Roll20 Characters is evolving! While Characters, Roll20’s dedicated platform for making tabletop RPG characters, has been around for a while, it’s been getting some upgrades. And as Characters evolves based on user feedback, it’s turning into a mighty tool for your session zero needs. 

So what exactly is Roll20 Characters and how is it different from just using Roll20? Well, Roll20 is best known as a virtual tabletop (VTT). It’s typically used to display battlemaps or character tokens wandering through a dungeon with dynamic lighting. Character sheets can be created inside the VTT and imported into various campaigns, where they appear as a pop-out window. Roll20 Characters, however, breaks character sheets out of that window. When you create in Characters, you do so in a separate, dedicated space. 

Roll20 Characters essentially fills a similar role as D&D Beyond character sheet tool. You can create characters using drag-and-drop options to easily add abilities and items. You can look up the exact text of spells or powers if you own the rulebooks of whatever game you’re playing. Even if you don’t own the rulebooks, you can use Characters to try out free versions of games like Cyberpunk RED, Marvel Multiverse, or Fallout

You can probably already see the potential of Roll20 Characters for session zero. Players can all make character sheets together using the same tools. Since there’s a universal platform being used, the Game Master has an easier task of getting everyone on the same page. While pen-and-paper certainly has that same advantage, it lacks the efficiency of Roll20’s compendium when it comes to looking up character options. 

via: Roll20

As everyone constructs characters together, they can make use of Characters’ shared roll feature. Roll20 Characters gives access to digital dice that connect to the character sheet. If everyone is online and connected to the same group, they can all see each other’s rolls. This is great for things like generating stats or rolling to establish aspects of the world in more narrative games. Everyone sees the roll, there’s no soda cans or snacks in the way to disrupt the dice, and everyone can agree the end result was fair. This carries to remote campaigns, so distance doesn’t have to be a barrier to session zero. 

On the GM side of things, Roll20 Characters solves one of our greatest challenges: getting our table to try new games. With the free basic rules that many games provide on Roll20, you remove the price barrier that stops some players from adopting a new system. And thanks to Characters’ intuitive creation tools, learning new rules is made easy. At least the character creation part. 

Overall, Roll20 Characters is proving to be an ideal tool for session zero. It establishes a safe digital space where the dice are fair and the options are laid out in a straightforward manner. It can be used for remote games in Roll20’s VTT, theater of the mind sessions over Zoom, or in person. It allows groups to try new games or easily access the rulebooks for content they already own in Roll20. Also it’s free! So if you’re looking to start a new campaign and any of that appeals to you, give Roll20 Characters a try. 

Apr 17, 2024
Running the Game

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