In My Bag of Holding: Helpful D&D Links

I talked previously about using Roll20 to play D&D during the pandemic, but there’s a plenty of other D&D resources I’ve also found handy.

In addition to Roll20, the other star of the show is D&D Beyond.

The good news: first, their online character sheets and character generation options are tremendous.

Second, they’ve got all the content from the Player’s Handbook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and everything else from Wizards of the Coast, like Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, all usable in your character sheets, and all searchable without needing to fumble through multiple books to find what you need in the middle of a session.

The bad news: it’s commercial content, so anything beyond the basics isn’t available for free. This can be especially unfortunate if you’ve already bought the physical books, and now have to buy them again, at basically the same price, for online convenience.

But there’s more good news: if somebody else you know has already bought the content on D&D Beyond, they can share it with you. It’s especially good news if they’ve bought one of the bundles, which can include…well, everything. (And that’s pricey.)

Just, don’t get confused by D&D Beyond subscriptions. They don’t include the WotC content.

If you want to use the stats of your D&D Beyond character sheets in Roll20 during a session, such as your attack/damage/ability rolls, you can install the browser plug-in Beyond20. I use it, as do lots of other players I know.

(A quick aside: if you want to roll your D&D dice on your Mac or iPhone/iPad with a little more graphical flair, I recommend Dice by PCalc by James Thompson. No character sheet integration, but gorgeous graphics and some amazing About box Easter eggs.)

If you want to import your D&D Beyond character sheets, with all their details, directly in Roll20 instead of retyping or regenerating everything, you can use the BeyondImporter from Kyle B’s version of the Roll20APIScripts. You need a Roll20 Pro account to use scripts, and it’s a little fiddly (and subject to breakage over time), but it’s worked so far for me.

And, once you have your character sheet in Roll20, if you want to give your character’s avatar a nifty and colorful frame, you can use the free website Token Stamp to do so.

While the WotC game modules have maps for their stories, I often found myself wanting additional maps for the side adventures I create as a DM. So, I went looking for artists online who were providing these so-called “battle maps”.

The best I found was Party of Two, whose maps are gorgeous:

Preview Tumblr:

I’ve been a happy Patreon subscriber of theirs for almost a year now, and have used their maps for:

  • A magic shop fronting a hidden dungeon
  • Rooms at an inn where the party was attacked by assassins
  • An extended cave system with a giant crab, sea hags, and a hydra
  • A lighthouse guarded by undead minotaurs

Their maps are lushly colored and intricate, and thus relatively specific, so it’s hard to slot them into encounters whose details I’d already written. I’ve solved this in two ways:

The easy way: rewrite the encounter, or start with the map and make up new details to match it.

The hard way: take pieces of Party of Two maps and edit them together with my own meager photoshopping skills. For this, I use, not Photoshop, but Acorn, by Gus Mueller. The cave system mentioned above is an example of this, as well as other, more ambitious projects, which will remain [REDACTED] for now.

And lastly, when I invent homebrew monsters for my encounters, I find myself wanting to display their stats in the layout the Monster Manual does: that familiar golden-yellow box.

While nothing I’ve found matches it exactly, Statbock5e comes the closest, while being customizable enough for my needs.

Here’s a quick-reference list of everything I’ve talked about:

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