Cloud storage only? Official PF2e?

Just checking this out, but going to bounce off unless I have it wrong. It seems that this is a cloud storage only, I have GBs of art and pdfs going back decades and am on a DSL line. Not about to upload all that and pay $$$$ for a decade of storage when I already paid for my hardrives, and even if I was going to use cloud storage I would use an actual cloud storage like dropbox or gdrive. I only play locally and use a big screen as a map, can I have a local vault and players connect with their devices for their sheets?

If people want to subscribe for art packs and cloud storage that is fine, but I only want to pay one price for the tool and not have to subscribe to art packs just to get more tool features. I do not mind major upgrade fees such as Fantasy Grounds Classic to Fantasy Grounds Unity did (it only uses cloud for networking backend not for storage)

Also what is official about PF2e, just the character sheet template?

Hi @krazmuze. Welcome to the forums.

As I understand it, yes, this is a cloud storage only system. That being said, I don’t think that you need to upload everything that you’ve got. If you simply upload things on a game-by-game basis, then all of what you have stored on your local hard drives is right where you want it, and when you need it for a particular game you upload it to the cloud. You can even go back and delete things after each game, if you want. This is how I handle things, FWIW.

Is there a reason that a solution like this wouldn’t work for you?

Nope as I said I am on DSL with no other options - downloading is incredibly painful on a sunny day you might get a megabit speed but usually it is kilobit speed with uploads being 10x worse. Sometimes in good weather if I go outside even my cellphone is faster, but that drains batteries. And on vacation days when everybody else in the neighborhood is online, already been bad enough with people working from home doing VC all day long.

These are mandatory requirements for me, offline play and no subscription fee. If there is a technical reason this cannot be done then I will no longer keep an eye on the tool waiting for a different biz model. I am perfectly happy to pay for the tool and buy library assets as needed.

Hi @krazmuze

Astral is an on-line only service. I believe there is a Feature Request asking for the ability to use other services for online storage rather than Astral’s servers.

That been said, I’ve created a LOT of games for Astral, including a lot of the free modules available, and I only have DSL internet.

And as for PF2E, Astral are partnering with Paizo to bring Pathfinder modules and NPCs to the system. Currently there is only one PF2E mini module available, but it is free to play.

In general, Official Support means that a publisher has reviewed the character sheet(s) that have been created for use with their game system and approved it for use on Astral, hence making it available as an option when you create a game for that system.

Come to think about it @krazmuze, something like Fantasy Grounds might be a better fit for you, although there is an initial cash outlay, especially if you are purchasing an non subscription license.

Yes they wisely keep art subscriptions and new feature upgrades as different cost models, and leave cloud services vs. local storage up to players. They offer usage subscriptions or pay once models as well. In other words they leave it up to the players how they want to fund the tools development, and not lock them into one usage model. I have also used them for a decade, I will absolutely spend $k on assets but will not be spending that on a tool or a storage service.

Again is there a technical reason for locking players into cloud storage and disallowing local storage? Many people use VTT as local map/sheet functionality for local table play.

I imagine that the technical reason is that the assets are linked to a database hosted by Astral and since locally stored assets can change at any point, Astral has no way of knowing and refreshing the DB, which would break everything linked to those assets.

Another thing is that Astral has been designed as a Web service. :man_shrugging:

So you have a pretty poor imagination and major lack of experience with other tools seems to be the answer. The other VTT support both cloud and local networking databases without excluding the other. Foundry is a web service that runs in a browser and you can choose to purchase an optional cloud server database subscription if you do not want to use a local server database. FG uses cloud networking but can be switched to local networking, but always uses your local database. Networking nor databases do not care if they are on the cloud or local.

So that is not a technical reason when others have the same feature set for cloud that can be switched to local. So far the only reason I can see is a biz model of constraining free accounts from doing what is technically possible in other tools so that those with large storage needs have to upgrade to a cloud subscription, which is not a desirable option for those using a local table with a VTT.

Users of the local server feature in the other tools will never consider this tool until that biz model changes.

I don’t work for Astral, I work using Astral.

Astral isn’t an image editor. Astral isn’t a 3D render engine. Astral isn’t a 3D game engine. Astral is a tool to allow you to play tabletop roleplaying games remotely with other people.

Hi @krazmuze,

Thanks for your feedback. To date, no one has requested the functionality you describe. This doesn’t mean using Astral in this way will always be off the table. You’re welcome to open a feature request if it’s something you’d like to see.

Please feel free to drop your FR here:

Provide as much detail in what you’d like to see as possible. Thanks much!

I think you hit the nail on the head, Astral is more of a Roll20 type cloud only model, it can be used for local tabletop play but is largely targeted at cloud games with remote participants. I think it is not indicative of lack of experience or imagination…simply a focused and targeted use case and trying to be the best at what it is intended for. It currently doesn’t seem intended to target exactly the same use case as others such as Foundry. Sounds like Foundry and other VTTs are a better fit for your desired use case. I think you are correct in this product doesn’t share precisely the intended use model you describe.

@krazmuze Have you had this same argument with the folks at Roll20?

Why would I? I would never use roll20 for the same reasons. Especially since other competitors to roll20 saw the value in having biz models that are not tied to cloud storage, and created tools that can use either cloud or local servers. It meant having a biz model that charged for the tool so the local server does not get it for free.

I guess, @krazmuze, the question is, why are you here making these arguments,

Especially since other competitors to roll20 saw the value in having biz models that are not tied to cloud storage, and created tools that can use either cloud or local servers.

There are different ways of approaching any market place. There are definite pros and cons to any given approach. Just because you are in a segment of the market that Astral and Roll20 have chosen not to pursue doesn’t mean that they are wrong to make that choice.

Input from users is welcome in the forums, as it helps the Devs to know what people want. However, if there is something that you want, but, as @SketchParker indicated, no one else has ever requested, then that says something about how much demand there might be for that feature. Or, to put it another way, no matter how crucial and important that feature seems to you, if no one else has ever requested it, then it is likely that you are actually in a very small market segment. There is certainly nothing wrong with appreciating those companies that choose to offer features to that market segment, but vilifying the companies who don’t choose to offer such features, or aren’t choosing to offer such features yet, is usually not very productive.

Thank you for suggesting this as a possible feature direction for the future for Astral.

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