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8/10/2020 3:02 pm  #1

Roll20 Advice?

I'm not sure exactly how many people are actually monitoring these forums but, in the hope that there are a few like me who still like old fashioned forums, I am asking if anyone has any advice to offer re: running BoL on Roll20?

I know that there is already a decent character sheet available for the system. I am more interested in best practices for running BoL adventures in an online VTT environment. I've played plenty of other games in Roll20 as a player, but never as a GM.

All advice and suggestions will be most welcome.

Wealth can be wonderful, but you know, success can test one's mettle as surely as the strongest adversary.

8/11/2020 9:03 am  #2

Re: Roll20 Advice?

It is not too different from running other RPGs on Roll20, depending on your usual style. I find for VTT it can help to provide visual aids to describe some of the less traditional monsters that pop up in sword and sorcery settings because you have no miniature to look at and only a tiny token to represent it on the board.

Also I keep a good number of pre-prepared character sheets and tokens of npcs/monsters/animals in your library so you can drop them down at a moments notice if your game goes in an unexpected direction (keep a list of good generic npc names too).

He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man's soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?

8/17/2020 11:15 am  #3

Re: Roll20 Advice?

I've been running BoL-powered games on Roll20 for a couple years now.  The games I run are generally "theater of the mind" with rough sketches as needed (to show positioning, movement, etc.), so I never bothered to learn any of the battlemat features of the VTT.  We also don't use any official character sheets, so I have no experience with the related bells and whistles.  That said...

Pros: It works fine as a glorified whiteboard and, as OP suggests, a convenient library for images & handouts.  The dice roller is good, macros for bonus and penalty dice are easy to set up and display on screen.  I played around a bit with the sounds, which was fun for a little bit but ultimately not that useful.

Cons: The audio/video chat component is pretty weak, especially with more than 4 participants.  It's easy though to use R20 for the VTT and do chat through Hangouts, Zoom, Discord, etc. (we use Hangouts, works great!)


8/17/2020 2:05 pm  #4

Re: Roll20 Advice?

Well, I ran my first session as a GM on Roll20 yesterday using BoL as the system and, IMHO, it went bloody well. I had five players taking part which meant there were six of us online and we didn't have any video or audio issues.

There is an excellent character sheet available for Roll20 based on the French character sheet design and, honestly, it is really well put together. The sheet even has options for PC, NPC or Beast which really helps with managing villains, creatures etc.

I decided to actually use maps and battle maps so I made a bunch of tokens using Token Tool from RPTools (highly recommended). I had all the players choose pictures for their characters and also created tokens based on those to personalise the experience.

The one thing I did put time in to was creating a Player's Guide in Roll20 with links to archived documents. This really helped streamline the character creation process for two players who had never played BoL before (they really picked it up quickly and made excellent characters) and everyone really engaged with their characters boons and flaws.

When I run BoL I like to have an even mix of comedy, adventure, action and horror and Roll20 allowed to continue that trend. My experience thus far is that there is a fairly steep learning curve to using Roll20 efficiently and this can make it quite daunting for people thinking about running a game. The best thing about using BoL was the brilliant character sheet (all my players commented on how slick it was) and the great game engine that makes BoL such a delight to play. Also, the number of excellent videos on YouTube explaining how to use Roll20 proved invaluable to me.

Overall I'm very happy with the session and I will continue to develop my BoL Roll20 game by adding more tokens and maps in anticipation of further adventures.

Last edited by The GIT! (8/17/2020 2:05 pm)

Wealth can be wonderful, but you know, success can test one's mettle as surely as the strongest adversary.
     Thread Starter

8/17/2020 2:43 pm  #5

Re: Roll20 Advice?

As a quick postscript, I was able to track down some BoL creature tokens that had been developed for another VTT. I was able to pull these in to my Roll20 library so I now have a full set of BoL creature tokens.

Links worth checking out:


Roll20 Tutotrial Series by Taking20:

RPG Tips & Tutorials by OneCritWonder:

Wealth can be wonderful, but you know, success can test one's mettle as surely as the strongest adversary.
     Thread Starter

9/09/2020 1:06 pm  #6

Re: Roll20 Advice?

So, continuing the theme of running BoL on Roll20, I just want to mention the whisper feature. I'm not talking about sending private text messages to players in the sidebar; rather, I'm talking about the ability to click on a player's video feed and actually speak with him without anyone else in the game hearing the conversation. This feature cuts off the microphone feeds to the other players and blurs the video - they can still chat amongst themselves while the GM can chat privately with a single player.

Honestly, this feature was a game changer for me. One of the things I do regularly at a game table is chat privately with players in a different room. It helps create a little bit of tension and distrust or, when players aren't very clever at communicating, confusion. I thought this would be missing when using a VTT but it transpires that this is very much available and it works really well. So, my games are now running even better than ever.

Another feature worth noting is the use of advanced hotkeys when running a game. I keep a printed sheet at my desk with the hotkey options listed ( and it really helps things move along quickly. Another sheet with hotkeys listed can be found at and I highly recommend GMs getting used to using them.

It seems that COVID is going to be around for a while and VTT gaming is something we have to get used to so give it a go and don't be afraid.

Last edited by The GIT! (9/09/2020 1:08 pm)

Wealth can be wonderful, but you know, success can test one's mettle as surely as the strongest adversary.
     Thread Starter

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