08 Sep Playing D&D Online: D&D Beyond + Discord + Foundry
My play group is about to start up a new campaign and for the first time we’ll be 100% online. This is partially because of COVID-19, but also due to distance — I moved in 2019 and it created a lot of space between me and my players and by moving our game online, we get to remove crap like commutes. A few of us in the group have kids, so this frees up our schedule a lot.
I spent a good amount of time deciding the best way to play for my DMing style. The biggest factor for me was that I’ve already invested a lot of time and money into D&D Beyond, a digital compendium for D&D 5e, but not a virtual tabletop (VTT) on its own. That’s where the Beyond20 tool comes in.
Beyond20 is a browser extension that reads data from D&D Beyond and sends rolls made on the DDB character sheet and sends it to another place. This allows for 75% of my game to live purely on DDB and in Discord, our software for audio/video calls. Players will manage their character completely in D&D Beyond and click on their abilities on the DDB character sheet during gameplay, then Beyond20 will take the results of the roll and send it to a third-party — either a VTT or a specific channel on Discord.
I would prefer to play completely “theater of the mind”, but my players often need simple maps and tokens to keep track of combat encounters. I wasn’t interested in a subscription-based solution like Roll20 (easily the most popular VTT) or AstralVTT. The other option that Beyond20 works with is a relative newcomer to the VTT scene called FoundryVTT and I LOVE it.
As a software nerd, FoundryVTT is an incredible tool that lets me do exactly what I need to do. Its a one-time purchase that provides the owner a software license I can use on multiple machines and its self-hosted, similar to Fantasy Grounds if you’ve used it. The best part of Foundry, in my opinion, is its community. The community around Foundry has grown quickly, creating “add on modules” that expand on or creates entirely new functionality for Foundry, making the software simply the table that enables new games to grow.
How to get setup
- Install Beyond20 on the browser you’ll use to play (Chrome or Firefox): https://beyond20.here-for-more.info/install
- In Beyond20 options, go to “Select the VTT tab or Game to send rolls to” and choose “Only Foundry VTT tabs”
- Open up your Foundry game in a new tab of the same browser
- With Foundry open, click on the Beyond20 extension in your browser toolbar to give it permission to work in both tabs
- Click on an action on your DDB character sheet and see the roll in Foundry’s chat window!