- Character sheets, maps and dice in one tool
- Interactive maps that are easy to learn
- Includes video chat
- Overall design is a little messy
- DMs have to give other players character sheets to fill out
If you're looking for a one-stop shop for all your D&D gaming, we recommend Roll20 for its versatility. Roll20 offers practically everything you could ask for in a virtual D&D tool: You'll be able to make characters and play out epic battles on an interactive map, all without even needing an external service for video or voice chat. The tradeoff is a little more time spent figuring out how features work.
Everything in Roll20 is run through its Games feature, and your DM will need to create a game for everyone to get started. The DM can then invite players to join through emailed invitations or simple copy-and-paste links. Once everyone's in, the DM can create blank character sheets and assign those characters out to players for them to customize.
Players can create their characters using Roll20's Charactermancer tool, which walks them step by step through the character creation process, similar to D&D Beyond. You'll see snippets from the core rules to help explain any new or confusing features. At the end of the process, your character sheet will be set up and ready to go. You also have the option of pulling up a blank character sheet and filling it out directly, which may be appealing for more experienced players, but the Charactermancer is generally the simpler option.
The Roll20 character sheets don't feel quite as stylish or easy to navigate as D&D Beyond's, but Roll20 makes up for it with a variety of other features you won't find on D&D Beyond. The biggest one is interactive maps. DMs can create maps for their campaigns, allowing your group to traverse dungeons and engage in battles more tactically. DMs can use fog of war to limit map vision to what players can actually see, and players can move tokens representing their characters around the map, just like you would at a physical table.
Like the other online D&D tools we reviewed, Roll20 has a marketplace where you can buy digital versions of sourcebooks and adventure books, which unlock new features for your character sheets and maps. The costs will generally match what you see in D&D Beyond and Fantasy Grounds, so don't worry too much about bargain hunting. The biggest difference is that Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds also offer books from other tabletop RPGs like Pathfinder and Call of Cthulhu, whereas D&D Beyond is strictly based on Dungeons & Dragons.
Roll20 offers free accounts and two subscription options that unlock additional features. You can pay $6 per month (discounted to $40 annually if you pay upfront) to share purchased content with other players in their game. That subscription also unlocks features like dynamic lighting and the ability to transfer characters between games. For $10 per month ($90 annually if you pay upfront), you can also copy other materials between games, unlock additional customization options and get a monthly reward.
Roll20 is a good middle ground between the other tools we tested. It's not quite as slick as D&D Beyond, but it offers more features like interactive maps, and it works with other game systems. It's not quite as robust as Fantasy Grounds, but it's generally easier to pick up and use. If you want a tool that lets you run a whole tabletop RPG virtually, and you're less interested in learning how to customize or automate your gameplay, try Roll20.