Best virtual tabletop software in 2022: How to play D&D and more TTRPGs online | Laptop Mag

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Best virtual tabletop software in 2022: How to play D&D and more than TTRPGs online

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

You lot don’t necessarily need the best virtual tabletop software to have a good time playing Dungeons & Dragons or any other tabletop role-playing game out there. But information technology certainly helps. Equally a game master, I know how of import it is to know which virtual tabletop works all-time for your group and for the type of game yous’re playing. I’ve bounced effectually between several of them, so I can aid yous make up one’s mind which is the best virtual tabletop software to use for your needs.

Of course, before you dive into what virtual tabletop software is best, we need to know what game y’all’re playing starting time. If you’re into D&D, we accept a general guide on
how to play D&D online. Nosotros also have specific guides for groups willing to go a little more personal, like our
D&D tech tips: How to fix webcams
page. But if you’re new to D&D, bank check out our guide of
how to make a D&D character. If y’all take time, check out our Life is Strange: True Colors review — A story I won’t forget, which has a character that is canonically a Critter (fan of Critical Part).

While D&D has had a wild surge in popularity in contempo years thanks to shows like
Critical Function, D&D is not the but TTRPG. There are plenty of popular and fun TTRPGs to play, similar Telephone call of Cthulhu, Shadowrun and Blades in the Dark. A few TTRPGs I’yard currently eyeing are The Witcher Office-Playing Game and the Contradistinct Carbon Part Playing Game (I’m still grieving,
Netflix). If yous’re a DM looking for ballsy songs, nosotros have the best D&D soundtracks for every scenario. And if you lot’re looking for video games similar D&D, cheque out Baldur’s Gate three. D&D fans will be happy to know that nosotros’ll become the Critical Part: Call of the Netherdeep gamble book on March fifteen, and the new Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse sourcebook on May 17. Wizard of the Coast also unveiled a new D&D rules are coming in 2024, only we accept some rules you lot can add to your games right at present to spice them up. The Legend of Phonation Machina animated series has besides recent debuted on Amazon Prime.

After yous’ve picked which TTRPG to play with friends, y’all tin determine which is the best virtual tabletop software for you.

What is the all-time virtual tabletop software?

There are quite a few great virtual tabletop programs out there, but finding the best ane for your specific game is more important than just using the almost expensive one. My personal favorite is Foundry Virtual Tabletop due to its customizability and relatively affordable price. Information technology also smoothly integrates with content from D&D Across, a website for buying D&D 5e books and creating characters, and I love the way it handles its music player. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for free, piece of cake-to-use software, try Roll20, a popular virtual tabletop software.

If you’re looking for something more anarchistic and don’t mind spending a chip of money, Tabletop Simulator is a great software to host your TTRPG games. Cheers to its iii-dimensional nature, it feels more engaging than your boilerplate 2D software. You can even hop into this game in VR. However, for something similar to Foundry but for free (to an extent), and so go with Astral, which is a smashing virtual tabletop software that gives you lot access to a ridiculous number of rule sets.

Those who similar old-school TTRPG can try out Fantasy Grounds, a highly customizable albeit somewhat difficult-to-use software. It can go pricier than the rest of the entries on this list, so keep that in mind. In that location are also plenty of virtual tabletop software apps that we didn’t get to mention on this list, like Tableplop and Allow’s Function, which are also viable options.

1. Foundry Virtual Tabletop

Foundry Virtual Tabletop is currently my go-to virtual tabletop for my own dwelling house game. It’south a super customizable web-based software that gives you access to almost everything you need to create and run a TTRPG game. Y’all can hands import maps that y’all create as JPEGs and it’ll layer a usable grid over the tiptop so players can move their characters effectually during gainsay or judge the time of travel over long distances. One of my favorite features is the power to layer music on acme of each other, so you can mix an atmospheric runway with an actual musical track.

Foundry Virtual Tabletop

(Image credit: Foundry)

Foundry also has an active community that imports rule systems and templates for many TTRPGs including D&D. In that location’s also some crossover with D&D Beyond, and as someone who’s heavily invested in that service, Foundry is even more appealing. To employ Foundry, you lot take to buy a license, which is a one-fourth dimension payment of $50. The all-time part is that none of your players have to pay to use information technology.

2. Roll20

Roll20 is arguably the most pop virtual tabletop software out there, and for good reason: it’s relatively easy to use and it’due south free (kind of). Like Foundry, it is web-based and then you don’t have to download annihilation (even equally the GM). It’s also incredibly customizable and has congenital-in tools to easily run most TTRPGs. Information technology doesn’t just focus on D&D either; Roll20 has rulesets for all kinds of games, including Pathfinder and Phone call of Cthulhu.

