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Fantasy Grounds 2 and BRP


Baron

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Hi,

I just learned that Fantasy Grounds 2 has add-ons for BRP and Call of Cthulhu, as well as something fan-based for Classic Traveller, and another fan-based project underway for Chaosium RQ2. Alephtar has got some BRP products for FG2. Since those are all games I love, and my gaming buds to their scattered cities have gone, I thought this might be a great purchase for me!

However, given my scant ability to modify software to fit my personal needs, I thought I'd post here and see if anyone has done any modifications to FG2 that they might be willing to share. Adventures, rules sets or modifications, even visual aids. If there's enough out there, and I can struggle my way through the learning curve, then I hope to be running my favorite games online someday!

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This is a good place to start: http://oberoten.dyndns.org/fgwiki/index.php/Anatomy_of_a_Ruleset. The BRP ruleset itself comes with a customization guide that's very good. You might also have a look at the Library section of the FG2 website. Although best bet is to open a BRP module (change .mod to .zip and extract) and see how it's done.

I haven't ever tried what it is showing at this link, and to be honest IMHO your best best would be to buy/use the BRP ruleset from Chaosium. It will be much easier to make mods to that ruleset.

Having said that, the way to get into using FG is to play a game with someone else GMing the game. It doesn't really matter what ruleset they are using. To play in a game only the GM needs to own the ruleset. The necessary files will be downloaded to your computer. I learned how to use FG by playing in a BRP scenario for a number of sessions. The GM then changed the game to Savage Worlds. The GM owned a Ultimate version of the license so we didn't have to buy the program. It didn't take too many sessions before we ( Blackfoot and I) bought into the program ( you might know me as Bostoff from Gringles ). We have been using it on a weekly basis ever since.

The way I learned how the program works is by watching the videos located here: http://www.fantasygrounds.com/downloads/

Resources:

Top down tokens - http://www.immortalnights.com/tokensite/tokenpacks.html

Map making web site: http://pyromancers.com/dungeon-painter-online/

Free maps: http://fantasticmaps.wordpress.com/free-stuff/

http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=27578

http://rpgmapshare.com/index.php?q=gallery&g2_itemId=19

I don't really have any FG adventures that I could post. I have mainly been using pdfs that I cut and paste into FG.

If you are interested maybe we could set up a time for a demo ( I'm in your time zone ). Possibly using the free demo, or one of the free BRP adventures from Alephtar, a short random encounter, or possibly the Star Wars scenarios posted on this site. I have a GM version of FG2, so either you need to buy a lite copy of FG2 or we could try a DnD 3.5 demo.

I use  fantasygrounds.com

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Hi Bostoff, thanks for the reply.

I remember when you and Blackfoot were giving this a whirl. Things are a little less hectic for me right now, and I'd like to take the opportunity to give this a shot. (I'm also considering Maptools, which looks very simple but doesn't have rules packs.) If you'd be willing to demo as a GM for me, I'd be very grateful. If you don't mind, I'd like to just run the demo version for now. We don't have to actually play a scenario, just work through the features as a demo, as if we were playing. So 3.5 would be adequate for that, if you're in agreement. Then at some point after, if it seems worthwhile to me to run a VTT that incorporates a rules system, I could step up to a BRP or Cthulhu game and see those features implemented.

Thanks for all the links, I'm sure they'll be helpful.

So let me know what would be a good time for you. Probably a weeknight after 8pm would work for me (not tonight though, it's my wife's bday!).

Thanks again!

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Not to piss in anyone's breakfast, but FG is sluggish overhyped software. I have owned FG for about six years and used it extensively. I own a number of paid add ons, including the BRP and CoC mods. IME, FG causes a ton of headaches and makes online games (which are already slower paced than in person ones) grind to a near halt. I have had a lot more luck with Skype/G+ and a shared whiteboard than FG.

121/420

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Not to piss in anyone's breakfast, but FG is sluggish overhyped software. I have owned FG for about six years and used it extensively. I own a number of paid add ons, including the BRP and CoC mods. IME, FG causes a ton of headaches and makes online games (which are already slower paced than in person ones) grind to a near halt. I have had a lot more luck with Skype/G+ and a shared whiteboard than FG.

