Quest Portal is a virtual tabletop, or VTT, aimed at welcoming new players and making things easier for Game Masters. The platform team’s stated goal is “to increase creativity, empathy, and collaboration worldwide by making TTRPGs more social and accessible.”
To accomplish this, Quest Portal’s focus is on simplifying the process of creating immersive scenes and characters. Users are supposed to be able to jump in on PC or mobile and get started within minutes. How does it work? Here’s a breakdown.
What Is Quest Portal
The first step is, obviously, to go to the Quest Portal website and create an account. A free account gives access to creation of unlimited campaigns, characters, and notes backlog. A Pro subscription for $8 a month gives access to the AI features like avatar generation.
From there, GMs can create the campaign using the toolbar on the left side of the screen. Note that “campaign” as used here is just Quest Portal’s name for a game room. The same set of tools is used whether you’re making a campaign or one-shot.
You’ll notice pretty quickly that Quest Portal puts focus on the center of the screen. Options are placed on small toolbars on either side of the screen. This is how most VTTs operate since they want the “tabletop” to take up a lot of real estate, but Quest Portal puts even more emphasis on it. The main display is usually taken up by “scenes,” which are battlemaps or big art pieces meant to create immersion. Each scene also has its own music which you can pick or leave to default so that changing the story’s tone can be done quickly.
On the right toolbar, players will find their notes, character sheets, and dice. GMs can use this toolbar to share notes, tweak characters, and otherwise edit the game. Check out this video for a preview of it all in action. It’s all planned for ease of use– a GM should be able to create a campaign, throw in a few scenes, and have an appropriate tone set within minutes.
Powered By AI
In keeping with the goal of quick onboarding, Quest Portal features heavy use of AI generation. To use the site’s own words, “we augment their stories with delightful tools and AI in all the right places; generative art, helpful prose, and great content.” In practice, it means that both players and GMs can use an AI-generated avatar creator for characters. GMs can also access “AI-assisted storytelling” that creates descriptions or NPC backstories on-the-fly.
The use of AI is a huge part of Quest Portal’s vision going forward. The team says so in a blog post, addressing criticisms of the technology. Their argument is that Quest Portal is about lowering the barrier to entry for GMs and players alike. To them, AI portraits allow for more unique characters and AI writing gives new GMs instant story, saving them from being on the hook for instant improv.
It’s worth noting that Quest Portal makes use of the Stable Diffusion model. At the time of this writing, Stable Diffusion is on Version 2. This version draws from artwork all over the internet, even without the artists’ consent. Version 3 will feature an opt-out option, but by default will still draw from artists without consent. The justification of this by Quest Portal is that AI-generated content makes games more fun and accessible.
Call Of Cthulhu, Upgraded
Many VTTs make partnerships with TTRPG publishers to capture their player base. In this case, Quest Portal is working with Chaosium to offer a better Call of Cthulhu experience. The platform offers a streamlined experience for Call of Cthulhu character sheets. The home page advertises CoC modules made for Quest Portal. Effort has clearly been made to make this the easiest platform for running online CoC.
The biggest unique offering Quest Portal has for Call of Cthulhu is the Assistant. The Assistant is an AI with access to Call of Cthulhu's official rule books and content. It is intended for use by both players and Keepers. It can teach rules, give details on monsters, and help develop stories. The Assistant is available to subscribers of Quest Portal's Pro program. To unlock the knowledge specific to Call of Cthulhu, you need a subscription to Chaosium Core as well which will also give you access to several digital Chaosium game rulebooks.
That’s the basics of what you need to know about Quest Portal. If you’re a GM that prioritizes ambiance and scene-setting over tactical battlemaps, this might be the VTT for you. The tools for setting scenes are extremely easy to use and quick to set up. If you have an issue with AI-generated content or want technical qualities like dynamic lighting, you’re better off sticking with your usual. Overall, Quest Portal has promise as a VTT for mobile users, non-D&D groups, and casual players.