A Comprehensive Foundry Vs. Roll20 VTT Comparison Video

Published 2021-02-17

All Comments (21)
  • Xenophes
    With the release of the "DF Curvy Walls" module, you can now do (pretty sophisticated) curved walls and circles in Foundry. Pog.
  • Anna
    After my current (forever) DM told me about 6 characters he wanted to play, I decided to DM, and spent probably 2 afternoons on Roll20 before I decided there has to be more to VTTs than what roll20 offers. This video was the thing that convinced me to get foundry, thank you!
  • GM Scott
    6:20 MapTool had dynamic lighting well before Roll 20 even existed. In fact, many modern-day VTTs are just now catching up to things that MapTool did waaaay back then. It was very far ahead of its time.
    I view Foundry VTT as the spiritual successor to MapTool in many ways.
  • jeff G
    Having run a fortnightly face to face game since 2016, when the pandemic in the early months of 2020, I knew that I would spend whatever money I needed to keep my game alive. After literally flipping a coin on which VTT to buy, I deciced on Fantasy Grounds Classic. The learning curve on FGC was steep, and I still don't have a 100% grasp on it, almost 18 months later. I decided to go the whole hog and buy an Ultimate Licence, for $149 US (I live in the Australia which turns this into about $200) and then buy all the core books and a few other gaming aids/adventures etc. All up, I paid close to $500 Aus.

    All I knew was regardless, I knew that Roll20 was not going to be an option going forward. The only thing appealing to me was the browser interace. Other than that it just seemed uber clunky to me.

    While FGC offers a way for us to play online while we can't play face to face, I still found it clunky and cumbersome, as did my players. Then just a few weeks ago, I learned that Fantasy Grounds Classic was being shut down and if you had an Ultimate Licence, there would be no swap over to the newer Fantasy Grounds Unity. Instead (and I found this pretty poor customer service) Ultimate Licence holders were given the "opportunity" to purchase Unity at a reduced cost of 40% off.

    After thinking it over, I decided that I really didn't have much choice as updates and customer support would soon come to a close. To be fair, Fantasy Grounds Unity offers LoS (Line of Sight) functionality and a host of other improvements that would benefit my game, but of course, I would need to re-learn new things adding to the steep learning curve.

    Reluctantly, I made the purchase. Now I have buyers regret. Because at the time, I did not know about Foundry. Had I known, I am sure I would have said forget it. I am buying Foundry and Fantasy Grounds can go to hell. I really think it is in extremely poor taste for a company not to allow their Untimate Classic users a free migration over to the new Unity. Having two separate apps available on their website is misleading to the consumer and has soured my taste for Fantasy Grounds as a whole. I don't think it should have been done this way. My Ultimate Licence turned out to not be so ultimate after all.

    After watching your video here, I have decided that I am going to yet again, open my wallet and purchase Foundry. At least it's only a one time purchase. But I think it will offer a similar experience that I am used to when playin online. I much prefer face to face games, but eventually my goal is to use a VTT (maybe Foundry if it works out) as a face to face companion tool that players around the table will have access to during live play for battles. I love minis, but I think the addition of effects and other game tools would only add to a sessions appeal.

    I am sorry for writing so long on your page, but I wanted to thank you for making such a decent video. I had watched a few others, but none of them swayed me to give Foundry a chance. So thank you.
  • Michael B.
    I have some experience with software development and yes, collision detection with anything that is not a square or a streight line IS a big problem. Working with circles is very inefficient and would probably slow the whole code down (which for the user will probably create lag). That's why VTTs avoid it.
  • Folken Games
    Had a lot of fun on R20 and there's some very kind and generous people in that community. BUT no new features to speak of for years and Foundry & it's modding community surprises me every week with new possibilities. GMs: you'll get twice as much prepped in the same amt of time if you switch to FVTT.
  • Lechteron
    I'm moving over to Foundry soon. My group plays Pathfinder 2e. Once we get back from a short break (My daughter is going to be born on the 15th so we're taking a couple sessions off) and then finish out the book we're on (the first book of Extinction Curse) we're going to move over to Foundry.

