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Ender07

Is Obsidian Portal worth paying for?

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I was thinking about buying the Ascendant membership for a year to try it out. I like that the forums, wiki, and updates are all in one place.

However, I have my doubts because I have read some recent comments and reviews that the email notification system doesn't work well and the forums have long load times and timeout errors.

Does anyone have OB and would you recommend it in its current state?

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I've been seeing comments that the support staff has been dead quiet recently and setting up billing information has been pain in the butt.

 

A few people on various social media I follow, suspect that Obsidian Portal may be in its death throws.

 

I only use the free membership, and not often, so I cannot speak for the authenticity of these claims. I'm merely passing along what I've heard.

Edited by kaosoe

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I definitely find it worthwhile, as I have a number of campaigns and I like to customize the CSS (my Star Wars EOTE campaign, for example, uses EOTE-style colors and fonts).

 

I haven't noticed much in the way of bugs but I have just exported the campaigns I care about so I have their data locally in case anything happens to them.

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My group has three people DM'ing with the advanced features turned on and it works well for our groups. We have a private facebook group we use in addition and post pdf's of the character sheets there then link them from the preview button to the portal's character page in order to make it easy to access sheets from anywhere. Most of our players have gone paperless using the obsidian portal and pdf's for most items and only scrap notes for changes later. We use oggdudes builder for the characters, groups, adversaries and etc. Our tech DM setup the calendars of all campaigns to sync up through google so we can see who is scheduling games for what night and what location. 

We run small mini events and game discussion through those forum boards and I drive my players with special forum events. For example, my last session ended with my players on a stolen Lambda shuttle. Players who checked in a a forum thread between session found a storage container item in the lockers on the ship. This keeps the players active between games and gives a small benefit to staying active on the forums. 

Ultimately it's only worth your credits if your group puts it to work for them. If your players don't embrace then it's not worth the credits in my mind. 

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Short answer. No. Obsidian Portal is having some major issues right now and is severely broken. It does not do half the the things it advertises. The devs do not respond, and it seems to me it could be the end for it. I hope i'm wrong, but I don't think I am. Save your your money right now. Get the free account, but don't pay for the upgraded one. 

 

I'm a long time user, and a long time payer for it, and I even had a campaign of the month once from them! I had always been a strong supporter of them here, but I can not in good conscience advocate for them anymore. They have not even had a CotM in one year now! Most things they said the OP could do are broken and have been for about 4-6 months now. IT is time to find a new campaign manager.  

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Here's something that might serve a similar purpose:

 

https://melsmifgames.wordpress.com/2015/12/09/city-of-brass/

 

No idea if it's good, but it is another option.

 

So far the prognosis for City of Brass is mixed.  Admittedly I'm doing the monkey with a keyboard method, instead of actually reading instructions or anything.  You know, like most users do.   ;)

 
Very clean looking.  Fast refresh and updating.  Looks great on a tablet.  Dice roller is integrated (but possibly not shared).
Navigation will take a little getting used to.
This would probably be great if we were playing D&D or Pathfinder.  The functionality isn't there yet for other systems.
 
It seems they have a library of NPC's, Feats, Spells, etc.  I'm not sure if that's user generated, or done by the host.
 
Logging in got me a 31 day trial.  Cost is $3/month or $24/year.  If that's for any kind of user, that might be a deal-breaker.

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Here's something that might serve a similar purpose:

 

https://melsmifgames.wordpress.com/2015/12/09/city-of-brass/

 

No idea if it's good, but it is another option.

 

So far the prognosis for City of Brass is mixed.  Admittedly I'm doing the monkey with a keyboard method, instead of actually reading instructions or anything.  You know, like most users do.   ;)

 
Very clean looking.  Fast refresh and updating.  Looks great on a tablet.  Dice roller is integrated (but possibly not shared).
Navigation will take a little getting used to.
This would probably be great if we were playing D&D or Pathfinder.  The functionality isn't there yet for other systems.
 
It seems they have a library of NPC's, Feats, Spells, etc.  I'm not sure if that's user generated, or done by the host.
 
Logging in got me a 31 day trial.  Cost is $3/month or $24/year.  If that's for any kind of user, that might be a deal-breaker.

 

Yeah, I've got a CoB Star Wars campaign there, as great as it is, CoB mostly fits traditional RPGs and a couple others, which EoE isn't.  I do enjoy what CoB has done so far, I think a lot of RPG developers are stuck in "The GM has his notebook of gaming notes" stage from the 80s and they need to realize that portable platforms are what people are moving to to keep their notes.  Some companies get it like Piazo with Hero Lab/Realm Works, City of Brass, Syrinscape and others.  Granted, Pathfinder is OGL, but they're advertising their products by licensing their products and what not to other companies.  Having an online character builder for the times that the sheet gets ruined or the sheet itself looks like it's seen battle with the eraser, digital products are a wave of the future and CoB, LWD and others get that, I suspect that powers that be of any game system have at least one person working for them who uses digital products to manage their campaign, it's time that they start looking at what players are doing and take a page from that book.

 

As for OP, I've heard the same thing that others have been hearing that OP may be in it's death throes.  I used it, I liked it, and while yes, the people who work on getting the site have lives outside the product, they have promised paid subscribers things and not delivering is a major issue.  For now, unless they get things rolling again, I'm just a free user.

Edited by Talley Darkstar

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Thanks for all of the replies so far! I think I will be starting off with the free version and making sure to backup my info elsewhere so as not to lose anything if OP does fail. Hopefully they pick back up and everything gets fixed...but I'm not too optimistic. Thanks again!

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Maybe I'm an outlier, but I'm using it and paying for it happily. I have spent $40 on WAY worse things. progressions and R2Builder's campaigns got me inspired to make nice ones for mine, and I use it to do nearly 100% of my campaign management. I have yet to have issues beyond sometimes the site being a little laggy. Not sure what other people are expecting that they aren't getting, but I'm pretty happy.

 

PS progressions thanks for your CSS, it is making designing GM-only pages so much nicer, I strive to make them look nearly identical to an official adventure book and you made that possible!

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I've used the free version for almost a year now and I like it fine. It pretty much works perfectly for what I want to use it for. I don't think my group would make use of most of the paid features. All I'd want is the ability to upload a few more images and maps, but it's probably not enough for me to pay for it at the moment (we've been on hiatus for the last 7 months, but maybe that will change when we come back). Unfortunately I don't have as much time as I'd like to, to add pages and keep everything as up to date as I want to.

I'd like to find a way to engage my players with it when we come back, but I don't think it'll take off outside of a select couple of them.

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