Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Roll20 Headaches

I want to like Roll20. But every time I try to do something with it, it's a bit more obstacle than it is a help. Case in point, Doug Cole and I have been working on something. Because we're both solidly in the "test it in actual play" camp, we wanted to give it a try yesterday.

We had about an hour to play. We spend 50+ minutes puttering around before we managed to get a map with a couple of tokens on it, and some terrain. And then not enough time to actually play out even a single roll.

Because so much is restricted to the GM, which in this case was Doug, I couldn't even help out. The lack of a "sandbox" mode where everyone has control is kind of annoying.

I really need to sit down and watch the various how to videos on Roll20. But it's frustrating to need to dedicate time to learning the tool instead of actually using it for play.

I was so hoping to get in a good test session and all we did was learn enough of Roll20 that - crossing our fingers here - that setup next time will be short and leave us time to play.

Anyone have specific suggestions for "How To" videos or posts for Roll20?

Editing Later:

These helped a lot:

Roll20 GM Overview (Updated)

Roll20 Player Overview (Updated) (video)

Roll20 for GURPS (wiki)


  1. The fact that the GM controls a lot really means your GM needs to be on his game. Players can create macros for all their various combat options so they're one click away, and once the GM gives you control of the mini that's yours, if you double click it you can really do some cool stuff (adding auras and other stats and the like). The journal feature is also helpful for rounding out characters. It takes a session or two to get used to, but once you understand it, it makes things a lot easier. Have your GM watch the video they put up for GMs. It's 12 minutes, but super helpful. https://wiki.roll20.net/Getting_Started_GMs Players can check out that video as well to understand what the GM needs to do and/or check out their player specific video. https://wiki.roll20.net/Getting_Started_Players I agree though, the total GM control is restrictive and at times annoying.

  2. Oh and this - https://wiki.roll20.net/GURPS_4th_Edition

  3. Nice to see my wiki entries being mentioned here! I agree with James, you definitely need the GM to get a handle on things before you start trying to use Roll20. Trying to learn as you go (during a session) is not a good way to explore Roll20's capabilities. As GM I usually did a lot of testing before hand and sometimes called up one of my players between sessions to test things with as I was getting used to how stuff works. I usually do this when new features are involved as well.

    1. I'm digging into your wiki entry now - thanks for it.

  4. Quite like roll20 personally. Going onto my 12th session in a weekly campaign as a GM now and something like 16th session as a player in another campaign.Got hooked on macros and the potential of graphical styles early on too then went nuts with it, literally. Did I say I like roll20? Who am I kidding, I love roll20 :)

    If you're interested, we could sort out some date & time to meet in a dummy roll20 campaign and talk things over for some time.

    As a note, a GM can actually promote another player to GM status. Ask him to go on the "Campaign Detail" page, then hover his mouse over the player's images (just above the "Recent Campaign Discussion" bit) then click "Promote to GM".

    Also, while I don't really like the actual GMing style, this guy got some very basic tutorials that might help you out: http://www.tabletopping.net/

    1. Does promoting someone to GM remove the original GM? That is, can GM-duties be shared? That would be ideal

    2. You can put all players as GM this way, no problemo :)

    3. That will help a lot - Doug and I were trying to use it jointly, so giving us both control as "Co GMs" would be great.

    4. I went through the three tutorials listed. That should help us get started.

  5. The session in question, though, was Peter and I just trying to use the mapboard to playtest some rules. We just needed a token and some control of it; we didn't even really need a map!

    Granted, we (meaning me, since I technically was GM) eventually found the art library, but it was really not obvious.

    Personally, I"d probably put the "get me a token" icon on the GM's little taskbar that has the die roller, the ruler, and the cursor on it. Maybe a little miniature looking icon - so it's right there in front of you.

    Anyway, we'll try again next weekend, trying to read through the manuals. I didn't have this issue with MapTool (though apparently that has lots of other stability issues, so maybe no way to win!), but I do like the relatively slick Roll20 interface.

    Definitely will take advantage of the Wiki links, though. Esp the one for GURPS

  6. I'd love to get a gaming ballistic firing squad interview and tutorial on Roll20 for GURPS.

  7. Peter, my friend Greg told me about your blog. It's awesome. Thanks for that. I also wanted to share my own tabletop RPG blog with you, all about building worlds. http://worldbuilderblog.me/


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