Fantasy Grounds is a hybrid application which allows you to play and create your own RPG games. It facilitates this play and provides some optional add-on Adventure modules which can be loaded and played with very little preparation. Each game will require a GameMaster (GM) and one or more players.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (185 reviews) - 75% of the 185 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: May 9, 2014

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August 26

Get D&D Storm King's Thunder Now on Fantasy Grounds

As announced during D&D Meltdown, Storm King's Thunder is available beginning August 26th for Fantasy Grounds. This is the first time that SmiteWorks has been approved for release of a D&D product as a preferred Wizards Play Network location. This means that you can get the digital version of the adventure at the same time as your FLGS. Like the other adventures for Fantasy Grounds, it includes the stats and NPC records for all the monsters and NPCs presented in the adventure and is a self contained product that works alongside the included reference material for the 5E Fantasy Grounds ruleset.

For people who have already "Completed the Set" for the D&D bundle can get it for an additional 25% off. New bundle buyers can get the discount as well.

The module has gone through extensive internal reviews prior to release, but if anything has crept in, it can be patched and will automatically notify buyers to run an update. You can safely unload and reload the module after an update to get any late changes or errata as they release without having to begin a new campaign or having to manually copy campaign info to an updated version.

*Warning: There might be some spoilers in the screenshots below. Proceed with caution if you are planning to be a player.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/507040/

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Featured DLC

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Even if you've already bought some of the D&D items, you can Complete the Bundle and save 25% on all the remaining items without having to re-buy anything you already own on Steam. New D&D DLC will be added to the bundle as they release and you can choose to Complete the Bundle again to get all new D&D releases at 25% off.

About This Game

Fantasy Grounds is an application acting as a virtual online gaming table primarily intended for pen and paper style narrative role playing games. It is designed to perform many of the things you can do while playing at a conventional gaming table and move it online.

* This is not a stand-alone game. This game features no computer controlled AI and relies upon another user acting as a Gamemaster to control the story, action and enemies you face.

Overview

Fantasy Grounds is a hybrid application which allows you to play and create your own RPG games. It facilitates this play and provides some optional add-on Adventure modules which can be loaded and played with very little preparation. Each game will require a GameMaster (GM) and one or more players. Games may be played in a session as short as a few hours or continued with multiple sessions over a series of days, weeks, months or years. A GM will typically install the application and choose their game-system of choice, which we refer to as a Ruleset. Fantasy Grounds comes pre-loaded with Rulesets supporting compatible play for Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, Dungeons & Dragons 4E, Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game (R). Additional Rulesets are available for free and for purchase from our Workshop. The 3.5E, 5E and PFRPG rulesets are good places to start for new GMs and for people new to Fantasy Grounds. These Rulesets come pre-loaded with some basic Library modules full of abilities, spells, monsters and items that have been marked as Open Gaming Content (OGC) by their respective copyright holders. The 5E ruleset contains all the content from the D&D Basic Rules for D&D fifth edition. Additional rulesets, such as that for Call of Cthulhu or Savage Worlds are fully licensed versions and contain otherwise closed and proprietary content that we've licensed from those publishers. As of April 2015, Fantasy Grounds acquired an official license from Wizards of the Coast for D&D fifth edition. This means that the 5E ruleset supports basic understanding and gameplay for D&D fifth edition but you can also buy fully preloaded data packs and adventures that are licensed from Wizards of the Coast as DLC here on Steam.

Players

For players, Fantasy Grounds will allow you to connect to a game being hosted by a GM and control one or more characters within the game. You will be able to update and maintain your character sheet, much like you would in a face-to-face RPG game, but with some degree of automation and support for dragging and dropping abilities and items from the Library modules (for rulesets which support them.) Whenever a GM shares a map image, you will be able to move a token representing your character and initiate attack rolls against enemies visible on those maps when it is your turn. You will be interacting within the GM's game session with other players and every action you take will be communicated to the GM and connected players along with any chat messages you enter into the chat window. At the conclusion of the GM's game session, you will log out and your character sheet and progress will be saved to the GM's session. When you meet back up and a pre-scheduled time with the GM for the next session, you will be able to continue where you left off. Scheduling of future game sessions is handled outside of Fantasy Grounds via email communication, the Fantasy Grounds forums and Game Calendar, Steam discussions or through whatever source the GM defines. SmiteWorks hopes to improve the match-making features at a later date.

GameMasters

For GameMasters, Fantasy Grounds will allow you to outline and prepare your future game sessions. You will be able to create story entries and link them together or to specific maps. You could, for instance, create a story entry which links to an image of a dungeon and then each room could in turn be linked to individual story entries -- each containing room descriptions, secret GM notes, a list of NPCs and monster encounters or links to more images and player hand-outs. Depending on your game master style and the availability of pre-entered monsters and enemies, you can also run without preparation. You can create and maintain multiple Campaigns, each with their own content and players. When you are ready to run your campaign, you will need to spend some time recruiting players and establishing your preferred frequency and length of play, methods of communication when you are not connected with Fantasy Grounds and whether or not you want to use a voice application such as Skype or Google Hangouts alongside Fantasy Grounds. Most GMs tend to use a combination of in-game text-based chat within Fantasy Grounds *and* a voice application to help facilitate quicker and more natural play.

