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RPG Superstar 2015

The Maptool Thread for Maptool People (MapFinders!)


Technology

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I play the Rise of the Runelords AP over the interwebs with my good buddies from my hometown. I do this using Maptool, and it has been the best campaign I've ever played in more than two decades! It has recently come to my attention that a LOT of other players on this forum and on the RPTools forum are doing the same thing. For me, it is just a natural fit, in fact, the best possible fit for a Virtual Table Top (VTT) campaign.

I'm starting this thread so that we MapFinders can share ideas, talk about Pathfinder RPG specific frameworks, and address the CUP issues and other such things as pertain to Maptool + Pathfinder.

I chose the Paizo forum because I feel that Maptool could use a bit more mindshare from both fans and staff of Paizo products. Periodically, I try to call the Paizo staff's attention to the potential future of RPGs that I see in Maptool. I don't expect any action on Paizo's part, I just hope that they are aware that an ever growing number of players are utilizing this tool. If they can continue to passively support it (as they have been) that is great. But Maptool is also the fastest changing VTT available, because it is free and open source, so a direct channel into how the product is being used should benefit all parties.

Why is it such a good fit?

Paizo adventure PDFs (since Pathfinder #2) are layered PDFs. It is easy to harvest character art and maps in a player-friendly way, and nobody else really offers this service. Character and Map art is much more central to the VTT experience than it is to the normal tabletop experience. The only downside here is that sharing a .cmpgn file with all the work done constitutes a gross violation of the CUP. Even so, i the absence of any other PDFs that have this synergy, Paizo still leads the pack in VTT material.

Maptool users are unlikely to benefit from any proprietary solution to the CUP problem. There has been talk of supporting specific VTTs for the Adventure Paths — and I support that — but I hope it is not an exclusive deal. To me, that would be an error on the order of supporting only one web browser.

One possible solution for the campaign file redundancy woes is for use to establish a polished, high quality framework that encompasses the OGL material and core rules of Pathfinder. Pathfinder Frameworks exist already (some of them quite impressive), but I feel a community project would be more far reaching. If such a framework could be built with AP extraction in mind from the outset, specifically for Pathfinder, I think the work of running APs in maptool could be streamlined if not eliminated.

For example:

Spoiler:
A token initializing routine that followed the statblock format exactly would make inputting NPCs a great deal easier. Open license object and character art could "fill in the gaps" for a specific AP where a monster is not illustrated or an object would be desirable as a token (separate from the map).

I'll hand off the discussion of these issues and any other issues pertinent to the adjunct of Maptool and Pathfinder. I look forward to seeing what's on the minds of my fellow MapFinders!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

MapFinder, I like that. 8^)

I saw a Pathfinder Statblock converter on the rptools.net forums, but it looks like it still needs some work. It would probably work for one-off NPCs, but for a properly(IMO) configured token, I still needed to touch pretty much every part. (BTW, this was for the 3.5/Pathfinder framework.)

I've also been using MapTool pretty extensively for a while now. Heck, my wife and I use it even when we're in the same room, it's just so useful for keeping track of maps and characters and monsters, etc. (We haven't used physical miniatures regularly in, like, ever; she's hyperactive, so doesn't like sitting at a table, plus we now have a toddler in the house, so keeping minis on the table would be a challenge. 8^)

I harvest images from my PDFs zealously; it's so convenient, I'm reluctant to run anything I don't actually have a PDF of! 8^) Heck, I've even started trying to set up tokens of every monster from the Bestiary; I'm in the C's now, and it's only been six weeks... 8^)

Not sure I have anything else to contribute, but I'll be keeping an eye on this thread for sure.

Edit: Comments above refer to activity for my (and my group's) private playing only. 8^)


Arazyr wrote:


Edit: Comments above refer to activity for my (and my group's) private playing only. 8^)

I have never once seen a Maptool user violate the CUP. That's part of the reason I started this thread... it seems silly to me that dozens of paying customers have been sinking 5 or 6 hours into repeating work that others have done.

