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Expectations and Insights: A Guide to Online RPG Play with Fantasy Grounds Unity VTT

Playing tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder has never been more accessible, thanks to the advent of virtual platforms. One such platform is the Fantasy Grounds Unity, a virtual tabletop (VTT) platform that allows you to play your favorite tabletop RPGs online. Here's a guide on how to use Fantasy Grounds Unity to play D&D online or Pathfinder.


Benefits and Drawbacks

Advantages

1.) Scheduling Convenience: The biggest challenge for most RPG groups isn't the in-game monsters but scheduling conflicts. Fantasy Grounds Unity makes it easier to organize sessions as it eliminates the need for physical presence. Players can join from anywhere, making it possible to maintain a campaign even if a player relocates.


2.) Streamlined Gameplay: Once you're familiar with the platform, Fantasy Grounds Unity can significantly streamline gameplay. It automates elements of the rules, reducing the need for manual calculations. It also allows you to switch between different battle maps and introduce NPCs and monsters instantly, rather than searching through physical miniatures.


Drawbacks

1.) Distractions: Online sessions can be more prone to distractions. Players might be tempted to check social media or play video games during downtime. However, good GM practices can help mitigate this issue.

2 .) Shorter Sessions: Online sessions tend to be shorter than in-person ones. While you might be comfortable playing for six hours or more around a physical table, online sessions usually last two to three hours.


Getting Started

1 .) Voice Chat: To start, you'll need a way to communicate online. While there are many options, Discord is a reliable choice. It allows for easy voice chat, sharing of images or videos during play, and saving useful rules information and maps. You can also use it to send secret messages to certain players or pull them into a separate room for a scene when they get separated from the group.


3.) Rulebooks: You'll need a digital copy of the game rules. With some rulesets like Paizo's Pathfinder, one can purchase PDFs of almost any RPG on various online platforms. It's good practice to ensure every player has access to the basic rules to avoid slowing down the game.



Fantasy Grounds Unity

This VTT platform offers interactive battle maps, built-in dice rolling tools, and the ability to share visual elements of your game. It can also automate elements of the rules and host interactive character sheets. However, be prepared to invest some time in learning the platform before you start playing. It will take a few session to get a feel for the platform and the nuances of connecting and play.


Tips for Online Play

1.) Staying Focused: Try to minimize distractions by closing other tabs and programs. As a GM, you can keep player focus by providing visual aids and avoiding lengthy pauses in play.

2.) Time Management: Online sessions tend to be shorter, so it's important to use your time well. As a GM, try to ensure that players have ample opportunity to achieve something significant and exciting within the timeframe of each session.

3.) Choosing the Right System: Some RPG systems work better for online play than others. Games that play quickly are often a good choice for online sessions. Fantasy Grounds Unity, with its automation of rules and easy setup of combats and visual elements, can be ideal for online play if you've done the right prep.

4.) Experimentation: Playing online gives you a lot of room to experiment and take advantage of the medium. You can play audio or video for your players, use voice-changing software, build digital vision boards to convey the look and feel of a new setting, and use private messages to sow a web of secrets among your players for juicy inter-party tension.


Remember, the goal is to create memorable moments and enjoy the game. Good luck with your online games on Fantasy Grounds Unity!


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