    Another spot of Foundry vs. Roll20 that may be more system specific: So Paizo sells their PDFs significantly cheaper than the physical books which makes sense. The core book (650 pages. Essentially what D&D would release as the PHB and DMG) is like $60 as a book or $15 as a PDF. If I get it on Roll20 it's not quite $60 but pretty close to it. Don't remember the exact price. Foundry has a module that I can just import the PDFs of most PF2 books. Just has to be downloaded straight from Paizo. So that's another area where Foundry saves money. Much cheaper to get the compendium going.
  • Moved from Roll20 to foundry 1,5(!) years ago after leading groups on roll 20 for another 1,5 years and its a difference like traveling by horse coach vs traveling by car xD
  • HAxan
    I feel like the time and energy put into this comparison warrant more than 450 likes, esp. considering its approaching 13k views. The side by side feature comparison was great, thanks, I am now convinced and will switch platform from roll20 to foundry. As for circles/curves and collision detection.. they're a pain man. The simplest way I can think of at 2:30 am, is 'pixel collision', but that is not scalable as it involves a lot of computations per cycle, but maybe for these small scenes it would be possible. Anyway I'm sure there are better ways, just can't get my head to work properly. Anyway, nice work!
  • glen stark
    I am hugely impressed with the quality of your review. The intellectual depth of the material you covered is profound. The degree of respect that you show your for your audience is profound. Thank you. Although I had to concentrate more than I expected to, the effort was well-rewarded, and I'm grateful for it. I look forward to seeing more of your content.
  • Jordan W
    Thank you IMMENSELY for finding the time and drive to complete this video! Yours is the very perspective I was looking for, a longstanding Roll20 GM who recently began using Foundry. You gave me just the push I need to give this wonderful software a chance, as once it's all setup, my players will certainly be enamored.
  • Ryan Houser
    Honestly, this was a really comprehensive video. I appreciate your input and effort!
  • Bryan S.
    Thank you for taking the time to make this analysis. It was very thorough and definitely a video I will need to watch again for reference again. It helps as my partner and I just got into D&D and I've been looking into vttrpg programs to start making campaigns since there is a distance factor with our 2 friends.
  • CookWithSalt
    Good video. I don't know why I watched. I already made the switch to Foundry. Roll20 does have a few Pros that you went over, but I do think Foundry is superior. If you're on the fence about either one, and you haven't spent too much money on anything yet, then I would go with Foundry. Sunken cost fallacy is a very real thing for a lot of Roll20 users.
  • Akeche
    Circles are hard! But, you can grab a module named DF Curvy Walls which lets you do perfect circles. Also, 10 MB limit be damned indeed... But I still try to reduce the size of my maps to under that. Turns out Roll20 might have had a good reason for it, as when I once had a 70 MB map it took forever for two of my players to load it.
  • Thank you. I was leaning to FVTT over Roll20, and now I feel confident in it.
  • OptimusGPrime
    Just a note about targeting in Foundry, it's only clunky if you target via the method you describe. You can just as easily target via one of Foundry's many hotkeys. Simply hover over the token you wish to target, and press the T key on your keyboard. You can even target multiple tokens this way by pressing and holding the Shift key, and then hovering over each token you wish to target and pressing the T key.
  • Charles S
    Thanks for this! I'm making the jump over to Foundry, and I've been going through various videos here on YouTube about it. I've played in Roll20 but never ran it; it being almost twice as expensive to pick up everything for D&D 5E vs. Fantasy Grounds Unity was a big negative to me, only slightly balanced by the Roll20 free mode and it being easier to learn than FGU. I was struggling with which one to pick when I saw the videos concerning the Roll20/Nolan situations, which also stacked up with other things I had read; these issues caused me to go with FGU.

    I saw other VTTs coming out at the (Astral, Foundry, etc.) but I shied away from them as being new; I didn't think they would be versatile enough to do what I wanted to and I was worried that I would have to do a ton of work with APIs or other similar tasks that I knew nothing about. As I just learned tonight, I can import everything into Foundry that I need from D&D Beyond (I have everything there, plus a subscription so that I can GM campaigns and allow players to use my account purchases to create characters).

    T;DR: Thank you for this video! You showed me some things that the other videos haven't that Foundry can do (such as those light templates and the ability to change the visual effects in them) and I went ahead and took the plunge and paid for Foundry. I think Foundry is going to be much better for at least one of my groups to learn to use, and my other group's GM will be using it next week.
  • Eric Ray
    A very thorough and conclusive comparison. Very well researched and I appreciate the inclusion and "labeling" of anecdotal information. It covers the info I was hoping to hear about, mainly the inclusion of purchased compendiums and RPG "books" from which to drag and drop in-game items and spells and whatnot. I had not considered the inclusion of R20's charactermancer and the possible lack thereof in Foundry. That's food for thought, but your video is helping me in my person comparison and research. Good job here.