About this project
Thanks to everyone in the RPG community for your support! This has been a truly amazing experience for the entire Roll20 team, and we'll do our best to live up to the high expectations you've set for us and for this project. If you're finding this Kickstarter after it's over, you can always find the latest information on Roll20 at our website: http://roll20.net/
Less than 24 hours to go and 700% funded! The incredible outpouring of enthusiasm and support for this project has been overwhelming. Our thanks to everyone out there pledging and spreading the word for making this possible.
As exciting as it is to reach our original goal, it's still important to keep pledging. Every dollar that we raise goes to fund development. $5,000 is the bare minimum required to get this project done. If we raise more, we get to make Roll20 even better. Here are a few of the other things that we'd love to do if we have more time and resources:
- Add support for more dice systems, like FATE and Shadowrun, as well as more unique mechanics that some RPGs require like card decks. (In progress! Check out Update #4)
- Support for hex grids (In progress!)
- Give everyone more upload space at launch.
- Add additional storytelling-focused features, like special effects the DM can trigger.
- Finish sooner than we estimated!
In addition, pledging at the Hero level or above is the only way to ensure that your group will get to start playing in the closed beta, rather than waiting until we launch in a few months. It's also the best way to be able to provide feedback to help us make Roll20 the virtual tabletop you want to use.
So even though we've crossed the finish line, please keep pledging! Every dollar makes Roll20 better.
And to those of you who have already backed us, we are eternally grateful for your support, and we can't wait to let you start using Roll20!
Roll20 brings pen and paper role playing games online the right way, by focusing on storytelling and camaraderie rather than gameplay mechanics.
While looking through the current virtual tabletop offerings, we were struck with a realization: we don’t want to turn our pen and paper gaming into a video game. Unfortunately, that’s what all of the current alternatives offer, with features centered around scripting, automatic damage calculation, and detailed stats tracking. This focus requires that the game master spend far too much time preparing the adventure, and it removes all of the magic from the GM and instead tries to put it in the hands of a computer.
Roll20 takes a different approach. It aims to be lightweight and nimble, so that you can get up and running with your game as quickly as possible. There’s nothing to download, install, or configure, for you or your players, so you don’t need to be a computer guru just to get it working. It features powerful tools to help bring your gaming group together, including video chat, a graphical tabletop, text chat that persists between sessions, and a journal feature to let you share character information and handouts with specific players. It’s also designed to allow the GM to improvise on the fly during your sessions, making it easy to quickly sketch out an encounter and add tokens. Finally, it’s system agnostic, so it can work well with any RPG system, including indie RPGs.
Roll20 is about bringing what’s great about in-person tabletop gaming -- the people -- and translating that experience online as faithfully as possible, without trying to do too much. We are asking for your help, both financially and through feedback, to enable us to make this vision a reality.
We’ve already begun working on creating Roll20 in our spare time, but we could use your help to make it available for all. Here’s a quick overview of the current prototype of Roll20, showing off some of the features described below (best viewed in fullscreen 720p HD):
Update! A new video showing off some additional interface features including card decks and new dice rolls:
What is ROLL20?
Roll20 is an online tabletop gaming platform with a focus on storytelling as opposed to game mechanics. This is NOT a video game, but instead a virtual “table” to gather around with friends in order to play any number of role playing games.
Why is it special?
Roll20 is social; you see your friends, you see the gaming table. The intent is to be as customizable and easy to use as any game you might otherwise play with friends gathered in your living room -- even though your party may be gathering from across the globe.
Why does this need funding?
So far Roll20 has been a side project for the involved creators -- created to fill a gap we saw in other similar programs when we tried to play tabletop games with each other online. As the platform developed, we’ve noticed that we’re not alone in our desire for a better tabletop interface. While the program is CLOSE right now, we would like to be able to dedicate more time to eliminating bugs and expanding the system. This means dedicating more time and effort, which as professional freelancers comes at a cost. Your support will help us to speed up this process by focusing our efforts on Roll20.
