You’ve just downloaded a demo of a program called “Fantasy Grounds” hoping to play a game with your friends. Upon installing it you see a screen below:
You can a) click on the User Manual to figure out what to do next, OR, b) you can read my entertaining article instead. I am hoping you opt for option b.
Imagine that you are sitting at a table set for six. You and four of your friends sit in four of the chairs and in the final chair at the head of the table, you see a man sitting behind a fancy screen. He peeks out above the screen and greets you:
“Welcome to my table. Let me introduce myself. I am your GM (otherwise known as the Game Master). I am here to guide you on a journey through a far away kingdom, where you will portray characters of your own making, learning skills, solving puzzles, and perhaps even fighting monsters. To join, you only have to create your character, and we can begin.”
Now, imagine that table is online. Yes, it’s a virtual table now. Fantasy Grounds is also known as a Virtual Table Top game. Next, you will login to the Fantasy Grounds program and click the “Join Game” option. Having met this GM online, he gives you what is known as an alias, which is the address to his virtual table.
From there your GM will lead you to create your characters, and once everyone has their character created, your GM will begin to describe to you a story, be that fantasy, sci-fi, a western town, or something you’ve never experienced before. You can then immerse yourself into that story, and take on the traits and skills of the character you have created.
Imagination is a fun thing, and so is playing in a story with other people, some you may have never met before. Because Fantasy Grounds can be combined with a Discord (or other type of communication software) it’s almost like those others are in the same room with you, even though they may be across town, in another state or providence, or halfway across the globe. There comes another benefit of playing in Fantasy Grounds, and that is the socialization and friendships that can develop with other players in your party. A chance encounter within the game can lead to a lasting friendship you will cherish forever.
Create the character that you wish
Learn what sorts of actions you can do in combat
Locate where things are on the table
And if you’re really bold, you can one day become that guy behind the screen… the GM. (Note, that I’m using a male character just for the purposes of this short article. There are many female GMs out there as well.) Hopefully one day, one of them will be me.
After joining the FGC Discord server, you will find yourself in our #college-chat channel, where a helpful staff member (or sometimes another student) will direct you to find a class, or even a practice game after you’ve learned about how to use Fantasy Grounds. Our practice games are tailored for new players, so don’t worry that anyone will make fun of you.
If you would like to download the Demo for Fantasy Grounds, you can do so through Steam at Fantasy Grounds Demo.
Another option would be to purchase a subscription direct from Fantasy Grounds (SmiteWorks). There are plans from $3.99 a month for a standard license, and there is a 30 day money back guarantee if you don’t like it. Or, you can purchase a license directly from that same link for a one-time fee of $39.00.
We at Fantasy Grounds College are fans of the Fantasy Grounds program, and advocate its use in playing D&D and other RPGs online. We are not affiliated or officially endorsed by SmiteWorks USA LLC or Fantasy Grounds.