With this version of the product, you can:


  • Run games as the Gamemaster (GM)
  • Host games as a GM for other players and GMs who are connected as players
  • Host a demo game for 1 player who is using only the FG Demo. The campaign won't allow saving, but will give you the ability to demonstrate the functionality to prospective players.
  • Join games as a player
  • Create characters locally to take with you into a game session
  • Create additional rulesets and modifications with custom XML and LUA Scripting
  • Use hundreds of built-in top-down tokens for monsters, characters and animals

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7x or 8x
    • Processor: 1.6 GHz or higher processor
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: n/a
    • Additional Notes: Requirements vary by the add-ons installed and the number of players connecting to your game.
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7 or Windows 8
    • Processor: 2.00 GHz or higher
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Graphics card recommended
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Requirements vary by the add-ons installed and the number of players connecting to your game.
    Minimum:
    • OS: 10.6.8 or newer
    • Processor: 1.6 GHz or higher processor
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX 9.0 compatible video adapter
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 750 MB available space
    • Sound Card: n/a
    • Additional Notes: this product uses a wine wrapper to simplify installation
    Recommended:
    • OS: 10.6.8 or newer
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz processor or higher
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX 9.0 compatible video adapter
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • Sound Card: n/a
    • Additional Notes: this product uses a wine wrapper to simplify installation
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Mostly Positive (185 reviews)
Recently Posted
STORDYR GAMING
223.3 hrs
Posted: August 17
I have been running various groups with Fantasygrounds for the past 5 years and can only say, that it is one of the best tools with a lot of flexibility.
THe integrated rulesets are really good (especially PFRPG and D&D) and the documentation and forums make it possible to bring in all kinds of other RPGs. Altough, I have to admit that it is a lot of work to customize and requires LUA and XML knowledge.

Overall, the tool provides a couple of really good features like local character stores and the possibility to quickly bring content to your players. Basically to bring a picture or a map to your players, you just need to filecopy it into your campaign and can share it within seconds).

The underrated system of synonyms for your chat sessions make it easy for your players even you have a changing IP address.

Frequent updates and ever new rulesets do the rest to make this tool well rounded and worth the money.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
B334
6.8 hrs
Posted: August 17
almost $3000 in DLC.... not sure if its worth that... $119.99 for the 4 pack... $39.99 for program + $115 for ultimate so your friends don't have to buy it, if you are the GM, even the bundles are ♥♥♥♥ing outrageous at 20-25% off. Its an awesome program, but it prices at higher than Professional Developer programs. I wish I could recommend it. You are better off buying all the books instead, but if your friends are all over the globe this might be a better alternative.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cabel_Blacke
39.9 hrs
Posted: August 13
So, after two play sessions our group (me as DM and three others as PCs) all agree that Fantasy Grounds is a great tool. It does require a bit of "getting the hang of the interface" but once you do, it all feels quite intuitive and easy to get in and out of a gaming session. If you're looking to rekindle some of that old-school D&D magic, but have friends who cannot get together physically on a regular basis, this is a GREAT option.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
kalnaren
120.1 hrs
Posted: August 9
There's two common threads in many (not all -some have legit gripes) of the negative reviews of Fantasy Grounds: First, the user doesn't bother learning how to use the software, then complains that it doesn't do much for the cost.

Second, the buyer doesn't understand the licensing (specifically, WotC stuff), and is somehow surprised when they don't gain access to the entire PHB, DMG, MM, and published adventures with all of their art, rules, statblocks, etc. for a pittence of what the actual books cost. Part of this is also not understanding just what porting that content to FG does for them. You'd be paying for the rulebooks or adventure books if you weren't playing a VTT or if you were playing on any other VTT. I don't understand why people think they should for some reason be free when in digital form. If you already own the physical books, you can manually enter all that information into FG. You don't need to re-buy it. And you'd be doing this for every other VTT anyway, WITHOUT Fantasy Ground's automated functionality. So you don't need to buy the WotC FG versions if you already own the books. You'll just need to manually enter the stuff -just like playing on paper. If you want the automated functionality for an official licensed product, you're going to pay for it. And WotC has decided that the cost for those are the same as the books (they set the prices, not SmiteWorks). I put the entire Pathfinder Beginner Box into FG using nothing but OGL libraries and the official PDF from Paizo.

Fantasy Grounds is a TOOL. It's not a published game. It's not a published adventure. It's very much like Roll20 or MapTools. You are not getting a complete, ready-to-play Tabletop RPG when you get Fantasy Grounds. Several reviewers also seem to not understant this. It's Virtual Tabletop Software designed to facilitate playing P&P RPGs. You must still know the rules of the game and have many of the resources you'd need to play the game face-to-face (like the battlemaps, player handouts, etc.).

Where Fantasy Grounds shines is incorporating that information into the program itself. You want to add a monster to the battle? Drag it from the MM to the combat tracker -now your monster with all its stats, attacks, and everything else is available right in front of you. Want to add a spell to your wizard? Drag it from the integrated rulebook onto your character sheet, and FG automatically sets the proper dice/bonuses for casting/attack, saves, DR, etc. based on the information in the spell stat block. You can click on the spell and have instant access to all of the spells relevant stats and description -all within the program. THAT is the functionality you pay for when you buy an official WotC rulebook. You have the entire MM at your fingertips with everything you need. Character sheets are updated automatically and re-calculated on the fly (great for things like ability damage).