The only instance I have ever seen someone share a fully prepared campaign file, they demanded evidence that the books or PDFs had already been lawfully purchased. I can't find the link, but I think this is laudable behavior.

Is there a good way we can share the heavy lifting without violating the CUP? Could we do something like build Vision Topology layers then delete the map images but specify compatible dimensions? Replace token images with page number references to harvest the art?

I really would like to see Paizo's rights preserved, and they already have the best setup for VTT modules. Maybe it is that it is already such a good situation, I'm looking for ways to make it just a little better. As VTTs grow in user-base, I would like to see Paizo remain in their very good position for that market.

If there were a solid framework that Paizo could back (if not produce) then complete .cmpgn files could be released with the PDF or even as a stand-alone product. For me, that represents the ideal (never gonna happen) solution.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Me neither, I just wanted to make absolutely sure it was clear. I.E. Covering my backside... 8^)

There is the Community Created Stuff thread, which has (I think) CUP authorized map reproductions, which would be one good way to distribute campaign files without violating anything. Tokens could be created using generic art; either, built-in monster tokens or generic (#1, C, etc.) images.

I wonder if there is any open content monster art out there? If I was an artist, I'd consider doing some quick portraits for that purpose, but, alas, I have the artistic talent of a rutabaga. 8^)


If I create a campaign file that has a token in it for Ameiko Kaijutsu, but no art attached to that token (or CUP art) is that violating the CUP? What if it has a statblock? What if that token is in The Rusty Dragon? What if the Rusty Dragon map contains notes on the adventure?

What about a trap token with the DCs? What about a Filthy Slasher token from Thistletop, on a layer called Thistletop, in the coordinates provided by Pathfinder #1?

A fully-featured .cmpgn file would essentially stand in for the Pathfinder volume it featured. That is both awesome and problematic. It is awesome because it would be ridiculously easy to run, but it would violate the CUP something awful.

That said, such a file doesn't really compete with the Adventure Path itself. Trying to "read" an adventure through its comprehensive .cmpgn file would be like trying to read a novel by only referencing the dictionary definition of each word. In other words, very unpleasant.

I'd love to find a way to reduce the workload without Paizo's direct intervention, nor any violation of the CUP. Sadly, I think that would mean forgoing the ART and TEXT, which are the two reasons it is worth running and AP at all. :(


A better solution for tokens is to get behind a framework and work with Jay on producing the code for the CharacterTool. Or, file a bug with PC-Gen to create a output to rptok file. They have one for the InitTool.


Just wanted to poke my head in and say that I've been running Savage Tide using Maptools for the past year, and I agree with the things you folks are saying!

I would definitely pay extra (a lot , in my case) for a full pathfinder maptools campaign file.

Our accounts are tied to the paizo store...is there some way to verify easily what products a given email address has bought? That would solve a lot of the 'make sure paizo gets their money' problems.

Ken


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I've been playing with it too.. and actually have my first game over the internet tonight...

I want to be a fan of the framework that lmarkus001 did, but I found it a bit wacky for getting some of my npcs in... so I'm using a hand built "lite" framework for now, since most of our games have been typically using MT as an electronic table instead of an online thing this works.


Notsonoble wrote:


I want to be a fan of the framework that lmarkus001 did, but I found it a bit wacky for getting some of my npcs in...

Me too. I use my own because I prioritized the problems my group has. That said, I really wish there was an "Especially for Pathfinder, the PRD and that's it" campaign framework. That's a monumental task.

I have high hopes for Rite Publishing's Breaking of Forstor Nagar patronage project as a potential jumping off point for a "baseline" Pathfinder framework. I suspect one of those guys will want to weigh in on this thread.

One thing is for sure, a straight Pathfinder maptool framework with some polish would do wonders for the MapFinder crew. Being able to play Paizo products easily over a free, cross-platform VTT would be an immense boon to the whole product line as well.

