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Online Role Play tools for The One Ring

Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:00 am
by Obadiah
I am an old school pen and paper, sit round a table and eat junk food kinda roleplayer, but life doesn't allow these privileges anymore, so I am looking to ways to play The One Ring with my mates without needing to have us all in the same location. What can you suggest?

I have briefly looked at a few....
I like Tavern Keeper, but it's character sheets mare difficult for TOR - or am I missing a way to do them?
Roll20 is nice but I can see myself needing to pay for a subscription to get the features I would want or to manage the artworks that I have to upload.

Other alternatives? Better ways to use these two that doesn't necessarily involve me having to pay or needing to fundamentally change the world in creating a character sheet for their website....thoughts please?

Re: Online Role Play tools for The One Ring

Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:03 am
by Hermes Serpent
There are a few ways of running games online. Roll20, Hangouts/Skype and Google docs and Fantasy Grounds. Most others need a degree of technical competence that can be daunting (dealing with firewalls and routers)

Of these three only Roll20 offers builtin character sheets and a degree of automation from the get go. A combination of Hangouts/Skype and Google docs for storing files and pictures works well enough but is fairly labour intensive, but free. Fantasy Grounds doesn't have any built-in stuff for One Ring (AFAIK) but some people have made a fan built setup and coded that it and may be able to help you with that but FG costs more money up front than Roll20 for a licence.

Re: Online Role Play tools for The One Ring

Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:24 am
by SpottedBill
I only have experience with Roll20 so I can't compare it to other options, but I can whole-heartedly recommend it. There are very useful resources on the Roll20 Wiki for setting for the One Ring in the Roll20 Wiki (based on the great work found here.)

We have used only the features that are usable with free accounts. A paid subscription will give you access to the API, which lets you do fancy things like track endurance and resolve attacks automatically with one button press. I find it more appealing to do things in a more manual way anyway. It feels more like you're actually "rolling the dice".

In regards to art, I haven't had any problems with space or such. It's easy to upload images and share them with the players. I usually collect appropriate art for the game session, set them up on the hidden GM layer, and reveal them image by image to the players, to give our imaginations some shared reference points for locales, adversaries and loremaster characters. It works splendidly.

Personally, I had been using Roll20 previously for one-shots and other occasional things for years before starting to run our current One Ring campaign, so I was familiar with it. Many in my group had reservations on how online play would work. While the experience is different it's not necessarily any worse; it holds benefits alongside drawbacks.

For a group of friends, not being around the same table is of course the biggest downside, but it surprisingly brings opportunities as well: It's much easier to find a few hours for the game when you don't have to leave home; coming and going from the game table is easy and doesn't disrupt the other players; shared artwork and music sometimes take the immersion to even better levels than at the traditional gaming table.

If you are like us: a group of friends already familiar with each other, not being around the same physical table isn't a huge hurdle. I would imagine it being more of a problem with strangers, as misunderstanding and miscommunication is more likely to occur.

Remember to use a good VOIP program for voice communication. Discord is a great option, unless you happen have access to a TeamSpeak or Mumble server. Discord also serves as a good place to discuss the game between sessions.

Re: Online Role Play tools for The One Ring

Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:58 am
by Hermes Serpent
Currently Roll20 seems to be having ongoing issues with connectivity hence the need for alternative voice channels. It's because Google dropped integration with Hangouts for third parties forcing Roll20 to use alternative methods of voice and video comms that haven't proved ideal so far.

Re: Online Role Play tools for The One Ring

Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:19 pm
by Wbweather
We have been using Fantasy Grounds for 3 years. Thee is an excellent ruleset created by Valarian on these forums. We communicate with voice via Discord. The full license for Fantasy Grounds is rather pricey at $150, but only the GM needs to have a license. Players only need the free demo to connect to the GM.

Re: Online Role Play tools for The One Ring

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:02 am
by jamesrbrown
Obadiah, if you really enjoy pen and paper and actual dice, I would suggest using Google Hangouts or something similar to connect with everyone at once by video. Then, play the game as if you're all sitting at the same table.

If video is not important to you, or you have a group that is better at writing out their thoughts, then I recommend using Azrapse's Online Character Server for The One Ring here.

All your players can create a character that can then be saved in a Group within the Online Character Server. While their character sheet is loaded, they just log into the Group using a Group Name and Password that you create and give to them. They press "Save Current Character" and it will be saved in the Group. Now, whenever they visit the site, they can visit the Online Character Server, log into the Group and see everyone's characters.

While everyone is logged in, each person presses "Chat With Your Group" and a chat window pops up. Each person can type in an alias, i.e. their character's name, while the Loremaster can type "Loremaster" so everyone's comments can be identified.

There is also a Dice Roller window that can be used to make dice rolls when needed. The results are tabulated and shown in the chat window.

I have played using both methods and I must say that typing is my favorite way. Video is not always reliable for audio or visual and I find that it distracts and slows the game down. Also, because of these issues, it is hard to know when to talk so that you're not interrupting someone else, etc.

It is amazing how some players can express themselves much better when typing too (thanks to self editing before anyone sees). Normally, they may be relatively silent in a group around the table, but their writing ability is great! They do not have to be seen or heard, but they can act through writing.

And this method is not slow like PbP games. It is still very much fluid and in the moment; a "live" session if you will. You can also save your group's chat log for downloading later. This is a great feature, especially if you want to go back and recap your session.

Sorry this was so long, but I hope it helps.

Re: Online Role Play tools for The One Ring

Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:22 am
by Obadiah
Thanks for the suggestions everyone....lots to consider.

Re: Online Role Play tools for The One Ring

Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:29 pm
by Glorelendil
I'm a big fan of roll20 for D&D, but because you don't need a grid most of it is overkill. Certainly the things you get for the paid subscription is overkill; you could do everything you need in the free version.

Re: Online Role Play tools for The One Ring

Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:27 pm
by jamesrbrown
If anyone wants to test out The One Ring Online Character Server that I mentioned earlier, even for a solo adventure, I would be glad to stay up late some nights and be your Loremaster. It's really fun. You can do quite a bit in an hour. Just know that I am in the Mountain Time Zone in Arizona (USA) and we do not observe Daylight Savings Time (believe me, we've got plenty of sunshine). So, we'd have to figure out time difference issues, but I'm usually available after 10:00pm at night.