Roll20 is an excellent tool for both gamers (GM) and players. It is a free to use service with customizable dice motors, automated character sheets from dozens of role-playing games with tabletops (TTRPG), maps, tokens, free storage and much more. As TTRPG supporters can attest, getting players and GM players can be just as frustrating as herding cats. This is where Roll20 remote applications come in.
You can use a video conferencing app, roll the dice and go to the “theater of the mind”, but Roll20 makes it easy for everyone to roll the dice themselves, manage their character sheets and share rulebooks to make the game smoother.
Limited? Do not know where to start? How to use Roll20 and enjoy your first Roll20 role-playing experience.
How to create a basic GM / player account on Roll20
Do you want to start rolling right away? Thankfully, it could not be easier and painless to sign up for Roll20. To begin with, go to the Roll20 website and select Create an account button.
Then provide your first and last name, email address and password. You can also choose to receive a Roll20 newsletter with tips and tricks included.
Choose your language and display name. That̵7;s all! Feel free to start with world-building and character development and become cracked.
How to find a game on Roll20
Both GM and players can search the page Looking for group by game, edition and keywords, and if the group accepts new players, it is free to play and contains content for adults 18 years and up. Available role-playing editions and character sheets on the table top (both tailored by Roll20 and those directly from publishers) include, but are not limited to, D&D 5th, Vampire: The Masquerade, Dungeon World, Chronicles of Darkness, Cypher system, Call of Cthulhu 7e, Blades in the Dark, Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader, Pathfinder 2ndand GURPS. However, it should be noted that it is impossible to disable ads in basic accounts. Even then, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
When it comes to mature content, no matter how big your current group of players is, almost everyone has treated “that guy” and ruined their collective gaming experience to a greater or lesser extent. For that reason, Roll20 has no moderation and general guidelines for dealing with trolling, spam, explicit content, passive aggression and other violations of both games and public decency. No one wants to play with a brodykant, whose character “stares silently and says nothing” between attacks of regular legislation, role-playing and attacking innocent NPCs without provocation.
This does not mean that Roll20 has no place for those who prefer the murderous hiker or sometimes want to play something where they are less invested in the result. Regardless of how you look for Group and Roll20’s policy, they help to create a pleasant experience for everyone where GM and the player’s expectations are clear.
GMs are designed to be “system agnostic” and can use Roll20 to access an impressive range of tools available to all TTRPGs when creating their campaigns. Roll20 is available from any browser and even comes with an app for iOS and Android, which is currently being redesigned. Campaign settings include adjusting the game’s default image in Looking for group, page, and token settings; select Compendium resources to use in the game; and change the selected character sheets if necessary.
Character sheets come with built-in macros to calculate attack rolls and damage dice, and they are automatically updated to reflect increases in modifiers and benefit levels from leveling up. Players can also customize how dice look and roll. For this article, we created one D&D 5th campaign based on the recently released Explorer’s Guide to Exandria and a V: TM 5e campaign based on New York at night. If you are itching to start creating your campaign, just follow these simple steps and you will build the world in no time.
How to GM and save a D&D 5e game on Roll20
Roll20 also offers a large selection of modules that can be purchased for those who prefer to play a written campaign with completed maps, tokens, notes, characters and other resources. Choose from the Roll20 website Game > Create new game. From there, you can decide which TTRPG system you use, the name of your campaign, tags for Looking for Group and whether you want to include ready-made character sheets.
When you are done, you will be able to access your campaign website – you will be able to add / remove content, advertise on Looking for group, adjust extensions and settings, participate in discussions, schedule sessions and set up a display image. Most important of all, click Start games to access the virtual table tool, where the + 1 tools for GMing are located. Once you have created a game, it will be saved under the My Games tab until you choose to delete it.
How to GM a Vampire: The Masquerade 5e game on Roll20
Follow the steps above, but consider the title and tags shown in the image below. You must also select the appropriate character sheets.
How to use Roll20’s virtual table tool
Log in when GM gives you access to the impressive set of Roll20 tools and features, giving you total command over the app and letting you know everything that has happened in your campaign. Players can only see what you want when you want, which is good – prior knowledge of impending doom deprives you of happy crushing their hopes yourself. Roll20 also provides GMs with a guided guide on how to use and access Roll 20’s Virtual Tabletop Tool (VTT), a seemingly simple area with white grids. This tool is where Roll20 differs from other desktop simulators, and you can do creative wonders for your heart.