The community could produce such a product in the spirit of jreyst's pathfinderSRD and other such projects, but it would be a massive amount of work. One thing that might help is to build a "feature list" here on the forums. If people want to have that conversation, here's as good a place as any.

It sure would be nice if new Pathfinder Players and new Maptool players could be handed a .cmpgn file that would impress them and take the work out of learning the tool/game.


NeoFax wrote:
A better solution for tokens is to get behind a framework and work with Jay on producing the code for the CharacterTool. Or, file a bug with PC-Gen to create a output to rptok file. They have one for the InitTool.

Get behind a framework is my biggest stumbling block. I respect iMarkus's work, but it tries to play double duty with 3.5 and I think it suffers for that reason.

I haven't followed character tool. Is that one mac friendly yet? A statblock export tool would be awesome.

I hope this thread can develop some momentum as a pow-wow for MapFinders. Could we come to a consensus on a framework? Could we get permission from iMarkus to gut his work and use a Pathfinder-only version as a jumping off point? NeoFax, would you spearhead the CharcterTool/PCGen thing, since you seem on top of it?

Would Paizo mind us using some elements of the Pathfinder "Look and Feel" in a community produced .cmpgn file? I think this is a really good chance to evangelize both maptool and pathfinder.

There are a ton of us, let's band together and get what we want!


Hello I invested a bit of time in trying to learn RPTools but the must have been some major disconnect between my brain and the tutorials. I couldn't understand what I was doing - maybe I tried to learn too much at once.

Have you got any tips for starting out?


I can ask Lindsay and Jay. Lindsay normally does not have a problem with this type of stuff and Jay is very good about adding FW support. I can code OK, not macro god like yet ;^). My bigger problem is that I only have like two months of Pathfinder experience. If anyone wants to learn MapTools ins and outs, hit me up on neofax99 at gmail. I can setup a delve or too and let you in as a GM or player so you know both sides.


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The 8th Dwarf wrote:
Have you got any tips for starting out?

The thing to remember is that the whole "Maptool Script" evolved out of a simple chat-window dice-roller. People kept asking for new features to help them play different types of RPG and to track more and more info. Consequently, everything runs through the chat window.

Here is a brief list of the biggest insights I had early on:

  • The chat window displays <html> input correctly, so knowing html will improve your understanding of how to make things work.

  • "/r" followed by dice notation (xdx+x) will roll the results and put them in your chat window. /gm will do the same thing, but only the GM sees the results. You do not need much more than this to play.

  • Once you understand /r, you can do the same thing with dice expressions between square brackets "[xdx+x]". Of course, you're going to be rolling certain things quite often, such as a certain skill in Pathfinder. The GM can create a "token property" which is just a rating or a word that sits in on a token. So if the GM creates a property called "Acrobatics" then you could type [1d20 + Acrobatics] and it would roll the die and add whatever value you had entered for acrobatics each time.

  • You can save a command and use it on any token, in the "Campaign Macros Panel". Just create a new macro with a right-click, and enter the command exactly as you would type it in the chat window. It can reference token properties too, which makes it very easy to make a single button that rolls acrobatics on whichever token is selected at the time.

  • You can cycle through all of the tokens on a map by pressing "T". You can move a selected token with the arrow keys. You can put down a "waypoint" by pressing space, to make a character move in patters other than a straight line. When your move is done, you can press "D" to drop the token. Or just drag and drop, using the spacebar for waypoints.

  • The problem with maptools is that they add features too quickly, and it has been a long time since the dust settled long enough to allow for good documentation. There is a wiki that contains all the features, but the video intros (though outdated and not covering all the features) remain the best basic entry point.

  • Grand Lodge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

    I've been using MapTool now for a couple years. I ran an entire Red Hand of Doom campaign using it, and am currently playing in a Savage Tide game on MapTool. I am hoping to get a Slumbering Tsar game going soon on the same platform.

    Here's a couple more tips:

    * They often release new development versions; if you are interested in beta testing and commenting on bugs you find on the RPTools boards, feel free to update to the latest version. Otherwise, stick with a somewhat earlier version; we've been using version 1.3.b50, which is pretty stable. (A final release version is coming soon for version 1.3.)