FG automates many die rolls, so an attack roll boils down to selecting your target and rolling for your attack. Modifiers for size, ability scores, cover, and other conditions and effects are automatically applied. If you hit, simply roll damage and the likewise the correct modifiers are applied and damage the target. This even compensates for different weapon types and resistences. If you roll a threat, it will automatically roll to confirm a crit, then automatically double your damage roll if you get a crit. Stuff like that. In other VTT tools, it's ALL on the GM and players to do that.

There's tons of different ways Fantasy Grounds makes life easier for both the GM and players. From automating common functions to cross-linking notes, maps and images. With the proper libraries a GM can convert a published adventure from paper to FG in an afternoon, and never have to reference anything outside the program while playing.

It's that kind of automated functionality you pay for with Fantasy Grounds, and that kind of functionality does not exist in Roll20 or Maptools (my current favorite is the Barbarian Rage ability from PF -you can re-calculate the character stats, or just add the "Rage" condition, specify the duration, and FG does all the work for you). And the GM can still override everything, so you can easily houserule your own stuff into supported rulesets (or fix things when your players click the wrong thing or forget to add a modifier or something).

And if you play 3.5 or PF, you're in luck -the entire rulesets are OGL so you don't have to buy anything else. 5e can get a little pricey, since WotC sets the costs for VTT content and they've decided to make it the same as the published books. But, the advantage being, all the content in the books is available and ready to use in FG.

FG is a massive, massive time saver. Both in preparation and playing. Using all of that functionality does require one to LEARN how to use the software. This is a very complex program hidden under a fairly decent UI. Don't expect to DL the software, spend 30 minutes clicking around, and expect to use it perfectly for your session with friends later that night. Going back to my very first point in the review, quite a few of the negative reviews state the program doesn't do things it CLEARLY does -simply because the reviewer never bothered to take the time to learn how to use the software.

Now, TBF, if you're NOT using a supported ruleset (Rolemaster, D&D 3.5/4/5, PF, Savage Worlds, etc). the argument for using FG over some other solutions is harder to make.

The program is older (the codebase goes back to 2004), and it's starting to show its age in some areas. The UI is clean pretty good once you get used to it (I really love the radial menu, personally), but without proper dual moniter support you really need a lot of single-screen real-estate, otherwise things start to feel crammed a bit.

The program is a bit of a resource hog, particularily on memory. Those with slower or older computers -especially ones without a dedicated GPU- may notice performance issues.

There's some neat features in Roll20 that don't exist in FG, like dynamic lighting. This will be added to FG when SmiteWorks finishes the Unity re-write -set sometime for release next year (it's worth noting that the full re-write of FG is being designed to be fully backward compatible with existing FG content).

There are occaisonal disconnects from players when playing. Usually the program reconnects on its own without issue. Considering Roll20 requires a 3rd part service to use that does go down on occaision and FG does not, I don't see that as a big problem.

I've noticed a few other little quirks in the different rulesets, but nothing that causes problems when gaming.

TL;DR: If you're using a supported ruleset FG is the best VTT out there. Bar none.

EDIT: Oops'd a word or three.

Also thought I'd clear up some of the cost stuff, since many people are confused:

FREE License - Allows players to manage characters for various rulesets, as well as connect to games hosted by Ultimate License.

Standard License ($40 USD) - Allows you to create and manage characters and campaigns, host games for Standard and Ultimate license holders, and connect to games hosted by Standard or Ultimate license holders, INCLUDED RULESETS: 3.5E, 4E, 5E SRD Content, FATECore, PFRPG, Numenera.

Ultimate License ($150 USD) - As per Standard, but can also host games for FREE license holders.

So you can easily play D&D 5E games with the Standard or Ultimate License, so long as it's SRD content. This is basic ruleset functionality -if you want all of the automated functions (like being able to drag a fully-functional monster from the MM onto the combat tracker) you'll need to enter the statblock yourself, or buy the associated FG rulebook. Likewise with the adventure modules.

3.5 and PF are fully functional, and there are many community made modules that include the content of the official PRD and d20fsprd.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Proskub
2.8 hrs
Posted: August 2
Fantasy grounds has potential but the only real redeeming quality is the game licenses it has. BUT! You have to pay full price for every book that it includes. Thinking of buying the base model? It is a pretty weak program that takes Immense amounts of time to get anything done due to its early millenia style windows. No shortcuts, no intuitive links, no ease of use, no icons that can be iterpreted by looking at them. Its really just a poor platform to do online gaming. The core rulesets are a fantastic redeeming quality but if you dont have additional hours to set up a campaign just because the program has a horrible learning curve and no ease of use, then dont bother. Its simply put, a poor program. It just feels like the devs didn't put in much effort.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
damned
84.1 hrs
Posted: July 24
Im obviously a bit of a fan of the Fantasy Grounds platform. You can take that any way you like - it could be a good thing or it could be colouring my review. You will have to decide that for yourself.

I started using Fantasy Grounds about 5 years ago after a 25yr hiatus away from RPGs. I went online looking for a way to play F&D online and after trying everything I could get my hands on I found a couple of options that really excited me. The one that stuck out was Fantasy Grounds.

