Last time I talked about VTTs broadly and the two categories I sort them into core VTTs and smart VTTs. My preferences in order are Foundry VTT, Role, Owlbear, Rollwithme.xyz. I will “fall back” down the list based on the support of a game, an effort for me to support that game.
If I had my druthers every game I want to run would be supported in Foundry VTT and implemented/commissioned by Free League Publishing 🤣. Twilight 2000 and Forbidden Lands are my high bars for Smart VTT support. I haven’t looked at D&D 5E in Foundry, but I’m betting it’s pretty slick too! I’m looking to run some Cortex Prime soon, superheroes in my Lifted setting, and some BX-inspired Cortex stuff. There is a Cortex implementation in Foundry. I don’t like it —like I don’t like okra: it's just not for me. I can DIY and make a Cortex Prime system and module for Foundry that I do like. I would do this if I plan to run a significant number of sessions. It is an effort to implement good Foundry support for a game system.
Root RPG is another game I’d like to run. It isn’t in Foundry either. I wouldn’t code support for it, but it would be nice to have some automation for character sheets and dice. Role then is a good pick, the effort to create is less than Foundry. It’s a drag and drop activity to make shareable character sheets; a little bit of logic to add some “Smarts” to the different widgets and dice. I would put in the effort here, I’m likely to run Root for 4-6+ sessions and it would be worth it.
Fading Suns RPG I also have an interest in running. It has no support on Role or Foundry, possibly not even Roll20. I’m also not putting in any work for VTT support here —I don’t know if I like the game experience yet. In this case, the players will have to track their own ‘paper’ character data and we’d use Owlbear if maps, images, and tokens are important; Rollwithme.xyz if it’s just dice.
Pick-up games, one-shots I’ll reach for Owlbear and Rollwithme.xyz with some Google Docs support. These two have almost zero tech issues across player computer setups. That’s important to me when I don’t want to waste time solving browser tech issues. Some folk’s browsers have trouble with Foundry VTT and Role and Roll20. Smart VTTs require more from a browser.
Mad Jay hacks.
Ideally, I’d have a generic play-set in Foundry VTT. I’d then fall back to a core VTT because of technical issues. I have a “generic” sheet for Role I made and make improvements to. Its one job is to not care about systems like a core VTT, but use images, dice, and generic widgets like smart VTTs. [I’ll add a link here to it so you can clone and/or use it] I hope to clear some space-time to do the same for Foundry VTT. An implementation where it just behaves like a digital table, tables don’t know D&D from GURPs. I believe this helps all the game systems that won’t get VTT support and makes it possible to just jump in and just play a game.
Next, I’ll do a link post of Smart VTTs and Core VTTs that are still active out there and my thoughts. Let me know if there is anything else here you want me to cover around VTTs for roleplaying games.