• Justin Handlin

Foundry Virtual Tabletop



Foundry Virtual Tabletop

What is a VTT?

​​A virtual tabletop, or “VTT”, for our purposes, is an all-in-one solution for using the internet to play tabletop RPGs. When you use a VTT, you can play Dungeons and Dragons or almost any other RPG with your friends without needing to be sitting at the same table. This makes it viable to play with long-distance or socially distanced people.

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​​Virtual tabletops almost universally offer virtual battle maps, chat, and dice rolling, and sometimes they also handle character sheets, handouts, card decks, macros/automation, webcam and voice conferencing, mood music, and more.


Foundry is a relatively fresh newcomer to the VTT community. But don't let that fool you. It's a top-notch experience when it comes to running an online Dungeons and Dragons or any RPG for that matter.


Let's be honest. The pandemic has been horrible worldwide. Where we once gathered weekly with our friends, we must now do over the internet. For a social game like Dungeons and Dragons, this is a notably different way to experience the game. Fortunately for powerful resources such as Foundry VTT, we can still gather at our tables. All be it in a social distancing manner now.


Foundry is certainly a beautiful platform. Unlike some of its competitors, it does have an upfront ONE-TIME investment cost of $50. But honestly, that isn't any more cost than a new hardcover RPG book. The difference is that it is useful across many different RPG games. Making it extremely versatile. One thing that really stands out, and that expands on its versatility, is that it allows other content creators tons of mods to enhance the experience. Kinda like DLC in a game. This adds an absolute plethora of content to the VTT experience, as it is extremely customizable.


The tool's interface is gorgeous and has a lot of functions. It's worth noting, this massive collection of functions comes with a bit of a learning curve. In my opinion, this makes it a little more intimidating for some. But, once again, that is part of its strength. With more complexity, comes more versatility.


Accessing the game for players is as simple as sending them a web address. The player side running right on through the browser. It's worth noting, that when you build a world and campaign setting using Foundry, as is, the players can only access it when the Game Master has the program running on their computer, or their own dedicated server. This means, that if you want it to be up ALL the time, and available to players, you need to have it hosted. There are plenty of options, most under $5 a month. Keep in mind, this is optional.


While, I've got nothing but good things to say, Foundry isn't perfect by any means. It certainly requires more work to setup to fit what you want as a Game Master. But, once again, I feel that is more of a result of its complexity. So sure it requires a bit of fiddling, it also has lots of "quality of life" features that other VTT's just don't have.


Overall, Foundry is currently my favorite Virtual Tabletop system that I've used to date!

Below is a checklist of some of the features that Foundry Offers out of the box.


FEATURES

​​Battlemaps

  • ​​​Shared battlemaps with player- and GM-controlled tokens

  • ​​​Awesome drawing function which also works great with digitizer pens!

  • ​​​Map-making tools — it can set background images and do tiling for repeating textures, and the tiles-browser module turns it into a full assets-focused map builder

  • ​​​A simple ruler along with the ability to measure and create cone, circle, and rectangle templates that are moveable and easy to edit

  • ​​​Fog of War — tokens can see in the dynamic lighting where they’ve been in the past!

  • ​​​Dynamic Lighting — doors, light sources, player vision, one-way walls….everything you could ask for.

  • ​​​Supports animated maps, weather effects, and day/night effects

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Chat & Dice

  • ​​​Advanced chat with roll commands & macros, blind rolls, speaking in and out of character, whispering, etc. GM’s can also delete any message.

  • ​​​Die rolls from character sheets

  • ​​​Visual (non-chat) dice rolling interface installable via the Simple Dice Roller module.

  • ​​Character Sheets- These can easily be moved between games

  • ​​​Custom character sheet creation — skins for existing games’ sheets can be created with some basic coding. Completely new games require creation of a new “system” with a decent knowledge of basic web programming. There is a generic system option but it’s just okay (though better than generic Roll20.)

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Compendium

  • ​​​Game SRDs available for D&D 5e, Pathfinder 2e, and WFRP4…possibly more?

  • ​​​Users can create and upload their own compendiums

  • ​​​Drag-n-drop to character sheets from SRDs are supported.