As a live application, there are no editing or game modes – any changes you make to the settings or objects in VTT are visible to players and GM alike. Players can see VTT, but do not check it by default. Tools include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Instant drag-and-drop feature for files such as maps, tokens and documents.
- Drawing tools, including drawing form, freehand, polygon / line and text.
- A searchable art library and compendium filled with images suitable for creating maps, tokens and even portraits for your players to enjoy.
- Customizable tokens to provide character information, including enemy health information, status effect icons, and ammo trackers.
- Measurement tools that allow GM and players to calculate distances, attack areas and spelling effects ensure that your brilliant or foolish tactics are mechanically sound.
- Stocks to determine what your players can see and interact with on VTT, including tokens, GMs, and maps and backgrounds. Players can see and interact with the token layer, while the latter two are GM’s area of responsibility – players can see the background while not interacting with it. However, the GM warehouse allows notes, hidden enemies, traps and anything else you want to keep secret, along with additional premium account features.
- A truly expansive suite with built-in chat and communication features including pinging map locations, an HD shadow box for exploring high-resolution tokens and sharing them with players, integrated audio / video powered by WebRTC and compatible with Google Hangouts and other third-party VOIP services , text chat with reviewable archive, whispers and emotions, automatic completion of the tab for long PC names, GM-specific chat commands, dice commands and more.
- A page toolbar for organizing notes, moving players from map to map, and navigating settings, content, locations, and time.
- The journal function for keeping handouts, character sheets and folders neat and tidy.
- A jukebox for sound effects, combat music and more with an impressive audio library and add custom audio via SoundCloud URLs.
- Turn-tracker to ensure that everyone knows what their order of initiative is.
- The ability to create macros for easy scrolling or texting, and a macro library if you feel lazy.
- Customizable deck of cards for every game imaginable.
- Modifiable scrolling tables randomly generate tokens or determine results from a weighted list, which is great for developing monsters as shape changers or selecting randomly selected enemies.
- A settings menu for each player to decide how their dice are displayed, control their master volume, select avatar size and access keyboard shortcuts.
How to use Roll20 character sheets
After choosing Start games button on Campaign the page is activated VTT. Select Newspaper icon at the top right and click Add +> Characters to create a new character sheet (VTM 5th in this example).
A new window for editing your character sheet will appear where you can select the character’s name, avatar, tags, default tokens, how they appear in the character’s journals and who can edit and contribute to the sheet. Select Save Changes when you are happy to return to the newspaper. Click on the character’s name to fill in the sheet.
Users can either select the kernel Character sheets provided a traditional layout of statistics, characteristics, abilities and skills, review the character Bio & Info, or use Attributes and abilities the tab for making quick changes without scrolling through the entire sheet.
How to customize your dice on Roll20
Roll20 offers basic and advanced dice rolls, saves and displays your last 10 rolls for convenience, offers 3D dice to simulate rolling them yourself and lets you roll custom tables with ease. For those who want really random dice rolls, Roll20 switched from RNG to a “true random” entropy source, based on the fluctuations in the power of a light beam “powered by a QuantumRoll server with cryptographic signatures that verify all rolls that are completely random and remain non-existent by GM or players.
Players can select the button’s next skills and abilities to automatically roll attacks and calculate damage on a hit or heal their party members, but they can also do so via the chat box. For example, enter the command / scroll 2d10 + 3 and everyone in the chat will see the dice results and any critical errors or successes, unless the roll has been “whispered”, in which case the player and GM see it, but no one else.
GM can determine if 3D dice are activated and rolled automatically. Still, each player can choose to use these features themselves, and in my humble opinion, Roll20’s 3D dice will come as close to the joy of rolling real dice as you can. These instructions apply to both GM and player accounts. The color of the dice can be changed by simply clicking on the small colored box in your VTT type plate and choosing a new color.
To activate 3D dice, simply enter the game’s VTT and select My settings button similar to a gear at the top right sidebar. From there, you can switch options, including Activate advanced dice, Activate 3D diceand Roll 3D dice automatically.