You don’t necessarily need the best virtual table software to have a good time playing Dungeons & Dragons or any other tabletop RPG. But it definitely helps. As a game master, I know how important it is to know which virtual table works best for your party and for the type of game you are playing. I’ve wavered between several of them, so I can help you decide which is the best virtual table software to use for your needs.
Of course, before we dive into the best virtual table software, we first need to know what game you are playing. If you like D&D we have a general guide on how to play D&D online. We also have specific guides for groups who want to get a little more personal, like our D&D Tech Tips: How to Configure Webcams page. But if you’re new to D&D, check out our guide to how to make a D&D character. If you have time, check out our review of Life is Strange: True Colors – A Story I Won’t Forget, which has a character who is canonically a Critter (Critical Role fan).
While D&D has seen a surge in popularity in recent years thanks to shows like critical role, D&D is not the only TTRPG. There are many popular and fun TTRPGs to play, such as Call of Cthulhu, Shadowrun, and Blades in the Dark. A few TTRPGs that I currently watch are The Witcher RPG and Altered Carbon RPG (I’m still in mourning, Netflix). If you’re a DM looking for epic songs, we’ve got the best D&D soundtracks for every storyline. And if you’re looking for video games like D&D, take a look at Baldur’s Gate 3. D&D fans will be happy to hear that a new source book (Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos) will be launching before the end of the year. . And next year, we’ll be releasing the adventure book Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep on March 15th. Wizard of the Coast also unveiled new D&D rules coming in 2024, but we have a few rules you can add to your games right now. to spice them up.
After choosing which TTRPG to play with friends, you can determine which virtual table software is best for you.
What is the best virtual table software?
There are many great virtual table programs out there, but finding the best one for your specific game is more important than just using the most expensive. My favorite is Foundry Virtual Tabletop due to its customization and relatively affordable price. It also integrates seamlessly with the content of D&D Beyond, a website for buying D&D 5e books and creating characters, and I love the way it manages its music player. However, if you are looking for free and easy-to-use software, try Roll20, a popular virtual table software.
If you are looking for something more unconventional and don’t mind spending a little cash, Tabletop Simulator is a great software for hosting your TTRPG games. Thanks to its three-dimensional nature, it is more attractive than your average 2D software. You can even get into this VR game. However, for something similar to Foundry but free (to some extent), go with Astral, which is great virtual table software that gives you access to a ridiculous number of rule sets.
Those who like the old-fashioned TTRPG can try Fantasy Grounds, a software that’s highly customizable if a little difficult to use. It may cost more than the rest of the entries on this list, so keep that in mind. There are also plenty of virtual table software apps that we couldn’t mention on this list like Tableplop and Let’s Role which are viable options as well.
1. Virtual foundry table
Foundry virtual table is currently my go-to virtual table for my own home game. It’s super customizable web software that gives you access to almost everything you need to build and run a TTRPG game. You can easily import maps you create in JPEG format and overlay a usable grid on top of them so players can move their characters around during combat or judge travel time over long distances. One of my favorite features is the ability to layer music on top of each other, so that you can mix an atmospheric track with an actual music track.
Foundry also has an active community that imports rule systems and templates for many TTRPGs, including D&D. There’s also a crossover with D&D Beyond, and as someone heavily invested in this service, Foundry is even more appealing. To use Foundry, you need to purchase a license, which is a one-time payment of $ 50. The best part is that none of your players have to pay to use it.
Roll20 is arguably the most popular virtual table software, and for good reason: it’s relatively easy to use and free (sort of). Like Foundry, it’s web-based, so you don’t have to download anything (even as a GM). It’s also incredibly customizable and has built-in tools to easily run most TTRPGs. It doesn’t just focus on D&D either; Roll20 has rules for all kinds of games, including Pathfinder and Call of Cthulhu.
Keep in mind that while Roll20 is free, all the juicy things are locked behind its market. Through its marketplace, you can buy games and artwork, including cards, tokens, items, and more. If you don’t have a lot of money, Roll20 can be difficult to integrate if you want to go all out. There are $ 5 per month and $ 10 per month subscription levels that give you access to features like larger download storage and personalized character sheets. However, you can easily start an adventure in Roll20 without all the extra items.
3. Table simulator
I timed 524 hours in Table simulator, so I can say with confidence that I have experience in using it. It can be the most attractive and boring virtual table software of the bunch. Unlike the rest, Tabletop Simulator exists in 3-dimensional space. It’s not inherently designed to work easily with TTRPGs, so you have to do a few legwork and it takes a bit of getting used to.
Fortunately, Tabletop Simulator has a very active community, and besides defining any TTRPG you want, it’s an easy way to play virtually any popular board game. All you have to do is dive into the Steam Workshop to look at the mods people have created for the game. Setting up a game will take some time, but once you do, you can. interact with 3D miniatures and even 3D maps. It’s a lot of work, but if you’re committed, Tabletop Simulator can easily be the best virtual table software out there. However, the game costs $ 20 and it must be purchased by every player, although you will find the game on sale frequently for $ 10, so it is not an expensive investment.
Astral is like a mash-up of Roll20 and Foundry ATVs. It’s still web-based and operates on a similar model to Roll20 – it’s technically free, but there are subscription tiers as well as a marketplace. One of the unique characteristics of Astral is its dynamic visual effect. It makes your game more engaging than using your average static battle card. There are even tabs for keeping track of first strike and a tab for quick creatures you can spawn – as a GM, that’s ridiculously useful.
Astral also gives you free access to a number of game systems, including D&D 5e, The Witcher Pen and Paper RPG, and Vampire: The Masquerade. Among virtual table software applications, I have found Astral to be the easiest not only to set up a game, but also to start creating and running a session. Keep in mind that at the basic level, you can only download up to 1GB of content, which can run out quickly if you balance high-res maps and waves of epic soundtracks.
5. Fantasy lands
Fantasy lands has been around for a long time, and unlike some virtual table software here, you have to download it. Out of all my testing, I have found this to be the most difficult virtual table software to use for several reasons. First, absolutely nothing is free. There is a demo version that people can try, but you can’t play with people unless you know someone who has the $ 150 license. Second, it looks as old as it is, and for software first released in 2004, that’s not a good thing.
However, it is one of the few virtual tabletop software on this list with purchasable books built into its system. The software itself is still quite customizable and features a very retro RPG aesthetic, if that’s what you like. I’m not the biggest Fantasy Grounds fan, but you can create some really wild things with it.
ConteSpire is a brand new three-dimensional virtual table software built entirely around TTRPGs. It’s like Tabletop Simulator is specially designed for D&D and the RPG genre. The advantages of TaleSpire are that you can be very creative with the creation of maps and your players will have the best possible view of what is going on around them.
The downside to TaleSpire is that all players need to own the game in order to play, and since it’s a $ 25 purchase, you’re trying your luck. However, the cheapest way to play is for the GM to buy a copy for himself and then broadcast his screen for his players. Overall, I had a lot of fun playing with TaleSpire. I haven’t hosted a session yet, but plan to do so at some point. Even Dimension 20 has jumped on the TaleSpire bandwagon, with its new show, The Seven.