I am a huge fan of Foundry VTT. For my purposes, it is the perfect virtual tabletop system. It supports a ton of systems, including the two that I love the best, namely Dungeons & Dragons 5e (DD5E) and Pathfinder 2e (PF2E).
A massive part of the appeal of a VTT for me is having a computer act as my co-DM. It pins my notes directly to relevant rooms, keeps statistics nearby, reminds me of rules I may have forgotten (dynamic lighting is a big one, here; I’m very unlikely to remember that 4 humans are sharing a single torch among them when they split up unless one of their tokens is glowing.) and even dealing with some of the pesky math for me.
The biggest barrier of entry for me getting into Pathfinder 2e was, in many ways, my perception that the system was numerically complex. As I become more familiar with it, I realize this isn’t true – it has more numbers per activity than D&D 5e, but on the whole, isn’t actually the rampaging stat rhino that, I think, some of the uninitiated out there believe PF2e to be.
It’s still a very crunchy system, though, with a ton of fidelity around what is, essentially, a medieval fantasy world simulator. And computers are, I think, ingrained in the idea of processing a simulation.
A few years ago, before Foundry VTT was released, I was trying and failing to make Roll20 work the way I wanted it to – as a Co-DM, and then in frustration, I turned to the impressive MapTool project. MapTool was closer to what I wanted, but absolutely dire when it came to usability. Even after I learned to use it, my players balked at the complexity of the program.
Then along came Foundry. The clouds parted. Beams of heavenly light bathed my roleplaying table, and I had my robotic Co-DM. As an added benefit, my players could just connect to my games, or to the TV, even, and joining in the tech was as easy as using any other well-made website. If you can’t tell, I strongly, strongly recommend FoundryVTT. It’s the best $50 I’ve ever spent on this hobby.
This was about when Pathfinder 2e started to become very appealing to me. Even if you hate PF2e, there is no denying that the PF2e FoundryVTT experience smooth like butter. This is partly because the volunteers who maintain this system are transcendent, godlike beings, one with the code, a cosmic hive of glory. But also, Paizo’s SRD for Pathfinder 2e is literally all of their official content. So PF2e comes with every single creature, action, ancenstry, feat, spell, and magic item baked into the system, no importing necessary, no need to hand-recreate an adventure-specific dragon from a third-party website. Nothing. It’s all just there and it all just works.
You can’t [legally] have that experience with the D&D5e system.
Everything that is good about video game RPGs (damage auto-resolving, effects happening when they’re supposed to, without prompting from a rules-keeper, mooks not having a turn skipped) is combined with everything that makes a table-top RPG a more versatile experience. The system also comes with seemingly hundreds of small, quality-of-life features that I’d have never expected. Need a +2 silver dagger (low quality variant) that has specific magic traits, but is also specifically only for small creatures? Cool, open the item, select the metal and properties you want. The system auto-calculates the price, adjusts the item to have the properties you wanted, and generates a name.
Now you can take this dagger, drop it into a chest on the map that your players can find and loot without you needing to say what is in it, and, if you need, you can also have them not know what they’re looking at – the item can come unidentified.
Change the name from Unusual Dagger to Dagger, swap the icon so the question-mark isn’t there, and bam – they don’t even know they’re carrying King Gorgolla’s Cursed Dagger of Elemental Sneezing Powder. They just think they picked up some loot. The fools!
And, honestly, every aspect of the system is that versatile. I can’t gush enough.
I can probably gush too much, though, so I’ll let myself be done.
No, wait, one more thing.
If you buy an official Paizo adventure PDF, you can import it into Foundry VTT. Importing stuff into Foundry for D&D 5e is not nearly that simple, and because of the nature of 5e’s SRD and the relationship between Wizards of the Coast and D&D Beyond, it never will be that simple. The adventure importer isn’t perfect, by a long shot, and it isn’t quite like loading a premade, made-for-foundry adventure, but it’s really goddamn close.
Massive kudos to everyone making the Foundry Pathfinder 2e system. Y’all are making it possible for me
to neglect my comic even more than I already do to host a really pleasant game with my family with a lot of the parts of DM prep that I’m not good at or fond of taken care of in advance. May Candor smile gently on you from the skies.