Top Online Tools for D&D

Top Online Tools for D&D

The D&D Renaissance: Exploring the Best Online Tools for Beginners and Advanced Players

D&D Beyond

This year, Dungeons & Dragons has experienced a well-deserved renaissance, attracting a surge of new players and reigniting the passion of existing fans. With the release of the Dungeons & Dragons movie and the introduction of more adventures from beloved Twitch stars, the popularity of this classic tabletop roleplaying game has reached new heights. Alongside the rise in demand, numerous online D&D tools have emerged, making it easier than ever to gather a group and embark on epic adventures.

However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right tool for your needs. That’s why we’ve taken a deep dive into three of the most popular online D&D services: D&D Beyond, Roll20, and Fantasy Grounds. We tested them based on various criteria, including character sheet building, user-friendliness, map functionality, and their overall contribution to the D&D experience.

The Best Online D&D Tools for Every Player

D&D Beyond: Best for Beginners and Free Accounts

D&D Beyond

D&D Beyond, already popular even before its acquisition by Hasbro, offers a straightforward and beginner-friendly approach to character creation. It simplifies the process, making it a breeze for newcomers to get started. The online character creator is free to use and allows players to experiment with different character builds without any cost.

Although the free accounts have limitations, including access only to the basic rules and the absence of an interactive map feature, they still provide an excellent experience for most new players. For those willing to invest more in their D&D games, D&D Beyond offers a range of digital versions of official D&D books, including sourcebooks and adventure books, which enrich campaigns with new settings, character options, and exciting storylines.

D&D Beyond also offers subscription options, such as the Hero tier and the Master tier, which unlock additional features. The Master tier, in particular, allows players to share content from purchased books with other players in their campaign. Although the Hero tier may not be cost-effective for most players, the sharing feature of the Master tier makes it a valuable option for Dungeon Masters.

Roll20: Best All-in-One Tool

Roll20

For players seeking a comprehensive virtual D&D experience, Roll20 is the go-to tool. It offers everything you need in one place, from character sheets to interactive maps, eliminating the need for external services for video or voice chat. Roll20’s versatility allows players to create characters, engage in epic battles on interactive maps, and enjoy seamless communication with their group.

Creating a game on Roll20 is simple, with the Dungeon Master (DM) being able to invite players through email or copy-and-paste links. Roll20’s Charactermancer tool guides players through step-by-step character creation, while its interactive maps provide a tactical and immersive environment for combat and exploration. Though the design may not be as sleek as D&D Beyond, Roll20 compensates with a wide range of features and customization options.

Similar to other online D&D tools, Roll20 offers both free accounts and subscription options. The subscription tiers unlock additional features such as content sharing, dynamic lighting, and monthly rewards, catering to players who want to enhance their tabletop RPG experience.

Fantasy Grounds: Best for Ultimate Control and Automation

Fantasy Grounds

Fantasy Grounds stands out as a robust and highly customizable tool that caters to detail-oriented Dungeon Masters. While it requires a steep learning curve compared to the other tools, it offers comprehensive control over every aspect of the game, automating many rules and calculations.

Fantasy Grounds excels in automating the rules of the game, providing players with a seamless experience. It allows DMs to build intricate campaigns and apply system rules with ease, ensuring smooth gameplay without constant manual calculations. Although it may take time to master, the level of automation and customization offered by Fantasy Grounds makes it a compelling choice for experienced players who want to take their campaigns to the next level.

With both subscription options and one-time payment licenses, Fantasy Grounds provides players with the flexibility to choose the pricing model that suits them best. The standard and ultimate subscriptions, as well as licenses, unlock various features and sourcebooks, allowing players to explore different tabletop RPG systems alongside D&D.

Making the Right Choice for You

Selecting the ideal online D&D tool depends on personal preferences and requirements. While D&D Beyond is the perfect starting point for beginners with its user-friendly character sheets and abundance of free resources, Roll20 offers an all-in-one solution with interactive maps and integrated chat features. Fantasy Grounds, on the other hand, appeals to DMs seeking ultimate control and automation in their campaigns.

Ultimately, it’s worth exploring the strengths and drawbacks of each tool to find the best fit for your playstyle and group dynamic. You can mix and match different tools to create a unique gaming experience that combines the best features from each platform. Regardless of your choice, these online D&D tools open up a world of possibilities, allowing you to embark on thrilling adventures in the comfort of your own home.

Note: D&D and its associated images are the property of Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc.