Roll20 began with a simple idea: create the best experience for playing tabletop games online when you couldn’t get together in person. We’ve always focused on bringing the physical table to your remote games, replicate the classic experience whenever possible. At the same time we’ve endeavored to take advantage of all the awesome enhancements that digital gameplay can offer, such as faster rolling via our easy-to-use Character Sheets, advanced communication via chat, and limitless customization via our comprehensive API.
Today we’re pleased to announce that we’re expanding our core mission in a significant way: we want Roll20 to be the best companion for your games, online or in-person.
Building on what we’ve learned from the past two years of community feedback and our journey to nearly 700,000 players, we’re giving you the first sneak peek at the new Roll20 for iPad and Roll20 for Andorid apps, part of the Update of Holding coming in Q1 2015.
Optimized for In-Person Play
While supporters have been able to enjoy the full Roll20 Virtual Tabletop on your mobile tablet for some time, that experience has always been geared toward playing with a fully-remote group.
The new Roll20 tablet apps are designed from the ground up to enhance (but not overwhelm) an in-person setting. Each player’s tablet serves as a “digital Character Sheet”, with some additional capability such as chat. The GM can use a laptop with the full version of Roll20 as the ultimate GM screen for running the game.
Roll20 for iPad and for Android Apps offers features that will help your group play faster and stay more organized, while at the same time keeping your players from having their heads buried in their tablet screens. It’s also designed so you can use as many or as few of the features as you’d like to match your group’s play style.
The core feature of the new Roll20 tablet experience is our amazing Character Sheets. Thanks to the contributions of our community members, we now support over 70 popular RPG and tabletop games, including Pathfinder, every edition of Dungeons and Dragons, Numenera and The Strange, Dungeon World, and a dizzying number of additional systems.
Roll20’s Character Sheets are true to their paper counterparts, retaining a familiar yet distinct feel, while bringing an easy-to-use interface, real-time syncing for everyone around the table, and built-in dice rolling macros for speeding up gameplay. For your in-person game, everyone around the table can be up and running in a minute. No more keeping track of paper sheets, and the GM always has access to all the latest up-to-date information on what’s going on with each player. And if you have a newer player at your table, our sheets help aid in quickly getting up to speed with common rolls such as skill checks and attacks, so you spend less time figuring out modifiers and more time telling your story.
In addition to sheets, the Roll20 App of course supports our great Handouts system, allowing you to quickly share art, descriptions, puzzles, background information, secret notes, and more with everyone or specific players with a quick tap. Eliminate the need for wasting paper and get more organized!
Dice Rolling (and Improved 3D Dice!)
The perfect pair to our Character Sheets is our powerful dice system. With the ability to store commonly-used rolls as Macros (simplifying that complicated attack roll down to a single tap!), variables from Character Sheets, prompts, and more, there’s more to Roll20 dice than just rolling a d20. You can now bring all of that impressive rolling capability to your in-person tabletop, speeding up your gameplay and providing a handy record of what’s been rolled.
In addition to the dice system, rolling has never looked better thanks to a greatly improved 3D Dice system, that now rolls faster, is easier to read, and for the first time is backed by our one-of-a-kind QuantumRoll technology, guaranteeing absolute fairness in your rolls.
Of course you can also roll your own physical dice in-person – it’s whatever works best for your group!
We’ve integrated our handy chat system, with support for in-character and out-of-character messages, emotes, descriptions, and whispers both to player and characters. Great for keeping your in-character or out-of-character chatter, or for notifying players or the GM about secret information, performing hidden spot checks, and more. And since we provide an archive of all your game’s chat automatically, you can quickly review previous sessions anytime.
Stay Connected, Whatever Lies Ahead
You can start using the new Roll20 App with your existing games, or create a new one. Every Roll20 game is fully backed by our entire service, which means that you can switch between playing remotely via our virtual tabletop, or in-person with the new App, anytime. If your group can’t meet up in person due to distance or time constraints, you’ve already got an easy way to start playing online. And you can even mix-and-match, having a player or two play remotely using the Roll20 site while the rest of your group plays in-person on tablets. The App even works great as a second screen for GMs or players who are also using the Roll20 virtual tabletop for remote play and want to have quick access to their character sheet and rolls.
Did we mention it’s FREE?
Our Mentor subscribers will get access to the App during the Beta phase to give feedback and help us fine-tune, starting in just a few weeks – consider upgrading your account today if you want to participate in that process. When the App is publicly released, it will be free for everyone. (Note that some existing Roll20 features such as the API still require a subscription to work with your game, regardless of whether you play in-person or online).
…and even more!
Our full turn tracker system (including our new round formulas for keeping track of mechanics such as buffs) provides everyone with a quick overview of who’s going next. A quick roll GUI if you just need to roll a quick d6. And all of our other great Roll20 features are still active behind-the-scenes for your game, such as our API, enabling even more possibility for your game.
_And one more Coming Soon tease for the Update of Holding…
The Roll20 Compendium
Nothing slows your game down more than a rules lookup. The Roll20 App will feature full support for our new Roll20 Compendium, a community-curated repository of information on the basics (such as spell definitions, stat blocks for the bestiary, class information, and more) of many game systems. Our intent is not to replace needing rule books, but rather to provide a complement to them; so when you see the “Fireball” spell on your Character Sheet and you can’t remember what the range is, a quick tap can tell you that information so you can get on with your game.
We’ll be starting with OGL-licensed information such as the Pathfinder SRD and 3.5 SRD, then working with publishers to expand this repository of helpful information in the future.
We’ll be unveiling more about this exciting new feature in a future blog post.
That’s our first look at the Update of Holding, which will include not only the first version of our Roll20 for iPad and Roll20 for Android apps, but also improved campaign management, our new folder system, the quick-access bar, and improvements to our Looking for Group system. We’ll be unveiling more information about this update as we get closer to launch. As always, your ongoing support is what makes these updates happen– thanks to all of our community for being engaged, and hope you’re excited about the coming months!