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Introducing the Compendium

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Edited 1426023862
Riley D.
Roll20 Team
We're pleased to introduce a Technical Preview of a new feature to Roll20: The Compendium . The idea behind this new section of the website is simple. When you're playing a game, you often have to do a quick rules lookup. However, it can be slow and frustrating to have to flip through a physical rulebook (which is really designed more for teaching you how to play a game, not as an index of rules organized alphabetically). In addition, rules (such as the Bestiary) often reference other parts of the rulebook, leading to frequent back-and-forth page turning. We want the Compendium to solve this issue by serving as a quick, inter-linked reference guide to the rules you'll frequently want to access during gameplay. The Compendium is designed to be accessible both from desktop computers and mobile devices such as phones and tablets, so you can always carry it with you wherever you play -- and of course it's integrated directly into our new Roll20 for iPad and Roll20 for Android tablet apps. It's designed to be extremely easy to use, and it's not bogged down by ads or other distractions. We spent a lot of time crafting a design for it that maximized readability and the speed at which you can find information and get back to gaming. What can it do today? Today we're launching a Technical Preview of the Compendium . This is not the finished version, but a first step toward our ultimate goal. The Compendium today is launching with content from the Pathfinder SRD, including Spells, Bestiary, Rules, Classes, and more. We intend to continue to add additional Pathfinder content, and to further expand the Compendium to add books from other games with open content licenses as well (such as D&D 3.5, 13th Age, Dungeon World, and more). What will it do in the future? What makes the Compendium even better than a digital PDF is not only its separation of the rules onto their own pages (like an encyclopedia), but the fact that it is built on top of structured data. Rather than just a collection of text, the Compendium is designed to actually "know" that a Fireball Spell has a range of 120ft. That will allow us to build advanced search capabilities, where you can search for an entry based on its attributes rather than just free-form text. So for example you could see all the Spells with a range of 120ft. Or all the monsters in the Bestiary that have a CR of 5 and live in Desert environments. We want the Compendium to be a community effort, and as such we will operate it like a wiki, where anyone on the Roll20 site can contribute to keeping the content up-to-date, add new entries, and even new games (as long as they are open-content licensed). We're also looking into ways that we can allow you to build your own Compendiums for your own private games, your house rules, etc. Note that during the Technical Preview these editing features are currently disabled. We'll let you know when you're able to help contribute to the cause! Finally, perhaps the coolest facet of the Compendium will be its eventual integration directly with Roll20. Here's a preview of what we're planning to provide: As you can see, the structured data in the Compendium will allow us to offer "copy and paste" functionality where you can import Spells, and perhaps even entire monsters and NPCs, directly from the Compendium into your Roll20 Character Sheets, cutting down drastically on the amount of time it takes to fill out a sheet and get your game up and running. Today is just the beginning. Today is just the first step in a long journey toward creating a truly amazing piece of the Roll20 puzzle. We look forward to working with the whole community to create the ultimate rules reference for as many RPG systems as possible!
This looks really amazing, looking forward to it! One of the biggest benefits (for me personally) is the ability to have a private compendium, but I have a question. Will you be able to import say the community content into your private compendium then modify it? Will compendiums be linked to campaigns or accounts? If they are linked to campaigns, I hope that we will be able to use the transmogrifier to move them! Is there any thought to extending the feature functionality to compete with other cloud based campaign managers that help build/maintain/organize campaigns, worlds, story arcs, etc... I don't want to specify names as I am not looking to promote them, but there is definitely some nice feature functionality touted in these (2 products, one semi-established, one as a kickstarter), which if it could be integrated directly into Roll20 would be amazing long term, because those products truly lack what roll20 offers in terms of a VTT!
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Riley D.