I know what Skype is, but what is G+? And where do I get a shared whiteboard?

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Not to piss in anyone's breakfast, but FG is sluggish overhyped software. I have owned FG for about six years and used it extensively. I own a number of paid add ons, including the BRP and CoC mods. IME, FG causes a ton of headaches and makes online games (which are already slower paced than in person ones) grind to a near halt. I have had a lot more luck with Skype/G+ and a shared whiteboard than FG.

Sounds like you had some troubles there, but that's not been my experience...like, at all. :) I often run it on my netbook to boot. We pretty much hit the ground running and haven't looked back. What kinds of troubles did you have exactly? I think configuring your home network can be a challenge for some, but tht only time games have bogged down for us has been when the GM frankly didn't do his prep.

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Not to piss in anyone's breakfast, but FG is sluggish overhyped software. I have owned FG for about six years and used it extensively. I own a number of paid add ons, including the BRP and CoC mods. IME, FG causes a ton of headaches and makes online games (which are already slower paced than in person ones) grind to a near halt. I have had a lot more luck with Skype/G+ and a shared whiteboard than FG.

I'm not here to hype or over hype Fantasy Grounds. I'm surprised that if the program has been that much of a headache that you have stuck with it and used it extensively for 6 years. I would have given up on it. I have come from playing mostly Play by post (Pbp) to using FG. You can't get any slower that Pbp ! We also use Skype but mainly for OOC stuff. The IC stuff we still type away. It is usually slower than face to face but with some of the improvements that have been made for the 3.5/4e Dnd rulesets combat record keeping can speed things up. When we have bogged down it is usually tech glitches from Skype or user internet connection issues.

Like any type of rp gaming everyone has a different style. Some people prefer to use a VOIP program to speak the IC actions and OOC stuff, just as you would if you were sitting around a table with your friends. Some people prefer to never use a VOIP and want to type in everything. You can do either or some combination of the two. We tend to like to type the IC stuff, just like on a Pbp game. The difference is you get immediate responses, you can see the map and your tokens, you have virtual dice you can roll, and your character sheet is right there on the screen.

I tend to GM games right now and use the Pathfinder ruleset. This ruleset has seen some big improvements recently, and lots of automation has been added. I haven't used BRP extensively, so hopefully the problems that have plagued your group aren't related to that ruleset.

I'd be interested to hear what the actual specific problems were that ground the games to a halt. If those things were happening to us, we would have quit using it right away.

Edited by wbcreighton
clarifications

I use  fantasygrounds.com

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Hi Bostoff, thanks for the reply.

I'd like to take the opportunity to give this a shot. (I'm also considering Maptools, which looks very simple but doesn't have rules packs.) If you'd be willing to demo as a GM for me, I'd be very grateful. If you don't mind, I'd like to just run the demo version for now. We don't have to actually play a scenario, just work through the features as a demo, as if we were playing. So 3.5 would be adequate for that, if you're in agreement.

So let me know what would be a good time for you. Probably a weeknight after 8pm would work for me (not tonight though, it's my wife's bday!).

Thanks again!

Sure that sounds like a plan. I can usually get free of the kids sometime after 8:30 pm on week nights as well. I'll have to try the demo to see how exactly it is set up to work. I know they made changes to it recently to make it easier to use. I'll let you know when I have a free night to give it a whirl.

I use  fantasygrounds.com

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OK, and opinions on Maptools? I ran it for about an hour and had a blast, all without reading any documentation or watching tutorials. Seems pretty user-friendly so far, but obviously doesn't do all the rules-set stuff that FG2 does.

I did play around with it early on and it did feel intuitive for the most part. I'm not a programmer so the thought of trying to get it into shape to play a rule system that I wanted just didn't really make sense for me. It is very good at being a map centric tool, focussing on fog of war and token movement etc.

