3 of my sheets for people to start out with if they have access to the api.

For me, those 4 api scripts and the transmogifier tool are totally worth the pro subscription. But they aren't necessary to play. You will just have to see what type of tools you end up wanting/needing for your games.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:59 pm
  

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Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:17 am
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Warshield73 wrote:
I have decided to probably use Roll20, again it seems to be where the players are. I am curious to know if any GMs pay for the service or do they just use the free service?


I use a free account on Roll20, though I did pickup additional content for D&D 5E "Lost Mines of Phandelver" i have never run it and don't really plan to.

Features I use and % of the time I probably use them
- voice chat 100%
- video chat 0%
- die roller 75% most of the players use it, and I use it for "open" rolls, but occasionally I make a "hidden" roll and we have one player that is on Honor System since he likes rolling physical dice
- game-map (grids and hexes) 25% I find it useful for "dungeon-crawling" type scenarios, but seems to slow down combat play too much
- handouts 33% most of the time I can "read" a note left for the characters or describe an NPC, occassionally it is nice to able able to just pop-up the picture into their screens.

Running sessions on Roll20 I first tried to use the gridmap for every encounter/combat/situation, which got very hard and very time consuming. Switched to "theatre of the mind" for most combat sessions and encounters which is speeds up gameplay over placing/moving tokens on the grid-map for each battle. Generally if a situation occurs which where players or NPCs are located when we aren't using the map, I give my players the benefit of a doubt to avoid arguements unless something is really unlikely/impossible like "I dashed behind the sentries before they drew their weapons..."

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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:41 pm
  

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Kraynic wrote:
Warshield73 wrote:
My impressions of Roll20 were largely from there introductory videos on YouTube. They were all focused on D&D, in addition to being ridiculously long and off topic. Also just a quick search of the site showed a large percentage of material.

I have decided to probably use Roll20, again it seems to be where the players are. I am curious to know if any GMs pay for the service or do they just use the free service?


Fair enough on the videos. Just over 50% of the games played on Roll20 (if I remember their last release of numbers right) are 5E, so it certainly gets its share of promotion on twitch and youtube.

A lot depends on how much you end up doing with Roll20. You can certainly start out with the free account. You won't have dynamic lighting (but you may not use it a lot anyway), but will still have access to Fog of War, so you can block out the view of the whole map and manually reveal what you want. You are restricted to 100mb of storage and I think 5mb for the max image upload size. You still can make as many games as you want, have as many players in those games as you want, so if you don't need anything else, you are fine without paying.

Plus gets you the dynamic lighting, so that the map gets revealed to players based on what is visible according to their character token vision settings, the map lighting settings, and what lines you have drawn on the dynamic lighting layer (this vtt layer doesn't show up for free accounts). It also doubles your upload file size limit and greatly increases your account storage quota (3GB, I think?). If you start using music or ambient tracks of your own, you will want the storage if nothing else. As far as I am concerned, Plus is good if you will only run a game or 2, will usually be running published content, or really like to play with music.