  • ​​Handouts, Etc

  • ​​​Images and rich text handouts can be edited, hidden, shared with certain players or all of them

  • ​​​Rollable tables

  • ​​​Storage is only limited by the size of your computer or server if you’re hosting it, or up to 20GB on the cloud if you pay for hosting by The Forge.

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Automation

  • ​​​Turn Tracker with hide-able combatants, ability to add/roll all combatants at once and save multiple encounters

  • ​​​Click-to-roll sheets (depending on system)

  • ​​​Macro buttons — both chat and script macros are supported, full HTML support in chat

  • ​​​The community creates and develops tons of modules to add functionality and make little tweaks


​​Music & Video Streaming

  • ​​​Integrated voice & video calls

  • ​​​Stream uploaded music to players

  • ​​​Place audio triggers on maps - This is just cool as hell!

Check it out here!


Phatlootz RPG Giveaway: RIches of the Earth 5e Adventure

Everyone has their favorite flavor of potato chip, and the people of Tuberton are no exception! Why, they pride themselves on their homegrown potatoes, made with salt from their local Salt Cave. Unfortunately, Miss Victoria Fields, the owner of Tuberton's potato farm, has reported her workers have gone missing after entering the cave. Without that salt, there won't be a potato chip shipment, and it will be a hard winter indeed...


Uncover the mystery lurking with the depths of the Salt Cave of Tuberton, rescue Miss Victoria's workers, and learn which townspeople are Pro/Anti Salted Potato Chips in this adventure created during the 2020 Fall RPG Writers Workshop! Get it Here!


Winner: Brod546

Didn’t win? Np, head to www.critacademy.com and subscribe for your chance to win.


Capes & Crooks a 5e Superhero RPG playtest streams bi-weekly on Fridays. This is our upcoming Kickstarter Project. To sign up for notifications on this project visit our website!


Unearthed Tips and Tricks! We bring you new and creative content for you to bring with you on your next adventure


Character Concept:

Submitted by Zamboughnuts

Mic Guyver- This character would have proficiency in a bunch of different tools and kits (smith's, tinker's, and herbalism come to mind for me), as well as proficiency with survival. They would always be looking for creative ways to solve situations, and would probably have basic weapons but would be creative when it came to improvising traps or other weapons. As a class I'd think either a rogue, artificer, or both. For the power gamer build, do a rock gnome and take the Wonder Maker feat. Additionally, this fits really well with a Bard skill monkey build. Getting as many proficiencies as you can.

Wonder Maker Feat

You master the tinker techniques of your people. You gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your Dexterity or Intelligence score by 1, to a maximum of 20.

  • When you make a check using your proficiency with tinker’s tools, you add double your proficiency bonus to the check.

  • When you make a device with your Tinker trait, you have the following additional options for what you make:

Alarm. This device senses when a creature moves to within 15 feet of it without speaking aloud a password chosen when you create it. One round after a creature moves into range, the alarm makes a shrill ringing that lasts for 1 minute and can be heard from up to 300 feet away.

Calculator. This device makes doing sums easy.

Lifter. This device can be used as a block and tackle, allowing its user to hoist five times the weight the user can normally lift.

Timekeeper. This pocket watch keeps accurate time.

Weather Sensor. When used as an action, this device predicts weather conditions in a 1-mile radius over the next 4 hours, showing one symbol (clouds, sun/moon, rain, or snow) for each hour.

Monster Variant:

Dwarven Staticcaster

Origin: Oni


Lost Features: fly, size becomes medium, change shape, glaive, claw, regeneration


New Features:

New Spell list: As a 5th level spellcaster.

At will: shocking grasp, invisibility

1/day each: absorb elements, call lightning, shield


Crackling Aura. At the start of each of the staticaster’s turns, each creature within 5 feet of it takes 3 (1d6) lightning damage. A creature that touches the staticaster or hits it with a melee attack while within 5 feet of it takes 3 (1d6) lighting damage.


Enlarge. For 1 minute, the dwarf magically increases in size, along with anything it is wearing or carrying. While enlarged, the dwarf is Large, doubles its damage dice on Strength-based weapon attacks (included in the attacks), and makes Strength checks and sTrength saving throws with advantage. If the dwarf lacks the room to become Large, it attains the maximum size possible in the space available.