One advantage that users really focus on it that it is free. I've seen discussions about how the program is free and that cost should be the only consideration. Well the problem from my standpoint is that free programs tend to have very little support, or sporadic at best. It is a very handy program that does what it specializes in very well. I used it to create the maps for the Apple Lane side trek adventure. If I used maptools for online gaming, I would want to use something to keep track of combat and for displaying the chat, and something for dice rolls. Because I can get all of those things with FG, that is what I use. Other people might have ideas of what you could use with maptools to make a functional online game.

I use  fantasygrounds.com

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Sounds like you had some troubles there, but that's not been my experience...like, at all. :) I often run it on my netbook to boot. We pretty much hit the ground running and haven't looked back. What kinds of troubles did you have exactly? I think configuring your home network can be a challenge for some, but tht only time games have bogged down for us has been when the GM frankly didn't do his prep.

I guess my main gripe is that it doesn't frontload all of the stuff the GM has in their toolkit to the players behind the scenes. Granted, the last time I used the software was six months ago, so there could have been some "groundbreaking" development since then, but I doubt it. In the years I used the software, it was always a slog whenever the GM had a large map to present. This is compounded when you use the Fog of War feature. Granted, I don't use maps often in BRP, so that's not a huge issue. Generally, any time the GM needs to share files that they have not shared at the beginning of the session, it becomes a "wait for it" moment(s).

The rest of the laundry list, in no particular order:

I cannot begin to estimate the number of times that save data has been lost when there is an active session.

Modifying the ruleset via the xml files for houserules is easy _if you only want to play with yourself_. Out of the six or seven times we attempted to pull this off, it only worked correctly twice, and one of those times it only worked for part of a session. I game with two guys who are professional coders, so this should be a non-issue.

It would be nice to have the option (kind of related to the previous gripe) to turn much or all of the tool set off as a GM. Most times I just want like three buttons/windows, not fourteen. I have paper and a pen and a hand for notes. Also, the fact that (at least between 06 and mid 11) the different windows become messy quickly is really an unnecessary complication when you just need x on the fly (although I will say that with two monitors it isn't an issue).

None of the 20+ people I have gamed with using this software over the years has figured out how to save the quick launch shortcuts between sessions, but many have complained. I would love an answer, haven't ever gotten it on the forums. Our elegant solution has been to save a text file and re-paste the code to the launch bar each session.

The bottom line answer really for me is that changes to the interface that are global take a long time to implement across all the machines. This is related to my first complaint, but it is different. Example: one guy moves mini or draws something on the board. Sometimes this happens instantly for everyone logged in. Most of the time, we wait while one or more folks say "Nope, nothing".

I cannot get it to run on Linux. I know this is possible, but I haven't been able to do it.

All that aside, it is a good piece of software. I wouldn't have dumped nearly as much money into it as I have over the years if I didn't think so. The CoC and BRP rulesets are the best implementations of the software I have seen, and I have played twelve or thirteen different rulesets using FG over the years. It all just seems to me like a giant Band-Aid, meaning even with the perceived issues in the software, they just keep cranking stuff out that isn't really an improvement. Look back to when the current ownership took over the company. There were hints that a new version would come out that addressed the current iteration's shortcomings and people grabbed their torches and shovels because they didn't want to pay for a new subscription. I'm guessing that in the next year or three we will get a browser based piece of software that is modular and does everything FG does for less money and hassle.

121/420

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Not to piss in anyone's breakfast, but FG is sluggish overhyped software. I have owned FG for about six years and used it extensively. I own a number of paid add ons, including the BRP and CoC mods. IME, FG causes a ton of headaches and makes online games (which are already slower paced than in person ones) grind to a near halt. I have had a lot more luck with Skype/G+ and a shared whiteboard than FG.

Nobody says that software "X" must appeal to all people. I have heard the words "overhyped" used by some to describe several bits of software that are objects of worship for others. FGII is slightly slower than MapTools, and produces more network trouble than MapTools or ScreenMonkey or Google Docs. It is in no way "sluggish", though.

However, there are ways of employing Fantasy Grounds that are non-replicable with MapTools or Google+. It is whether you use those kinds of features that determines whether you will appreciate it or prefer the other tools.

