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D&D > Off Topic > Tabletop RPGJun 4, 2024 4:00 pm CT

Roll20 acquires Demiplane, consolidating more system-agnostic tabletop tools under one (virtual) roof

Roll20, the indepedent virtual tabletop (VTT) toolset company, has formally announced their acquisition of Demiplane. Demiplane’s star has ben rising with its availability as the “D&D Beyond for every other game system” and will join an ever-increasing suite of virtual tabletop utilities from Roll20, including Roll20 Tabletop, DriveThruRPG, and Dungeon Scrawl. But what does this actually mean for online TTRPG players?

This purchase is huge from a sheer integration standpoint. Demiplane features streamlined character creators for various TTRPG systems, like Pathfinder 2E, Vampire: The Masquerade, and even the new Daggerheart system in open beta. Their character sheets are frankly lovely, really well laid out with explanations and details, so even a newbie can make a character in any of the supported games.

This acquisition does lead to the question: is Roll20 squaring off with Wizards of the Coast (which owns D&D Beyond)? This may sound a bit dramatic, but think about it — Hasbro (which owns Wizards of the Coast) has made some “interesting” (read: frustrating) calls that impact the D&D player community since their 2021 reorg that moved Wizards of the Coast from a subsidiary to a company division. And this is not just looking at the big stuff, like the proposed changes to the Open Gaming License last year that were rapidly backpedaled.

There are plenty of examples out of Hasbro-WotC’s realm of total bullshit. Last August saw a snafu around the use of generative AI to create artwork for the upcoming Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants. Wizards of the Coast responded with a new policy stating it will “require that artists refrain from using AI Art Generation tools as part of their art creation process for developing D&D art,” but was caught using AI-generated marketing materials again this year. And guess who recently listed an AI Engineer job posting? Go ahead, guess.

Or how about Wizards’ announcement from early 2024 that they’d be halting their localized Brazilian Portuguese product line, a mere two years after they announced the product line. The minimal post cited rising costs and shifts in global demand, with product sales not keeping pace with rising costs. Or last year’s just-in-time-for-Christmas layoffs, which add up to cutting nearly a third of Hasbro’s employees in 2023, which hit the Wizards of the Coast team hard.

Now, yes, the Roll20 website perhaps could use a bit of a glow-up, and its own character creation tools aren’t as streamlined as character builders on D&D Beyond or Demiplane. But the company’s acquisitions have been intelligent — first with the Dungeon Scrawl mapmaking tool, then OneBookShelf’s game systems library (encompassing DriveThruRPG and Dungeon Master’s Guild), and now Demiplane.

Demiplane is growing into an easy-to-use cross-system toolset, well-fitted to Roll20’s existing cross-system VTT — and an improvement on Roll20’s current character creation tools, if and when they’re integrated. As long as Roll20 can maintain clean integration between its recent purchases, the company will have a solid cross-game VTT, with a character creator and mapmaking tools, making the site a one-stop shop for online tabletop gaming.

Ideally, these moves will push Hasbro to do better with its products: previously the company had little pressure to do so, facing a scattered market of individual digital tools with mixed game support and limited cross-integration. Hasbro’s purchase of D&D Beyond helped D&D grow massively in the online space, precisely because it made character creation and management easy. But lately the company has focused on short-term gains over the long-term health of its games and associated communities.

With Demiplane joining Roll20, the company has added a suite of great character creation tools built by some of the same people who made D&D Beyond. Now that it’s part of one of the largest virtual tabletop platforms… well, your move, Hasbro.

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