With the ‘D&D Monster Manual,’ ‘Roll20’ Is Now a Menagerie of Horrific Beasts

Monster Manual Banner Roll20

Roll20 has just become even more awesome by putting the D&D 5e Monster Manual’s multitude of dangerous beasts on the Roll20 Marketplace. The release includes a compendium where users will be able to view Monster Manual entries comprised of the beautiful artwork, the monster lore, as well as their stats. The compendium will also allow the DM to drop fully-statted tokens right into their Roll20 game. The stats and monster information will be available to the DM right from the token on the map. Start buffing the party, because the monsters will be released to the public February 7, 2017!

Beholder from Monster Manual on Roll20
‘D&D’s’ iconic beholder token has been added to the map surface. Both the ‘Monster Manual’ entry and stat blocks are available in ‘Roll20.’ Image from ‘Roll20.’

Roll20 is an industry leading web and tablet based virtual-tabletop application allowing geographically disperse tabletop gamers to play together. The software is so feature-rich that I actually use it for my face-to-face tabletop gaming to display maps and other digital assets that I project-top down on our gaming table. The maps are projected so that the map is composed of real world 1-inch squares and I primarily use regular 28mm miniatures placed on the map. This allows me to use the professionally drawn maps, rather than my chicken-scratch dry-erase renderings.

Roll20 includes fog-of-war and dynamic lighting so I only reveal to the players what they see when the character sees it. By moving around a torch token that signifies their light source, and has been assigned a light radius, Roll20 depicts only what they would see from their current perspective and with the current light source. In a virtual game, each player would see only what they could see from where their specific character is standing and with the light they have available. This adds a whole new depth to the game as some players see encounters from entirely different perspectives, and areas of shadow become evident for use in concealment. Suddenly the rogue becomes much more interesting!

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The inclusion of all available creatures from the D&D Monster Manual is definitely a boon for quickly adding foes to the table, either in the fully virtual game, or in face-to-face style games, allowing some game pieces to be real world figures and some virtual tokens added directly on the map.

Since Roll20 signed a licensing deal with Wizards of the Coast in July 2016, they have included some great content, including Volo’s Guide to Monstersthe first time they introduced fully-statted monster icons, and  Storm King’s Thunder adventure module. Each of these marketplace items run $49.95. Not cheap, but each package contains the entire book or module, and if you intend to use Roll20 as your virtual tabletop, this is a small fee to save you from having to import all digital assets including maps with various layers such as dynamic lighting boundaries. This could save a DM hours of prep-work.

Roll20 is one of my must have digital tools for roleplaying. If you’re a D&D 5e dungeon master, their content could make your gaming prep a breeze!

Disclosure: ‘Roll20’ provided the ‘D&D 5e Monster Manual’ for review. I pay for a subscription to ‘Roll 20.’

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