Hearts of Stone: Behind the Curtain

Posted: 8 October 2016 in Hearts of Stone
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For those interested in how exactly I’m doing this… I didn’t put a lot of work into it, to be honest.

13th Age – Savaged

Character creation uses plain vanilla Savage Worlds Deluxe. Gameplay uses SWD Rules As Written.

Available races are dragonborn, dwarf, elf, forgeborn, half-elf, half-orc, halfling, human. Dragonborn are SWD saurians with AB: Magic and either bolt or burst as one of their powers. Forgeborn can choose either to use the SWD android as their template, or to build a human PC but swap their free edge for the construct monstrous ability. The various flavours of elf (high, wood, dark) are trappings with no mechanical effect.

Available arcane backgrounds are magic and miracles.

Characters then pick One Unique Things and Icon Relationships using the 13th Age rules as written. Actually, some of them took more relationship dice with naughty icons than they should’ve done, but I’m rolling with that because I want to see what happens.


Each player sent me an image they wanted to use for their PC. I used TokenTool to turn it into a token and uploaded it to Roll20, and created a character sheet for each player using the Savage Worlds Tabbed character sheet. Each player has control of their own sheet, and I also have joint control over all of them.

I then tokenised some Fiery Dragon counters and uploaded them together with some battlemats from Cry Havoc Fan and Crooked Staff Productions, and some 0One dungeon tiles. Those seem adequate so far.

I’m still familiarising myself with Roll20, but so far it is working really well. Observations to date:

  • Set up some dice macros. These are more useful tabbed across the bottom of the screen than attached to tokens. I have one for each type of trait die with a wild die, because clicking a button is easier than typing /r {1d8!,1d6!}kh1 (which is how you do a d8 plus wild die in Roll20). I haven’t bothered with them for ordinary die rolls, because how hard is it to type /r 1d6!, really?
  • Set up a whisper macro – I use /w @{selected|token_name} ?{Message:}. This avoids sending whispers to the wrong player, which happened occasionally before I did this.
  • Set up a token for the GM as well as each player. This makes it easier to add GM-controlled figures to the turn order; clone it if you have several groups of enemies.
  • Set up a token for the point of aim used for thrown and area effect attacks; I’m using crosshairs.
  • SW statblocks are simple enough that you don’t need character sheets for each mook, nor do you need attributes set up in each token; I may do that later. You do need a cheatsheet though; parry, toughness, attack and damage at a minimum. Charisma, special abilities and hindrances are nice to have.
  • So far, my needs are fully met by the free version. One player has expressed a desire for the special effects which come with the more expensive subscription, and I would quite like the dynamic lighting which comes with the cheaper one. Maybe later.

In some ways, Roll20 is more convenient for the GM than the traditional approach of sitting around a table; there’s less time spent looking things up, the figures/mats/tokens don’t get knocked out of place, dealing action cards is easier, stuff like that. I do miss sitting around a table, though.

Obsidian Portal

This looks very pretty and is a good way to store handouts, maps, adventure logs and so on; it grows into a setting book for your campaign. Again, so far I’m happy with the free edition; the paid subscription allows you to have more campaigns (you get two with the free version) and more maps per campaign (ten instead of one if I recall correctly). I could see myself wanting more than two campaigns eventually, which would trigger me to subscribe.


This is a voice chat tool intended to operate side by side with video games. Roll20 has a built-in voice and video chat client, but all the players are used to using Discord and we wanted to minimise the learning curve. You can have multiple chat channels; we have two for each game, one in-game voice channel and one for sharing out-of-game messages and files. You can also whisper to individual players.

Next Time…

If I were to do this again, I’d drop Discord and possibly Obsidian Portal as well, because we could do everything we need to do with Roll20. Still, it’s not like it costs me anything to use them, and Obsidian Portal looks very cool.


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