    It is important that everyone in your group uses the same build version, since different versions are often incompatible with each other.

    * As a player, I like to build a whole series of macros into my token for ease of use during play. You can define values in the token properties list (like ability score bonuses, BAB, and armor check penalty) and use them as constants in a macro formula. Thus a grapple macro might look like this: Judan grapples his foe with a result of [1d20+BAB+Strength+GrapMod]. In this case, GrapMod is an undefined variable that you will be prompted to provide when you run the macro. You can get a lot more complicated with macros if you desire (e.g., to indicate when you have rolled a critical threat with a weapon).

    * I tend not to use the line of sight and lighting properties in MapTool; I had tried them before, but they often caused problems for me. This may have been fixed in later development versions (including the build I'm currently using), but I find that these properties are not important enough to justify setting up in my maps.

    * Expect to spend some initial setup time building a library of tokens and textures for your maps. You can import maps as image files in MapTool, then adjust the grid to match the grid spacing on your map, but you may often find yourself needing to build your own maps (e.g., for random encounters, or if the map you have has secret doors and the like that you wish to conceal from your players). The MapTool mapping software is fairly robust yet simple to use. I do recommend going through the video tutorials on how to do this.

    The Exchange

    Notsonoble wrote:

    I've been playing with it too.. and actually have my first game over the internet tonight...

    I want to be a fan of the framework that lmarkus001 did, but I found it a bit wacky for getting some of my npcs in...

    Hummm... have you any examples of issues? My goal for the framework is to support GMs as a priority. So whenever I code something it is to make MY life as a GM easier and gameplay faster. NPCs and monsters are often more complex than players, and I have not found a combo that fails.

    Mind you, my weaponset configuration was the first bit of automation and suffers from the very limited functions that were available at the time. But it is very capable none the less. And it will get a re-write which will make everyone scream because that is the way of change :-)


    Evil Lincoln & Damien_DM wrote:
    good stuff

    Thanks guys

    I am looking at it for attempting to GM a game. The thing is they are "ROLE" play heavy guys so I have to convince them that I am not making the game a "WoW" substitute.

    The were suggestions for using some voice programs - do any of you guys do this?

    I also have to teach my self how to set up the maps - is a good idea to start with something simple like "Hollows Last Hope"?

    I will probably bug you with more questions later but for the moment I am going to read the wiki.


    The 8th Dwarf wrote:


    I am looking at it for attempting to GM a game. The thing is they are "ROLE" play heavy guys so I have to convince them that I am not making the game a "WoW" substitute.

    Well, there's a GM. That should settle it. A GM can make the game more or less like WoW if he chooses, but the GM is not a computer.

    Quote:


    The were suggestions for using some voice programs - do any of you guys do this?

    We use Skype. I suggest people use headsets to cut down on background noise.

    Quote:


    I also have to teach my self how to set up the maps - is a good idea to start with something simple like "Hollows Last Hope"?

    For PDFs that can't be taken apart in layers, like Pathfinder #1, I usually screenshot (Command Shift 4 on a mac) the map at a high magnification to create a .png file. Otherwise, I fire up Adobe Acrobat version 8, which allows you to just click on a map and copy it with transparency and everything. This will eliminate secret door markings, room numbers, text around NPC portraits... it's a crucial trick.

    Once you have the map as a PNG, you either drag and drop the file into maptool or load it through the file directory system in "New Map". There's not much difference between a map and a token beyond which layer you drop it on. Drop all your maps on the "Background" layer. Always double check which layer you are on for sanity (I always drop maps on the token layer by mistake).

    Once the map is there, you can add vision blocking using the tool that looks like an eyeball on the toolbar. That stuff is best explained in the videos if you want it.

    For tokens, fire up token tool, take those PDFs you got from acrobat and tokenize them.

