Virtual Table Top and 'Goose Trav 2e

ottarrus

Cosmic Mongoose
So, I have a tabletop game going and one of my players is active duty military and getting ready to transfer stations [PCS in US terminology]. I'd like to keep the game going with this player in it and have been looking into VTT's.

One of the things I'm leery of in VTTs is the constant 'HeroLabs' money drain... You have to buy game, the VTT, the additional rpg content AND the rpg content for the VTT. If you're not VERY careful, you find yourself paying for the same content twice or three times. Maybe I'm just 'old' or something, but that seems like a real waste of money.

OTOH, I'm also looking for a VTT that is comparatively easy to use, with clear tutorials and is easy to teach my players.

And lastly, I'm looking for a VTT that'll support Mongoose Traveller 2e.

Anyone have thoughts, success stories, or advice?

All contributions gratefully accepted.
 

Stingray_tm

Mongoose
Roll20 has Traveller support in a sense that Mongoose Traveller (1 and 2) character sheets exist for it. And its free. If that is sufficent for you, go with that. But I suggest using Discord in addition, because the Video and Voice chat of Roll20 is notoriously unstable.
 
I'm new to using VTTs myself. I recently purchased the Traveller 2e core rules for Fantasy Grounds Unity. Fantasy Grounds has a large library of "how to" videos on YouTube, hosts Fantasy Grounds University on Twitch & Discord that shows how-tos in an interactive setting. It does a lot and they provide these resources to make the learning curve easier.

That said, the core rules is probably the only Traveller rule set that is "required" if you want automation during the session. You can build characters, run encounters, etc. Technically, all you need is a VTT itself to handle die rolls, chat communication, etc. The rules sets merely provide the pre-coded automation to make things easier.

I went with Fantasy Grounds because it had options for the majority of RPGs that I play or am interested in, Traveller among them. I found FG's features (I'm talking about the Unity version) comparable or superior to other VTTs. I'm not a coder and don't have time to learn how to program in a VTT, so Foundry - for all its current hotness - wasn't for me as a GM. Roll20 seemed fine, but FG seemed a bit more robust, had more systems available (if I want to purchase), and I liked their one-time purchase option vs. subscription. (Roll20 may also offer one-time buy, it's been more than a year since I did my comparison...)

Bottom line, VTTs are an effective tool. I don't like "re-purchasing" stuff, either, so after the core rules of a RPG, I only buy what I want automated and I subscribe to FG's email newsletter so I know what's on sale each week.
 

Stingray_tm

Mongoose
A free account of Roll20 is completely sufficient. I did not find anything in the subscription options that is useful enough for Traveller players to justify paying for it.
 

OrdosMalleus

Mongoose
I've been running my 2e game on Roll20 for almost a year. While I had a Pro account from before, my players just have free accounts and it has worked fine.
 

gilthy

Banded Mongoose
I might have posted this elsewhere already, but when we went online during the pandemic with our Traveller (Mongoose) campaign, we used Roll20. Characters were already created, people have the books (or enough of them to look up things if needed), and the our group (with me as GM) runs the game, we were fine with what Roll20 offers. Most of my players have also been using it during this time to play Pathfinder in a similar manner.

What I do: for when it's needed, I'll share handouts, maps, etc. via Roll20 "pages". One is a generic landing page, where I might toss an image to share. Another two are deck plans for the starships the players have access to. Yet another one is a starmap of the Trojan Reach (we "rolled into" that are during this time, playing "Last Flight of the Amuar" and then going on to "Pirates of Drinax", modified where necessary to fit the ongoing campaign). I generated the starmap using the travellermap.com site, adding the trade routes for the Drinax campaign. Advantage of using Roll20 over Travellermap directly is that we can "ping" the map, showing to all what we're looking at, and "draw on" the map to show routes etc.

That said, with lockdowns and limitations from the pandemic slowly fading, we're looking to go back to in-person playing.

What I like about Roll20 is that everyone just needs a browser, and you're good to go. The Mongoose 2e character sheets are all the "tech" we're really using, apart from occasionally using the "jukebox" option to play sounds. Voice and video we moved to Discord at some point, though having the "talking heads" on Roll20 meant I could have more space on my screen for other things :D

And I dislike paying again for things (rules, etc.) I already own in another form. I would be fine to pay extra for a nice set of tokens, (battle)maps, images to easily share, etc. but not so much for "rules". But, YMMV :)
 

Stingray_tm

Mongoose
gilthy said:
What I do: for when it's needed, I'll share handouts, maps, etc. via Roll20 "pages". One is a generic landing page, where I might toss an image to share. Another two are deck plans for the starships the players have access to. Yet another one is a starmap of the Trojan Reach (we "rolled into" that are during this time, playing "Last Flight of the Amuar" and then going on to "Pirates of Drinax", modified where necessary to fit the ongoing campaign). I generated the starmap using the travellermap.com site, adding the trade routes for the Drinax campaign. Advantage of using Roll20 over Travellermap directly is that we can "ping" the map, showing to all what we're looking at, and "draw on" the map to show routes etc.

I am doing essentially the same. I also intend to use the starmap to track changes of political affiliations, when the Kingdoms influence increases.
 

drl2

Mongoose
My understanding is that Fantasy Grounds is probably the way to go for official support, though it's likely the priciest option even if you don't buy any official content through them.

