A comparison of popular VTTs as of today



I may be in the minority here, but IMHO, if you have a VTT that does all the complex templates and math and system rules, then you playing a video game, not a true RPG.

But thats my opinion… I may just be an old grognard that prefers people to do the work, not the machine… thats how its done at the table, so thats my 2 cents… Game On!


@Moose @rpgerminator
If I was of any help, mission accomplished. :+1:

Yes the issues with video and voice are there for Roll20. Tokens and images you use are yours but after some point you need to create storage space to put new stuff in so you need to delete some old stuff. Needless work.

Tabletop Sim is very time consuming indeed unless you are using pre-made maps etc. Our own awesome @Murder_Hobo_Show did/does create many maps for example. As for the resource usage… well it is a 3D game after all.

As for Astral, yeah, it seems a little bit more complicated but it is probably because we are all used to Roll20.

Excellent points. I didn’t bring up these features because I didn’t want the OP to be too long and I didn’t want it to read like an advertisement for Fantasy Grounds. Instead, I summed it up as “FG is great for complex systems”, This is one of the reasons why it is so.

There is certainly a big difference between a virtual battle map like Roll20 and FG like you say. That’s why I said “dice macros aren’t automation”.

Great news on ICRPG ruleset for FG! I am going to port my book to an FG mod but I was “Gee, it seems I have to create the ICRPG ruleset first” a-la the great Carl Sagan quote: “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

So did you create the ruleset from scratch or did you base it on CoreRPG (or MoreCore)? Did you finish porting 2E stuff? Any time frame for the release?

Exciting news!

All great points. The community of FG does seem very nice and helpful, which is always a plus.
And yes, every DLC will work with both versions.

I hear you and I fully agree with you except the part of playing a video game. A complex RPG is still an RPG whether you do the math yourself or a program does it for you.

I still maintain that automations and all those similar computer aids are trying to treat the symptoms of a complex system; they are not the cure. If you need all those aids to play efficiently, why do you play that game, right?

Yet conversely, if you have the automations already available, why not use them?

Personally, I refuse to DM anything other than ICRPG at the real table and I would certainly balk at the idea of being a player either (though I won’t refuse). I don’t see the point. All that math, calculations, conditions etc. slow the game too much for my taste. Yet I will gladly run and play systems like D&D 5E and such in FG because then I don’t have to bother with time consuming mathematical operations. It’s just drag & drop at that point like my Fireball example above.

Also not everyone is a fan of ICRPG, sadly. There is also the case of complexity buying you depth. Some people like that depth. Even I like that depth but like I said I don’t find the trade-off of playing a very slow game worth that depth. Automation changes the value proposition of complex game systems. Therein is our joy.


I’ve been playtesting the ICRPG ruleset a bit and it’s very, very nice. It’s built on CoreRPG (which is required by FG for any ruleset that will be available for commercial release). Time frame is going to be the tricky one as SmiteWorks is up to their neck getting Unity ready, I know I sent in several projects to be published a month ago and they are still in the queue, but hopefully with a new ruleset they will push it to the front of the queue. @George_Taray can give you way more info on it all than me. I just wanted to let you know that it’s really sleek, looks and works great and hopefully it’s available in the FG store soon.


Great news! If you guys weren’t finished with the ruleset and such, I would have offer my help.

As for the time frame, I wouldn’t expect the ruleset and the book to be approved before Unity’s release.

Thanks for the info!


The ruleset is still in development, and has a few more things to be added. I would PM George, he may like another ICRPG GM to give it a look and a playtest.

With the amount of bugs in the Mac version and small issues with things like punctuation etc in Unity I am not holding out hope for even a 2nd quarter release. I’m thinking mid-summer before it is released.


If you want to get a jump start on porting your book so it can be released as soon as the ruleset goes up on the store, send me a DM and I can get you the link to the current ruleset. It’s about 90% done, which I think is plenty for you to create content.

CORE 2E is ready to go and just waiting for SmiteWorks to handle everything on their end.


