You don’t necessarily demand the best virtual tabletop software to have a expert fourth dimension playing Dungeons & Dragons or any other tabletop role-playing game out in that location. But it certainly helps. As a game master, I know how of import it is to know which virtual tabletop works best for your group and for the type of game you’re playing. I’ve bounced around between several of them, and so I can help you decide which is the best virtual tabletop software to use for your needs.
Of course, before you dive into what virtual tabletop software is best, nosotros need to know what game you lot’re playing commencement. If you’re into D&D, we have a general guide on
how to play D&D online. Nosotros also have specific guides for groups willing to get a little more personal, like our
D&D tech tips: How to set up webcams
page. But if you’re new to D&D, bank check out our guide of
how to make a D&D character. If yous accept time, bank check out our Life is Foreign: True Colors review — A story I won’t forget, which has a graphic symbol that is canonically a Critter (fan of Critical Role).
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While D&D has had a wild surge in popularity in recent years cheers to shows like
Disquisitional Role, D&D is non the only TTRPG. There are enough of popular and fun TTRPGs to play, like Call of Cthulhu, Shadowrun and Blades in the Dark. A few TTRPGs I’1000 currently eyeing are The Witcher Office-Playing Game and the Contradistinct Carbon Role Playing Game (I’thou still grieving,
Netflix). If you’re a DM looking for epic songs, we accept the all-time D&D soundtracks for every scenario. And if you’re looking for video games similar D&D, check out Baldur’southward Gate 3. D&D fans will be happy to know that we’ll get the Critical Part: Call of the Netherdeep take chances volume on March 15, and the new Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse sourcebook on May 17. Sorcerer of the Coast also unveiled a new D&D rules are coming in 2024, but we accept some rules y’all tin can add to your games correct at present to spice them upward. The Fable of Vocalism Machina animated series has as well recent debuted on Amazon Prime.
After you’ve picked which TTRPG to play with friends, you tin determine which is the all-time virtual tabletop software for yous.
What is the best virtual tabletop software?
There are quite a few slap-up virtual tabletop programs out there, but finding the best one for your specific game is more important than simply using the most expensive 1. My personal favorite is Foundry Virtual Tabletop due to its customizability and relatively affordable price. It 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 information technology handles its music role player. However, if y’all’re looking for free, piece of cake-to-use software, endeavour Roll20, a popular virtual tabletop software.
If y’all’re looking for something more anarchistic and don’t heed spending a bit of coin, Tabletop Simulator is a corking software to host your TTRPG games. Thanks to its 3-dimensional nature, information technology feels more engaging than your average 2D software. You tin can fifty-fifty hop into this game in VR. Nonetheless, for something like to Foundry but for gratis (to an extent), then go with Astral, which is a great virtual tabletop software that gives you access to a ridiculous number of rule sets.
Those who like erstwhile-school TTRPG tin try out Fantasy Grounds, a highly customizable admitting somewhat hard-to-use software. It can get pricier than the residue of the entries on this list, so keep that in mind. There are also plenty of virtual tabletop software apps that we didn’t become to mention on this listing, like Tableplop and Let’s Part, which are likewise viable options.
1. Foundry Virtual Tabletop
Foundry Virtual Tabletop is currently my go-to virtual tabletop for my own home game. It’due south a super customizable web-based software that gives you admission to almost everything you demand to create and run a TTRPG game. You can easily import maps that y’all create equally JPEGs and it’ll layer a usable grid over the top so players can move their characters around during combat or judge the time of travel over long distances. One of my favorite features is the power to layer music on superlative of each other, then you can mix an atmospheric track with an bodily musical rails.
Foundry too has an active community that imports dominion systems and templates for many TTRPGs including D&D. There’s also some crossover with D&D Beyond, and as someone who’southward heavily invested in that service, Foundry is even more highly-seasoned. To use Foundry, you have to buy a license, which is a ane-time payment of $50. The all-time part is that none of your players accept to pay to use it.