Roll20 Team
Kevin said: This looks really amazing, looking forward to it! One of the biggest benefits (for me personally) is the ability to have a private compendium, but I have a question. Will you be able to import say the community content into your private compendium then modify it? Will compendiums be linked to campaigns or accounts? If they are linked to campaigns, I hope that we will be able to use the transmogrifier to move them! Is there any thought to extending the feature functionality to compete with other cloud based campaign managers that help build/maintain/organize campaigns, worlds, story arcs, etc... I don't want to specify names as I am not looking to promote them, but there is definitely some nice feature functionality touted in these (2 products, one semi-established, one as a kickstarter), which if it could be integrated directly into Roll20 would be amazing long term, because those products truly lack what roll20 offers in terms of a VTT! We don't know exactly how the "custom" compendium feature is going to work. In an ideal world, I think what you'd do is either a) start from scratch if it's a game system you've created, or if it's house rules then b) you would "fork" (create a copy) of the base rules e.g. for Pathfinder, and then you would have your own version of them you could modify/expand however you want. It would be account-wide, not linked to a specific campaign. And yes, Campaign Management is definitely something we are looking into in the future, and the Compendium is one potential step in that direction.
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Ziechael
Roll20 Mod Team
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Great addition, as a 3.5 GM i'm really looking forward to not having to refer to my various print-outs, rule books and bandwidth draining external websites. Can't wait :)
Ngngn yess
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Vince
Pro
Sheet Author
Cool. Drag and drop from the Compendium would be nice. Want a backpack? Just drag and drop to the character sheet and it's added to your PF sheet's Inventory as a repeatable item.
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Vince
Pro
Sheet Author
Just noticed the " Compendium " url in the website's header links to a non-existent page. Go to this link https://app.roll20.net/compendium/pathfinder/BookIndex and click on the Compendium link in the header.
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Gold
Roll20 Mod Team
Riley D. said: Today is just the beginning. Today is just the first step in a long journey toward creating a truly amazing piece of the Roll20 puzzle. We look forward to working with the whole community to create the ultimate rules reference for as many RPG systems as possible! Good to hear about this new feature! Best wishes Roll20 on achieving the potential of this, for as many systems as possible.
Great improvements; thank you for all of your hard work!
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This is neat for Pathfinder players but... Will we be getting compendiums for things like: Mutants and Masterminds FATE Savage Worlds World of Darkness Etc? I'm sure this is cool and all, but for those of us who don't do Pathfinder/D&D 3.5 it really isn't something to jump for joy about.
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Finderski
Pro
Sheet Author
Savage Worlds and World of Darkness are not Open Gaming License type of systems (don't know about the others), so I doubt we'll get one for them, but if/when we get the person Compendium I would suspect we could create our own. But, because it's not open gaming, and there would be copyright concerns, I'm guessing every Savage Worlds/WoD GM will need to build their own with no way to share what we've done... Just to be clear, I'm OK with that--I wouldn't want Roll20 to get into hot water with any gaming company. One idea, though, would be to see if the company might be willing to work with Roll20 in this regard and provide a premium service where we have the compendium and we can purchase that compendium. I know Savage Outfitter did something like this and I can purchase the Core Rules dataset for a couple of bucks and then I have access to all the Edges, Hindrances, etc. to me on Savage Outfitter. Maybe something similar could be done with Roll20?
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Edited 1426086328
Brian
Sheet Author
API Scripter
G V. said: Savage Worlds and World of Darkness are not Open Gaming License type of systems (don't know about the others), so I doubt we'll get one for them It never huts to ask the people who hold the IP, though. The worst that can happen is they say "no". On the other hand, they might say "yes"!
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Finderski
Pro
Sheet Author
Brian said: It never huts to ask the people who hold the IP, though. The worst that can happen is they say "no". On the other hand, they might say "yes"! Exactly! That's why I referenced Savage Outfitters...hoping that can be an avenue for cooperation with the IP owners. :)
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Edited 1426095877
Smurf
Plus
So presumably you can build your own private compendium for game systems like dnd 5e.
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Don't assume they're not asking. Pathfinder makes a wonderful guineapig system with which to test and innovate the compendium, because their OGL/PF-SRD is so broad and flexible. Right now, consider what they're doing to be Proof of Concept, and the opening salvo. Once the bugs have been worked out,the devs will expand. But you have to be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day.