    At that point, you're good to go, but if you want to get fancy, get a very small transparent png image (just transparent nothing else) and use it to create discrete "objects" on the map. Anything you write in the "notes" section of this transparent token will come up as a tooltip when the players click on it. Anything in the GM notes section will show the same way, but only to the GM. I literally cut all the text out of the PDF of an adventure, convert it to plaintext, then cut and past the whole thing into these "invisible room tokens". Sometimes for special objects, I will go item by item, laying these transparent tokens over important things. Then during gameplay, instead of reading text aloud to the players, I let the players investigate freely, and whoever chooses to inspect something reads the text aloud. Great trick! (Sounds like your RP-loving anti-wow players will like that one)

    Quote:


    I will probably bug you with more questions later but for the moment I am going to read the wiki.

    No problem at all. Just remember the Wiki has a LOT MORE STUFF THAN YOU NEED. They really need a "just the basics" section on that site. As it stands, it is a great coder reference for people who have been following along the whole time, but it is a little daunting for newcomers.


    I'm not sure what I can add here, other than to identify myself as a MapTools user who also uses it to run Paizo material.

    I'm also patron of Lindsay Markus' framework. I'll throw out a disclaimer; I'm a strong supporter of Lindsay's efforts. (He may not know who I am on this board, but in case he reads this, I'm Paradox from the Maptools board). At one point, I found LM's framework to be challenging but at the same time.. I found Maptools itself to be a challenging as well. LM’s framework requires a modest investment of time to understand, but with practice I've found it to quite simple. Almost as matter of understanding the logic by which it operates; and for the record I have zero programming skill.

    For example: I grant that a few things can be counter-intuitive. Entering Saving Throws on the character sheet and modifiers to hit with a weapon on the attack macros come particularly to mind. However, once you understand that the framework is continually adjusting itself when ability scores go up and down due to buffs or drains, it makes sense why the data has to be entered in the way it is.

    Mr. Markus also doesn't use the Pathfinder Core Rules himself, so his framework really is something of a gift to me and my players. That's how we see it anyway.

    I'm not sure I understand how it suffers from also being a 3.5 Tool Set. For those who have never tried it, one designates what rule set you're using as part of a global option- and then everything operates under the rule set you selected. Channel Energy versus Turn Undead being quite different.

    *****************

    I'm sorry; I'm probably coming off as defensive when I don't mean to be. I'm quite invested with the framework I currently use. It has actually significantly helped me understand the Core Rules on a higher level than I ever did before. That's because a lot of the number crunching is done for me, and I can see *why* the rules exist rather than focusing on just following them.

    If another Framework were to come into existence, I would be obligated to try it, certainly. I also would not want to discourage any one from trying to make one. I can't help with that however. I'm not that strongly driven to learn the code.

    ******************
    As for sharing work.. I'd love to support it were it allowed by the CUP. There have been calls for this in the past which I've not gotten involved with. I think (again, if allowed by the CUP), doing it by component would be easier and more practical for me to contribute to rather than a grand final campaign file that is ready to run.

    The reasons being is that I keep my campaign files small. Just 3 to 7 maps with the relevant encounters. For the longest time I was limited to 50 MB webspace, though that has recently been raised to double that amount. I would find it easier to contribute a map from an AP, with the VBL prepared. Or a finished token, with attacks, skills, and saves all set up.. Or any bit and piece.. Then allow others to assemble that into their own finished master campaign file. Does that make sense?


    I don't think anyone's attacking LM's framework specifically. Both myself and another poster have been lukewarm, but mostly because we're doing our own thing. LM's is better than mine, but we've got different rule coverage. When I get a decent break in the campaign, I might see if I can't merge the two.

    It doesn't suffer from 3.5 double-duty, except that it would be nice to offer an out-of-the-box, complete Pathfinder solution. I think LM's framework falls short of that, but as a frameworker myself, I understand that this ruleset is way beyond any one person's ability to implement on their own free time.

    Part of it is a little tribal, yeah. I want a Pathfinder-specific solution that says "Pathfinder" all over it and is specifically awesome for playing Pathfinder games. But that's just what *I* want. On the flipside, LM's done a great job and I don't really think we could go forward in Pathfinder frameworks without a debt of gratitude to what's been done already.

