posted Wednesday, October 22nd 2008 by
Dungeon Mastering Advice
Even in this age of massively multiplayer videogame RPGs, I have a lot of friends who enjoy traditional roleplaying games online in some form. I’ve seen play-by-email, message board games and real-time games on internet chat – in fact I’ve written a free dice handler to aid real-time text-based Dungeons & Dragons games.
As the game further develops the use of miniatures, however, you’re going to increasingly benefit from an online miniatures simulator, and WotC’s official table software isn’t here yet. That’s where Gametable comes in.
Gametable is a free application you can use to simulate a tabletop grid online. It supports square grids, hex grids, and grid-free. You can draw on the ‘board’ like a dry-erase whiteboard, and place round graphic miniatures (called ‘pogs’) which players can move around the map.
The program has some features which impress me over other software of its kind. Gametable allows you to do a “colour erase”, rubbing out one colour of drawing without damaging the others. This is useful for drawing annotations such as spell areas, then erasing these quickly without rubbing out part of the map. You can also annotate pogs with names and attributes, signifying status effects or hit points.
Gametable also handles dice and text-based chat, although you’ll need to install a third-party program like Ventrilo for voice chat. The program doesn’t try to do everything, and won’t adjudicate game rules, which task is left to the DM as usual. You’ll also need a separate character sheet, which is something you can handle on paper as usual or a digital character sheet like my text-based character sheet, Yeoz’s text-based character sheet or Yeoz’s Excel character sheet.
You can download Gametable here.
Update (26th July 2012): There’s a new tabletop tool in the works that looks interesting. It’s called Tabletop Forge and it runs over Google+.