MapTool Q&A

42 posts / 0 new
Last post
This thread is dedicated to the MapTool virtual table top application.

One of the lead guys on the MapTool project, Dorpond, has agreed to help us out by monitoring this thread for any questions you may have about it, and giving answers straight from the people who know the program best.

There are some basic ground rules that must be followed in this thread.
1. No Bashing MapTool, Wizard's Game Table, or any other similar programs. Comparisons are fine, but always be respectful about it.
2. Try not to repost a question that has already been asked and answered.
3. Try to keep the questions simple. Long and drawn out discusions deserve their own thread, either here in the Digital D&D forum, or at the official MapTool Forums.

--------------

Q1 What is MapTool?
AsmodeusLore D&D Insider News Guide Follow Me


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

I hope I'm not stepping on Dorpond's toes here, but I use MapTool a lot and thought I could probably answer #1 with only a minimum of "oh yeah I forgot thats".

A1. MapTool is an open-source Virtual Tabletop program (one of several produced by the folks at RPTools). MapTool is written in Java and is a multi-platform application. Some of its features (a more extensive list can be found at http://rptools.net):

1. Client-server setup (one person hosts the game, and others connect to the game; the hosting individual does not have to be the GM).
2. Import or create maps with adjustable-size hex or square grids (or gridless). Supports PNG and JPG images.
3. 4-layer map interface (background, hidden, object, and token layers) with drawing tools.
4. Vision and Fog-of-War
5. Customizable campaign properties including States (in D&D 4th, these are ideally suited to mark Conditions), Health Bars, Vision, Sight, and Light.
6. Ability to place tokens representing player characters, NPCs, and any other item that may be of interest.
7. Built-in chat with dice roller functions.
8. Built-in basic Initiative Tracking
9. Supports tables for random items, images, text, and anything you might use a table for.
10. Extensive "macro" language to automate dice rolling, damage tracking, and conditions (everything from automating character setup to handling powers is possible, though you'll have to create your own macros!)
11. Ability to save multiple maps, tokens, and macros in a single "campaign" file.
12. A really helpful user and developer community.

MapTool is game system neutral.
First of all I would like to thank AsmodeusLore, and all other people who may have been consulted behind the scene, for giving RPTools this opportunity. Thank you very much.

Mock did a great job at describing Maptool but if I had to put it in my own words, it would be:

Q1 What is Maptool?
A1 Think of Maptool as a computer based battle mat. Maptool allows gamers to play their games on fully detailed maps, whether they are playing face to face or scattered across the globe. The big difference between Maptool and a rubber battle mat, is that we can utilize technology to further enhance the gaming experience - stuff that is just not possible using rubber and dry erase markers.
First of all I would like to thank AsmodeusLore, and all other people who may have been consulted behind the scene, for giving RPTools this opportunity. Thank you very much.

Mock did a great job at describing Maptool but if I had to put it in my words, it would be:

Q1 What is Maptool?
A1 Think of Maptool as an electronic battle mat. Maptool allows gamers to play their games on fully detailed maps, whether they are playing face to face or scattered across the globe. The big difference between Maptool and a rubber battle mat, is that we can utilize technology to further enhance the gaming experience - stuff that is just not possible using rubber and dry erase markers.

I can't believe I didn't actually say "what it does." Thank you, Dorpond.
Heh, not a problem Mock, you should have seen my original answer - it was 3 paragraphs long since it is so easy to get lost in all the features! LOL. Before I posted it though, I deleted most of it and revised it so that it made sense to the casual passerby; something short and sweet. I am sure we will be able to touch base on all the fun details in future questions.
Feel free to ask questions everyone, that is what I am here for.
I've been looking at MapTools for a little bit now. I'm not really interested in designing campaigns, more with running them.

So, what would you suggest I do if I want to run Keep on the Shadowfell for 5 players?

Is there a pre-designed campaign file for that? Is there a tutorial for running a game? All the tutorials I saw were for designing, but not for actual play. Is there an easy way to make 4e characters?

Also, I don't have a static IP. What are my options for hosting the game?

I guess my main question is "I'm not really interested in campaign design, how easy is it to Download and Go?"

Thanks!