Pro gets you access to custom sheet creation, which you probably aren't interested in, but it also gives you access to a couple other things. First is the Transmogrifier tool. That allows you to move handouts, characters, complete map pages (dynamic lighting intact and with all tokens in place), and rollable tables from one game to another while you are in a game. This isn't the best way to move a LOT of things, since you can copy a game and then delete what you don't want at any account level, but it is great to move maps and npcs at the very least. It also allows you to fairly tightly control the amount of data that is in your game by using a map library game to hold maps you don't need at the moment. You can have one for npcs and backup copies of PCs, and another for a Bestiary. And you can move those assets in with a few clicks of a mouse. You also gain access to the api, meaning that you can use javascript to automate some things in the game. While you can write your own if you have the skill, there are a lot that are already available for install in the api settings page for each game (that doesn't show up for any lower sub level). For example, in my games, there are 4 that I use all the time:
Group Initiative allows me to select however many npcs are on the map and roll initiative for all of them instead of one at a time. It is set for 5E as far as what initiative bonus it looks for, but is configurable for any sheet. You can even have it list a stat in decimal form as a tie breaker.
Initiative Duplicator is a little script that was written for me by on of the community members that writes a lot of those scripts. It allows me to select a token (or multiples) and select how many times they should appear in the initiative order. It is set up so that each successive entry for a single token is 20 lower than the previous. You can see how that is nice with the Palladium initiative system.
TokenMod allows you to write macros that will interact with just about everything on a token. When you run a command it will affect all tokens you have selected at once. If the lights just went out, you can remove everyone's vision, or give it back again, or assign status markers to the tokens, or hide/reveal name plates and health bars on npc tokens. It is pretty handy.
Universal Chat Menu is a script that isn't in the selection on the settings page, but has a thread on the forums where you can copy/paste the code for your game. It allows you to write generic macros that will pull roll buttons that are written into whatever character sheet you use. I use this to set up buttons that pull up all of a certain type of roll for my players. While some of them have changed slightly, the result I was getting looked like this: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/7480610/ All the blue names of skills and attacks are pulled in as they were entered on the sheet, and clicking on one calls the roll for that skill or attack from the sheet. Since these menus can be set up as token actions, all roll buttons on the sheet can be triggered without needing to have the sheet open. This saves time, especially for those that are running an older computer that doesn't load anything fast. Since this script is just the framework and you have to customize it for your sheet and what you want to see, it will work for any sheet. I think I came up with examples for all 3 of my sheets for people to start out with if they have access to the api.

For me, those 4 api scripts and the transmogifier tool are totally worth the pro subscription. But they aren't necessary to play. You will just have to see what type of tools you end up wanting/needing for your games.

Thanks this is really helpful. I am definitely just using free for now but thanks to you I know that if I decide to go the payed route I won't fart around with plus I will just do pro.

_________________
Northern Gun Chief of Robotics
Designer of NG-X40 Storm Hammer Power Armor & NG-HC1000 Dragonfly Hover Chopper
Big game hunter, explorer extra ordinaire and expert on the Aegis Buffalo
Ultimate Insider for WB 32: Lemuria, WB 33: Northern Gun 1, WB 34: Northern Gun 2
Showdown Backer Robotech RPG Tactics
Benefactor Insider Rifts Bestiary: Vol 1, Rifts Bestiary: Vol 2


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:42 pm
  

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Posts: 2342
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foilfodder wrote:
Warshield73 wrote:
I have decided to probably use Roll20, again it seems to be where the players are. I am curious to know if any GMs pay for the service or do they just use the free service?


I use a free account on Roll20, though I did pickup additional content for D&D 5E "Lost Mines of Phandelver" i have never run it and don't really plan to.

Features I use and % of the time I probably use them
- voice chat 100%
- video chat 0%
- die roller 75% most of the players use it, and I use it for "open" rolls, but occasionally I make a "hidden" roll and we have one player that is on Honor System since he likes rolling physical dice
- game-map (grids and hexes) 25% I find it useful for "dungeon-crawling" type scenarios, but seems to slow down combat play too much
- handouts 33% most of the time I can "read" a note left for the characters or describe an NPC, occassionally it is nice to able able to just pop-up the picture into their screens.

Running sessions on Roll20 I first tried to use the gridmap for every encounter/combat/situation, which got very hard and very time consuming. Switched to "theatre of the mind" for most combat sessions and encounters which is speeds up gameplay over placing/moving tokens on the grid-map for each battle. Generally if a situation occurs which where players or NPCs are located when we aren't using the map, I give my players the benefit of a doubt to avoid arguements unless something is really unlikely/impossible like "I dashed behind the sentries before they drew their weapons..."

Thanks, I think you largely described how I will run things in the begining except I will probably use Discord of google meeting for voice and video that way I can keep the VTT browser a little cleaner.

_________________
Northern Gun Chief of Robotics
Designer of NG-X40 Storm Hammer Power Armor & NG-HC1000 Dragonfly Hover Chopper
Big game hunter, explorer extra ordinaire and expert on the Aegis Buffalo
Ultimate Insider for WB 32: Lemuria, WB 33: Northern Gun 1, WB 34: Northern Gun 2
Showdown Backer Robotech RPG Tactics
Benefactor Insider Rifts Bestiary: Vol 1, Rifts Bestiary: Vol 2


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