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Dummy Account

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This tip is useful to anybody who wants to verify a player view, as using the Ctrl+L isn't exactly doing what one would expect in every case. It qualifies as a Stupid Trick, since it's using account creation for a purpose other than simply playing a game.


Contents

Why

Create a second dummy account and use that as a player connection. There are several benefits to doing this:

1) Checking Dynamic Lighting. Probably the most common reason to create a Dummy Account. Roll20 provides a Cmd/Ctrl-L command to preview a token's sight, but it is only intended for checking Line of Sight solutions. The keyboard method will give inconsistent results regarding other light sources, areas remembered by Advanced Fog of War or Explorer Mode, and will still show GM Layer objects. A much more accurate way to preview is to use a Dummy Account. You can immediately see what any token sees. The method here would be to have two windows open, one in the GM account, and a second window (in a private browsing window or a separate browser entirely--see note C below) logged in under the dummy account. In the GM window, you can add the Dummy Account to the permissions of any token and the player window will show exactly what that token sees. You may need to move the player token in order to update the view. This is particularly useful in a dual monitor setup.

2) Streaming: If you find yourself wishing to stream or record your game, you often run into the problem that if you are also the DM, your view shows the DM layer, otherwise invisible notes you've left on the table top, or things hiding behind dynamic lighting. You might find yourself in a situation in which you want viewers to only see what the players see. If you can give the recording task to a player, that's good, but it still has some drawbacks. The recording only shows things the characters they control would see. If Shiela the Thief and Bobby the Barbarian on on opposite sides of a wall, the recording software can only record what one of them sees, not both. If you are doing it yourself, a simple solution presents itself. You can set up your streaming/recording software (I use OBS) to record the action from the camera feed. Make sure that the dummy account can control all the PCs, and if they can see it, it shows on the recording.

3) Testing tricks you want to do during the game. You can test out techniques to see how they will appear to players. Yes, you can rejoin your campaign as a player, but then you can't see how you DM actions appear to a player. In other words, perhaps you have set up a monster that you want to pull from the GM Layer with a Script that also invoke a Special Effect, or you want to set up Matt's Doors script and verify that they work for the PCs without having to repeatedly rejoin as DM to fine tune things.

4) Macro Testing: You have a macro with a public portion and some GM whispered content and want to verify that it is appearing correctly for players. Or you want to verify that a macro command can or can't be run by a player.

5) Reset the Game's URL: If you want to re-set the join link of your campaign, you can have the Dummy Account join and then kick it. This will change the URL of the game, in case you need to ensure a player does not rejoin.


6) Check how an empty/baseline account behaves: If you have a Plus or Pro subscription, or own a bunch of marketplace stuff like i Compendium and art assets, A dummy Account can be useful to check how things look/behave from

7) Compare how Roll20 or sheets works in English vs. other languages Roll20 have community-sourced options for translations in a ton of languages, if you play on roll20 using another language, some menu or character sheets might look different. If you're testing how lang-specific things for char sheets looks, having your main account in English and the Dummy Account set to the other language can be more practical than switching the language settings back and forth on your main account.

How to create a Dummy Account

A) Sign up for Roll20 again under a different email address.

BIG HINT FOR GMAIL USERS: Gmail allows you to put a "+" after your user name, so that it looks like a different address, yet resolves to the same account. For example example@gmail.com looks like a different email than example+dummy@gmail.com to most every site on the web, including Roll20, but any mails sent to the second will also go to the first. It looks different to everyone else, but is treated the same for you. So you don't need to maintain a second email address. Do give it a unique user name (I call mine Camera).

B) (Important) Send your dummy account an invite. :)

C) When signing on, use either a different browser, or preferably a Private Browsing window using the same browser. If you are logged on to two different games in regular browser windows of the same browser, and need to refresh one, it will always refresh to the latest account joined. This will leave you logged into two windows with the same account. So open a private browsing window and log into your second account with that.

Final Hint: Remember to sign out of your dummy account if you come here to post on the forums. Not that I've done that...

API enhancement with TokenMod=

All of the testing features above can be tried out per-player very quickly if you have the API. Just use a script like token mod to assign the Dummy Account as a controller of any selected token in the GM window, and the player window will immediately update to that token's settings and control. Remember that if you are using this trick to check Dynamic Lighting, you may need to move the player token in order to update the view. Here is the macro to do this:

Give Control

 !token-mod --set controlledby|+DummyAccountName

Remove Control

 !token-mod --set controlledby|-DummyAccountName


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