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It may be worth noting that letting the publishers know (politely, of course) that you enjoy playing on Roll20 and might like to see their official products here couldn't hurt either. :)
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Pat S.
Roll20 Mod Team
Sheet Author
G V. said: Brian said: It never huts to ask the people who hold the IP, though. The worst that can happen is they say "no". On the other hand, they might say "yes"! Exactly! That's why I referenced Savage Outfitters...hoping that can be an avenue for cooperation with the IP owners. :) Smurf said: So presumably you can build your own private compendium for game systems like dnd 5e. I bolded specifics that Riley mentions that covers what you are asking about. Riley D. said: Today we're launching a Technical Preview of the Compendium . This is not the finished version, but a first step toward our ultimate goal. The Compendium today is launching with content from the Pathfinder SRD, including Spells, Bestiary, Rules, Classes, and more. We intend to continue to add additional Pathfinder content, and to further expand the Compendium to add books from other games with open content licenses as well (such as D&D 3.5, 13th Age, Dungeon World, and more) . We want the Compendium to be a community effort, and as such we will operate it like a wiki, where anyone on the Roll20 site can contribute to keeping the content up-to-date, add new entries, and even new games (as long as they are open-content licensed). We're also looking into ways that we can allow you to build your own Compendiums for your own private games, your house rules, etc . Note that during the Technical Preview these editing features are currently disabled. We'll let you know when you're able to help contribute to the cause! Today is just the beginning.Today is just the first step in a long journey toward creating a truly amazing piece of the Roll20 puzzle. We look forward to working with the whole community to create the ultimate rules reference for as many RPG systems as possible!
Oh god I think I wet myself. This is why Roll20 is a game-changer. There's a big shift to rules-lite systems, even for people who enjoy crunchy games. Something like this DRASTICALLY reduces the upkeep in a crunchy sytem, or even a rules-lite system with lots of fluff to keep track of. Being able to search for a monster in a compendium and just zap it into your campaign, macros ready to go, would make GMing significantly easier. What I'm most excited about, though, is the idea of filling out almost all of a character sheet. My main concern as a GM is making things as fast and accessible as possible for my players. I end up filling out character sheets for my less tech-minded players because they don't know how to handle all that flashy stuff themselves. If they were able to copy an entire class into their character sheet and have all their class features spelled out, with their uses per day correctly calculated based on level along with BAB and all that fun stuff, that would make the barrier of entry significantly lower. Being able to filter feats and spells and just directly copy them into your character sheet makes things even sweeter. I am absolutely adoring the direction Roll20 is going and I'll be getting a Mentorship soon enough to show my appreciation. Yes, other virtual table tops do similar stuff but none do it in a package nearly as accessible as Roll20. I'm hoping that eventually we'll start seeing systems meant to be played on Roll20 exclusively - lots of heavy math with realistic results so the GM doesn't need to BS how long someone can tread water, but only requiring some button presses from the players and GM's, removing most of the need for everyone to memorize lots of rules. NPC's every bit as complex as a PC, but without actually requiring any extra GM brainpower to run since all their info is kept updated in their sheet. And, of course, the freedom to just ignore all that when it gets in the way.
I just started playing as a druid in a Pathfinder Kingmaker campaign. Once I realized how long it would take me to populate every spell slot, I began to understand just how important database-fueled automation like this needs to be a part of the Roll20 system, if not the entire backbone.
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Vince
Pro
Sheet Author
Can't wait until we get to start testing it. On the Dev soon perhaps? The copy/paste into a sheet feature would be a Godsend.
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Nibrodooh
Pro
Sheet Author
about that copy to sheet, is that something sheet authors will implement, or is that something that will be part of the compendium itself? I ask this beacuse i want to know how viable modified sheets will be with this, as being able to define wich atributes go where at the sheet level would be tremendously usefull, but on the other hand does put some burden on sheet makers. If it is up to the sheet authors, I know what i will be setting aside time to work on :-)
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Steve K.