It stuck out for the following reasons:
1. It had a commercial license and a ruleset for Castles&Crusades which was the closest thing to the old school D&D I had last played all those years ago - and it rocked!
2. It was fun to use. It was fun to throw dice and drop them on my enemy and watch it roll and determine I had hit! and all that cool stuff.
3. The users were really welcoming. A lot of RPG players are quirky and quite set in our ways <grin>. These guys were still quirky and all that but were really welcoming. Id never played GURPs before and some random stranger (hola ronnke) setup a one shot game for me and I was hooked.

Now after using it for quite too much time I have seen the product continue to evolve and develop continuously.
I have seen the amazing things that FG does for 5e.
I saw the guys go after the Wizards and keep going after them until they got them at the table and got them to see just how freaking good their platform was and get the license to publish 5e on FG.
I have seen the community keep on growing with good people, people who really like to help.
The developers and owners are hands-on and interact with the community - with new and old members alike.
Ive made so many friends via FG. I catch up with some of them in person now. Some that live in Sydney and some when they turn up down under. My main group has players from AUS, NZ, NL and the US and Ive been playing with some of those guys for over 4 years. I regularly chat and play with people in at least 10 countries.
Ive watched nervous players grow into confident GMs.
And people who have never programmed in their life start writing extensions and themes and rulesets to keep shaping their hobby their way.

But back to the platform itself.
I have seen other good quality VTTs join the market and Ive used roll20 in 2 campaigns.
They have some great features and great communities too.
But Fantasy Grounds still leads the way in its feature set, its continuous development (you should see the stuff being developed for the Unity build) and its licensed rulesets and content all set it ahead of the others.

Its got a learning curve. Yep - but once you let go of the fact that its UI is not like an Office application you will find it IS intuitive. And its freaking powerful.
It doesnt have a dice roller that can handle all the different permutations that roll20's can (its coming but hurry up already!).
It doesnt have dynamic lighting or dynamic fog of war. Again this is coming but it aint here and some groups love that feature.
The GM does need a decent UPnP router or some basic networking skills or Hamachi to get things connected (Im fairly sure that this too will be easier in the Unity build but there is no official word on that one yet). If you get stuck on this point I guarantee someone will help you out if you post your issue on the boards.

It often gets compared to Roll20 and people hold up Price when comparing. I love that comparison. Roll20 is not free. Someone else is paying and subsidising your free use of the platform. All those servers dont run on critical hits. If the subscribing users stop paying the doors wont stay open. Fantasy Grounds has been a commercial platform for 13 years. Its business model might be old school but its platform and features are constantly moving forward. Paying $40 to be able to play RPGs with people from around the world is a no brainer for me.

If you have any questions - Im happy to answer them.

And just in case you are unsure - I am a user of this platform, I dont work for SmiteWorks and I bought my own Ultimate License.

Helpful? Yes No Funny
Highbinder
62.2 hrs
Posted: July 16
Me, personally yes I'd recomend it. Once you learn what you're doing it's easy to not only run a campaign but make your own homebrew classes and weapons. With that said it's not a cheep thing, but table top is not now, nor will it ever be a cheap hobby.

I see a lot of reviews bashing the cost of the game, look if you're not wanting to the a gm that provides everything to your players then don't. Have them decide what they want to be and then them buy the class pack for the class they want. Unless you're willing to throw down money for an ultimate license or a ultimate license sub having everything won't help you either. But that doesn't stop you from being able to do it sans the books. You can litterally add everything from the class in by hand and just type it in.

The type it in method is way more work, but if you already have the books and price is an issue then the type it in method is a work around. You don't need to sub, you don't need to pay for the modules. It's litterally that easy. Roll 20 makes you type it in as well but doesn't have the functionality and you can easily get past all of it with a little work on your own.

Here's a quick how to. When you click on the class tab type the name in, select the die for the hit die and drag it into the box and then the type the level and click on caster until you get that right. On the abilitys hit the plus sign and type it in. Type in the name, and then what it does. If it does a spell or power go and add that on the spell page by clicking the star. Having done homebrew classes this is how I had to do it because I suck at code and was not going to code in all that information.

Now that won't keep track of things like spell uses and the dice mod to spells but it will do most of the work for you. It's not perfect but you can do it without spending money on the mods. It's up to how much work you're willing to do vs how much you consider your time worth. I value my time at about 20 bucks an hour. So unless I can type it all up in less than 3 hours it's worth more for me to just buy the mods.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
TrevorU
2.0 hrs
Posted: July 15
You need a deep wallet to play this game.
I downloaded this game in hopes I could use this to DM a local group. Since we are just getting started I thought it would be nice to have a program that would show us the rules and do some of the math for us. I purchased a liscense thinking 40 bucks is a lot, but since its a one time fee it would be fine. I got into the game and found that all the features that seemed useful were behind a second paywall.