For me, I'm pretty invested in Foundry in terms of time/learning (an ongoing D&D campaign, some one-shots, and I authored the system for Mighty Protectors there & have run a few instances). So when I do finally run some Traveller games later this year I'll be using that via the TwoDSix system, which is built to handle Cepheus variations as well as MgT2e depending on the settings. It'll mean a little extra work creating compendiums for gear, etc. rather than drag-dropping from an existing collection, but I can build them slowly on an as-needed basis.

Plus I can do fancy maps with cool lighting and sound effects :)
 

agentwigggles

Banded Mongoose
gilthy said:
I might have posted this elsewhere already, but when we went online during the pandemic with our Traveller (Mongoose) campaign, we used Roll20. Characters were already created, people have the books (or enough of them to look up things if needed), and the our group (with me as GM) runs the game, we were fine with what Roll20 offers. Most of my players have also been using it during this time to play Pathfinder in a similar manner.

What I do: for when it's needed, I'll share handouts, maps, etc. via Roll20 "pages". One is a generic landing page, where I might toss an image to share. Another two are deck plans for the starships the players have access to. Yet another one is a starmap of the Trojan Reach (we "rolled into" that are during this time, playing "Last Flight of the Amuar" and then going on to "Pirates of Drinax", modified where necessary to fit the ongoing campaign). I generated the starmap using the travellermap.com site, adding the trade routes for the Drinax campaign. Advantage of using Roll20 over Travellermap directly is that we can "ping" the map, showing to all what we're looking at, and "draw on" the map to show routes etc.

That said, with lockdowns and limitations from the pandemic slowly fading, we're looking to go back to in-person playing.

What I like about Roll20 is that everyone just needs a browser, and you're good to go. The Mongoose 2e character sheets are all the "tech" we're really using, apart from occasionally using the "jukebox" option to play sounds. Voice and video we moved to Discord at some point, though having the "talking heads" on Roll20 meant I could have more space on my screen for other things :D

And I dislike paying again for things (rules, etc.) I already own in another form. I would be fine to pay extra for a nice set of tokens, (battle)maps, images to easily share, etc. but not so much for "rules". But, YMMV :)

For whats it worth, the Fantasy Grounds stuff isn't just a copy of the PDF. Its all the automation and programming and formatting that goes into it.
My first experience with fantasy grounds was dnd 5e. I was fairly exhausted of dnd but it was the game my group was playing so hey.
And it made playing DnD fun. All the book keeping and fiddling was just gone. Still got to roll dice. Still moved and hit things and got to do more role playing
 

TheMachine

Mongoose
I started out with Roll20, but after a while the free version just wasn't up to scratch. Ran out of space, and couldn't add to or tweak any of the functionality.

I liked the open source and "pay once - you own everything, forever" ethos of Foundry (and didn't like the subscription fees of Roll20 or FG), so I went with that, using the Twodsix game system. Never looked back. It's extremely flexible and powerful - and that's without writing a single line of code. The drawback is that, with no official support, there *is* quite a bit of work involved. But there are compendiums of Cepheus Engine skills and gear that you can base your own off (specific to whatever variant you play), and once that's done, creating a new NPC is as simple as hitting "new actor", then dragging and dropping skills and gear onto the sheet. They've now got the ship sheets to the point where you can create "positions" that give characters assigned to them actions they can perform (aid gunners, fire turret, break sensor lock, overcharge M-Drive, etc.) with the push of an appropriately-illustrated icon. It's cool. And it all looks great. Roll20 always looked like a dog's dinner.

The short of it is:
- Roll20 is adequate and free, if a bit shonky, so go with that if you're just planning a short time thing.
- I'm sure FG is great with the official support, so go with that if money's no object, but expect costs to mount.
- Foundry is great, but with no support there's quite a bit of work involved.

Personally, I find the books expensive enough, and I don't have money to spare. But my time is very flexible, and I enjoy fiddling with Foundry, so I'm very happy with my choice. :)
 
Purely personal experience here.

I bought all of the 2nd Edition products for Fantasy Grounds in preparation for starting a game with a new group. But... after investing a lot of time prepping, I'm going to go with Foundry rather than actually use Fantasy Grounds.

* FG's fonts, particularly the ones picked for Traveller, are very hard to read and all my players (who are not spring chickens) complained about them in terms of readability, eye-strain and headaches.
* You can sort of increase font sizes, but that makes every element of the UI bigger. The UI is based on some ideas that didn't catch on in the 90s (not kidding on this one) and is very poor at using space, so when you increase the UI element size, it becomes pretty hard to manage.
* The UI is so poor at using space that it is very difficult, for me or the people I've tried with, to use on a laptop. A large format monitor seems to be a must.
* It is years behind official releases, and the developer (who is absolutely lovely and a real gem) is working on other properties as well as Traveller so it falls farther and farther behind. If I'm going to have to hand enter things, I might as well do it on a system that I can see and use on a laptop.

Roll20 has some advantages over Foundry, and that would be my second choice.
 

CyborgPrime

Banded Mongoose
We have map assets that you can buy and use with ANY VTT, so you don't have to feel burned if you quit a VTT.

We also have assets that you can purchase through the Marketplace so you don't have to install them yourself (comes with support for dynamic lighting walls and doors).

Downloadable assets for VTT
 
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