It feels like a lot has happened, both in my personal life and in the world, since my last post a little over a year ago. As I noted I’m now living in another country and at the moment in person tabletop is not an option here. Now that we’re settled and over the initial transition I’ve been looking into virtual tabletop as a way to continue some friendships and maintain the hobby.
In the past, I used MapTools for virtual tabletop but while this open source option is feature rich on the ‘user friendliness’ scale I’d rank it as hostile. In our last campaign using it – which admittedly was half a decade ago – we struggled with the UI and regularly had major connection issues that ate away session time. Many recurring problem stemmed from MapTools’ reliance on Java.
After doing some research, I decided to go with the new Unity version of Fantasy Grounds. The primary appeal of Fantasy Grounds to me, as compared to it’s main competitor Roll20, is financial. It has a ‘once and done’ payment option while Roll20, at best, allows you to pay by year*. Basically, Fantasy Grounds has a higher upfront cost in exchange for no ongoing cost. Fantasy Grounds also allows Game Masters to host free players – a critical feature – though there’s incentive for players in multiple campaigns to pick up a Standard license. It’s also my impression that Fantasy Grounds has better support for Paizo’s product line and I knew that I’d be running Pathfinder 2e. The new Unity version adds stability, compatibility, and important features (such as line of sight) that were lacking from the dated classic version of Fantasy Grounds.
*It should be noted that Roll20 has a free version but that storage space is extremely limited. It’s not a good option for a Game Master.
I looked into other options such as Astral Tabletop and Tabletop Simulator.. But I kept coming back to Maptools, Roll20, and Fantasy Grounds.
I’m assembling a small group now to play a Pathfinder Society adventure – Origin of the Open Road – and then we’ll get into a new homebrew campaign. I’ll begin sharing material on these but, unfortunately, I won’t resume painting miniatures anytime soon. I left my miniatures in storage with family in the United States.