The number of bugs existing still made my pause as well. I am optimistically saying April-May but you may be right.
It is good to have the classic version so we can play in the meanwhile.

Thanks for the offer! DM sent.


On OSX FG just seems clunky 32bit built for windows. Is unity going to fix this?


Yes, Unity is 64 bit. But like @DSMyers said, Mac version still has more bugs than the Windows version which is not surprising because the developers are mostly Windows guys due to FG’s heritage. Nevertheless all those bugs will be fixed eventually. It is a matter of patience at this point.


I am very torn as I have put quite a bit of work into roll20 and have got it working quite well with ICRPG which is the only game I play. But like the one off cost of FG and a lot off feature on it look cool.

Does anyone know if you can transfer content from one game to another in FG? And if you can can you do this from one GM’s game to another? Eg character sheets/ loot / decks of cards ???


I understand your reluctance and you have every right to be. Like I and many others have said, you don’t have to switch to something else (be it FG or whatever) if you are happy with Roll20 and it does the job the way you want it.

One off cost is a superb thing even if you are using Roll20 for free. You’ll be using the software for years with one single time investment. But if you are paying subscription… oh boy, that is madness in my eyes.

As for your question, you’ll be happy to know that you can transfer whatever you want from game to game and from one GM to another. Basically you can export and import anything as long as you are using the same game system. This is the whole point of FG. Well, this and all that automation and book keeping. People are creating, sharing and selling ready to play adventures, extensions and everything else this way.

Let me clarify this further. In FG the GM creates what is called a campaign for each playing group. This is what you and Roll20 refer to as a “game”. Now the cool thing is you can import anything into this campaign that is made for the campaign’s game system. Let’s consider D&D. In a D&D campaign you create, you can import anything that is compatible with D&D: story entries, journals, npcs, items, loot, characters, classes, spells, feats, monsters, maps, tables… anything and everything. Also you can export them the same way. Whatever you export becomes a .mod file and you or anyone else you give that file to can use it in their campaigns as long as they are playing D&D.

You can create your own monster “books” for example and use them in all of your games. Some people do this. One added bonus is you can export your campaigns with everything and save them for later to use with a different group of people. Essentially you can create your own adventure modules you can use over and over again. You can even sell them if you want to.

Players can also bring their own resources like feats and classes and whatnot to a game they connect to but that requires the DM’s approval and other players cannot use these resources.

One thing you can’t do is transfer a D&D thing to, let’s say, a Pathfinder game because they have completely different formats and rules.

I hope this helps.


Yeah that actually helps a lot. Cheers.


Don’t suppose you are running anything I can jump in on to get a better look?


I am not running anything currently but I will be, hopefully in a couple of weeks. I can setup an empty game for you to join but it won’t be very helpful for you because you will be a player. Players can only do some limited importing and that’s basically it.

There is a better way. Go to fantasygrounds.com and download the demo. You can use the demo to try anything as a GM. It is fully functional except you won’t be able to export or save anything. The demo comes with support for all editions of D&D and Pathfinder and a couple of other popular games. You can create notes, monsters, items and a lot of things and see how everything works.

To learn how to use FG and to see what is possible, check out Fantasy Grounds College on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaDbJrVUbiqJoGUObU__lbQ/videos
They have videos about many things. FG has lots of features and a bit of an awkward UX, so it is not that straightforward to jump in as a GM.

If you need help with anything, send me a message.


thank you for taking the time to share your research, bookmarking for reference…


My pleasure.

I will update this review in 6 months or so, depending on the new releases of these (and other) VTTs.


Astral Tabletop’s pro subscription is available for free through April.


If that’s true, then that should be a thought taken into account when taking up this offer. Are you locking yourself into something that’s going to be exorbitant once they start charging again? Just food for thought.


I was gonna write exactly this but you beat me to it.


No sign up. As far as I can tell, there’s no lock in. People who already signed up get two months free, it’s not a trial