I've requested a refund and would not suggest this product especially if you are just getting started like us.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Tommy
8.7 hrs
Posted: July 11
I bought this game a while ago and have spent all my petty 8 hours attempting to learn to system. While the learning curb is steep thats not what makes me not recoment this game. Recently some friends have asked whether or not to buy the game and let me host as gm, at first i thought "Great! ill just go get some DLC so itll be a little easier for them to get into the software and maybe get a campaign too." but to my surprise when i got to the store i found that the players hand book, the most essential part part of D&D, not only was included in the base 40$ software, but was 50$! more than double the hard copy! and its the same with the DMs guide and monster manual, not to mention the campaigns are extremly over priced at 36$. They are ripping people off and it is so infuriating that they can get away with this.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ultra Ugo
12.1 hrs
Posted: July 8
I received this game as part of a four-pack. Initially, I was excited by the concept and impressed by the interface. I thought Fantasy Grounds was everything I'd need not only to keep track of my characters, but to play campaigns online with friends. Then, I discovered the trap. Fantasy Grounds comes at a high cost of ~$40- but the character creation feature is severely limited. You don't even get all of the options in the 5e PHB, for example. To get everything in the PHB, you need to spend an ADDITIONAL high cost. While I was excited about the product, I would not recommend this to anyone at all. $40 for a fraction of what you need to get started isn't worth it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
14 of 17 people (82%) found this review helpful
Recommended
120.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 9
There's two common threads in many (not all -some have legit gripes) of the negative reviews of Fantasy Grounds: First, the user doesn't bother learning how to use the software, then complains that it doesn't do much for the cost.

Second, the buyer doesn't understand the licensing (specifically, WotC stuff), and is somehow surprised when they don't gain access to the entire PHB, DMG, MM, and published adventures with all of their art, rules, statblocks, etc. for a pittence of what the actual books cost. Part of this is also not understanding just what porting that content to FG does for them. You'd be paying for the rulebooks or adventure books if you weren't playing a VTT or if you were playing on any other VTT. I don't understand why people think they should for some reason be free when in digital form. If you already own the physical books, you can manually enter all that information into FG. You don't need to re-buy it. And you'd be doing this for every other VTT anyway, WITHOUT Fantasy Ground's automated functionality. So you don't need to buy the WotC FG versions if you already own the books. You'll just need to manually enter the stuff -just like playing on paper. If you want the automated functionality for an official licensed product, you're going to pay for it. And WotC has decided that the cost for those are the same as the books (they set the prices, not SmiteWorks). I put the entire Pathfinder Beginner Box into FG using nothing but OGL libraries and the official PDF from Paizo.

Fantasy Grounds is a TOOL. It's not a published game. It's not a published adventure. It's very much like Roll20 or MapTools. You are not getting a complete, ready-to-play Tabletop RPG when you get Fantasy Grounds. Several reviewers also seem to not understant this. It's Virtual Tabletop Software designed to facilitate playing P&P RPGs. You must still know the rules of the game and have many of the resources you'd need to play the game face-to-face (like the battlemaps, player handouts, etc.).

Where Fantasy Grounds shines is incorporating that information into the program itself. You want to add a monster to the battle? Drag it from the MM to the combat tracker -now your monster with all its stats, attacks, and everything else is available right in front of you. Want to add a spell to your wizard? Drag it from the integrated rulebook onto your character sheet, and FG automatically sets the proper dice/bonuses for casting/attack, saves, DR, etc. based on the information in the spell stat block. You can click on the spell and have instant access to all of the spells relevant stats and description -all within the program. THAT is the functionality you pay for when you buy an official WotC rulebook. You have the entire MM at your fingertips with everything you need. Character sheets are updated automatically and re-calculated on the fly (great for things like ability damage).

FG automates many die rolls, so an attack roll boils down to selecting your target and rolling for your attack. Modifiers for size, ability scores, cover, and other conditions and effects are automatically applied. If you hit, simply roll damage and the likewise the correct modifiers are applied and damage the target. This even compensates for different weapon types and resistences. If you roll a threat, it will automatically roll to confirm a crit, then automatically double your damage roll if you get a crit. Stuff like that. In other VTT tools, it's ALL on the GM and players to do that.

There's tons of different ways Fantasy Grounds makes life easier for both the GM and players. From automating common functions to cross-linking notes, maps and images. With the proper libraries a GM can convert a published adventure from paper to FG in an afternoon, and never have to reference anything outside the program while playing.

It's that kind of automated functionality you pay for with Fantasy Grounds, and that kind of functionality does not exist in Roll20 or Maptools (my current favorite is the Barbarian Rage ability from PF -you can re-calculate the character stats, or just add the "Rage" condition, specify the duration, and FG does all the work for you). And the GM can still override everything, so you can easily houserule your own stuff into supported rulesets (or fix things when your players click the wrong thing or forget to add a modifier or something).

And if you play 3.5 or PF, you're in luck -the entire rulesets are OGL so you don't have to buy anything else. 5e can get a little pricey, since WotC sets the costs for VTT content and they've decided to make it the same as the published books. But, the advantage being, all the content in the books is available and ready to use in FG.

FG is a massive, massive time saver. Both in preparation and playing. Using all of that functionality does require one to LEARN how to use the software. This is a very complex program hidden under a fairly decent UI. Don't expect to DL the software, spend 30 minutes clicking around, and expect to use it perfectly for your session with friends later that night. Going back to my very first point in the review, quite a few of the negative reviews state the program doesn't do things it CLEARLY does -simply because the reviewer never bothered to take the time to learn how to use the software.

Now, TBF, if you're NOT using a supported ruleset (Rolemaster, D&D 3.5/4/5, PF, Savage Worlds, etc). the argument for using FG over some other solutions is harder to make.

The program is older (the codebase goes back to 2004), and it's starting to show its age in some areas. The UI is clean pretty good once you get used to it (I really love the radial menu, personally), but without proper dual moniter support you really need a lot of single-screen real-estate, otherwise things start to feel crammed a bit.