Fairbanks
Fairbanks, level 5 Human, Slayer (Multiclass: Cavalier) Human Power Selection Option: Heroic Effort Background: Blademaster (Acrobatics class skill) Theme: Neverwinter Noble FINAL ABILITY SCORES STR 18, CON 10, DEX 17, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 13 STARTING ABILITY SCORES STR 16, CON 10, DEX 16, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 12 AC: 20 Fort: 19 Ref: 16 Will: 14 HP: 49/49 Surges: 6/9 Surge Value: 10 [X] Action Point [] Second Wind TRAINED SKILLS Acrobatics +10, Athletics +11, Diplomacy +8, Endurance +7, Intimidate +8 UNTRAINED SKILLS Arcana +2, Bluff +3, Dungeoneering +2, Heal +2, History +2, Insight +2, Nature +2, Perception +2, Religion +2, Stealth +5, Streetwise +3, Thievery +5 POWERS Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack Card Link Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack Card Link [] Human Racial Power: Heroic Effort Card Link [X] [X] Multiple Class Attack: Power Strike Card Link [X] Fighter Utility: Duelist's Assault Card Link [] Fighter Utility: Mobile Blade Card Link [] Level 2 Utility: Honorable Challenge Card Link [] Neverwinter Noble Utility: Take Heart, Friend! Card Link Multiple Class Utility: Defender Aura Card Link [] Paladin Attack: Righteous Radiance Card Link FEATS Level 1: Heavy Blade Expertise Level 1: Armor Finesse Level 2:Heavy Armor Agility Level 4: Squire of Righteousness ITEMS Dagger x3 Adventurer's Kit Aecris Black Iron Scale Mail +1 Horned Helm (Heroic Tier) Holy Symbol of Bahamut 1 Opal 73g 145s 50c
I'll wade in, because I happen to be looking and use MapTool a lot.

There are designers who have assembled campaign files for different adventures; most of these can be found via the MapTool forums. Each one is likely to be idiosyncratic, though - because MapTool is system agnostic, when someone creates a campaign file that includes "macros" (scripts to automate parts of the game or rules) they create their own take on the game.

That said, there are a few popular "frameworks" (what we're calling them, at least) for playing D&D 4th Edition. They are not campaigns, but they provide a means to create player and NPC tokens, and automate some (or all) of the gameplay in a fun and easy manner (handling anything from basic resource management all the way up to targeting, attacking, and resolving damage). For those items, you can download them and build a campaign around them.

For true download-and-go, your best bet is to look for a full campaign file - that will include maps/etc. If it includes macros, they will be the author's design and do only what the author decided needed to be done.

Regardless of framework and/or campaign, you can always roll dice in chat and use MapTool as strictly a map-and-token system, and ignore the macros and other automated features people set up until you're more comfortable with them.

Edit: almost forgot!

You don't need a static IP to host a game. You may need to investigate things like port forwarding to make sure that you're set up properly, but I host games frequently and don't have a static IP. Check out the MapTool forums for help on getting yourself set up to host games.
Loki5654, what Mock said

we can't distribute full campaign sets with official maps in them for copyright issues, but if you start with one of the template 4E campaign it's fairly trivial to drop your maps in and drop a few tokens. That's what the videos are getting at, it's really easy to set up.

I echo Mock in inviting you to http://forums.rptools.net where you'll find a lot of people ready to help out, check out the User Contributions forum and the User Contributions->Campaign File Frameworks as a starting point
RPTools for the RP games you play
I've recently acquired MapTool, and I'm playing around with it to see if it will work for my 4e campaign. I love the lighting effects, vision, fog of war, etc... but it is not well suited to 4e.

For example...

In MapTool, line of sight is calculated from the center of your square, not from any corner of your square. In 4th edition, if you are standing abreast of a wall, you should be able to see along the plane of that wall without stepping past it. That is not the case with MapTool.

Similarly, since viewable distance is calculated from the center of your square, a light source of 1 square only lights up a 1/2 square radius, a light source of 4 squares only lights up a 3.5 square radius, etc...

Is anyone aware of a way to correct this by changing options/settings in MapTool? How are others handling this issue?

Thanks.
The first question, no, there's no line of sight settings to allow you to see along a wall when you are directly next to it. There may be future changes to allow an offset of vision, but really, that's a wild guess. One way to handle it might be to have the GM set up a "vision token" that you can use to see along the plane of the wall without exposing your token. That way, you can use it to "see" down the wall, but your opponents could not "see" you.

For the second, you can give a fractional light radius that should fix it - make it...3.5 squares, I think - then that will compensate for the center-of-square light origin.

