Keeping It Together (Rugged Reroll Dev Blog #4)

The Roll20 Team

The Roll20 Team


Today’s Rugged Reroll update features great improvements to help you keep everyone on the same page…or split up the group if that’s more your style.

Journal Improvements

We’ve seen a lot of people begin to use the Journal feature in Roll20 to keep track of characters and handouts; but in addition GMs are beginning to keep track of notes about the world, such as places the players have been, or important pieces of lore. In Rugged Reroll, we’re expanding the functionality of the Journal in several key ways:

Access the Journal From Outside the Game

In Rugged Reroll, we’re introducing a new feature that allows you to view your Journal entries outside of the app, in the same area where you view details about the campaign or access the campaign forums. This is great for checking up on things in-between gaming sessions without the hassle of loading up the whole tabletop. You can also keep the external Journal open in a separate tab or browser window, or even on another screen.

In addition, the external Journal updates in real-time. So if a change is made to a character’s bio, you don’t need to reload, you’ll see the change right away. This really enables you to use the external Journal as a play aid during your Roll20 games. Eventually, we plan to allow you to edit the Journal entries in the external Journal as well, but this is a little ways off.

Link Between Journal Entries

In addition to accessing your journal outside of the game, we’re making it easier to link your journal entries together inside the game. Just put single brackets around the name of a character or handout (for example: “The [Elf Queen] is most-known for her long, flowing hair”), and when you save the entry we’ll automatically create a clickable link that will open that other journal entry. It works both inside and outside the app, and it’s smart enough to obey player permissions as well (so a player can’t open a handout they don’t have access to, even if they see a link to that handout).

You can use the links in character bios, GM notes (both for characters and tokens), and handout notes fields. Use links to tie entries together, or even create a “table of contents” page for your campaign to quickly access your most-used journal items.

Journal Speed Improvements

We’re also greatly speeding up the load times of campaigns that have significant numbers of journal entries. Now large blocks of text (such as the bios and notes fields) will only be fetched from the server when you actually access them for the first time – so you can have as many entries as you’d like without worrying about slowing down your players!

Split the Party

in addition to the Journal improvements, we realize that sometimes you want to keep players in the dark in regard to what’s happening to each one another. Currently, Roll20 only allows a single “player bookmark” to allow players to all view a single page. In Rugged Reroll, we’re expanding that functionality to allow you to individually specify what page each player should be on.

As with everything in Roll20, we’ve worked hard to make this as easy and intuitive as possible. Just drag the player’s name/avatar from the bottom player area and drop it onto a page in the top page toolbar. A little picture representing that player will appear on the page, indicating that the player is now assigned to that page. You can then drag the player’s icon between pages to change them to a new page, or you can drag the icon on to the player bookmark to put that player back with the rest of the group. Players that you haven’t specifically assigned to a page will just stay on whatever page the player bookmark is on – so you can split off one party member easily without needing to micromanage them all.

Turn Tracker Changes

Allowing players to be on more than one page necessitated a few other changes, the largest of which was a change to the way the Turn Tracker works. Currently, the Turn Tracker can only track tokens from a single page – you have to close and re-open the tracker when you switch to a new page.

In Rugged Reroll, the Turn Tracker can track tokens from any combination of pages, and there’s no need to close it when switching between pages. The GM sees all items in the list, but players will only see the items that are located on their current page.

Show Off Your Campaign

Along with the new external Journal feature, we’re enabling a new option called “Public Campaign Access.” This is an opt-in (meaning you have to choose to enable it) feature which allows anyone (even non-Roll20 users) to view your campaign’s information. They can view the campaign details page, your campaign journal (the new outside-the-app one), and the campaign forums. However, they’re restricted to only viewing journal entries that you have set to “All Players”, and they can’t post anything in the forums.

This is a great option for live streamers or others who want to show off their hard work, by allowing viewers who aren’t actively participating in your campaign to get a peek at your lore and activity between sessions.

Customize Your Campaign Page

We’re also letting you customize your campaign’s details and looking for group listings pages for the first time. Under the new “Campaign Settings” option, you can choose from several different backgrounds to replace the default “grey linen” background that appears on the page. And for our Supporter and Mentor subscribers, these backgrounds are in motion, adding an extra-cool effect to your campaign and setting it apart. We intend to have a full library of these backgrounds for you to choose from by the time Rugged Reroll launches in December.

Rugged Reroll: Coming Soon!

As with our previous updates, these features are all available today on the Dev Server for our Mentor subscribers to begin testing and providing feedback on. They’ll launch officially in December along with all the other new features coming in Rugged Reroll.

See you next Friday for another update!

The Roll20 Team Roll20

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