Third in a series.
Even if you’re going with scenes and backgrounds, you still may wish to have tokens on the page. It gives players a helpful way to represent their characters and a graphical tool for tracking core statistics (in D&D, mostly HP) without going deep into character sheets.
Tokens can look different ways when we don’t have to deal with minis. I recommend choosing a style and sticking with it! (Or don’t–who am I to tell you how your game should look?) Commonly, these fall into three types of categories:
You will find lots of options on the Roll20 Marketplace. As a bonus, you won’t even have to worry about uploading them, because they will appear in your Art Library already.
Another option I like is to find cool art that I can use under an appropriate license or content policy. Of course, if you’re doing this to run a business, like a for-profit stream or as a “pay to play” GM, I’d especially advise you to make sure you’re doing things the right way and making sure the creators get compensated properly. Artists need to make a living!
If you choose circle tokens, then Token Stamp will improve your life. Choose a consistent ring style and color, then generate your tokens. Walking through that tool is a bit outside my scope here, but I have no doubt that you can work it out with no trouble whatsoever.
Other similar tools exist and you can really jazz this up with custom token rings. (To my fellow vintage networking geeks, no, not that kind.) While we’re not going to focus on the extras in this series, just know that tokens are an easy area to enhance things for your players with custom art and representation of their characters and even animations.
Regardless of the style, I like to have a Token Workshop page with the grid turned on so I can make sure they are properly sized. You don’t need to do anything more than check “Enabled” next to “Grid” about halfway down the dialog for the page settings.
You can drag and drop the image file from your desktop directly onto the page if it isn’t already in your Art Library. Make sure you’re on the Objects and Tokens layer first, though, because they will work a bit differently if you drop them on the other layers.
Bars and Auras can really turn your tokens into something much more useful than traditional physical miniatures. Because I’m accustomed to the style used for official D&D 5e NPCs, I use Bar 1 (Green) for Hit Points and Bar 2 (Blue) for Armor Class. By the way, if you put the max value in the second box, it will know how to calculate the length of the bar and thus you can adjust during the combat. You don’t even have to do the math: when a character takes 5 points of damage, select the green bubble and type “-5” and Roll20 will do that for you. So if you set your token up like this…
Then you’ll have it looking like this:
And if it takes that 5 damage and you do it as described, then you’ll see that green bar (corresponding to the bubble with the same color) also decrease:
You don’t need to do this, of course! But I find it helpful to have a visual indicator of each character’s health, especially the NPCs. And having the AC handy saves me a lot of time. Remember, this series is about getting the most out of Roll20 with the least effort, and for me that includes tracking the most used stats on the token without using character sheets.
During the game, maybe something happens to a particular character that you want to track, like they fall prone or they’ve been charmed in some way. Click on the circle icon beneath the selected icon and you’ll pop up a bunch of symbols. I suggest that you take a second and try to find one that corresponds at least somewhat with the appropriate condition or status.
Hint: while your mouse cursor is over one of the symbols, you can type a number like “7” and it will show that symbol with that number. I’m sure you can find plenty of uses for that, like having a bunch of minions without cluttering up the display. Or just give your players a way to specify which Frilled Deathspitter they mean!
While this post won’t go into great detail about zones, you can move your tokens around for some abstract positioning. In my example below, three Xs are in a melee with a Y, while an A and a B are at range but far from each other. The exact angles and distances don’t matter; this just helps me keep track at a basic level.
However, in the next post, I will cover zones and abstract positioning in much more detail!
NB: The image used in the token comes “Frilled Deathspitter” by Zoltan Boros, (c) 2018 Wizards of the Coast.