Getting Started with Playing Tabletop RPGs over, Part II

Roll20whiteOnBlacklogoLast time, in Part I, we talked about setting up an account, creating a campaign, and creating character sheets. This time we’ll talk about creatures, maps, and running a game.


To start, we’ll create a page not to use in play, but just to park all our creatures on. From there we can copy and paste creatures into encounter maps.

Roll20 Player RibbonLaunch your campaign (if needed), click the Page Toolbar, and click Create New Page. Rename the page Creatures and click on that page to go to it. Another blank map. Yay!

If you have way more time than I do, you can create NPC character sheets for all your creatures and attach them to a token. That way madness lies. I just use a token and hit points. I have the book or SRD open to the creature when gaming.

You can upload a token from your own fantasy art (Pinterest and DeviantArt are great sources) or search the Roll20 art library. If you use your own art, you’ll want to crop the image in an art program to be square. I’ll use the art library and search for gargoyle and grab the first free one I find and drag it onto the map.

GargoyleTo set hit points, I click on the token, then click on the gear icon and up pops the Edit Token dialog window. Red for blood, red for hit points. I set it to 60 / 60. (13th Age gargolyles have 60 hp). To make the red hit point bar visible to the players, I click the Advanced tab and click See for Bar 3.

Put “Gargoyle” in the Name box and click Save Changes.


Now let’s create an encounter map to put our gargoyle on. Make a new map and call it Gargoyle Lair. On the Page Toolbar, click the gear for this map and change the size to 50 x 50. Go there. Gargoyles might be found in ruins, so let’s pick a ruins map. Switch to the Map & Background layer by clicking on the second icon in the toolbar on the top left of your map. It switches from a block to a pushin.

On the right, click on the Art Library and choose Maps, Tiles, Textures. I’ll type ruin and scroll down, pick a nice one, and drag it onto the map. Oh great, a 1 square map. I’ll drag a corner out until it looks like it almost matches Roll20’s grid.

Right click on the map, click Advanced->Align to Grid. Hold down the alt key and with the mouse move the map so that the grid is aligned. There’s a great video on the Roll20 wiki explaining aligning your map. Making an exact match isn’t that important for range band systems like 13th Age or Numenera, but people like to use the measure tool and create auras, so it’s worth some effort.

Now, switch back to the Objects and Tokens lair, go back to your Creatures map, select and copy the gargoyle, and return to the gargoyle lair map and paste a few onto the map.

Gargoyle LairThen go back to the start map. Be sure to let the players control their tokens. Click on each icon, and use Represents Character to link it to the character sheet. Go to Bar 3 and associate it with hit points if you can. If the hit points are 30, you want it to say 30/30. Click the Advanced tab and click See for Bar 3 so all the players can see the bar. Save and Copy the PCs and paste them on to the Gargoyle Lair map as well.

Time to Play

Invite your players, have them join in. They will see their characters on the Start map. Later you can replace this with a friendly inn or lava pit, but for now blank is fine.

Drag the red Player ribbon over to the Gargoyle Lair map, and everyone will see that. Ready for action!

If your game uses a character sheet with an initiative button, have each player first select their token, then click the button. That will put them in the Turn Order. Otherwise, open the Turn Order window (the clock icon in the left toolbar) and follow the instructions to add everyone to the initiative list. Give everyone a number, then click the gear and Sort Descending.

Better yet, create an initiative macro if your character sheet doesn’t have them. All about macros ->

You roll dice by using the d20 icon in the left toolbar. Results show up in the Chat (speech bubbles on top right toolbar) window on the right. Many character sheets have buttons that do rolls and apply modifiers. The player clicks, and sees the results in the Chat Window.

Take 10 Ten TookClick the arrow to move to the next initiative. When someone takes damage, select their token, click in the red circle, and type -10 if they took 10 points of damage. Notice how the red bar shows they have taken damage. +10 (or whatever) will heal the selected character.

More information can be found on the wiki ->

Play around and have fun!

Next -> Getting Started with Fantasy Grounds

2 thoughts on “Getting Started with Playing Tabletop RPGs over, Part II

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