irtual Tabletop Round-up
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.
Launched in 2017, Astral is a browser-based, modern VTT with a simple and elegant user interface. Of all VTTs, Astral has the most features available at the free tier, meaning that you can access core features plus dynamic lighting and 1 GB of storage without having to pay anything.
Astral’s editable character sheets draw from PDF or image uploads and aren’t necessarily tied to a particular system. Astral also includes animated maps, weather effects, and other sound effects.
Cost: Free, Pro ($9.99/month or $99.99/year)
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.
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)
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
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.
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 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.
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.
Still in development, TaleSpire has already 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.
It’s a system-agnostic platform with early access scheduled for later in 2020.
If you’d like to know more about the VTT options named here, check out these resources!