I want to talk to you all about Ardent Roleplay. I got to see a demonstration of this cool augmented reality (AR) tool for tabletop roleplaying games at PAX Aus. Game On Aus’ coverage of PAX Aus has generally centred around video games and community. You might be mistaken in believing that was all there was. On the contrary, there was an amazing, thriving area dedicated to tabletop games. This is where the Ardent Roleplay stall was.
It Starts With Ardent Roleplay
Developed by Brisbane company Ardacious, Ardent Roleplay has three main elements: the mobile app, encounter cards and the GM Creation Kit. These elements combine to offer game masters and players a more immersive world without the need for expensive miniatures.
Being an AR tool Ardent Roleplay requires a mobile app. This lets you scan encounter cards and see character models or environments to help supplement your imagination. The encounter cards are both physical and digital cards that GMs can use to help build their worlds. The GM Creation Kit lets GMs craft their own adventures.
Encounter card is a very wide term. Not only are they used to show enemies but also structures such as passages or buildings. The GM tools allow for some neat interactions. Say the party comes across a cottage in the woods. Only one player has the range to enter said cottage. When they do the GM uses their tools to reveal the interior while the rest of the party must rely on a description from the first player, giving that extra level of immersion.
“Tabletop roleplaying games have used miniatures for a long time to bring stories to life,” said Ardacious CEO Dr Ralf Muhlberger. “With augmented reality we create more immersive experiences for online and face-to-face players. And with AR there are some fun things we can do to really individualise the player experience.”
That really is the key with Ardent Roleplay. It’s not about reinventing the wheel. It’s a tool to be used side by side with existing tabletop games such as Dungeons & Dragons and Call of Cthulhu to enhance player experiences.
With the option for physical or digital cards there’s no restriction on how sessions can be run. Online sessions have become more popular for spread out groups and the digital cards suit them. For groups that like to be in the same room physical cards may be the solution. There are a range of free cards that Ardent Roleplay offer to users so they can print them.
See Ardent Roleplay’s Wares (If You Have The Coin)
There’s a great selection of resources that you can get for free to try out this tool. That includes pre-made adventures like The Haunting (Call of Cthulhu) and The Beginning (D&D 5E). Players and GMs can also purchase additional resources. Sparks (the in-app currency) range in price from US$2.99 for 600 Sparks to US$149.99 for 39,000. At the time of writing an additional adventure could be purchased for 3000 Sparks. There are also subscription options available for both GMs and players.
Ardent Roleplay is available now for both Android and iOS mobile phones and tablets. A PC app is available for GMs that wish to create their own campaigns.