- Roll20 Rants: Rollable Tables
This post is a bit different, in that I’m talking about something Roll20 does very badly – Rollable Tables.
What Rollable Tables Are Good For
You can connect multiple images to tokens, so you can use a token to represent multiple characters (like, say, different kinds of bandits) or to represent a single characetr with multiple looks (like a character who looks like a barbarin in one scene and a businessman in the next, or someone who transforms their shape like a werewolf).
You can also use this trick to switch between multiple maps, or different levels of the same location. Set the “token” as a background map with a different size, and you can switch it on demand.
You can combine these with MOD scripts for some interesting benefits. A single click to switch location (and also the map dimensions), or switch a character’s appearance and their stats to match.
But these image-based features are not what most people think of when they want a table.
What Rollable Tables Do Very Badly
When roleplayers want to use a table, they generally want all of these features:
- List the items in the table in sequence
- Use a dice roll on the table (like 2d6, 3d6, 2d0)
- Apply modifiers to the table roll: like, roll 2d6+3
- Modifiers respect the table boundary, so if you roll d20+3 on a d20 table, the maximum result is 20.
- If a table includes another table in its entries, they are rolled, like a table result might be: “You gain 1d6 GP and 3d6x10 CP.” and the table would tell you how many GP and CP you get.
A Roll20 table can do only the first thing on that list. It can do none of the other items.
In my opinion, roll20 tables are not fit for purpose, and should be scrapped and replaced with something more suitable. Third party website tools have been bale to do every item on the list above for at least 30 years. It’s shocking that Roll20 tables cannot.
To do any of these things, you need to be a Pro subscriber and use a Pro script (like the Aaronomancer’s Recursive Tables script, Brian’s Real Rollable Tables script, Tim’s Meta Tables, and ScriptCards, or even a Custom Roll Parsing solution if building the table into a character sheet). But this costs moeney, and for such a basic feature like tables should be free and very user-friendly.
What Rollable Tables Are Used For
The massive failings of the current table system means that tables are worth using only for:
- Rolling a table that generates text output (like, a table of a warrior’s battlecries if you don’t want to invent them all), but remember you can’t apply modifiers to that table roll. This is extremely basic.
- The aforementioned image and token-based uses (which are really quite good).
- Rolling custom sized dice (with some understanding of probability you can construct unusual dice rolls, like a 2d6 roll, but you can’t apply modifiers to the table roll). This is way more complicated than it needs to be and would be instantly made simpler with a proper table system.
I love Roll20. I am one of Roll20’s biggest advocates. If you check the roll20 wiki or the roll20 forums, you will see my name on so many posts. I do a lot to help out. It gives me no pleasure to say this.
There’s one feature I think is just simply not fit for purpose, and that is is the Rollable Table system. I can understand Roll20 having it at the beginning, but the fact that it has never been improved is indefensible in my view. It should be scrapped and replaced with something that does what it’s users expect.