For a publisher, on the contrary, there is no choice whatsoever. At the moment, no other tool provides ANY form of support for publishing. This means that if you want a pre-made adventure to run, you have only one choice.

Proud member of the Evil CompetitionTM

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I guess my main gripe is that it doesn't frontload all of the stuff the GM has in their toolkit to the players behind the scenes. Granted, the last time I used the software was six months ago, so there could have been some "groundbreaking" development since then, but I doubt it.

Well, in fact this is exactly what DID happen. You should try the latest rulesets, they work much better, and Smiteworks is trying to keep all rulesets under maintenance and up to date with the last modifications. Most features are implemented in rulesets, not in the core engine, so it takes time to "spread" the positive improvements to all rulesets, and of course 4e and Pathfinder are the first ones to get the "boon".

In the years I used the software, it was always a slog whenever the GM had a large map to present.

The problem is that maps you DL from rpgmapshare and such are BIG - usually some megabytes. We used to play with MapTools with the unaltered maps of Glorantha DLed from the Issaries web site, and we had the same trouble when we tried to share the entire Lunar Empire map. Last time I used an "on the fly" map I DLed from rpgmapshare.org while playing, I had the same problem: everyone had to wait for 10-15 minutes. However, there is no need to use maps larger than 200k. I have successfully kept all tactical maps of the supplement that is coming out this month under the 160k threshold, even if they are 1600x600 or 800x600, and all global maps under 60k. This means a compression factor of 10:1 if compared with the typical map you get on the internet. Like it happens with PDFs, if you pre-process the image, it will be much smaller

So the bottom line is: yes, it can be slow, but only if the mapmaker did not do his homework. If you use a map that comes with a supplement, and the supplement is well designed, you should have no trouble.

And for the record: I have run intensively both MapTools and Fantasy Grounds with a 3G, or even GPRS connection (that is, using a cellphone to connect to the internet), and it worked.

I cannot begin to estimate the number of times that save data has been lost when there is an active session.

Never happened to me in 2 years. Not even on UMTS.

Modifying the ruleset via the xml files for houserules is easy _if you only want to play with yourself_. Out of the six or seven times we attempted to pull this off, it only worked correctly twice, and one of those times it only worked for part of a session. I game with two guys who are professional coders, so this should be a non-issue.

Like all things "programatical", this should be left to professional activity only. And I do not mean just professional people: even a professional programmer needs some time and patience to debug and test the code he writes. You can do it amateurishly or in your spare time, but this will NOT require less time. So you will end up wasting more time on coding and testing that you actually spend gaming, or trying to do it half an hour before the session and - surprise! - it does not work, or worse it works erratically and corrupts the game data. Another issue that is best left to dedicated publishers / maintenance.

I'm guessing that in the next year or three we will get a browser based piece of software that is modular and does everything FG does for less money and hassle.

Infrno is something we are all looking for. However, I really doubt it will do what you hope. There is a slight little problem: web based software that produces a decent user interface costs a helluva lot of money. Only google and selected companies can develop performant AJAX-based interfaces that work as smoothly as FGII or MapTools do. Other softwares rely on Activex or Silverlight or Java or Flash, so they are not really web based, and you always risk that someone wakes up in the morning and decides "I don't wanna no stinking Flash player on my tablet" - just to mention something that actually happened.

So _my_ guess is that we will end up sticking to FGII and MapTools.

Proud member of the Evil CompetitionTM

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For the record, I want to be clear and say one more time that I appreciate the software and think it is a nice piece of work. I have stated at least twice in this thread before this post that I think it is great software and I _want_ to use it, but have had more luck just using Skype and a whiteboard.

The news that all of the files on the GM's end frontload to everyone else's machines now is encouraging. I can already hear the groans from my group when I ask them to give it a try again (FG has been where games go to die for us).

I _want_ to like this software and consistently use it. I _want_ to have the need to spend the extra money to buy the Alephtar mods coming in the future, considering I have bought all the books except Dragon Lines.

Anyone installed it on Linux in the last six months? The last two times I tried it, I was not successful.

121/420

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I guess my main gripe is that it doesn't frontload all of the stuff the GM has in their toolkit to the players behind the scenes.

