Roll20 Token Maker: Tips and How-To!

Good dragons

Roll20 Token Maker: Tips and How-To!

Roll20 has grown to over 8 million users, who use it to assist in running and playing RPGs of all kinds! Running games with a visual element lets you keep track of where everyone, and everything is in the heat of battle.

Making tokens is fast and easy; you can have whatever your heart desires on a token!

What is a D&D/RPG token?

Tokens are used for keeping track of characters and monsters in tabletop games, both controlled by players and controlled by the Game Master.

A fight in The Theater of the Mind is all well and good, but when there are half a dozen monsters and your party all in a melee, things can get a bit confused round-over-round; you, and the DM, need to know where everyone is- tokens are the answer!

Add much needed clarity to your battle with visuals.

We have been using tokens as long as we’ve been fighting. Before we were playing at battle on fantasy tabletop maps, generals were pushing pieces (tokens!) around on maps representing real life battle tactics, planning the movements of men and supports for actual fights.

war map

Now you do it to keep track of goblins and liches, and where your party members are so you can keep your AOE spell from hitting them in the face!

How do you make a D&D token?

Pick art that will look good when it’s small. It’s all well and good to find a beautiful sprawling, complex, busy image, but that’s not what you want for a token. What you’re looking for is a clear image, usually of a face or object, that isn’t muddied up by busy surroundings.

High contrast is good as well, when the subject is well lit against a distinct background. You’re going for clarity, not flash. Bonus points if you can make your unique tokens visually distinct from one another, such as by using a different color scheme or hue for each of them.

If they’re being used to represent all the same kind of monster, like they’re all goblins or something, don’t worry about it. Unless you want to go that extra mile and use and use a different version of a goblin for each one, you’re fine to just use the same art for all of them.

As for what kind of art is good to use, you’re trying to find things that look good small. Look at the dragons in the image below, and see how they are dark against a light background? This would make them into good looking tokens, clearly distinct and identifiable:

What is a token maker?

A token maker allows you to use images to make a new token. You can resize the image and drag it around, while seeing the border of the token, to get the best framing of the subject and a token that POPS!

How can I make my own token?

First, make or select some free art you’d like to use. Second, use a token maker tool like the Fateful Force’s Token Maker and spend some time playing around with it until it looks right. Try zooming in and out to position the subject in the circle a few different ways to see what version looks best.

If you still have doubts, check out this quick tutorial on how to use some of the functions on The Fateful Force’s Token maker.

Download your finished token and there you go! If you’re wondering where to get fantasy art, the source material from Wizards of the Coast of course has a ton of pictures you can screengrab and use. Another route can be to google search for fantasy art and take your pick. But remember to always be mindful of other artists’ property rights when rolling for sleight of hand downloading free art.

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How can I get tokens online?

If you’re not into creating your own, you can do a search for “RPG/DnD/D&D Tokens” and see what your options are.

The Roll20 store offers some cool tokens. Some of them are even free! Our favourite free set is the token bundle by  Paizo for Pathfinder.

However, creating the right tokens for your characters usually involves a personal touch and it can be hard to find a premade token that fits your personal style.

Of course, if you don’t mind forking out some cash you can always commission an artist to create a custom token for you. I know I have. But as DMs we already have enough expenses.

Between purchasing rule books, additional campaign modules and online VTT subscriptions, the costs can add up.

If you can save some money on tokens then why not?

Some free token makers even come with a wide range of beautiful borders that you can frame your art of choice

Below are some of the beautiful borders available with The Fateful Force’s Token Maker

What size are Roll20 tokens?

Keeping your designs to 200×200 pixels and under 3.5mb will be best, so as to not use too large a file!

How do you upload tokens to roll 20?

If you’re like me and like getting help from video tutorials, check out this great video from Taking 20 on the steps to getting your tokens into Roll20!

More on creating tokens in Roll20

Useful Tip for DMs: Set up characters in the journal to represent each of your players. Then choose a token for each character. Place them across all the pages of your game, and use the ‘Represents Character’ setting to link each token to the appropriate character.

Then when your players update their tokens or their character, all the tokens across every page will always stay up-to-date.

On using “controlled by”

This is where you assign who in your game has permission to control the token. If it does not represent a specific character, then clicking on the “Controlled By” field will bring up a list of all the players in the current game, as well as being able to select the option “All Players”.

You can assign multiple players to a single token. If it represents a specific character, then the Token is controlled by the player that has control of the character which is set in the journal. DM always has control over the tokens in their game.

chess

When getting a new game started, set your tokens to “All Players”

If you are creating a brand new game and your players have yet to join, their names will not yet be available for token assignment.

If you’re setting your pages up in advance of your first gaming session, it’s recommended to set your PC Tokens to “All Players” and later fine-tune the permissions when your players have visited your Game.

What is Roll20 API?

API is short for Application Program Interface is a connection between computers or between computer programs. One of the most popular APIs for Roll20 is the TokenMod API Script, found here.

You’ll have an easier time keeping track of things when you’ve got some tokens to play around with. Try to keep your designs simple; the goal is not to marvel at cool art, the purpose of them is to have visually distinct representations of figures to keep track of characters effectively.

Help your party understand the flow of a fight by using tokens well, and they will be able to focus on game play, rather than fiddly details about who is where.

Stavros

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