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Online Play and Fantasy Grounds


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#1 Michael Hopcroft

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 06:21 AM

Last year I ran a couple of hangout games using Roll20 in other systems. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes there were issues. I'd like to take part in an online BRP game sometime, possibly as the GM. That's true for a lot of systems, actually -- between not having money to travel and not having good transportation for a local game it's starting to develop some appeal.

Now there's an official "set" for BRP available for Fantasy grounds, one of the leading virtual tabletops. The problem is the expense; the Full GM license for FGII and the BRP module will set me back almost $60 if I get them both at the same time. I don't know that I can make that investment unless there's a reasonably certainty I'd get to use it. By contrast, the monthly fee for Roll20 does not contain any game system material, but does let me use the various play and GM functions. Although I have a learning curve there too.

So how hard is it to learn and use Fantasy Grounds? Is the BRP support any good?

#2 RosenMcStern

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 10:45 AM

Not so hard to learn, but you might encunter network issues. Make sure that you have a publc IP address reachable by clients on your PC before investing in Fantasy Grounds, or prepare to use Hamachi for virtual networking (best solution).

The BRP ruleset is 3 year old and does not benefit of the most recent features. Smiteworks has not disclosed any ETA for an update. You can still play, anyway.

#3 nclarke

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 01:29 PM

I'm currently running a One Ring game using Roll20, no issues. I also playing in a Griffin Mountain game using Roll20, no issues. Both of these use G+ Hangouts for voice and video which doesn't rely on the Roll20 servers which are several orders of magnitude more likely to have issues than Google. I've also played Legend via Skype several times with no issues attributable to their servers.

Most issues with on-line gaming come down to individual problems with local bandwidth due to ISP issues or just crappy connections. I manage about 10-12 Mbps and generally have no issues but mostly keep video turned off unless I actually need to see the person at the other end.

Roll20 did an upgrade of their game features mid December which may have improved things but I don't tend to use their system standalone except for building a campaign and doing macros etc., so I can't say if it's an improvement or not .

#4 Michael Hopcroft

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 11:15 PM

Unfortunately I could not find references to any of the d100 games on the system when I last visited. Rolling dice the right way should work just fine, though. I'm just wondering what other things I will need to track down in the system to run BRP/RQ/D100 adequately.

#5 RosenMcStern

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:55 PM

Roll20 does not track anything natively but three unnamed variables per token, die rolls and map positioning.

If your campaign does not revolve around mapping, you might consider using simply Skype/Hangouts and http://dicelog.com/dice for die rolls. Dicelog's dice chat is way more friendly than Roll20's. I have ran 3 sessons of Call of Catthulhu with this combination and it worked. You may object that this forces you to use separate character sheets in excel or pdf format, but so does roll20, too.

#6 wbcreighton

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 11:13 PM

Now there's an official "set" for BRP available for Fantasy grounds, one of the leading virtual tabletops. The problem is the expense; the Full GM license for FGII and the BRP module will set me back almost $60 if I get them both at the same time. I don't know that I can make that investment unless there's a reasonably certainty I'd get to use it. By contrast, the monthly fee for Roll20 does not contain any game system material, but does let me use the various play and GM functions. Although I have a learning curve there too.

So how hard is it to learn and use Fantasy Grounds? Is the BRP support any good?


It isn't hard to learn Fantasy Grounds. There is more to learn if you are going to GM. I have been using it to GM a PF campaign for a couple of years now and it works great. The people on the forums for FG are super helpful and there are lots of videos to watch to learn how to use it. If you have a question just ask on the forum and you will get lots of feedback.

The issue of the BRP ruleset is a bit trickier to answer. The BRP ruleset was written a few years ago by a freelance community member. FG has undergone a number of upgrades ( all of them free ) but the BRP ruleset author is not active anymore and has not updated it. I own the BRP ruleset but haven't been using it ( due to the PF game). As far as I know it still works fine, but does not include as many of the advanced features that PF, 3.5, Savage Worlds, and 4th include. There is nothing concrete about a ruleset upgrade.

Now that FG3 has been released there has been discussion about someone either updating or creating a new d100 ruleset. The new CORE layered ruleset architecture should help with keeping the ruleset up to date.

I would consider the CoC ruleset since I believe it is being updated by Smiteworks and it might give you a base for d100. Just depends on what BRP options you want to use. Cruise around the FG forums for more info.

The best way to learn FG is to just play around with it. You can do this by downloading the program and electing to use the unregistered version. Watch some videos, then try to do what it shows in the video. Even better, try to join in a game that is seeking players or ask to lurk. The more you use it the better you will understand it. I'm still learning about new features or things I didn't know I could do.

