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Two Free and Fantastic Resources for Online TTRPG Play

by Mike on 6 May 2024

Here are two free resources to help you run your games online.

Owlbear Rodeo

Owlbear Rodeo is my favorite virtual tabletop. It's lightweight, fast, easy to use, reasonably priced (including a free tier), and system agnostic. Players don't have to create accounts to join in. You can run it on a phone. It's quick to get a map up and running with a fog of war and some default tokens. It also works for any RPG, whether it's Shadowdark, Level Up Advanced 5e, Numenera, or Blades in the Dark.

Owlbear Rodeo switched from a more lightweight locally-hosted version 1 to a full cloud-based version 2. It can take some re-learning to make it just as fast and useful as it was in the old version but I believe it is just about as easy as it was once you get things wired right.

I recorded a YouTube tutorial on Owlbear Rodeo for Lazy GMs intended to help people get their hands around all the features and how to use them easily during play.

Owlbear Rodeo includes some awesome default tokens representing monsters and characters but you may want a better set of tokens to represent most monsters in fantasy roleplaying games. That's where this next resource comes in.

Level Up Advanced 5e's Free Monster Tokens

EN World publishing released a full set of monster tokens representing core 5e monsters from the A5e Monstrous Menagerie for free. It includes 178 tokens representing all the core monsters you're likely to find in the D&D Monster Manual or other 5e core monster books.

They work really well when imported into Owlbear Rodeo. In order to import them most effectively, however, you'll want to do a few things:

  1. Create a new collection and import tokens into this collection so you don't flood your main collection with nearly 200 tokens. You can import the tokens all at once.
  2. If desired, set the default text of the token set to "Copy Image Name". It automatically removes file extensions so you'll get a nice token name like "Troglodyte" or "Demon, Balor" under the token. If you'd rather add the names yourself, you can skip this step.
  3. If you do decide to use token names, select the right font size. I like 36 so the name is easy to see.

This set gives you a huge collection of tokens for monsters in Owlbear Rodeo – a collection you can use in any game you plan to run.

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This work includes material taken from by Michael E. Shea available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license.

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