In the years I used the software, it was always a slog whenever the GM had a large map to present. This is compounded when you use the Fog of War feature. Granted, I don't use maps often in BRP, so that's not a huge issue.

I haven't really experienced a problem with this so far. I mainly do screenshots of maps from the adventure pdf so that the maps aren't too big. I know you can set images to pre-load when the players log on, but I usually don't do this. Not sure if that is something that makes much of a difference.

I cannot begin to estimate the number of times that save data has been lost when there is an active session
.

Happy to say I haven't experienced this yet. Fingers crossed.

Modifying the ruleset via the xml files for houserules is easy _if you only want to play with yourself_.

I haven't tried this since I don't have the time or knowledge. A friend is working on a RQ2 ruleset and has put in a lot of hours. Still waiting for it with fingers crossed.

It would be nice to have the option (kind of related to the previous gripe) to turn much or all of the tool set off as a GM. Most times I just want like three buttons/windows, not fourteen. (although I will say that with two monitors it isn't an issue).

I think that the newest programmer to join their team has done some really great improvements, and he has a wishlist of features he is hoping to implement. Never hurts to drop him some suggestions on the forum. Moon_wizard I believe is very responsive.

None of the 20+ people I have gamed with using this software over the years has figured out how to save the quick launch shortcuts between sessions, but many have complained. I would love an answer, haven't ever gotten it on the forums. Our elegant solution has been to save a text file and re-paste the code to the launch bar each session.

Do you mean the short cut keys across the bottom of the FG2 screen or a different feature.

I cannot get it to run on Linux. I know this is possible, but I haven't been able to do it.

I have no clue, and I think the only support for this will be from others users of FG.

All that aside, it is a good piece of software. I wouldn't have dumped nearly as much money into it as I have over the years if I didn't think so.

That is good to hear. I think the changes to the program have been good. Hopefully they will improve your experience. I have been running the program on a relatively new laptop and noticed increased performance since I made the change. I'm guessing the amount of RAM and the processor speed can make a big difference if you are GMing games.

I use  fantasygrounds.com

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We started using Maptools, which is a solid piece of work for free software (or paid software for that matter). Although we use FG now, I still visit the Maptool community often and use TokenTool almost exclusively to whip up FG tokens. It's a totally viable option, especially for the cash-strapped group. We did an intro BRP Middle Earth scenario, using the map primarily as a handout rather than a tactical mechanism, and relied heavily on the chat tool.

There are some great videos demonstrating using FG with the D20 ruleset on the FG website. I highly recommend giving them a look -- they do a great job of demonstrating scenario prep techniques, map usage, and the power of linking.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Bostoff, thanks for the reply.

I remember when you and Blackfoot were giving this a whirl. Things are a little less hectic for me right now, and I'd like to take the opportunity to give this a shot. (I'm also considering Maptools, which looks very simple but doesn't have rules packs.) If you'd be willing to demo as a GM for me, I'd be very grateful. If you don't mind, I'd like to just run the demo version for now. We don't have to actually play a scenario, just work through the features as a demo, as if we were playing.

So let me know what would be a good time for you. Probably a weeknight after 8pm would work for me (not tonight though, it's my wife's bday!).

Thanks again!

Hey Baron,

I've run into a difficulty in running a demo game. Apparently because I have the Full license, I would have to uninstall FG, download and install a unregistered version to run a demo for you. Then I would have to uninstall FG again and download it again and put my key in again. I don't think I want to try that especially cince I'n running a campaign and don't want to gimp it up. Sorry about that. It is easier for someone who hasn't actually bought it to demo unless they bought the Ultimate version.

I use  fantasygrounds.com

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WB, I totally understand, no problem.

RMcS, I appreciate your offer, thanks! It would be great if that works out.

I still think that FG is the way to go but, there is a guy who has done some impressive programming for the FG community who is now putting time into an app for Google+ hangouts. It is free and is in beta but it shows some promise...

Tabletop Forge | Google+ Hangout Virtual Tabletop

there is a video of some of the features.

I use  fantasygrounds.com

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