When I’m running my sessions – whether that’s in Roll20 or around the table – I’m increasingly finding that there are online D&D tools scattered around the web that just make my life easier. I’ve already talked about the mapping tools available through Pyromancers.com and how that saves me a ton of time in setting up for sessions; and I’ve mentioned the online references available through the D20SRD website and DndTools. So here’s a few more snippets I’ve found recently that have made my life easier.
The first one is actually based on the D20SRD site, but unless you go digging you probably wouldn’t notice it at first. One of the bits of admin work that I have to do after each session is the calculation of experience. I usually post it on our campaign forum on the Roll20 website a day or so after the game, and it generally involves me looking up tables in the Dungeon Master’s Rules and making snap decisions about the relative encounter strengths of the monsters and challenges that my players have defeated.
Or, as I noticed this week, I can plug the numbers into the form on the D20 Encounter Calculator and get an instant figure per player that I can post online. As it also draws on the tables published in the rulebooks to suggest treasure amounts, it looks to be a useful tool for impromptu encounters if I’m winging things so I’m sure I’ll be using it a lot.
Of somewhat less immediate use is the D20 Dicebag, also on the same site, which simulates dice rolls without my needing to open up the Roll20 website and using their built-in dice simulators. Or, you know, I could just use the physical dice that I’ve got stashed around the house in a variety of containers and bags. As a long-time table top player I have more than a few that I’ve accumulated over the years, but if I ever need to use a “bucket of dice resolution” – say 30d4 for some strange reason – then at least I’ve got this quick little tool to save me some time rolling and re-rolling and adding results up with a scratch pad by my side.
The rather unpromisingly named D20 Monster Filter seems to be a bit of an oddity, but like the Encounter Calculator really comes into its own when dealing with players’ ability to go haring off on complete tangents. I’ve lost track of the number of times over the years that players have decided to go somewhere quite different to where my carefully laid plans and pointers have been suggesting – and I’m loathe to try and railroad them straight back the way I want them – so having this tool which suggests potential opponents (and provides hyperlinks to statistics for them) based on a range of difficulties, terrain and desired moral and ethical approaches from the standard list of monsters is extremely useful. It saves me from having to flick through the small mountain of monster manuals, fiend folios and other creature listings for something appropriate, which is always a godsend.
The D20 Spell Filter performs a similar task, though at the moment I’m finding it of limited use – this may be of more use to players than the GM unless I were looking to script an encounter.
I know that several of my players are using Hero Forge to generate and maintain their characters, but the service is currently being migrated to new servers, so I’ll do a writeup and exploration of their service in a while. I’ll be interested to compare it to the hosted character sheets that have just been made available on the Roll20 site – so will have to do some digging to get into that while I have some time.
Anyway, hope you find these Online D&D Tools helpful – there’s a surprising number out there, and I’ll be focusing on the ones aimed at 3rd Edition for now as that’s the game rules revision we’re currently using. That said, any online tools that can be adapted or that seem useful regardless of rules revision will no doubt end up being discussed here at some point.