The program is a bit of a resource hog, particularily on memory. Those with slower or older computers -especially ones without a dedicated GPU- may notice performance issues.

There's some neat features in Roll20 that don't exist in FG, like dynamic lighting. This will be added to FG when SmiteWorks finishes the Unity re-write -set sometime for release next year (it's worth noting that the full re-write of FG is being designed to be fully backward compatible with existing FG content).

There are occaisonal disconnects from players when playing. Usually the program reconnects on its own without issue. Considering Roll20 requires a 3rd part service to use that does go down on occaision and FG does not, I don't see that as a big problem.

I've noticed a few other little quirks in the different rulesets, but nothing that causes problems when gaming.

TL;DR: If you're using a supported ruleset FG is the best VTT out there. Bar none.

EDIT: Oops'd a word or three.

Also thought I'd clear up some of the cost stuff, since many people are confused:

FREE License - Allows players to manage characters for various rulesets, as well as connect to games hosted by Ultimate License.

Standard License ($40 USD) - Allows you to create and manage characters and campaigns, host games for Standard and Ultimate license holders, and connect to games hosted by Standard or Ultimate license holders, INCLUDED RULESETS: 3.5E, 4E, 5E SRD Content, FATECore, PFRPG, Numenera.

Ultimate License ($150 USD) - As per Standard, but can also host games for FREE license holders.

So you can easily play D&D 5E games with the Standard or Ultimate License, so long as it's SRD content. This is basic ruleset functionality -if you want all of the automated functions (like being able to drag a fully-functional monster from the MM onto the combat tracker) you'll need to enter the statblock yourself, or buy the associated FG rulebook. Likewise with the adventure modules.

3.5 and PF are fully functional, and there are many community made modules that include the content of the official PRD and d20fsprd.
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15 of 26 people (58%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 2
Fantasy grounds has potential but the only real redeeming quality is the game licenses it has. BUT! You have to pay full price for every book that it includes. Thinking of buying the base model? It is a pretty weak program that takes Immense amounts of time to get anything done due to its early millenia style windows. No shortcuts, no intuitive links, no ease of use, no icons that can be iterpreted by looking at them. Its really just a poor platform to do online gaming. The core rulesets are a fantastic redeeming quality but if you dont have additional hours to set up a campaign just because the program has a horrible learning curve and no ease of use, then dont bother. Its simply put, a poor program. It just feels like the devs didn't put in much effort.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
39.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 13
So, after two play sessions our group (me as DM and three others as PCs) all agree that Fantasy Grounds is a great tool. It does require a bit of "getting the hang of the interface" but once you do, it all feels quite intuitive and easy to get in and out of a gaming session. If you're looking to rekindle some of that old-school D&D magic, but have friends who cannot get together physically on a regular basis, this is a GREAT option.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
206 of 223 people (92%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
969.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 5
OK, so please read the full review instead of just taking note of my thumb down vote for this game. That was a tough choice to make. This program is a very mixed bag, some wonderful things in here that are blended together with some horrible design decisions.

Context: I use this program as a face-to-face tool for my gaming group, no outside connections. So this review will ignore any feature dealing with that. Also, will not be comparing this to any competitors. My setup is a dual screen PC, with two instances of the program open. One (GM) on my monitor and the second (Player) on a TV laying flat. Players are using miniatures and real dice, while I am using tokens and the program's dice.

I'll start with the good. This program is POWERFUL! I can sit down and create almost everything I need with this. If I want to add a weapon type to my game, I can. If I want to change the way a spell works, I can. Edit text in a purchased adventure, create custom classes or races, add a grid to a random overhead map pulled off of google, build an adventure from scratch... all doable. It takes time, but from what I've experienced not much more time than if I were doing everything using a notebook and pencils. One thing I am especially grateful for, is that I can enter any dice roll manually, I don't have to use the program to do it.

Combat is easy. As GM, I simply drag attack dice onto the player I wish to target and release. The program rolls the dice, checks the result against the appropriate defense (including saves), and calculates the result. Damage works the same way, including automatically changing to crit damage on a natural 20. As players, we do it the old fashioned way - they roll, I tell them if they hit or not. For their damage, I just add their damage to a "wound" field in the NPC's sheet, and the program adjusts the current HP for me. HP can be displayed in several ways, "xx/xx", colored circles, etc. There is a "Combat Tracker" that lets me do most of the work from just that one window. It handles attacks, iniative order, HP, etc.

I am using one of the prebuilt adventures, Lost Mine of Phandelver. We've only had a couple sessions, and are still very much in the "OK, wait a moment while I figure out how to do this" stage of the game. There is a lot of clicking, and a lot of windows open at any one time. I haven't decided if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but mostly I think it will be good once I get used to it. The story is subdivided into very small parcels, which sometimes overlap. I've learned the reading several pages ahead is vital. Each page will contain any combination of description, shareable maps (both GM and Player), preloaded encounters (both roster and map placement), pictures, GM Text, and (likely) more that I haven't seen yet. The adventure appears to be word for word, picture for picture, exactly what is being sold for traditional gameplay. And so far, it works very well for taking an inexperienced group and immersing them into the adventure.

Now, for the things that I don't like. Let's start with the very, VERY obvious issue. Price. This program is expensive, there is no way to sugar coat it. For starters, you need to pay $40 for the program. This gets you the basic license, and the core framework that makes the program run. For MY needs, the basic license is all I need - you can host, and connect a second instance using the same computer. For any groups where each player has their own computer, they also need to spend $40. Alternately, the GM can buy an ultimate license, for $150, and then other players can connect to his game for free. They cannot GM, only play. Now, this includes everything needed to play... technically. If you want to DO anything, like create a character, you have two options. You can spend hours at the kayboard doing data entry, copying everything from your Players Handbook into the program. Or, you can buy a players handbook addon... for another $50. Want the DM Guide? $50. Want the Monster Manual? $50. These will add themselves to your base install, but they do not come with a physical copy or a PDF. Physical copies, ironically, are about half this price on Amazon. Premade adventures cost $20-35, which is about the same as buying the physical book.

The next thing bad about this program is the support. If I have a question, I know I will need 20-60 minutes to search through forums posts (or write my own), an outdated / semi-broken wiki, or YouTube tutorials (MANY of which are made by their customers). By and large, that is what the community expects new customers to do. There is no handholding here. In fact, while many forum members welcome newcomers with open arms, many more view Fantasy Grounds as their only child... anyone saying anything less that praise will be immediately attacked.

Missing features, bugs, quirks... Fantasy Grounds has them. This program was not developed with Industry Standards in mind. Fantastic examples: Alt F4 does not exit the program. There is no way to print a character sheet from the program. Adding a weapon to inventory automatically adds attack data, but adding armor does nothing for defense - must manually edit the AC data. Adding a character's background during creation will add everything associated with it, languages, proficiencies, etc --- but changing/removing the background doesn't remove anything it added. It is actually quicker to delete the character and start over than it is to manually search through and fix it.

Finally, there is the talk of revamping the program to run on Unity. Talk that has been going on in the forums since at least September 2014. This has been used as a reason that features/bugs are not being addressed, since their focus is on the new system. As a new customer, I fear that this is like chasing after a Duke Nukem game or Guns'n'Roses album... where there is a very real chance that if it DOES happen, it'll happen far too late to be of any relevance to most of us.

Bottom line, this purchase is a gamble. This is not a single person game, you're relying on your group to be able to play it. At the bare minimum, you are shelling out $110 (base program, character classes, 1 premade adventure) or $40 plus days of programming the races, classes, monsters, equipment, etc into it. What makes it worse, is that you must research exactly what you do / do not need. The DLC total was well over $2,000 last time I looked, which is intimidating. The learning curve is very steep, with a lot of frustrations along the way.

That being said, I'm glad I bought it. I'm confident that in time, I'll become proficient enough with it that it will an amazing benefit to my gaming group. Remember, this thing is POWERFUL. Despite the very valid downsides I've pointed out, this program does 95% of what I want it to do, and it does that well. I don't regret buying it. On the flip side, your mileage will vary, so I cannot in good conscience recommend it blindly.
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91 of 101 people (90%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
278.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 29, 2015
Fantasy Grounds is quite honestly the best virtutal tabletop software. I've tried several, but I run campaigns exclusively on this now. This software has a massive learning curve. You can get the basics quickly, but to master it takes a while. It is so feature rich that you can automate 90% of the DMing with enough planning and set up. My players love the system - other DMs that play in my campaigns want to switch over.

Combined with other software (map designing, photoshop, ect) you can create excellent and wonderful campaigns loaded with graphics built upon a fantastic under-the-hood ruleset system which takes the technical (mathematical) aspects comepletely from the game so you can have lightning quick combat encounters and focus on roleplaying. Of course the combat traker is wonderful if you want to have a combat heavy hack-n-slash campaign and only makes combat more enjoyable.

The story design part of the game is great. You can pin combat encounters, NPCs, story elements, loot, exp, and more directly to the map. Experience can be awarded on command. Loot can be dumped into the party inventory automatically and the players can divide it themselves.

Character creation is simple and easy. All of the math is again automated here. Just drag items to your inventory. Same with spells, but things get more complex if you multiclass, but its just part of the learning curve.

Some will complain about connectivity issues. Port-forwarding is a simple thing to do, but VPN software can get around it. Mac -> PC does have some issues. I only have one Mac user in my games, but he has the majority of the technical issues. Tech support is very fast as well, but I've only had to use it once.

Overall, I can't recommend this software enough. I have had hours of use with it.
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77 of 85 people (91%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
1,391.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 22, 2015
I did alot of research before investing in this software. I must admit I had some hard times figuring everything out in the beginning, mostly with parsing my homebrew. The good news is that as long as you play a supported system you need no parsing. The software does what it promisses and I like that there's no full automation as it allows me to change values and add my own houserules.
I recomend ppl intrested in this software to not look at the guides at first (atleast for me it was confusing in the beginning) but instead look up ppl on twitch/youtube who use Fantasy Grounds, I would recomend looking at 5e or Savage Worlds campaigns.
Also take full advantage of the forum and meet the great community, there's alot of help, mods, extensions, tips and fun over there.
For me this software is simply the best software investment I've made in recent years and have become a necessity that I play around with even when I do not play a game. Just letting my fantasy flow and creating adventures or having a parsing session.
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60 of 65 people (92%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
536.6 hrs on record
Posted: April 17, 2015
I have both played and DM-ed using this FG2 interface, and this is a great gaming interface. I like it so much, I actually use it during table-top D&D to show the maps, images, take notes and track hit points. As always, it's a huge amount of work for the Dungeon Master. I leared to use their PARSE tool so that I create my own add-on modules for the adventures with it's own creatures, items, token, and images. The game lets us focus on role playing and talking smack while it takes care of most of the tedius tracking stuff.

