So I’m looking for an online service for an ongoing game of Dungeon Crawl Classics I’m hosting but I want your opinion on the services. I’m familiar to varying degrees with roll20, twitch, Fantasy grounds, MS Teams, Zoom, Skype, Dischord.
I realize that sometimes you can’t get everything you want, but as close as possible is fine.
Here are my needs:
-We don’t need a platform to provide maps and rulesets, character sheets or dice rolls. These are people I’ve gamed with in real life for over 20 years. Open to adding some players though. It’ll be 75% Theatre of the Mind.
----However I would like the ability to share the screen to show off images or scans.
-Minimal Cost (We’re going to play 4 hours ever week or two, but regularly) - Though I am open to paying a small cost for ease of use, production quality and features.
-Not public. I think twitch is public only. We just want a private game.
-Features such as changing your virtual background are nice.
If you don’t need maps or character sheets, Zoom and Discord will work well. Zoom is a commercial product, and at least one person will need a paid account for it to be a pleasant experience. Discord is fully usable with free accounts - and includes persistant text channels which is handy.
One of my GMs uses Skype to share screen his PowerPoint for the campaign. He uses it to keep track of everything story-wise in the game with an occasional map, scene images, NPCs, and other scene information. He tracks XP, treasures, and quest mechanics in Excel.
Sometimes recording the 2-4 hour sessions.
It’s worked very well for years.
For my games, I used Roll20 for a while, but Owlbear.rodeo has been filling our needs well enough.
Java based shared whiteboard which auto-propagates images to all connected players. It was designed with the mindset of simplicity, low learning curve, and easy to use. Has some nifty features:
built in text chat,
customizable macros if you need dice rolling.
a few layers you can put images on for overlap effects.
hit the spacebar when the map has focus to replace your mouse icon with a colored hand visible to everyone with your name pointing at whatever you want to show everyone.
suppports jpg and png images as I recall, and only propagates those two formats.
displays all the images you have placed in the application specific folders in a local sidebar that only you can see (until you place the image on the whiteboard, whereupon it will propagate to everyone connected and it will store it in the matching folder on their machine.
each instance of Gametable contains built in host/client, and since it’s java you can technically run multiple instances on a computer if you want to for some reason.
Everyone will need to open the port on their firewall that it uses, just fyi.
A number of default background colors to choose from.
I absolutely LOVE https://www.owlbear.rodeo/ . It’s free and browser-based. It saves all of my maps and tokens on MY computer so I can transfer a single file to my tablet and I have everything. I make my own tokens in seconds, (Sometimes during play) using Token Stamp 2 - RollAdvantage also free and in a browser, and I can just drag and drop them into Owlbear in 2 seconds. Owlbear is barebones but it has everything I want and it’s super easy to use without needing hours of tutorials. I started using it without using any tutorial, but I found some on YouTube and they are super short concise videos so I checked them out. Using Owlbear Rodeo: Tokens - YouTube Owlbear has fog of war, tokens, and a dice roller. There is zero download for GM or players… you just all use the same link and password and boom… you are playing together. I figure there are other software programs that would be superior after tons of experimenting and learning, but for a GM and players that want to start right away and have a super easy to use tool that requires no download and virtually no instruction… I don’t think Owlbear rodeo can be beat in that regard in my experience. Good luck!