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Fantasy Grounds

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Smutly
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Fantasy Grounds

Post by Smutly » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:10 pm

Not sure where to put this, but I guess this is the right spot. This past week I met up with some guys for a week of gaming. We played MtG (drafts), T.I.M.E. Stories, various PC games (L4D2, Demigods, CoH), but also found several evenings to play D&D 5E using Fantasy Grounds.

We had four guys under one roof with networked PCs and one guy (McNutt) who connected remotely. I had already purchased the Ultimate license and the 5E D&D 'bundle' and was able to allow everyone to connect and see the material in order to be able to make characters, etc. Several of the guys ended up buying standard licenses and the Core Class Pack (PHB) so they could access it without having to be connected to my server.

I was the DM and we were going to start with the module Lost Mine of Phandelver. To prep for this, I watched all of the 'official' videos on the interface and played around with FG prior to meeting up with everyone so I at least had a rudimentary idea of how it would work. I even went through a few encounters where I controlled the PCs, made attack rolls, etc. After finding a quick & dirty video on character creation, everyone made 1st level characters and we headed into the adventure.

Long story short, everyone agreed that this virtual table top definitely works for us. There were a few issues having everything to do with our ignorance of FG, but Google searches usually resolved the issue. For example, how do you apply 'Mage Armor' and confirm that FG is applying the proper modifier? I am certain there are other issues that we will need to research, but all-in-all it felt like paper and pen gaming. That unique feeling of creativity and teamwork came through in a big way. We've decided that the platform is viable and we are starting a semi-regular game now.

The one con is the price, however they do offer a subscription service for those wanting to try it out or no interest financing for those who want to spend a lot of money. If anyone has any questions or wants to check it out let me know.
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Redfive » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:31 pm

This looks appealing to me --except as you mentioned for the price. I saw the subscription portion but still not sure.

Have used Roll20 in the past but Fantasy Grounds looks much better. Have you used Roll20 at all and if so can you compare the two?
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Zarathud » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:40 pm

FG has the 5E rules and modules built-in. That makes it a no-brainer except for the cost and finding a regular group.

I've been playing 5E D&D in real life with my sister's friends. Our conceptualization of D&D differs. They want dramatic "personal motivation" moments and will outright refuse to cooperate with party consensus. Last session, the dwarf decided fighting the Yak dudes in their homes wasn't honorable, so he went off by himself to fight a Chimera. Without a fighter, it took the rest of the party twice as long to kill 6 dudes in bed.

My old school solution was to use a bonus action to throw a spare weapon at a recently awakened enemy to "defend himself" moments before I attacked--like the MurderBot most PCs are intended to be against Evil races once given a quest.
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Smutly
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Smutly » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:55 pm

Redfive wrote:This looks appealing to me --except as you mentioned for the price. I saw the subscription portion but still not sure.

Have used Roll20 in the past but Fantasy Grounds looks much better. Have you used Roll20 at all and if so can you compare the two?
I haven't used Roll20, but there are plenty of comparison videos out there. The ones that I watched basically said that Fantasy Grounds is superior given the content available but is definitely more expensive and there are plenty of people who cannot justify the cost. I am in the situation where I have more money than time, and so paying for 5E content is the best thing to do for me and the people that I play with. Fantasy Ground's tag line is "prep less, play more" and that is exactly why we went in that direction.
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Smutly » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:01 pm

Zarathud wrote:Our conceptualization of D&D differs.
This is not uncommon but can be disruptive. If the kind of thing you describe happens a lot then as DM I would have a discussion about the style of play. One goal should be that you are playing together -- as a group. If the 'style of play' means that one PC is going off and doing their own thing too often, then maybe there needs to be a "come to Jesus" meeting or maybe it's not the right game for them. One thing I like about 5E is that they give traditional 'righteous' classes (Paladin) a lot more leeway and they don't have to continuously impose their beliefs on the group's decisions.
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Punisher » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:18 am

Glad it worked out for you!
I had my first game with FG this past Monday with my family. We started the Mines starter game a few weeks ago as purely pen and paper and only got as far as the first goblin ambush. On Monday we got to the town. I think using FG helped mostly because it gave everyone some more visuals. I plan on going through some older laptops and wiping them and just having them to run the demo version to connect to my laptop. I have the ultimate license. Picked it up during the Steam Summer Sale (It's been on my wishlist for a while. I still have to learn my way around the program though.
Couple of things for people to know... If the GM has the ultimate license, the players can connect and play with just the demo version, so if you have a steady GM with a steady group of people you can split the cost of the ultimate license and any core books or modules. These add-ons can be shared with the demo license players, but only during the connection to the ultimate license.
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Redfive » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:53 am