I think it is the best VTT for GMs due to its record keeping ability. Some GMs use it to record keep for pbp or live games too.
FG Con 4 Virtual RPG Convention
Thursday May 8 - Sunday May 11 2014
More info here: http://www.fg-con.com/

#7 wbcreighton

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 11:17 PM

Of course if you join in FG Con 4 coming up in May, you'll get to play using the most popular rulesets. I am planning to run a BRP game so it better still be working ;-)

See my signature for info and check the forums too.
FG Con 4 Virtual RPG Convention
Thursday May 8 - Sunday May 11 2014
More info here: http://www.fg-con.com/

#8 Michael Hopcroft

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 01:48 AM

Of course if you join in FG Con 4 coming up in May, you'll get to play using the most popular rulesets. I am planning to run a BRP game so it better still be working ;-) o.


I would love to take part in FG Con. The last virtual convention I went to was a blast. We were mainly playing and socializing on Hangouts, so I'm wondering how FG handles the socializing aspects. And whether it supports voice at all.

I downloaded the demo just now. It'll probably be at least a couple of days before I can purchase my license (probably the Full license so I can GM -- the Ultimate sounds nice but is a bit spendy for me at the moment).

There are several games I am interested in, the majority opf which do not show up on the list of games FG supports. And I'm wondering how many of the rulesets that are listed on the site, either from fans or officially, work with the newest edition (apparently the program just completed a major upgrade cycle). I have ideas on what I would like to see but no ideas whatsoever on how to make them real. I regret my age -- if I were younger I would probably have been taught enough programming in high school and college that I could have a go at building a ruleset. As it is I'll probably be as completely lost at sea as I would be adapting a template set for Hero Lab (which supports CoC but not really the full scope of BRP).

#9 RosenMcStern

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 11:38 AM

Unfortunately the only game I am currently running online on FG is in Italian (and it isn't BRP it is 13th Age) so I doubt it would provide a good experience for you. But I have tried the new version and it is really really good. Cannot wait for Moon Wizard & co to upgrade all the rulesets beyond PF and 4e, which are the most widely used ones.

Remember that the full license allows you to GM only for those with a Lite license, so you are not actually saving anything - you are just spreading the cost among the entire group. Unless you already have a group, you might be better off by experimenting with the demo license to see whether the program suits your tastes. You can tinker with several versions of D&D for free, even with the demo version.

Fantasy Grounds does not provide support for voice or video - for one very simple reason: there are better dedicated programs for that. You can run Skype, Ventrilo, Teamspeak or Google Hangouts together with it at no cost. Had FG an integrated voice chat, you would be stuck with that choice, even if it turned out to have issues with your connection.

Edited by RosenMcStern, 13 February 2014 - 11:40 AM.


#10 wbcreighton

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 08:15 PM

I would love to take part in FG Con. The last virtual convention I went to was a blast. We were mainly playing and socializing on Hangouts, so I'm wondering how FG handles the socializing aspects. And whether it supports voice at all.

I downloaded the demo just now. It'll probably be at least a couple of days before I can purchase my license (probably the Full license so I can GM -- the Ultimate sounds nice but is a bit spendy for me at the moment).


Well we have run 3 online conventions and we encourage the participants to use the FG Communities Teamspeak servers. There is a central voip chatroom that you can meet up and discuss gaming with like minded rpgers. I have spent a fair amount of time during the past conventions just chatting with friends and people I hadn't met until then. It was a lot of fun. Usually people hanging out chatting will get recruited for a session that is short of players or a GM decides to run a session because of a request.

One nice thing about the Full license is that you can upgrade to an Ultimate at a later date. They sometimes put the licenses on sale once or twice a year. I only use the Full License, but three of our group are also GMs who have Full Licenses. We bought a bundle of Full and Lites at the same time ( for the discount ).

Our group uses Skype and have had minimal problems with it. I like the ongoing chat record that it keeps.

Edited by wbcreighton, 13 February 2014 - 08:17 PM.
added Skype comment

FG Con 4 Virtual RPG Convention
Thursday May 8 - Sunday May 11 2014
More info here: http://www.fg-con.com/

#11 Baron

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 08:26 PM

Skype, what's the deal on being able to do those conference calls on Skype? I've heard you have to be a paid member. Last year I was on Skype with one person, tried to add another, and got a pop-up message telling me I couldnt without upgrading from free Skype.

#12 wbcreighton

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 09:06 PM

Skype, what's the deal on being able to do those conference calls on Skype? I've heard you have to be a paid member. Last year I was on Skype with one person, tried to add another, and got a pop-up message telling me I couldnt without upgrading from free Skype.


It is definitely free to do a conference call. Not sure about video because we never use video.

I think paid comes in when you are calling phones numbers as opposed to other Skype users.

Edited by wbcreighton, 13 February 2014 - 09:15 PM.
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FG Con 4 Virtual RPG Convention
Thursday May 8 - Sunday May 11 2014
More info here: http://www.fg-con.com/

#13 RosenMcStern

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 09:33 PM

Skype, what's the deal on being able to do those conference calls on Skype? I've heard you have to be a paid member. Last year I was on Skype with one person, tried to add another, and got a pop-up message telling me I couldnt without upgrading from free Skype.