Roll20 Team
Nibrodooh said: about that copy to sheet, is that something sheet authors will implement, or is that something that will be part of the compendium itself? I ask this beacuse i want to know how viable modified sheets will be with this, as being able to define wich atributes go where at the sheet level would be tremendously usefull, but on the other hand does put some burden on sheet makers. If it is up to the sheet authors, I know what i will be setting aside time to work on :-) Sheet authors will have control over what pieces of data go where.
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Nibrodooh
Pro
Sheet Author
I will be eagerly awaiting tinkering with it then :-)
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Mark
Pro
Steve K. said: Nibrodooh said: about that copy to sheet, is that something sheet authors will implement, or is that something that will be part of the compendium itself? I ask this beacuse i want to know how viable modified sheets will be with this, as being able to define wich atributes go where at the sheet level would be tremendously usefull, but on the other hand does put some burden on sheet makers. If it is up to the sheet authors, I know what i will be setting aside time to work on :-) Sheet authors will have control over what pieces of data go where. Hopefully the sheet authors will implement data structures that creators of custom compendia can use if they want to include house rules and content.
So any update on the "holding" part? I feel like Apple is raining on our parade.
Roll 20 guys, if your looking for some ideas on this compendium check out wizards website, they announced a partnership with fantasy grounds and while that is cool for those guys the videos showing how it's all put together and it might give ya'll some direction. Also you could probably contact wizards and let them know how much they are missing out by not swinging your way as well.
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Dan W.
Sheet Author
I've poked around in the Technical Preview SRD data and I have to ask: who input all that? Was this automated somehow or is there a large group of Gnomes toiling away underneath roll20 HQ banging away on keyboards. Next, they will type all the works of Shakespeare.
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I will pay money for a D&D 5th edition compendium. Specially if it's a small extra fee added to my subscription.
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Mark
Pro
Diego M. said: I will pay money for a D&D 5th edition compendium. Specially if it's a small extra fee added to my subscription. Definitely!
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Ed S.
Plus
For the record, I'd pay the full $50 a book (for D&D 5e). It's worth it to be able to have all that info here on this site for me to use.
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Ed S. said: For the record, I'd pay the full $50 a book (for D&D 5e). It's worth it to be able to have all that info here on this site for me to use. I would too, but given the option I would rather do something subscription based. That way when a new book comes out I don't have to worry about not having its contents available.
i can see the basic free 5th ed being free as its free from wizards anyway. but yes the other information would be worth paying for. I think $50 / book is a bit steep because you don't have the physical product in front of you and you don't have to print the physical product so maybe $20 for the information from one book. This could be a one time purchase or maybe a $2 / month subscription increase for continuous content as its released. Fantasy Grounds' price structure has $3 for the basic rule set which i can see because its a lot of content but it doesn't have any monsters (i don't think). They also charge $50/book or $3/class which is kind of a sucky thing because you could end up buying 3 classes and then go by the players guide book and the money spent on the 3 classes is wasted. I think this is why a subscription based thing is more suited for this application. You could have different price structures for players v/s dms where the only difference would be the dms price would include monster access. So... maybe $2.50/month for a players license and $3.50/month for a dms. access could be limited to the different areas of the compendium by account # i don't think it would be terribly difficult but i don't know anything about programming so there's that.
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Sirjohn
KS Backer
I just recently reviewed the announcement for fantasy grounds and reviewed the pricing model and it's pretty expensive. Unless you purchase the Ultimate version $149 (for GM's) your players will each need to fork out the $40 bucks per client or pay the monthly service. If that was the end it may be an option for some but then you start purchasing the libraries and before you know it you can spend $100-$150+ on just D&D. If you want to purchase another system you get to purchase all the libraries for that system as well. This model will be cost restrictive to a lot of gamers. I find this hard to understand why you would charge more for the limited digital version over the printed. Time will tell how successful fantasy grounds will be with this model. That being said I would really like to see this option in Roll20 and also willing to pay for the added options within reason.
