• nathancodymazza

Everything in one place

My online gaming experience is confined to one or two screens, making real estate on them valuable. Recently, I've started trying to confine everything I need to run a game to a single source so I'm not clicking around in my open tabs or page flipping in a book for a bit of info that should be otherwise easily accessible. Enter Roll20. Thanks to the journal, macros, and rollable tables features I can have nearly everything I need to run a game at my fingertips - and it's all in one place.

The Roll20 Journal

I use the Journal to house the majority of my DM notes. Things like references to specific rules that come up often (page number for saving throws, attack matrices, etc), in-game procedures (like when to check for an encounter, or the order of combat), and notes on specific dungeons, locales, lairs, etc. That last bit is my favored use of the journal.

Here's an example.

I find this application especially useful for small dungeons, just be sure to keep your notes in the GM Notes section of the handout.

Macros in Roll20

Here's where things can easily jump off the deep end. Remember, we believe in playing games, not getting lost in the endless minutiae of VTT prep. I'll share a few of my favorite (and easy) macros.

The 5M Whisper: We joke a lot about the '5Ms' when running B/X. I'm talking about section B of the B/X Combat sequence (B24), and which order they go in. Inevitably we'll mix up missile fire with melee, etc. The sequence is Morale (if needed), Movement, Missile fire, Magic spells, Melee...It's easy to get mixed up. Go to your collections tab in roll20, and load up a new macro. The syntax is as follows.

/w gm Morale, Movement, Missile, Magic, Melee

I have it whisper the list to me, so I can pretend like I didn't have to look it up at the table...

Easy, right? Save the macro, then click the little 'In Bar' box beside the macro in the list and a button will appear in the bottom of your screen (below the player names).

Pro tip: You can change the color of these buttons by right clicking on them. I use this to group certain macros by type.

Macro editor in Roll20

Macro Buttons in Roll20 - Note the color. Ooooohh

The Monster Reaction Button: The final example is an integral part of the B/X experience - The Monster Reactions table (B24). Having the table and a macro to query the table mapped to a button in roll20 is a real timesaver when running the game. This is also very easy to set up.

First you'll need to load the table into roll20. Go back to your collections tab, scroll down to the 'Rollable Tables' section and add a new table. The Monster Reactions table has 11 possible options being a 2d6 table. I entered 2 through 11 on the table, naming them appropriately. I also assigned a weight to each entry (to simulate a bell curve) using the below method.

Result        Weight
2		1
3		2
4		3
5		4
6		5
7		6
8		5
9		4
10		3
11		2
12		1

The end result should look something like this.

ta da!

Next we set up a macro to query the table. Syntax below.

/w gm &{template:default} {{name=Monster Reaction}} {{Result=[[1t[Monster-Reaction-B24]]]}}

Again, the result is whispered to the GM (me). This time we're using a template to format the output, specifically the default template. We give the template a title (Monster Reaction) and tell the Result to roll 1 time on the table we just created - [1t[table-name-here]]. Again, map that macro to a button, give a cool color and click on it. Should come out looking like this.

Template give us the purple, and formatted text.


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