As for being well-suited to 4e in general? Overall I find it really ideal, despite a few missing features. You are right, however: MapTool does not calculate Line of Sight according to the 4E rules, and in fact has no capability to do so at this point (I personally think a Line of Sight tool would be a great addition, but I don't write the code!). The closest it has is the visible area feature of sight, which works well enough for me. YMMV, of course.
I have a question - I have looked at the vuideo tutorials, and they are great, but are there any written tutorials available. (Note, my router died and I just got back to having 'net access, so I haven't had a chance to dig through the official forums yet).
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
I have a question - I have looked at the vuideo tutorials, and they are great, but are there any written tutorials available. (Note, my router died and I just got back to having 'net access, so I haven't had a chance to dig through the official forums yet).

Yep. There are tutorials here: http://lmwcs.com/maptool/index.php?title=Main_Page

The "tutorials" are the "Introduction to" series; there's also a substantial amount of documentation on other things (a lot of the macro scripting stuff).
so I haven't had a chance to dig through the official forums yet).

When you do get a chance, be sure to check out the Documentation, MapTool->How To, MapTool->Macros, and User Contributions->Campaign Frameworks forums.
RPTools for the RP games you play
Thanks!!
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
Thanks for the idea of the "vision token". That may satisfy everyone in the group. Like I said, it's an amazing tool. I'm surprised it has gone under the radar of all my DnD friends for so long. We'll give it another live test in the coming weeks.

I did figure out the fractional light radius before your post and that fixed that problem.

I'm sure I'll be back to this thread. :-)
If anyone is interested, a user has posted a video of his rear projected table using maptool.

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/1339130

One particularly cool element is the use of a wiimote under the table, and the interaction of the vision/light system to explore the map
RPTools for the RP games you play
MapTool is written in Java and is a multi-platform application.

Does this means it is able to be used on a Linux machine? I know there are many different flavours of Linux out there, so I assume you can't guarantee that it would run on all of them, but are there are any particular distros of Linux that MapTool defintiely works on?
Does this means it is able to be used on a Linux machine? I know there are many different flavours of Linux out there, so I assume you can't guarantee that it would run on all of them, but are there are any particular distros of Linux that MapTool defintiely works on?

Yes, it runs on Linux, but I don't know what distros are optimal.
Does anyone know why the maptools website isn't working?
Does anyone know why the maptools website isn't working?

I don't. Been up and down all day.
The host had a catastrophic hard drive failure:

http://forums.hostgator.com/emergency-drive-maintenance-gator335-t50707.html

hopefully we'll be back up in a few hours.
RPTools for the RP games you play
The host had a catastrophic hard drive failure:

http://forums.hostgator.com/emergency-drive-maintenance-gator335-t50707.html

hopefully we'll be back up in a few hours.

Eeesh, that is bad luck.

Fingers crossed!
The site is now up again and normality is restored.
I've been setting up for an upcoming game using maptool. Got a bunch of maps loaded, custom tokens, etc.

We are gonna be using Skype to talk, and we have DDi for the char builder and such.

We tried several times for hours of the weekend to play...I spent hours reading faqs and such, but i'm at a loss.

How do you actually host a game? If it helps, I'm behind a router, have all my software firewalls off (have norton running tho). The router is a Linksys BEFSR41 model.

If anyone can help me, please! I'm so lost, and it's frustrating me to no end. I love the program, but the networking issues are killing me! If this is outside the scope of the thread, please PM me instead. I have read through all the forums and the tutorials, as well as several faqs and tutorials on port forwarding etc....but nothing works!
Have you read the networking FAQ and game hosting tutorials at the MapTool wiki? It's here: http://lmwcs.com/maptool/index.php?title=Main_Page

It sounds like you have, and since these things are hard to diagnose, my only recommendation is that you post over at the RPTools forum to see if your specific problem can be addressed!
I just saw the presentation of the iPad.
Is there a plan to have a map generator app on it?

Is it appropriate to post this here? Sorry if it isn't.
The nice thing about maptool, is that it runs on Java. I'd imagine the i-pad would support Java (almost everything does). If it does not it's rubbish! :P Save you're money and wait until Samsung make the copied version...with Java.
Man I wish I had learned of this program sooner.
Hi peoples, just wondering how do you run a server and connect to that server as a player from the same Laptop?
I plan to run and project the Player view while having the DM view on my laptop, I found a post about it awhile ago but had no luck finding it again, so any help would be appreciated, currently im just getting Java errors with my attempts.
Scylya,

You need to run two instances of the program.  One for the DM view and one for the Player view. 

