Sunday, January 26, 2014

Roll20 Re-Take

So Douglas Cole and +Nathan Joy and I played around on Roll20, all as co-GMs, to try out some GURPS combat on it (some new rules, lots of old rules, and a new-to-some interface.) Last time we did it, Doug I just banged our heads against Roll20 for a while, This time, we could apply what we knew and what we learned from the various tutorials we watched.

Doug also did his homework and made up a battlefield, a (albeit enclosed) featureless plain this time, but next time I think we can add poor terrain at least in spots.

Still there are things we need to work on.

Some annoyances/to-do things

- it's annoying that the edit box brings up stats in a different order than they appear on the tokens themselves.

- it would be nice if you could change how tokens move, In GURPS, figurs automatically face the hex

- we have to figure out how to make a prone guy occupy more than one hex. People go prone in GURPS, and they

- multiple figures in a hex sucks right now. You just get a literal pile-up, and have to cycle through characters to find out who is there. It would be nice to get a partial overlap in some way so you can get through characters more easily. In a grappling fight, or in a very close melee, you end up worse off than you would with minis or just imagination or notes on paper. Annoying.

- we need to figure out statuses better. They could be very useful for "grappled" or "stunned" or "used AOA."

- I need to start uploading maps, filling out NPC stats, etc. for my own practice if I'm ever going to run my game online.

We took forever on each turn, either because of interface issues or working out rules questions. But that was the whole point - it was practice for Roll20 and checking if possibly-wonky ideas we have for rules approaches actually work according to the stuff we wrote down.

It was a lot of fun, but the lack of native assumptions for GURPS (shared use of a hex, facing changes, all rolls are d6 based so it's weird to put "6" after die roll requests) makes it a little less than optimal. More work to do! Not a bad way to celebrate the release of D&D 40 years ago.


  1. Hehe, glad you guys are persevering :)

    1) Not sure what you mean about start ordering but you re-arrange the stats in the Attributes section by editing the sheet then drag & dropping the "3 horizontal lines" on the right of the attribute.

    2) Facing will probably come with practice, once you guys get used to manipulating the interface. Some API might be able to handle it automatically but requires some heavy coding and mentor status....Maybe ask around if it's even possible in the API forums?

    3) For that I'd suggest tokens size taking only 1/2 of an hex, then using ALT key while moving tokens (removes the magnetism to hexes) in the same hex. That way, you can put both (and more) in the same location, without having them piling up.

    4) Make a handout available to everyone and list every possible color scheme, color marker, and icon, assigning them to an effect. That way, with some practice, you guys will be able to very quickly assign status and recognize them. I think all campaigns have that issue at first.

    5) For sheets, I'd HIGHLY suggest making one TEMPLATE_SHEET that would work for both PCs and NPCs. Make sure it has all you could ever need for macros and whatnot. Once done, only "duplicate" this one for new characters. That way, you'll have a complete consistency across the board and macros will work for everything, all the time. Takes some time at first, but once done, it's a smooth ride :)

    6) Macros are the way to go really. Even GURPS, with a little work, can be smooth sailing I think through roll20. Ask in the forums there if you need, some people are really good at using the API and Macroing system.

    1. Thanks for the reply, first off.

      1) It displays red/green/blue on the token when you click on it, but green/blue/red when you fill them out top to bottom on the details of the character. Annoying, and made me re-do stats more than once.

      2) Can non-mentors even use the APIs?

      2) Can non-mentors use APIs?

      3) Small tokens is an idea, but then it's rough scaling multi-hex guys like horses - they should canonically take up a 2 x 1 area, so making them half size might mean they snap to a single hex, which is a problem.

      4) Doug and I have been talking about this - putting some effort into standardized status for effects in GURPS.

      5) I'll look into that.

      6) see #2 on non-mentors. I'd throw Roll20 a few bucks a year for a sub, but not a few bucks a month. The way I play, that's 1-2 sessions a month tops, and 1 or 2 of those sessions I'm not a GM.

      Roll20 isn't built for GURPS, and it shows - but it does work okay. It would be nice if there was official SJG-Roll20 cooperation on something like a standard GURPS 4e interface.

    2. API is only mentor, was just mentioning it really. Remember that only the GM needs to be mentor status. What can be done sometimes is share the price among all players, each gifting a month in turn or something. By no means necessary however to be mentor or use APIs, I've been playing for months without anything, only recently became supporter because..well..I really like what they've done :)

      As for GURPS and roll20, I totally agree with you on that, it's NOT built for GURPS whatsoever. All you can do is try to compromise the two together I think.
      Personally I'm ready to do that because it's the only way to play RPGs for me and it cannot compare with GURPS on a real table really because at the end of the day, it's just a generic TTRPG interface :)

    3. Yeah. $100 a year is a lot, even split up - and I play online for convenience and face to face much more often. Even $50/year is pretty steep. They need a tiny medium for a "I want to throw you guys some money, but not 2 hardbacks worth" level. I'm all for spending money for finished work, and I'm too busy and too poor to spend money for the privilege of assembling other people's finished work into a workable interface to make my life "easier." ;)

      So I'll stick with free for now. If I end up playing a lot on Roll20 and getting more serious, we can talk money then. :D

  2. Using cards for statuses and conditions works really well. The cards can have the modifiers right on them so when players look at their hand they can quickly see them. I'm hoping that sometime soon the API possibilities will be expanded for card decks. I'm envisioning placing a condition card in a player's hand and it automatically adjusting their character sheet until the card is removed.

    1. It might take mentorship and the API for that - I noticed tracking statuses tied to HP as a thing there.

  3. I really like Roll20 for d20 games and for Fudge, but I am not sure it would be my "go to" VTT for GURPS (except for the fact that you can use for free..."free" covers a multitude of sins). Have you used Fantasy Grounds 2? The upside is that the GURPS rules are built in. It has two big downsides: The first is that it is not free and not cheap. The second is that the GM's computer is the host and that created enough problems for us that we ended up using Roll20. I am not sure what we will do when we circle around back to GURPS (maybe later this year).


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