Why should I pledge?
Because you love tabletop gaming. You enjoy the creativity and camaraderie displayed in these types of worlds, and want to provide yourself and others with a system to keep the spirit of this alive in our global / digital age. Specifically, we’ve tried to offer donation rewards that give you exclusive access to the final stages of assembling Roll20 -- ways to give input and feedback that will have a lasting impact on the program.
What will it cost?
Our hope is that Roll20 will be completely free (as in beer) to use for both players and GMs at launch. We want every RPG fan in the world to be able to use this new system. To pull that off, we need to raise enough money through Kickstarter to develop and host the site for a good long time. There will be limits on the amount of upload space you can use for art you upload from your computer (since that can be expensive for us); pledging at the Mentor level or above will grant you a considerably increased allocation.
We will continue to support the cost of running the site through a 3rd party marketplace of premium content (such as art packs, pre-made campaigns, etc.).
What’s next for Roll20?
In addition to beta testing, we are trying to figure out the best way to implement a marketplace where people can share maps, and campaigns with each other.
Incredibly Easy to Use
You can create your first campaign as a GM in a matter of minutes, by utilizing helpful tools like the art library and built-in tile sets. Everything is drag-and-drop simple. And when you’re ready to invite players to your game, you just send them a link. Since it runs in your browser, Roll20 will work on any platform that supports Firefox or Chrome, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can be up and running.
Video and Voice Chat
The core of playing tabletop games is the experience you share with the other players at the table. Don’t settle for just hearing their voice! The built-in video chat feature lets you feel like you’re all playing in the same room, even if you’re hundreds of miles apart. And again, there’s no difficult setup or configuration required.
The Largest Art Library Around
Virtual tabletops need great art. It’s what helps immerse your players in the game. But, finding all the art you need can be a huge hassle. Roll20 features a wide array of built-in tokens and map tiles from great artists, making finding the art you need a breeze. And if it's not already there, you can quickly find it with the built-in web search. It seamlessly searches through thousands of assets to help you find just the right token or map tile. Then, just drag and drop.
The ease of use and breadth of scope make creating adventures a quick and painless process like never before.
Jukebox to play background music
A key component missing from many roleplaying sessions is sound. It’s difficult to find a good place to get music, and even harder to make sure that everyone can hear it. Roll20 has integrated the entire library of SoundCloud music to give you quick access to tens of thousands of background music tracks. Adding them to your campaign is as easy as typing a keyword and clicking a button, seamlessly broadcasting to all of your players as well.
Control volume levels and play multiple tracks at once to create an immersive soundscape with ease.
Text chat & dice rolls
Of course, what online system would be complete without a text chat system? Speak out-of- or in-character, send whispers to communicate with other players or the GM in private, and use emotes to add additional depth to your characters. And rolling dice is as easy as typing a formula. There’s also a powerful macros system to let you store frequently used rolls or emotes so you can cut down on your typing time.
And best of all, the text chat log is fully persistent between play sessions, so you can review anytime to find out exactly who said and rolled what.
Stay on the same page with Journal
The Journal lets you keep track of information on important characters and store notes like handouts and maps. You can also choose to share or withold entries from each individual player. It's the perfect way to keep track of information about your NPCs and make sure all of your players are on the same page.
Have a secret note that you need to slip to a specific character from forces unknown? Two clicks and you're done.
Fog of war to hide and reveal areas of the map, a turn tracker to aid in encounters, drawing tools including text and freehand, token health bars and auras, grid snapping, a measurement tool, and a GM info layer to let you keep track of traps without tipping your hand. And even more in the future!
No, only the GM needs to be accepted into the closed beta. After you create your campaign, you'll receive a special link that can be sent to your players to allow them to join, even if they don't have a Roll20 account (or even know what Roll20 is!) Of course, we can use all of the help we can get, so it would be great if both GMs and players would consider supporting us!
We are planning on sending out beta invites to all of the reward-tiers with immediate beta access as soon as the campaign ends. So look for those around May 1st.
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