Yeah, I know that I’m a little late on the band wagon and that many folks have already been playing online for over a year. Let’s just say I was holding out and too many real life things just go in the way. But any way, I’m finally starting up on online game with some members of the old gaming group.
Of course, lots of folks had already done a lot of legwork and it really helped researching about what tools to use. After a little debate with group we finally decided on Discord for our choice for video/audio/text chat. For the Virtual Table Top, I decided to with Owlbear Rodeo.
Sure there’s lots of VTT’s out there. And many of them have a ton of really bells and whistles. But comparing the others to the way I like to run games the choice was clear.
Most importantly, the learning curve for Owlbear Rodeo isn’t that steep. After playing around with it and watching a couple of Youtube videos, I pretty much got a solid feel on how to use. It also means that my players don’t have to mess around and make yet another account/login. On the downside, I’m making one either. Sure that’s easy on me but Owlbear Rodeo saves everything in your browser. So you don’t have an “account” with it. They have added a means to import and export your data since it’s sitting in your browser and if you switch devices, browsers, or clear out your browser the stuff is gone. That really doesn’t bother me.
Let my tell you. And this is another selling point for me. Owlbear Rodeo feels most like throwing down a battle mat and some mini’s. I can load up custom maps for each encounter but then I’ve never really done that at the table and it’s much handier when there’s random encounters or the party doesn’t jump on board the plot train.
Owlbear Rodeo come out of the virtual box with basic tools you need to set up a map and get to rolling dice (and yes it does have a dice roller). You can upload custom maps although larger sized files may cause some lag. Personally, I made a very simple battle mat with Dungeon Scrawl. It’s just a simple 12 x12 grid which IMHO is big enough for most encounters. The file size is smaller than the builtin maps and should load faster for my players. I also tested out making a bunch of custom tokens. I already had a bunch of inspiration art in a folder and headed out to Token Stamp and made over 50 tokens in a couple of minutes. Will I use all of them? Probably not but I’ve got them if I need them. A quick Internet search also leads to some useful tools like a Spell Effects Template and Initiative Tracker.
There’s a few other selling points. Players can use it on a tablet or even their smart phone. And it’s free! I know this is cool but this also a small project built with passion and they do have a Patreon which I encourage folks to support.
Now if you don’t believe my rants then take from someone prettier and smarter than I am.