Designed to work with most any roleplaying game, Roll20 is primarily intended to allow geographically disperse players to get together online for all of their hack-n-slash, roleplaying fun. Each player logs in via the web on computer or tablet app and can see and interact with the shared maps and images as well as roll virtual dice, have in-game chats, play music, and organize their play. Roll20 even provides Google Hangouts functionality for video chat.
The launch begins with the release of Roll20’s first licensed module with Wizards of the Coast, Lost Mine of Phandelver. The module includes pregenerated characters, image handouts, maps, and tokens for use in the game. The module is available on Roll20 for $19.99.
I have used Roll20 extensively, but for my in-person gaming. I always found it sad that the dungeon master gets to see expertly drawn maps in their material, but then has to provide the players a dry-eraser-chicken-scratched representation. Using Roll20 and a projector displaying on our actual table, I am able to project the professionally created images for all to see. Instead of virtual tokens to represent characters, I still use real-world miniatures. Roll20 provides fog-of-war to hide what players have not yet seen, but also allows for dynamic-lighting. With proper prepping of the images, I’m able to place a light source on the map and Roll20 only displays what the light reveals. Roll20 was the easiest to use of all the platforms I tried when I was looking for a solution with these features for in-person play.
One of the difficulties in my use of Roll20 is acquiring the images of maps, sizing everything appropriately for the grid, and preparing them for use. Roll20 is doing all this work for us with Lost Mine of Phandelver. From the images below you also see monster stats and other information at the DM’s fingertips. Having all of this provided would be of enormous benefit, allowing the DM to focus on prepping the story rather than the distribution of materials.
In addition to the Lost Mine of Phandelver module, other products will follow, with users able to preorder Wizard’s Storm King’s Thunder July 28 with a September 2016 release.
Roll20 launched via Kickstarter in 2012 and has since brought on over 1.6 million users as a free service. Used both for online and in-person play the program is funded by subscribers who receive advanced gameplay features such as dynamic lighting.
Whether you’re playing in-person like I do or with players spread across the world, Roll20’s licensing deal with WOTC will provide you easy access to pre-prepped modules on this stunning virtual tabletop. Again, Roll20’s basic features are free, so, there’s no cost to try it out!