On the DM view, go to File -> Start Server.  Enter a username.  Click on Ok.

On the Player view, go to File -> Connect to Server.  Enter a username.  Go to the Lan tab.  Click on the server and click on Ok.
Hello all. I and a few freinds that live across the country are starting a play by post game and i was wondering it MapTool would work for that. I'd like for everyone to be able to login at their own leisure and move their character on their turn and what not. will it work this way or does everyone have to be active at the same time?

Thanks
Hello all. I and a few freinds that live across the country are starting a play by post game and i was wondering it MapTool would work for that. I'd like for everyone to be able to login at their own leisure and move their character on their turn and what not. will it work this way or does everyone have to be active at the same time?

Thanks



The only "person" that would need to be active would be the DM who would be running the server.  With that in mind, I wouldn't use it for a pbp game as you wouldn't want to have to run maptool on your own computer day and night.

That being said, I use maptool with my friends from college as we are spread all about the country.  If you can coordinate schedules, just play a normal game, just as you would in person.
Scylya,

You need to run two instances of the program.  One for the DM view and one for the Player view. 

On the DM view, go to File -> Start Server.  Enter a username.  Click on Ok.

On the Player view, go to File -> Connect to Server.  Enter a username.  Go to the Lan tab.  Click on the server and click on Ok.



Thanks for the reply, the problem I was having was a java error when my computer isnt connected to the net. Any suggestions for how I can run it offline?
the problem I was having was a java error when my computer isnt connected to the net. Any suggestions for how I can run it offline?


Hmm... You shouldn't have any problem running MT while offline as far as I know.  Is your java up to date?  Check java.com/en/download/installed.jsp to make sure.  If it is, you shouldn't have a problem.  I have unzipped the MT download into it's own file and run it using the batch file (512MB or 1GB version).  I guess I'm usually connected to the internet when I run it, but I'm sure I must have started it up once or twice before my wireless connection kicked in.  Are you getting any sort of error message?
I've been using MapTool for a couple years now and love the program.  My group uses it with a projector (running two instances of the program, one as DM and the projector as Player) onto a whiteboard that we've built into a table.

There's a short article I wrote with a couple of photos on www.NeoGrognard.com.

www.neogrognard.com/article/122/mapings-...

I also use it to construct most of my maps, I've amassed a collection of segments that I piece together for floors, doors, objects, etc.  For more complicated maps, I construct them in Photoshop and then just drop the whole file as an object.

I wish I could purchase the D&D Dungeon Tiles as digital files, but WotC's fear of pirating will probably prevent that from ever happening.  *sigh*

-- Jeff Sorensen 
Ok, I do not use the frameworks for 4e. I've made a few macros of my own.  Very basic stuff.  One of my big ideas was I wanted a macro to fill out the properties for a monster as I place it for the first time.   It works great except I can not figure out how to enter in something like "2d6+6" and be able to use it in die roll formulas.   Is there a command that tells the program that "2d6+6" is not text?
You can do in-line rolls like:
Dorpond does [1d6+6] damage.

That will result in an ugly output so there are many switches you can use. I use t almost all the time but we have a list of them on our wiki

Dorpond does [t:1d6+6] damage.

Hope this helps
Yeah, I can do that.  But what I mean is I want to make a Macro that fills out the properties for a monster so that I can make a token on the spot without having to Edit.  But if I have the macro ask me what it's BasicDamage is and I put in 2d6+6 when I get it to do [t: BasicDamage] it comes out with "2d6+6"
After trying to play D&D over these past few years, I have come to a conclusion: I am cursed. It is impossible for me to get a group together all at the same time, thus we never have enough players at any one time to play. The only time we're ever at the same place is, well, when we're on the internet.

And so I turn to maptools and start experimenting with the interface. I'm probably just going to use it as a battlemap and to track damage, but there's one feature I can't seem to find. As far as I can tell, you can only detail a token after placing it on a map, so how do you move tokens between maps? I mostly just want to know for my players, so we don't have to reenter played information on each map.
Save the token. Then you can get the token from the resource window iirc with all it's properties saved. Or you can copy and paste or cut and paste between maps. Saving is safer imo.