Punisher wrote:Glad it worked out for you!
I had my first game with FG this past Monday with my family. We started the Mines starter game a few weeks ago as purely pen and paper and only got as far as the first goblin ambush. On Monday we got to the town. I think using FG helped mostly because it gave everyone some more visuals. I plan on going through some older laptops and wiping them and just having them to run the demo version to connect to my laptop. I have the ultimate license. Picked it up during the Steam Summer Sale (It's been on my wishlist for a while. I still have to learn my way around the program though.
Couple of things for people to know... If the GM has the ultimate license, the players can connect and play with just the demo version, so if you have a steady GM with a steady group of people you can split the cost of the ultimate license and any core books or modules. These add-ons can be shared with the demo license players, but only during the connection to the ultimate license.
I saw FG during the sale but don't remember--how much did you give for the ultimate license?
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Smutly » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:39 pm

I paid $112 directly through Fantasy Grounds during the same time period. I think it was close to the same on Steam.
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Smutly » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:41 pm

Punisher wrote:Glad it worked out for you!
I had my first game with FG this past Monday with my family. We started the Mines starter game a few weeks ago as purely pen and paper and only got as far as the first goblin ambush. On Monday we got to the town. I think using FG helped mostly because it gave everyone some more visuals. I plan on going through some older laptops and wiping them and just having them to run the demo version to connect to my laptop. I have the ultimate license. Picked it up during the Steam Summer Sale (It's been on my wishlist for a while. I still have to learn my way around the program though.
Couple of things for people to know... If the GM has the ultimate license, the players can connect and play with just the demo version, so if you have a steady GM with a steady group of people you can split the cost of the ultimate license and any core books or modules. These add-ons can be shared with the demo license players, but only during the connection to the ultimate license.
Yeah, it was a big hit. We got through the ambush and they cleared the next area. Looks like they're headed to town next. Should be pretty fun. :-)

FYI, I'm also looking at integrating Syrinscape into our play but it's not my biggest priority. I think it might take it up a notch at pivotal moments during game play.
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by hentzau » Mon Jul 31, 2017 6:36 pm

Smutly wrote:
Punisher wrote:Glad it worked out for you!
I had my first game with FG this past Monday with my family. We started the Mines starter game a few weeks ago as purely pen and paper and only got as far as the first goblin ambush. On Monday we got to the town. I think using FG helped mostly because it gave everyone some more visuals. I plan on going through some older laptops and wiping them and just having them to run the demo version to connect to my laptop. I have the ultimate license. Picked it up during the Steam Summer Sale (It's been on my wishlist for a while. I still have to learn my way around the program though.
Couple of things for people to know... If the GM has the ultimate license, the players can connect and play with just the demo version, so if you have a steady GM with a steady group of people you can split the cost of the ultimate license and any core books or modules. These add-ons can be shared with the demo license players, but only during the connection to the ultimate license.
Yeah, it was a big hit. We got through the ambush and they cleared the next area. Looks like they're headed to town next. Should be pretty fun. :-)

FYI, I'm also looking at integrating Syrinscape into our play but it's not my biggest priority. I think it might take it up a notch at pivotal moments during game play.
I have started using Syrinscape for my games at home, and I quizzed my players about how much the liked it was it a distraction, etc. They all absolutely loved it, and said that the moments when there was no music playing seemed flat to them. So Syrinscape will be continuing. (Used it from an iPad to a Echo Dot sitting in the center of the table. I also added the Spell Book skill to the Dot, so if someone needs to know what a spell does, they just ask and it will recite the specs of the spell back to them.)
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Smutly » Mon Jul 31, 2017 6:41 pm

hentzau wrote:I also added the Spell Book skill to the Dot, so if someone needs to know what a spell does, they just ask and it will recite the specs of the spell back to them.)
Damn, that's cool! Unfortunately, we play remotely so wouldn't be as useful.

Syrinscape remotely works, but there is some set up required. Do you pay for the subscription service or just purchase packages?
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by hentzau » Mon Jul 31, 2017 6:48 pm

Smutly wrote:
hentzau wrote:I also added the Spell Book skill to the Dot, so if someone needs to know what a spell does, they just ask and it will recite the specs of the spell back to them.)
Damn, that's cool! Unfortunately, we play remotely so wouldn't be as useful.

Syrinscape remotely works, but there is some set up required. Do you pay for the subscription service or just purchase packages?
I went with the subscription. They have a TON of soundscapes to use, and that gave me the greatest flexibility.
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Smutly » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:44 pm

FYI, on August 15th Fantasy Grounds is reducing their pricing. The "Core" packs are being reduced from $50 to $30 each.

Price Drop Details on Massive D&D Inventory!
You can still benefit from the 25% discount from the Complete the Set D&D Bundle on current and future releases in addition to these reduced prices.

