Dungeons & Dragons Online

Roll20 v Fantasy Grounds v FoundryVTT (in 15 min).

I used to use Roll20 for several years. I always wished I could do more with it. After a nasty experience with Fantasy Grounds (FG) (more due to a bad DM than the program) I moved to Foundry VTT (FVTT) in the beta and never looked back. Because of that it is easy for me to recommend FVTT but while it has a lot of pro's it has some con's, and some of those con's covered in the other programs.

So I want to compare the different VTT's. To counteract my bias against FG I sat down with two experts in Fantasy Grounds and they gave me a good idea what it is capable of and what it lacks. I was very impressed. Fantasy Ground Unity is very powerful and a good piece of software. Taking that conversation into account I have made a 15 min video breaking down the pro's and con's of each of the VTT's.

This video is not exhaustive and not intended to be. I wanted it to be 10 min or less but I failed as FG and FVTT offer so much I could not do it so the video is 15 min long.

I welcome any feedback. If I got something very wrong let me know so I can fix it. If you like reading rather than listening here is the Pro's and Con's from my notes.

Roll20 Pro’s This is all based on my 2+ years using the website but I stopped using it a year ago so some of the cons could have improved

  • Free Accounts

  • Easy to setup

  • Easy to get right into the game

  • Perfect for beginners

  • Perfect for pandemic online players

  • Lots of videos online on how to use it. It has been around a very long time.

Read more:  A Comprehensive Guide to Monster Resistance/Immunity in 5e

Roll20 Con's

  • Sluggish software

  • Subscription model ($50yr or $100yr) with no one time pay option like FG and FVTT and the following is locked behind pay

    • More storage, 100mb free 3gig+ paid
    • API access for $100
  • Rebuy books – no importing. They are also slow on book rollouts.

  • Very little Extensibility

  • When they make big changes some of their own books and monsters break.

  • Things like walls and dynamic lighting don’t work well

  • Video and Audio don’t work well.

  • Ambient sounds don’t work well.

  • Small community (no discord, yes reddit)

  • No in game mod (or extension) with $100 tier)

  • Poor communication from devs

Fantasy Grounds Pro's

  • Single Purchase for life ($150) or subscription ($10/m)

  • Automation is built in and works really well.

  • Backwards compatibility

  • Amazing and helpful community (yes reddit and discord)

  • Things become easier as you learn (consistent design principles)

  • Very easy to make maps in game

  • Some useful extensions (mods) are available but not many

  • Buy books and adventures and you get maps, NPC’s etc and they work correctly when you buy it.

  • Other games (5e,4e,3.5e,Pathfinder 1 and 2,Starfinder)

  • If the GM has the $150 ($10/m) version players play free.

  • Some bells and whistles built in (3d dice, drag and drop attack

Fantasy Grounds Con’s

  • No Free Option (though they say there is all you can do is join a Ultimate game)

    • Subscription option does not go to purchase price.
  • No built in audio (and will probably never be according to the people I talked to)

  • No Dynamic Lighting (coming soon though).

  • Extension are difficult to install and update/not very many of them

    • Have to search forums etc and no single source (coming soon)
  • Learning curve is very steep for both player and DM

    • 4-12hrs to become master of FG as GM
    • 2-4hrs to become masters player
  • Layout is complex, it takes many clicks to get places.

  • Cloud Servers are not persistent

  • No importing, have to rebuy books at full price.

  • Little in game help (tool tips, intuitive design)

  • If the GM does not have the $150 ($10/m) version players have to buy their own copy.

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FoundryVTT Pro's

  • Pay once forever ($50)

  • Tons of extensibility (650+ mods)

  • 100+ game systems

  • Super helpful Community (yes reddit/discord)

  • Tons of bells and whistles

    • animated maps, tokens, tiles and spells, dynamic lighting etc (all with modules)
  • Loads of free maps, music, and content made by the community and easy to add.

  • Import from D&D Beyond (with a module)

  • Still being developed with clear communication

  • If you want it, you can make it

  • 3rd party cloud support for as little as $5 a month.

  • Edit: Only the DM needs to purchase a license. The DM can invite as many players as they wish.

FoundryVTT Con's

  • Relatively new (not a ton of “how to youtube” content)

  • Still being developed

  • You can break it as you add mods that conflict with each other

  • One persistent world per license

  • It is resource heavy, old PC's need not apply

  • To many mod options could be seen as a con

  • Things sometimes do not “just work”, you have to check things as you go

  • Requires setting up to get what you want

  • Moderate DM learning curve (could take 4-8hrs to become a bit of a master)

  • Player learning curve is about 2-4hrs

  • In game map making is slow and I never use it.

  • No cloud service (from FVTT, 3rd party yes). Third party systems do work with the dev to ensure things work well.

Read more:  I just let a player who wasn't having fun change their character mid-campaign, aka. don't be afraid to make big changes for your players to enjoy the game.

Source: reddit.com

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