    If there was to be a "new" campaign file, LM is the #1 person I would want to hear from as far as planning the initial code.


    Quick add to my own post:

    If we had the means to share components I could..

    (RuneLords Spoilers):

    Spoiler:
    Share my tokens for the Black Monk, the harpies of Jorgenfist, the Hounds of Tindalos, the Lion Sisters.. Tokens for the various insect swarms the Black Monk can summon. Mammoth Tokens. A frost giant Token.. All dependent on the CUP policy of course.

    I probably could not share a pristine campaign file. I'd have to spend time fixing one just to share it, and and as mean as this sounds, I have to decide if I want to spend time going backwards.

    However, when I prep a map, I could share it before I muddy it up!

    Other issues to come, like I use Plothos' manager to track Special Abilities and Spells.. Hopefully there wouldn't be a data conflict if someone used LM's frame but not Plothos Spell Manager.


    Evil Lincoln wrote:

    I don't think anyone's attacking LM's framework specifically. Both myself and another poster have been lukewarm, but mostly because we're doing our own thing. LM's is better than mine, but we've got different rule coverage. When I get a decent break in the campaign, I might see if I can't merge the two.

    It doesn't suffer from 3.5 double-duty, except that it would be nice to offer an out-of-the-box, complete Pathfinder solution. I think LM's framework falls short of that, but as a frameworker myself, I understand that this ruleset is way beyond any one person's ability to implement on their own free time.

    Part of it is a little tribal, yeah. I want a Pathfinder-specific solution that says "Pathfinder" all over it and is specifically awesome for playing Pathfinder games. But that's just what *I* want. On the flipside, LM's done a great job and I don't really think we could go forward in Pathfinder frameworks without a debt of gratitude to what he's done already.

    Fair enough!

    And for what it's worth, I don't think LM would resent someone trying to do another Pathfinder framework (any more than Rumble and DeviantNull think less of each other when they both support 4E with different products). I readily see your point about different rule coverage. In fact, all loyalty aside, I would have to try another PF framework to see what was superior.

    Edit: Likewise, an "all Pathfinder" framework has an appeal. I get tht.

    You have to understand, to a non-programmer, LM is the only game in town. He updates and fixes regularly, and I have NO other alternative for Pathfinder support.

    If you build one, I'll definitely look at it. :D


    I'm a novice coder at best. However, Maptool is a collaborative project, and Pathfinder is in the spirit of Open Source to be sure. I'd want to know a whole lot more about what people want in a Pathfinder framework — what all of these MapFinders who have their own custom frameworks are doing, would they be willing to chip in with their best features, etc?

    I definitely want to know what Rite Publishing makes of this whole conversation before anyone commits to produce something here. *goes off to poke them*

    A MOMENT LATER:

    If I try to rally the troops for a community build, it will probably a series of threads on rptools.net's forums. Each one would be a "How best to implement X" thread.


    Evil Lincoln wrote:

    I'm a novice coder at best. However, Maptool is a collaborative project, and Pathfinder is in the spirit of Open Source to be sure. I'd want to know a whole lot more about what people want in a Pathfinder framework — what all of these MapFinders who have their own custom frameworks are doing, would they be willing to chip in with their best features, etc?

    I definitely want to know what Rite Publishing makes of this whole conversation before anyone commits to produce something here. *goes off to poke them*

    A MOMENT LATER:

    If I try to rally the troops for a community build, it will probably a series of threads on rptools.net's forums. Each one would be a "How best to implement X" thread.

    This is an interesting conversation. I wonder what the chances are or feasibility of Paizo creating its own files to sell with its PDFs. I would purchase a pre-made dungeon. I suppose the dangers are piracy and other forms of IP issues. You could create some kind of registry to keep track but then brings in a lot of complications on its own.


