Hey folks, today we’re back with another look at the Ghosts of Saltmarsh–but this time, we’re taking a look Roll20’s awesome digital version.
The odds are good if you’re playing D&D today you’ve played it online at least in some fashion, whether via Skype, over a chatroom squirreled away on a dark corner of a discord server, or through one of many virtual tabletop apps out there. And that’s just if you’ve done it nowadays. Back when people had to walk uphill both ways in the snow to get to the nearest stop on the Information Superhighway, and internet speed was measured in baud, there were entire BBSes and MUD/SH/CK/Xes devoted to online roleplay.
The point is with so many options out there competing for your virtual space; you’ll want to make sure you grab something easy to use and sparks adventure. And whether you’re a GM or a Player the Ghosts of Saltmarsh adaptation for Roll20 is a great way to jump into online play. In our review of the book itself, we talked about how Ghosts of Saltmarsh feels like it’s written with usability in mind, and Roll20’s version expands on that philosophy.
As with most Roll20 Modules, you’ll get a suite of maps and minis ready to go, and they’re all integrated with the content of the module. So you can click on the mini for say, the Thousand Teeth – an ancient crocodilian nightmare that has served as the apex predator in the swamps near Saltmarsh for as long as anyone can remember. You could do that and pull up your own little virtual index card that’s full of everything you need to run the monster right there at your fingertips.
But even on the landing page, which has the art you need, you’ll find all the notes you need to run the monster. You’ll get a stripped down version of all its actions and its recent whereabouts and habits, as well as a full stat block breakdown on the character sheet tab.
The whole module is full of easy-to-use treats like this. If you want to show your players exactly how hosed they are, there’s a whole section of player handouts that are high-quality pictures of the monster in question. Here’s a Koalinth out of the module, for example:
There’s more to it than that. Also included in the module’s files–all the rules and supplemental rules you’ll need to run the module. No more scrambling to find the right bit of info scattered around, when you run into the Green Slime or the Yellow Mold, they’re right there, ready to go, alongside treasure tables, market tables, and more.
Even Appendix A, which is full of fancy new rules for exploring the ocean and depths below, has its secrets laid out in Roll20, which is great.
After all, there’ss a ton of new information in Ghosts of Saltmarsh, and the team at Roll20 have made it all easy to access and use if you’re a newbie or veteran DM looking to keep your game going smoothly. Even if you’re playing in meatspace, there’s still plenty to glean from the Roll20 app. It’s perfect for handling a blend of grid/theatre of the mind combat, so even if you’re loosely describing the fight, you can still keep track of where everyone is. Plus all the information is organized so you don’t have to look hard to find what you need.
All of which complements the sort of meta-themes of Saltmarsh very well. The module that’s all about usability is just as easy to use digitally. And of course, with Roll20 you have all the fog of war and map tricks that the service does so well, so you’re getting an extra layer of immersion to help maintain the creepy atmosphere of the seven different adventures that come with the module.
It’s an indispensable tool if you’re looking to run Saltmarsh. I’ve found it helpful for running the Region events especially–if you’re looking to start a West Marches style game, this is a great place to come for inspiration. Everything you need is one click away, whether it’s locations to explore, monsters to “encounter” or treasures to find after you’ve encountered a monster. Well worth checking out, especially if you’re already considering picking up Ghosts of Saltmarsh.