40% Cheaper (From $49.99 to $29.99 each)
D&D Complete Core Class Pack
D&D Complete Core Monster Pack
D&D Complete Dungeon Master's Guide
D&D Volo's Guide to Monsters
D&D Tales from the Yawning Portal
D&D Sword Coast Adventurers Guide (*)

28% Cheaper (From $34.99 to $24.99 each)
D&D Storm King's Thunder
D&D Curse of Strahd
D&D Out of the Abyss
D&D Princes of the Apocalypse

25% Cheaper (From $19.99 to $14.99 each)
D&D Lost Mine of Phandelver

Pricing Unchanged
SRD Data Modules are still FREE
D&D Basic Rules are still FREE
Individual Class Packs
Individual Monster Packs
D&D Hoard of the Dragon Queen
D&D Rise of Tiamat
D&D Legacy of the Crystal Shard
D&D Scourge of the Sword Coast
D&D Map Pack Volume 1
D&D Token Volume 1
D&D Token Volume 2
D&D Lair Assault - Forge of the Dawn Titan (5E)
D&D Lair Assault - Talon of Umberlee (5E)
D&D Lair Assault - Attack of the Tyrant Claw (5E)
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Punisher » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:47 pm

Yeah.. Got the email on this. I'll probably pick up a few more things when the price change happens..
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Smutly
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Smutly » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:55 pm

Punisher wrote:Yeah.. Got the email on this. I'll probably pick up a few more things when the price change happens..
Yeah, the stuff I want is in the 'unchanged' column. harumph harumph
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Smutly » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:56 pm

I've been DM'ing a party of 4 adventurers since July. We have played maybe 4 or 5 sessions. We use Discord for voice chat and, obviously, Fantasy Grounds. So far everyone is extremely happy and impressed. This virtual table top is working very well for us. :horse:
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Punisher » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:24 pm

Glad to hear it! Only played 2 sessions of the D&D stater campaign so far, but it helps the game along..
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Redfive » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:44 pm

So, now that I've had a campaign(s) going for a few weeks on Fantasy Grounds I thought I'd post a quick AAR to help anyone who might be considering it or wondering if it might be for them.

Right off the bat I will say that unless you a) have several hundred dollars to throw around or (preferably) b) have a group that can pitch in that trusts each other (details later) it is without a doubt the more expensive option for anyone wanting to play D&D online (as opposed to Roll20).

With that said if a or b above applies, and you have the time to play a couple times a month, it is IMO worth the cost.

How it works (because it can be a little confusing):

There are a couple of ways you can play. Either all players each spend $39.99 for a licensed version of the program or one person pays $149 one time or subs at I think $10 / mo for the 'ultimate license' which will then allow an unlimited number of players to connect and play using the free / demo version. If you have a regular group I think the 1 person ultimate license is the better deal, BUT that person must control all of the content even if the group is chipping in (hence my comment above about playing with people you know / trust).

All the ultimate license gives you access to is the D&D rules (5E, 4E, etc.) as well as some other gaming system rules that I am unfamiliar with. I say 'all' but that is really all you need to play. With that level of access FG will enforce the rules, doing most of the heavy lifting in the background.

BUT and this is a big BUT, you will have to manually enter in all of the character information into the character sheets to include making entries (with the associated formulas which admittedly are not very difficult) for special abilities. You will have to create and enter in all abilities for your monsters, etc. In other words, you are still in for a very large amount of work.

This is where all of the other $$$ comes up in the form of the Players Handbook, the DM's guide, and the Monster Manual. I believe each of these run $30 a pop (keep in mind that only the holder of the ultimate license needs these items to give EVERYONE that connects to him access). With the players handbook you can then literally drag and drop races / classes / backgrounds onto the character sheets and FG will populate them accordingly with the proper abilities (i.e. sneak attack for rogues, second wind for fighters, etc.).

This makes character creation and management abundantly more streamlined and faster not to mention all of the tables for random encounters / treasure / etc that are in the DMs guide and all of the monster content and abilities in the MM.

The above is the level that I personally believe you need to make FG worth the time and money. If my memory and math serve, the minimum a group can spend on this is $239. Divided 5 ways that's a little less than $50 per person-- so for the cost of a new game your group can play D&D online.

---------------------

Does it work? You bet it does.

I'm not gonna lie though, there was a learning curve (you can 'break' things if you do them out of order during character creation for example). With my group all connected on Discord however, we were able to work through the majority of the curve in a few hours. We are constantly learning new quality of life items but we all now have a good working knowledge of FG.

On top of the base materials you can also purchase all (I think) of the supplemental content including the released modules / campaigns. I am currently running a group through the Lost Mines of Phandelver and I am participating in The Tomb of Annihilation as well.

I can go into more detail but I'll save it until I see someone respond with any kind of interest.

Also, in an effort to help people with the curve I would be happy to try to make myself available to any OO'rs that could use a tutorial. We could meet in the OO Discord channel and you can connect and get a product walkthrough.

Hope this is helpful.

EDIT: I just saw this thread is in PC Games...I kind of expected it to be in Gaming in General.
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Re: Fantasy Grounds

Post by Zarathud » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:05 am

I am interested. I keep looking at Fantasy Grounds due to (1) the convenience of getting people together without travel and (2) having more money than time at this stage of my life. The idea of running a module directly from within the program is extremely attractive. Not requiring everyone else to buy in is also a bonus. The problem is that it's too expensive to just experiment with on my own.
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