(Prototype credit: Roll20)

Keep in listen that while Roll20 is complimentary, all of the juicy stuff is locked behind its market. Through its marketplace, you can buy games and art, including maps, tokens, objects and more. If yous don’t have a lot of money, Roll20 can be tough to become into if you desire to get all-out. At that place are subscription tiers of $v per month and $10 per calendar month that give you admission to features like larger upload storage and custom character sheets. Nonetheless, you lot tin easily run an gamble in Roll20 without all of the actress bits.

three. Tabletop Simulator

I’ve clocked 524 hours into Tabletop Simulator, so I tin can confidently say that I have experience using it. Information technology can be the nigh engaging virtual tabletop software and the most annoying in the bunch. Unlike the rest, Tabletop Simulator exists within a iii-dimensional infinite. Information technology isn’t inherently built to hands piece of work with TTRPGs, then there’s some legwork you accept to do and it takes a chip of getting used to.

(Image credit: Tabletop Simulator)

Fortunately, Tabletop Simulator has a very active community, and on top of setting whatever TTRPG y’all want, it’s an easy way to play near any pop board game. All you accept to do is dive into the Steam workshop to look at the mods people have created for the game. It’ll take fourth dimension to set upwardly a game, just in one case you lot do, you can interact with 3D miniatures and fifty-fifty 3D maps. Information technology’s a lot of work, but if you’re committed, Tabletop Simulator can easily be the best virtual tabletop software out at that place. Nevertheless, the game does price $20 and it must be purchased by each histrion, although yous volition find the game oftentimes on sale for $10 so information technology’south not an expensive investment.

4. Astral

Astral is like a mash-up of Roll20 and Foundry VTT. Information technology’due south still web-based and runs on a similar model to Roll20 — information technology’south technically gratuitous, simply there are subscription tiers as well as a market. One of the unique features of Astral is its dynamic visual FX. It makes your game more than engaging than using your average static battlemap. There are fifty-fifty tabs to keep track of initiative and a tab for quick creatures that yous can pop — as a GM, this is ridiculously useful.

(Image credit: Astral)

Astral likewise gives you costless access to a number of game systems, including D&D 5e, The Witcher Pen and Paper RPG and Vampire: The Masquerade. Of the virtual tabletop software apps, I found Astral was the easiest to non but ready a game on, merely to get-go creating and run a session. Keep in mind that at the basic tier, yous tin can only upload upwardly to 1GB of content, which can run low quickly if you’re balancing high-res maps and waves of epic soundtracks.

v. Fantasy Grounds

Fantasy Grounds has been around for a long fourth dimension, and unlike some of the virtual tabletop software on here, yous have to download it. Out of all of my testing, I found information technology the most difficult virtual tabletop software to get into for several reasons. Firstly, admittedly nil is gratuitous. At that place is a demo version for people to try out, but you can’t play with people unless you know someone who owns the $150 license. Secondly, it looks as old as it is, and for software start developed in 2004, that’south not a skillful thing.

(Image credit: Fantasy Grounds)

However, information technology is 1 of the few virtual tabletop software on this list with purchasable books congenital within its system. The software itself is nevertheless pretty customizable and presents a very retro RPG aesthetic, if that’s what you lot’re into. I’m non the biggest fan of Fantasy Grounds, simply you tin create some truly wild things with it.

vi. TaleSpire

TaleSpire is a brand new three-dimensional virtual tabletop software completely built around TTRPGs. It’s like if Tabletop Simulator was made specifically for D&D and the genre of roleplaying games. The pros of TaleSpire is that you can exist super creative with map building and your players will go the best possible vision of what’s happening effectually them.

Best virtual tabletop software

(Image credit: Bouncyrock Entertainment)

The con of TaleSpire is that all of the players need to own the game in order to play, and since information technology’s a $25 purchase, you’re taking a chance. However, the cheapest way to play is if the GM purchases a re-create for themself and then stream their screen for their players. Overall, I’ve had a lot of fun messing around with TaleSpire. I haven’t run a session in it nevertheless, but I programme to at some point. Even Dimension twenty has jumped on the TaleSpire bandwagon, with their new show, The 7.

Rami Tabari is an Editor for Laptop Magazine. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You tin find him sitting at his desk surrounded past a hoarder’s dream of laptops, and when he navigates his style out to culture, y’all can catch him watching actually bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’due south the best at every game and he simply doesn’t lose. That’due south why you lot’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-similar challenge.


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