Roll20 is arguably the most popular virtual tabletop software out there, and for good reason: it’s relatively easy to utilise and it’s free (kind of). Like Foundry, it is web-based so you lot don’t take to download anything (fifty-fifty equally the GM). It’s as well incredibly customizable and has congenital-in tools to easily run well-nigh TTRPGs. It doesn’t just focus on D&D either; Roll20 has rulesets for all kinds of games, including Pathfinder and Call of Cthulhu.
Keep in listen that while Roll20 is free, all of the juicy stuff is locked backside its marketplace. Through its marketplace, you tin buy games and art, including maps, tokens, objects and more than. If yous don’t have a lot of money, Roll20 can be tough to get into if y’all want to go all-out. There are subscription tiers of $5 per month and $10 per calendar month that give you admission to features like larger upload storage and custom graphic symbol sheets. However, you can easily run an risk in Roll20 without all of the extra $.25.
3. Tabletop Simulator
I’ve clocked 524 hours into Tabletop Simulator, so I tin confidently say that I have feel using it. Information technology tin be the most engaging virtual tabletop software and the most annoying in the bunch. Unlike the rest, Tabletop Simulator exists within a 3-dimensional infinite. It isn’t inherently built to hands work with TTRPGs, so at that place’s some legwork you accept to do and information technology takes a bit of getting used to.
Fortunately, Tabletop Simulator has a very active community, and on superlative of setting whatsoever TTRPG you want, it’s an easy way to play virtually whatever popular lath game. All you lot accept to do is dive into the Steam workshop to await at the mods people have created for the game. It’ll take time to fix a game, just once you lot exercise, you tin interact with 3D miniatures and even 3D maps. Information technology’s a lot of piece of work, but if yous’re committed, Tabletop Simulator tin easily be the all-time virtual tabletop software out there. However, the game does toll $20 and information technology must be purchased past each role player, although you will detect the game frequently on auction for $10 so it’s not an expensive investment.
Astral is like a brew-up of Roll20 and Foundry VTT. It’s notwithstanding spider web-based and runs on a similar model to Roll20 — it’s technically free, but there are subscription tiers as well as a marketplace. One of the unique features of Astral is its dynamic visual FX. It makes your game more engaging than using your boilerplate static battlemap. There are even tabs to continue rails of initiative and a tab for quick creatures that y’all can popular — as a GM, this is ridiculously useful.
Astral also gives you free 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 institute Astral was the easiest to non only gear up a game on, simply to start creating and run a session. Proceed in mind that at the basic tier, you can simply upload up to 1GB of content, which can run depression quickly if you’re balancing high-res maps and waves of epic soundtracks.
5. Fantasy Grounds
Fantasy Grounds has been effectually for a long time, and different some of the virtual tabletop software on hither, you have to download information technology. Out of all of my testing, I plant information technology the most hard virtual tabletop software to get into for several reasons. Firstly, admittedly nada is gratis. In that location is a demo version for people to try out, merely you can’t play with people unless y’all know someone who owns the $150 license. Secondly, it looks as erstwhile as information technology is, and for software outset developed in 2004, that’southward not a skilful thing.
However, it is ane of the few virtual tabletop software on this list with purchasable books built within its system. The software itself is yet pretty customizable and presents a very retro RPG aesthetic, if that’s what you’re into. I’1000 not the biggest fan of Fantasy Grounds, just you tin create some truly wild things with it.
half dozen. TaleSpire
TaleSpire is a brand new three-dimensional virtual tabletop software completely built effectually 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 yous can be super artistic with map building and your players volition get the all-time possible vision of what’south happening effectually them.
The con of TaleSpire is that all of the players demand to own the game in order to play, and since it’s a $25 purchase, you’re taking a take a chance. However, the cheapest way to play is if the GM purchases a re-create for themself and 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 information technology yet, but I program to at some bespeak. Even Dimension xx has jumped on the TaleSpire bandwagon, with their new evidence, The Seven.