It's not the same as when I played with pen and paper in the same room with my friends 20 years ago, but now that we moved all over the country and all have families, this is the next best thing. I payed for the full DM license so that my friends all just need the free version.

Now that AD&D 5E is available, this has gotten even better, since that's the rule set we're using.

It does not come with voice, so you do need a seperte voice server (like Mumble) to talk to each other.
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1,069 of 1,584 people (67%) found this review helpful
33 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 10, 2014
oh boy!!! a $40 2 MB program that does nothing that any free program like it does not, which also strangles your ability to homebrew unless you have extensive knowledge of XML files, and otherwise forces you to do every ounce of the legwork when it could easily do it itself if only the developers put a trivial amount of extra effort into it?! WOW WHAT A STEAL! HHKKKKKhhhkkkjfjgggg :fmad: $$$$$$ remember to buy our special ruleset DLC, unless you want to invest significantly more time and effort than it would take to just homebrew something with actual pen and paper! boy do we love your nerd money!!! $$$$$$

EDIT: since some people have, justifiably, called this a nerd rage review, allow me to expand, particularly upon 'well what ELSE does this and that?' and the greivances i have (this comes from my response to Smiteworks in the comments to this review). Roll20 does all of the things FG does, and does not come with a forty dollar pricetag. Roll20 does not ask for a pile of cash because Roll20 did not acquire meaningless licenses to things that players could have and would have created and distributed for absolutely free, and Roll20 did not slap a massive pricetag on it based on that. what if i don't want to just change spells and monsters? what if i want to have the All Flesh Must Be Eaten's Unisystem rules in place? i will have to MAKE it myself using the world's least user friendly formats- XML, LUA, as Smiteworks has stated- or wait for someone ELSE to do it- or for Smiteworks to release it as a fifteen dollar DLC. Roll20 instead hands all the tools and most importantly FLEXIBILITY i need to customize my campaign's rules right off the bat- i could have a standard 3.5 high fantasy game or AFMBE campaign on my own terms at my own whims. forgive me if this comes off as a cashgrab to me and i can't give it a serious review.
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64 of 72 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
423.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 24
My comments are strictly from the perspective of a D&D 5e DM.

Prior to getting Fantasy Grounds, I reviewed other options primarily because FG is fairly expensive - or so it seemed. As I started pricing it, it became obvious that the D&D components were priced the same as full priced retail manuals - since they come with the full text and in-game functional tables, this makes sense.

Once I saw it as a licensing issue and understood that this really was an electronically functional version of the game manuals, I was on-board - I wanted the real rules and the full text to be available to me. Since none of my players had an FG license, I also elected to carry the burden and nabbed an ultimate license.

One thing that you will hear is that Fantasy Grounds has a learning curve. This is true. I was 12 hours in before I felt comfortable with it and it was another 12 hours before I realized that I could have done a better job on some things. As time has gone on, I have realized that I want things structured a little differently to better facilitate online gaming - things that don't become clear until you are actually hosting a game.

To learn Fantasy Grounds, I recommend finding a PDF module that you want to use and then 'port' it as a module. Create a campaign just for the module and start moving the text, creating encounters, and building parcels as needed. There is a lot to learn, so use youtube and ask questions in forums when you get frustrated.

At the time of this writing, I've DMed a pair of 4 hour sessions via Fantasy Grounds and have had a blast. My players are satisfied with the visual and rules assistance provided by FG and I am thrilled to be DMing my first campaign since 1989. I anticipate putting over 1000 hours into this software and appreciate what it allows me to do.
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54 of 65 people (83%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
320.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 4, 2014
This is a really good program. We've been using FG for over three years now to run Paizo's Kingmaker Campaign Path. Several of us are in China with the rest of our players in North America, and combined with Hamachi (to get around the Great Firewall) and Skype (for the live talking part), it's as close to a face to face game as people who live on opposite sides of the planet can get.

Fantasy Grounds isn't always the easiest program to use, admittedly, but once you get over the learning curve it's an amazingly robust program. As the GM, the ability to create (or in my case, input from the Campaign Book) the stories and fill them with handy links to maps, npcs, encounters, treasures, and everything else imaginable is incredible. Even if I was running a face to face game I'd use FG just to organize my notes. No more need to have reams of paper around or to flip through books. Just click a link and the thing you need is right there, right away. It also allows you to keep track of xp earned, separated into story rewards and combat rewards. You can see what the players have received with just a quick glance.

Insofar as Pathfinder is involved, it has loads of free modules to increase this functionality, with everything from a complete list of spells to abilities, magic items, and the entire collected bestiary (including monsters and NPC's from the adventure paths!), all one click away. This means I'm free to use my planning time to improve on my campaign instead of flip through stuff looking for informaton.

Not only is this a great virtual tabletop, it's a splendid GM tool. My campaign would be worse if I didn't have all the organizational tools FG provides.

There might be other free programs out there, but nothing I've seen has the depth and robustness of FG. Along with tremendous dev support, I can't recommend FG high enough.

TL, DR; Great program, something of a learning curve. Great for GM's, which is great for players.
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