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  1. #1

    I'm still trying to decide if Fantasy Grounds is what I need.

    So far I've been a strictly Old School DM. My current Adventure written on a clipboard. Stacks of papers, books, DM screen, Dice, Dice Tower, etc. However. I just got a new laptop. I want to use it to help reduce the clutter in front of me when I DM. Strictly speaking, I don't need a VTT, because I don't plan on playing remotely. A Campaign Manager would be just as useful.

    All I really want is something that will get my maps, player's character sheets, enemy lists, and maybe some of the books where I can access them quickly. With occasionally casting a map onto the TV so I can share it easily with my players (Simple enough since my laptop has a built in HDMI cable and I can set the TV up as a second monitor). I like the idea of having auto generated party and encounter sheets so I can do a quick reference without having to read the entire Character Sheet or Stat Block. I can't just use something like D&D Beyond, because I play multiple Systems.

    I got myself the current Three Month Standard Subscription for the price of one, so I can try Fantasy Grounds out and see if it'll work for me... It's coming over as way more complicated than I need. I'm finding it counterintuitive and inflexible... but it's only been a couple of days.

    The question is, should I stick with Fantasy Grounds, keep trying to find a Campaign Manager, or just use productivity software?

  2. #2
    JohnD's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Johnstown ON
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    There's a 30-day no questions asked return policy if you buy from the FG Store (i.e. not Steam).
    "I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind."

    - John Diefenbaker

    RIP Canada, February 21, 2022

  3. #3
    I started using FG as campaign management software in 2019.
    NPC statblocks, GM rolls, story reference...
    Then ended up using it for remote play in 2020 through now.
    IMO it does both very well.

  4. #4
    Some my gaming group is spread out around the country and sometimes the globe I originally got the software so we could game more frequently. The last few times we've come together we pretty much use Fantasy Grounds to quickly handle the tactical stuff using laptops and freeing us to interact more on the role playing side. Plus I find it easier to find rules or other info faster in FG and displaying images or maps is faster (and way less ink).

    It takes time to get used to Fantasy Grounds but it can do a lot of things to benefit a campaign.

  5. #5
    LordEntrails's Avatar
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    May 2015
    -7 UTC
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    Going from paper to digital is a big shift. Years ago I made the shift because of work (I ended up travelling all the time). I made the shift for work itself. I used to carry around notebooks, paper maps, and all that. And finally when I realized I was dragging around 40 pounds of paper that was a PITA, I made a decision one day to go all digital. This was before 5E and FG for me. It was a huge shift from my old way of doing things. Today I can't image dealing with all the old papers and filing cabinets etc that I used.

    So when I went to pic up with 5E in 2015, I looked for digital options. At the time, there wasn't much competition in the D&D digital realm, today their is more.

    If you decide the digital shift is for you, FG is an awesome choice. My opinion the best, but it's not the only one (for 5E or just RPG campaign management). I think you should stick with it, look into a class or two from FG Academy. Connect with Discord. Ask questions and dive in. In the end, I think you will find it well worth it.

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  6. #6
    damned's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
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    FG is definitely aimed at being used for actual play.
    Its a solid campaign manager but the magic is in assisting actual game play.
    Whatever you choose - keep on gaming.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by PuckGoodfellow00 View Post
    Strictly speaking, I don't need a VTT, because I don't plan on playing remotely. A Campaign Manager would be just as useful...
    It's coming over as way more complicated than I need. I'm finding it counterintuitive and inflexible... but it's only been a couple of days...
    The question is, should I stick with Fantasy Grounds, keep trying to find a Campaign Manager, or just use productivity software?
    I was in the same postion 10 years ago. I wanted a Campaign Manager. Nothing more. I was travelling a lot and just needed a convenient way to store my stuff. With that only in mind. I agree FG is going to feel very counterintuitive and inflexible for you. It is a VTT which you say you don't need. There are other Campaign Manager options out the but there no point in doing a comparison here against FG. It is very different product. All will say is the problem with going with an alternative to FG is you will eventually come across something it can't do. Then your trapped in a dead end with the alternative to FG. After getting a basic Campaign Manager I quickley wanted to project maps. Does that sound familiar story ?

    I think for about my first 3 years in my case, FG classic for was just part of a projector. Then I found it very nessary to have dice macros. That knocked out some of the competition right there. I very soon wanted more quality of life improvements. Then my friends grew up and I got too busy doing other stuff like paying bills. This made an organising a group of gamers worst that hearding cats. So I needed a basic VTT to play online and then a bit more later ... so it goes on down the years. Recently I need a quick art tool for drawing maps. Got that already covered inside FG too. FG takes a while to learn. Getting a good work flow going with other tools takes practice. It can be quite annoying a times. However it gets the job done and community around it is great and helping me.

    So right now, I can say that FG might be not be right tool you want. However in your gaming future it might the tool you need and that is something worth thinking about.
    Ultimate License holder.
    Over 10 years on Fantasy Grounds !

  8. #8
    As others have said, there is a nice 30-day money back option (no questions asked). A good chance to check it out. For my home group, we have migrated to FG at the physical table as a good number of the players like that lots of the fiddly is handled by the program. I like tactical combats so FG really works for me and does a good job with the campaign management along the way. But I can see why you are feeling its overkill to do the latter.

    But if that does not work for you, there seems to have been an explosion in PKM programs (personal knowledge management). I am really likely Obsidian MD (md is for markdown) - not to be confused with Obsidian Portal. This will do exactly what you outlined. A guy name Joshua Plunkett has been one of the drivers in exploring how to use Obsidian for TTRPGs. If you have heard of Realm Works by Lone Wolf, he was big into that software until LW decided they were not going to continue its development. Here is a link to a FB group where he has posted some videos on how to get started. Note that the main program is free. The only purchases if you want to sync across devices or "publish" your knowledge vault.


  9. #9
    Getting some classes at the Academy would probably help.


  10. #10
    Sorry everyone. I didn't mean to post and run. I just got really busy the last couple of days.

    I only paid for the $4 option right now. So I really don't need a refund. It's worth it for me to try to decide if I want to keep using Fantasy Grounds.

    Honestly, my biggest stumbling block is the need to purchase all the rule sets. I don't mind an occasional purchase, like the $10 each for either Deluxe or SWADE Savage Worlds. However, 5e has so many books that are necessary, and really expensive. While I'm having trouble figuring out how to just add the occasional trait like it was homebrew.

    I appreciate the links to the classes. I should definitely take a look through them.

    I kinda have my eye on Foundry or Astral... Foundry may be as much trouble to get used to as Fantasy Grounds, but has the advantage of not needing as much money sunk into it. (I'm not bad with technology, so the need to download tweaks isn't a barrier. I'm a bit more of a Hardware guy though) Unfortunately, there's no way for me to figure out the DM side experience without buying Foundry... I found Astral much more intuitive than Fantasy Grounds. I'm just avoiding getting into Astral too deeply because I saw that it's future is uncertain. My friend who's had to switch to a VTT because of current events, was using Roll 20, and said that he and his group are switching to Fantasy Grounds.

    I'm definitely going to look into Obsidian MD, or I may stick with Libreoffice and Acrobat.

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