With more tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs) happening online these days, you might be exploring your virtual tabletop (VTT) options. We’ve checked out some of the best VTTs around so you can find the perfect fit for your group.

UPDATE September 2023 - Even more options have been added since the original publication! From scaled-down versions for newbies to full games made for VTT, you have more choices than ever! 

Above VTT

More of a Chrome extension than a full-on VTT, Above nevertheless has very good ratings from its users. This extension morphs your D&D Beyond campaign into a VTT, importing character sheet data along the way. Maps and tokens are also simplified into "one click" functionality.

Above is great for using D&D Beyond on the cheap, since it's a free extension and works with free accounts. It's biggest weakness is that it only works for D&D and with D&D Beyond, so it has one audience in mind.

Cost: Free

Alchemy RPG

Alchemy RPG made a big splash with its recent Kickstarter launch. This VTT puts focus on presentation, with a special eye for streamers. GMs create scenes dominated by pictures and music, with emphasis on theatre of the mind assisted by production values.

This is the only VTT to offer built-in streaming tools and a spectator mode. While not all of these features are fully available yet, the massive success of the Kickstarter campaign points to a bright future for Alchemy.

Cost: A free account tier will always exist, Alchemy Unlimited is $8 a month


Astral Tabletop

Astral Tabletop closed its servers in 2022, with many of its fans going to Owlbear Rodeo, Roll20, or Foundry.


Beyond Tabletop

Beyond Tabletop is an online VTT for D&D 5e and Pathfinder. It’s entirely free and uses your Google Drive for storage. The interface is page-based and its character sheets are customized field sets. You also have the ability to create simple maps using shapes, background images, and tokens. 

Since Beyond Tabletop is based in Google Drive, it works as well on phones and tablets as it does on laptops and desktops. It was made available to the public in 2014.

Cost: Free

D&D Beyond

It was only a matter of time before the biggest name in Dungeons & Dragons virtual play, now also owned by WotC, launched its own VTT. D&D Beyond is aiming to produce a platform with 3D environments like a video game that also has seamless D&D Beyond character sheet integration.

For now, however, D&D Beyond only has its Maps system available. This simple interface allows you to put 2D maps and tokens in front of your players much like Owlbear Rodeo or Roll20. The big difference–and selling point–is that you can pull maps and monsters directly from official D&D modules that you own digitally. It's a big time-saver for maps and token art.

Cost: No cost for Maps itself, but you must have a Master Tier subscription to use it.

Fablecraft

This one is a combo package - a game system built especially for its accompanying VTT. As such, all game mechanics and lore will be inserted into the platform from the get-go.

Fablecraft aims to be all-in-one with video chat, digital dice and maps, and a character creator questionnaire that guides you through making your bespoke protagonist.

Cost: Kickstarter is finished, backers are testing it out before full release


Fantasy Grounds 

Boasting more official licenses than any other VTT, Fantasy Grounds has been a go-to since its 2004 release. You need to pay to access its features, but this can be done as a one-time payment or a subscription. Once you have a Standard or Ultimate license, you’ll be able to log your campaign, create roll tables, and maintain a party inventory. 

Fantasy Grounds’ many game licenses mean that you can access the rulesets for the popular TTRPGs on the market. It also has a high level of automation for conditions, damage dealing, and tracking turns. 

Cost: Free (you can play in a game run by someone with an Ultimate license), Standard (one-time payment of $39.99 or $3.99/month to play with other people who have the Standard license), Ultimate (one-time payment of $149.99 or $9.99/month to GM for players using the Free license)


Foundry VTT

If you enjoy development, Foundry is the VTT for you. It had its official release in May 2020. The GM buys the software and players use their browsers to access the game. 

Foundry includes dynamic lighting, drawing functions, and drag-and-drop from rulesets to character sheets. 

It requires more setup than most VTTs because of its robust features, but can be highly rewarding for a GM who loves customization. 

Cost: $50 one-time purchase by the GM


Let’s Role

Announced in 2019 and looking at an official launch in 2021, Let’s Role is open for alpha testing in both English and French. It features video backgrounds, a journal that can be edited by players and GMs, and integrated YouTube listening. 

Its chat also includes emojis and private individual chat functions. Since it’s still in development, the developers are currently accepting feedback through its Discord server.

Cost: Free

Owlbear Rodeo

The big draw of Owlbear Rodeo is it's simplicity. No need to create an account or learn a tutorial. As soon as you hit "Start Game" you are transported to the tabletop. From there you can drag in all the art assets you want or use Owlbear Rodeo's provided selection for an instant battle map.

There aren't chat options, but that's not what this is for. Owlbear Rodeo is here for GMs that just want to plop tokens on a map without worrying about macros or lighting.

Cost: Free

Quest Portal

Quest Portal uses an AI assistant to facilitate the visual and audio aspects of its systems. Users will find that Quest Portal emphasizes a visual-focused platform with immersive backdrops, music, and colorful art.

The in-app chat and availability on iOS/Android attest to Quest's focus on reaching a wide audience.

Cost: $5/month beta pricing

Role

Role is a community-focused platform that accommodates different systems. HD video chat, group text chat, and integrated safety tools show how Role puts the player first.

Role also has a community search function to help groups and GMs find each other.

Cost: Free to start

Roll20

Roll20 is one of the most popular VTTs around and launched in 2012. All players, including the GM, can access core features and play games for free. It has Fog of War, drawing capabilities, and a jukebox feature that allows the GM to stream music and sound to all players’ computers simultaneously.

It’s also a communication solution, with voice, video, and text chat capabilities and includes access to community-created character sheets for many of the most popular TTRPGs. 

Cost: Free, Plus ($4.99/month), Pro ($9.99/month)


Tableplop

Tableplop is a 5e-focused VTT released in March 2020. Its user-friendly interface makes it simple and easy to use, with all the core functions of any VTT. It requires minimal setup and comes with integrated 5e character sheets. 

As a browser-based application, Tableplop can be run on phones, laptops, and tablets. It is still under development and it has a lively Discord server where the developers take suggestions from the community.

Cost: Free


Tabletop Simulator (TTS) 

If you miss feeling like you’re sitting around a table with friends, this program allows you to recreate a physical tabletop setup. Launched in 2015, TTS resembles a first-person video game. If you have virtual reality equipment, there’s even a VR aspect, too. Your dice and character sheets are in front of you and you can move the camera to interact with them. It’s available on Steam and you can use Steam’s chat and voice features while running TTS. 

Since TTS is designed to resemble a physical table as much as possible, its character sheets don’t have built-in dice rolling functions. But, you can create an unlimited number of 3D dice of any size you want, which you could use to recreate your hoard of physical dice.

Cost: one-time payment of $19.99 on Steam, or $59.99 for a pack of four. Everyone needs a copy of the game to play.


TaleSpire

TaleSpire  captured the attention of TTRPG players worldwide. It’s an online, graphical way to play pen-and-paper RPGs. TaleSpire offers a 3D view with tools to build anything as small as a dungeon to as vast as a world. The program comes with multiple camera angles to tell a visual story. 

For those willing to dig, you can find pre-made maps for popular modules available to download on the community marketplace.

Cost: $24.99


Resources

If you’d like to know more about the VTT options named here, check out these resources!

Posted 
May 27, 2023
 in 
Running the Game
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