The problem that I have with digital format is, let's just say that the company goes bankrupt. What happens with the components then? With the books, at least I have the books and not having to worry about losing any product. Unless a flood or tornado or zombie apocalypse.
I really hope for a 5E version of this..... Super badly...... Like..... Super super badly......
Definetely would like to see the 5e content here. The Fantasy Grounds interface is so wacked and amateur at this stage. Seems like another Wizards mistake to partner with a "3 developer" company just starting when the VTT space is so much more mature with other sites. Seriously the digital space has been a failure in my opinion every time they try something. Partner with Roll20 and I would pay... I am not paying for what I have seen over at FantasyGrounds
Agreed. I looked at FantasyGrounds. The only impressive thing was auto-calc and having a software that didnt require a internet connection. meh. Make it happen!!
If I recall, to actually access the information on Fantasy Grounds, you need to actually pay extra money, comparable to buying 2nd copies of the hardcover books . . . woah. I wonder, perhaps Roll20 could get something going with 5e? Maybe some people would pay for the expansion. I would pay for the Monster Manual at least, if accessable in Roll20 in the same manner as the current Pathfinder books.
Dragonsbane777 said: If I recall, to actually access the information on Fantasy Grounds, you need to actually pay extra money, comparable to buying 2nd copies of the hardcover books . . . woah. I wonder, perhaps Roll20 could get something going with 5e? Maybe some people would pay for the expansion. I would pay for the Monster Manual at least, if accessable in Roll20 in the same manner as the current Pathfinder books. It is almost exactly the same price yes... I won't lie.. I have the PDF versions and the hardback ones as well (I can take pics for any doubters out there). I am not buying another set of digital versions... They could of released those in the first place... As for Fantasy Grounds. Its very limited in what it can do outside of automatic calculations of attack rolls.. Its nice to have all the stuff pre-prepped but thanks to things like the 5E importer, I have tons of monsters in my campaign included easily.
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Allen
Sheet Author
Any plan to add list of weapons, equipment, skills, etc.. to the compendium? And if we are the rights holder to a system how do we go about adding to the compendium for our system will this be similar to the current character sheet model via git?
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Brian
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Allen said: Any plan to add list of weapons, equipment, skills, etc.. to the compendium? And if we are the rights holder to a system how do we go about adding to the compendium for our system will this be similar to the current character sheet model via git? The Compendium system is incomplete, so the answers to those questions are not yet available.
So is there a data for the release of the Compendium system? Maybe I missed it
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I haven't seen anything yet. I eagerly await more word on this.
OH boy O', oh boy, o' boy, o' boy I can't wait for the finished product that's gonna be sweet   !
Wow, as a brand spankin new player to tabletop RPGs, I have to say this feature looks absolutely AWESOME! I hope this also gets implemented for other games too, like DnD5E, etc. I remember taking about 2 hours total to get my first character set up (I gotta say thanks to my GM for being so patient). The main problem was trying to get my spells pasted into the appropriate places and losing my page number every time I had to add something new. Having something as easy as lookup, copy, and paste, would be a dream come true. Maybe if it even auto-filled out the attack, range, and other stuff to take out a lot of the legwork--that would be really nifty! Welps, just some $0.02 from a new, newly, newcomer. Keep up the good work! :)
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Andres G.
Plus
Translator
Excellent news! Don't know if this has been said already but in Pathfinder-like games being able to conduct a search for a CR, Terrain type, etc. instead of the name would be really helpful. Otherwise keep up the good work! Love it.
What would be good is being able to select powers from the compendium and put them straight into the sheet via drop-down menus or something similar. As a big player of 4e (I know, but it's the one I began with) it's rather tiresome writing all the macros for everyone's powers. Other things you could add is the ability to bring monsters straight with macros ready and waiting. If possible maybe you try adding capability to bring in homebrew monsters from sites like www.dandwiki.com. If you could do that that would WONDERFUL!