War Pick. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 feet., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 +4) piercing damage or 15 (2d10 +4) piercing damage while enlarged.


Static Burst (Recharge 6). The dwarf releases a crackling burst of lightning in a 60-foot line that is 5 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 40 (9d8) lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.


Encounter:

The Foundry

A dangerous gnome artificer named Anida Fixin (G, Artificer) is on the loose. Anida has been attacking merchant caravans to gain access to powerful tools and materials to make her weapons even more dangerous. She has been attaching small contraptions to wagon axles that explode when subjected to serious impacts. Once detonated she robs the targets of any equipment of value to her.

The characters have tracked Anida down to her lair. An old, thought to be abandoned dwarven forge hidden in a mountain. She has rebuilt and redesigned the area to be nearly fully automated with clockwork and gearforged equipment. The area is protected and managed by constructs of her own design (use quadrone, and pentadrone statblocks).


The area is littered with traps and hazards that threaten the characters. Moving conveyor belts (a creature that ends their turn on a conveyor belt moves 5 feet every turn), massive mechanical claws (+6 to grapple checks, escape DC 14), and massive vats full of molten hot metal (use fire-breathing statue). All the while Anida thoughts and controls the foundry and its hazards from behind a thick wall of reinforced glass.


Magic Item: Phasing Stimpack

Wondrous item, uncommon

When you activate this stimpack as a bonus action, you gain the effects of the blink spell. Alternatively, when you take damage, you can use your reaction to turn invisible and teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space you can see. You remain invisible until the start of your next turn or until you attack or cast a spell. The stimpack is empty after you activate it.


Dungeon Master Tip:

Story Linking - JVC Parry


“One way in which I try to make things clearer for players in Call from the Deep is by including as many links as possible.

My definition of a link, in this context, is a piece of information that connects one part of the adventure to another. Most commonly, it’s a way of connecting one chapter to the next, or ‘side quests’ to the main plot. Remember, characters don’t know which chapter of the adventure they are in, or whether they’re following up a side quest rather than the main plot. Links help keep them on track. Because players don’t understand what’s going on about half the time, we need to include as many of these as possible, and we need to ensure they’re not hidden behind skill checks or other choke points.


Links are quite obvious when we think about them. In chapter 1 of Call from the Deep, the biggest links are the sahuagin footprints leading out of the crashed nautiloid, and the map of pirate attacks in the sahuagin lair. These links help move the characters through the campaign, and give clear guidance on what would be the most narratively satisfying next step. To help get your head around links, think about your favourite book, film, or television series. What do the characters discover during them that help move the story forward?”


There are two major ways to use links. The best way in both situations is liberally!

  • Lots of links gated behind ability checks

  • Few links gated behind exploration

-JVC Parry - Call from the Deep Article Series


Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick

Planar Positioning System

The Instant Summons spell is a pretty neat ritual spell. While using it to cause an item of 10 pounds or less to be summoned to you doesn’t seem like a powerful feature. It can be pretty useful. Such as summoning a special set of armor, weapon or item to deal with a particular problem at hand. Since the only limit is weight and components, you could in theory make anything available on command.


This however is not, at least in our opinion the best use of this power. The best use of this power is as a powerful tracking tool. If another creature is holding or carrying the you’ve bound with instant summons not only do learn who the creature is located that has it, but more importantly, you learn WHO the creature is that is possessing the item. This is fantastic for a number of reasons. Most notably tracking a villain or monster back to their lair. Or identifying who has been stealing from a noble, guild or character by setting up some potential items to be stolen imbued with this power. While this may not seem like much. I can assure you, your Game Master will drop their jaw when you toss this concept and wrinkle their big bad enemy guy’s plans. Combining this with a slight of hand, and you can force the enemy to carry your improvised tracker. Oh, did we mention that it doesn’t matter how far away it is? Even crossing to other planes of existence.


Phatlootz RPG Giveaway: Hit and Run

Crime or punishment? Are the characters simply a party to a murder-for-hire caper, or are they serving the greater good by exacting long-overdue justice? The PCs will face a little combat and a lot of challenges during the busiest 24 hours of their lives in this small-town adventure. But success will bring great rewards…including, perhaps, getting out alive…

Get it Here!


Winner: Haoticmaze

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