I hope you are ready to get started with Foundry Virtual Tabletop! This article walks you through the basic steps of the installation process.
Step 1 - Download the Software
Get started by downloading the application version which is suitable for your operating system environment. Foundry Virtual Tabletop has two flavors, a full application or a Node.js package. The application is recommended for most users, it combines both hosting the Foundry game server when the application is running as well as providing a client view to interact with that server. The Node.js flavor is ideal for people who want to run a dedicated server and keep the Foundry software running at all times.
To download Foundry Virtual Tabletop you must be a software license owner, if you have purchased a license the links to download the latest stable release of the software are available on your user profile by clicking on the Purchased Licenses button.
Note: If you have Beta testing access to Foundry Virtual Tabletop through Patreon, access to download the software is handled separately through the Patreon website.
Step 2 - Install the Application
If you are using the Windows version of Foundry VTT there is an installation process necessary once you have downloaded the installer. To install the software, run the setup executable file that you downloaded. You are likely to see a warning message from Microsoft Defender SmartScreen. This happens because Foundry Virtual Tabletop does yet go through a formal code signing process and is therefore listed as an "unrecognized app".
To allow Foundry Virtual Tabletop to pass the Defender SmartScreen, click More Info and then click Run anyways Alternatively, if you have stronger security settings applied, you may need to right click the file, click Properties, and mark the checkbox Unblock in the Security section.
Once you have approved this step, choose an installation location of your choice to install the software. Once installation is complete, there will be an executable file named FoundryVTT.exe within your chosen installation location which runs the software and a created shortcut icon on your Desktop.
There is not a specific installation process required for MacOS, the provided .dmg file will register Foundry Virtual Tabletop as an app which you can run from your system tray.
You may need to allow Foundry to be run as an unrecognized application, I will work to update this guide with a more precise description of that process if necessary.
For Linux users, Foundry Virtual Tabletop is currently distributed as a simple .zip archive. All you need to do to "install" it is extract the zip file in a location of your choosing. Feel free to choose whatever installation location is best for you, a simple option would be to use a folder named foundryvtt in your user home directory.
unzip foundryvtt.zip -d $HOME/foundryvtt
Once you have extracted the archive, you can run the application using the executable file named foundryvtt within that location.
You may, alternatively, wish to install and run Foundry Virtual Tabletop as a dedicated server using Node.js. This requires some slightly more technical setup, and rather than covering it in this guide you should instead read the Hosting Configuration guide for more details.
Step 3 - Configuring the Application and Getting Started
When you have launched the application you will initially be greeted by a window prompting you to enter your Software License Key. Enter your purchased Software License key and click Submit.
After entering your license key you will be prompted to sign the End User License Agreement, agreeing to the terms of the software will contact the Foundry web server to validate and sign your license so, for this step of the process an internet connection is required.
If you have temporary Beta testing access through Patreon you will not have a license key, instead you should use the Access Key which was provided on the Patreon website.
Once you have entered and signed your software license, you can access the Setup and Configuration page of the software. I'm sure you will be eager to create your first World, but there are two important steps to take first.
Visit the Configuration tab of the Setup screen and see that there are several options available for you to customize which alter the behavior of the Foundry application itself. There are many more configurable options once you are inside a game world, but the options on this page affect how the game server runs. The values of these settings are stored in the
options.json file which is part of your user data directory. You do not need to change anything on this page, but take a moment to survey the available options before proceeding.
- Administrator Access Key
- Assigning an Administrator Access Key will restrict access to this Setup page, preventing other users who connect to your game session from being able to access it. If you assign an admin access key and later forget the key you set, you will have to delete it manually from your
- You may configure the port that Foundry VTT uses for incoming connections. The default port is 30000.
- User Data Path
- You may customize the location of your User Data directory which will contain your installed game Systems, add-on Modules, and created Worlds. The default choice for your user data location will be shown in this field but can be changed to another location of your choosing. Note that the user data location may not be set to a location within your application installation location.
- Default World
- Once you have created one or many Worlds, you can optionally select one to automatically start when you launch the application, bypassing the Setup screen.
- SSL Certificate and Private Key
- If you would like Foundry Virtual Tabletop to run using SSL for additional data security, you have the option of defining certificates that the server will use. This is not necessary for most users, but you can find more details on SSL configuration in the Audio/Video Chat Integration article.
- AWS Configuration Path
- If you would like to integrate Foundry Virtual Tabletop with AWS services for cloud storage of media files, you can enter a path to an AWS configuration file here. You can find out more information about AWS integration in the AWS S3 Integration guide.
Installing a Game System
There is one final step which is required before you can create your first World. You must install at least one Game System which defines the core ruleset upon which your World will be based. Each World uses one (and only one) game system, and the system of a World cannot be changed later. Click the "Install System" button on the Systems tab to get started.
From the menu which appears you can select from a number of available systems, or you can install a system manually from a provided manifest file.
Creating Your First World
Once you have installed a Game System, you can create a World using that system. On the Worlds tab click Create World to get started. At this point you may wish to follow along with the Getting Started Tutorial which provides a walk-through of configuring and creating content in your new World.
Step 4 - Connecting with Players
In a self-hosted configuration, you will need to ensure that players can connect to your PC using your IP address. There are multiple ways to achieve this and you can use a combination of approaches for different players. By default, Foundry Virtual Tabletop runs on port 30000.
For all self-hosted configuration models you will need to be sure that your local operating system firewall is not blocking network traffic for the application. For Windows users, you should be prompted to allow (or deny) a firewall exception when the Foundry VTT application is first started. If you have followed other steps to allow connectivity but users are still unable to connect, be sure to check your Firewall rules.
Inside the Foundry Virtual Tabletop application on the Settings sidebar, click Invitation Links (only visible to a Gamemaster user) to view the invitation links to your world.
Share the appropriate link with your player, depending on whether they are on your local network or connecting externally and they can use it to join your game from any modern web browser.
Local Area Network
If your players are on the same network as you, they can connect to your computer which is hosting the software using your local IP address. Local network players should connect to your local IP address and port, for example
Note that to connect to your own game (for example from a web browser for testing the player perspective) you should always use localhost instead of an IP address, for example
If your players are connecting over the internet, they will use your public IP address. Use a site like http://whatismyip.host/ to easily discover your public IP address. In order for this to work, you will need to forward web traffic for your local network to send the Foundry VTT port to your computer's local IP address. This step is required in order for your network to know where to send the connection.
Port forwarding can be intimidating for some users, but it is the recommended approach as it is more secure than other options and will result in better networking performance. We have a specific Guide to Port Forwarding that you should reference for help setting this up correctly.