Voice conference is absolutely free. If you got a message to upgrade to paid, it means that you were running a video conference, which is free only between two members. For video conference, use Google, it is free for video,too.

#14 Baron

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 09:39 PM

There you go, then. Thanks gentlemen. I was using video on Skype. I certainly don't need that for gaming.

#15 Michael Hopcroft

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 02:59 AM

Well, I have the BRP ruleset and also Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures (same game, but the second has the pre-52 lineups from DC Comics) plus a few fan-created packages I picked up online. The big thing in the new edition appears to be the do-anything-with-a-little-work Core set that comes with FG3 and is intended to be the basis for many extensions for other games.

Thanks to wbcreighton I know that BRP works. I don't have the skill to do any modifications (I mentioned in FG that I wish sometimes I were ten years younger and that better programming coursework had been available to me when I was in high school and college -- the Apple II was the hot new thing when I graduated from high school....). As it is, I'm just hoping I can be a skilled enough end user to make play happen.

#16 nclarke

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 10:49 AM

Michael, the Apple II wasn't easily available when I left the equivalent of High School and I just built my own and then moved on to Commodore PET and Sinclair's various ZX machines before ending up writing and maintaining software for NASA. Don't blame a lack of official courses at school for not being able to write simple code. It's not really any harder than writing an essay just has some rules to follow.

#17 wbcreighton

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 10:48 PM

Michael, the Apple II wasn't easily available when I left the equivalent of High School and I just built my own and then moved on to Commodore PET and Sinclair's various ZX machines before ending up writing and maintaining software for NASA. Don't blame a lack of official courses at school for not being able to write simple code. It's not really any harder than writing an essay just has some rules to follow.


Or it could be reworded as: Don't give up hope you can still learn the programming it will just take some time.
FG Con 4 Virtual RPG Convention
Thursday May 8 - Sunday May 11 2014
More info here: http://www.fg-con.com/

#18 Michael Hopcroft

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 02:52 AM

The Fantasy grounds people hav e a distinct preference for TeamSepeak as their voice program. They even have a dedicated server. In teamSpeak there's the option of the mike turning on every time you raise your voice to a certain voplume, which didn't work too well for me. The alternative is to designate a key on your keyboard that you hold down while you speak.

Choosing F1 as that ket caused all kinds of issues for me. There is an anecdotal story about someone who set aside the spacebar, not quite realizing that one has to do some typing while playing in Fantasy Grounds. The key I have been recommended to try is the right Alt key.

#19 damned

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:31 PM

Hey guys - some familiar names and faces!

FG Con 4 is starting in 9 days time. We have 2 BRP sessions with room for more players plus a lot of other games.

BRP: Star Frontiers, BRP: Firefly/Serenity,
Plus some Pathfinder, GUMSHOE, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Castles&Crusades, Savage Worlds, FATE, Extinction Event Alpha, Numera, Rolemaster, D&D.

Everything is free to play - you can even play on a free/demo license.

BRP: Star Frontiers.
http://www.fg-con.co...-frontiers-brp/

You are a star-rover, one of the lucky few who spend their lives traversing the black void of deep space. Though you often pass long hours aboard cramped, uncomfortable starliners, you spend most of your time exploring mysterious new worlds. On these planets, you will find strange races of intelligent beings, ancient alien cultures, and creatures more deadly than any in the known universe.
‘That’s what the Pan Galactic Corporation’s advertising blip says’ says the old-timer at the spaceport , ‘ but I dunno-space turned out to be cold ,deadly and unforgiving, the planets even more dangerous and I never slept on a starliner couch yet that didn’t give me lumbago’
You smile at him and drop a few credits in the tin cup he holds out before entering the departure lounge.
‘Don’t say I didn’t warn you pal’


and 2 sessions of:
BRP: Firefly/Serenity
http://www.fg-con.co...-what-was-that/

So we got this job, some fùyou chao core worlder said he’d pay us an ungodly sum of money to fly him to a stray moon somewhere near Kalidasa and guard him. He said there ain’t no real risk of someone being there other than maybe pirates, but we’ve dealt with their kind before. The guy paid for our old Dauntless to have radiation plating ‘cos this moon passes close enough to the sun that radiation could be a problem, he’s even got us training in some new type of exo-suit. I’m not quite sure this mission is all on the up and up, I mean it’s a lot of money to throw at us and we ain’t even taken off. It’s the pay of a lifetime though, enough that we all be rich when we’re done. I’ve asked the crew and they’re in on it. So we leave in the mornin’. This’ll be my last log entry until we get there…. whoo, I hope it all works out.
This is Cooper, signing off.






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