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.
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.
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.