    The 8th Dwarf wrote:


    This is an interesting conversation. I wonder what the chances are or feasibility of Paizo creating its own files to sell with its PDFs. I would purchase a pre-made dungeon. I suppose the dangers are piracy and other forms of IP issues. You could create some kind of registry to keep track but then brings in a lot of complications on its own.

    I don't think the danger of piracy is that much greater than PDF sale. You could watermark the maps, actually, and while it would be possible to edit that is is actually HARDER than redacting watermarks from PDFs. The VTT crowd is also very self-policing for some reason. If I *wanted to* (and I absolutely would not) I could find a pirate Paizo PDF much easier than I could find a campaign file for RotRL.

    The thing is, I don't want to see Paizo get involved directly. Maybe if they went whole hog, but publishing companies differ from software companies.

    Much like the presentation of the SRD/PRD this might be an instance where the fans can make a more robust product than the publishing company has the resources or inclination to.

    That said, I welcome anything Paizo wants to do to make it easier on VTT players and content developers. AND if they did dive into commercial VTT stuff in a multi-application way, I would do a little dance of joy.

    But I firmly believe the best move for them is to take small, inexpensive steps to make their existing product do double duty as a VTT adventure. They are already the best in the market for this, sheerly by dint of layered PDFs for legal sale. A little step, like an organized directory of images available with the PDF, or maps with an object layer, is something I want to see far more than "We are getting into the Campaign File Business".

    Passive support, where logistically sensible. That's how it should be.

    Scarab Sages

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Is there a place a person can legally get Adobe 8, for the extraction of separated layers?
    I've changed my PC, and the only version of Adobe I can find is the modern, less useful version.

    Scarab Sages

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
    Snorter wrote:

    Is there a place a person can legally get Adobe 8, for the extraction of separated layers?

    I've changed my PC, and the only version of Adobe I can find is the modern, less useful version.

    Yes. 8^)

    Scarab Sages

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Thanks for that.
    I'm keeping that page bookmarked.
    Of course, I had to go through the whole process twice, because the first time was refused, due to 'there is already a superior product' on my PC.

    I wish I could spit in their face.

    Is there any advantage to Adobe 9, at all?
    What company in their right mind releases a 'New, Improved' product, 'Now with EVEN LESS basic features!!!!'?


    At least they still have the old one available for the very determined.


    First off, let me say this is an excellent endeavour. Evil Lincoln has mentioned Rite Publishing and I'm the lead developer on that project.

    For those that don't know about it, this will be a primarily vtt product, licensed for use with Pathfinder. This means that we'll be discussing with Paizo precisely what we can put in a product and what we can't.

    First off, I'm setting up the campaign file to make use of hyperlinks. This means that every creature will have a reference sheet that contains most of the relevant details and hyperinks to the full monster reference in the pfsrd, as well as hyperlinked references for the relevant rules (so the grab rules for a monster with grab, the bull rush rules for a combat on a bridge). This gets around the majority of IP problems as the content is still on the web and we're just accessing it. However we will be coding the rules for those monsters into maptool macros and selling the result. Paizo are aware of this and so far everyone is happy with this. It's still early days and we'll be talking to them before we release to make sure we haven't stepped on any toes, but it seems likely that we will be allowed to distribute fully statted monster and NPC tokens.

    The next question is one of IP. Obviously all of our own maps and flavour text are unique to this adventure and we'd prefer people not to lift them. We're avoiding that issue by selling the adventure in maptool. As for Paizo adventures, I'd say they'd take a dim view of the maps for their adventures being emailed back and forth - especially as they don't have a publicly available map gallery for their adventures. However I think that an excellent solution would be to create a rough hand drawn outline of the map as a stand in on each page. Then the owner of the module can get the map from their pdf and drop it in on top. That keeps the functionality, whilst making it very clear how the campaign file should be used, and not redistributing the maps.

    The read alod text is the other lovely bit that fits nicely into an adventure. It would be good to have a set up so that a 'read aloud' token could be easily edited to contain text (an input dialogue that you can cut and paste into - along with some simple macros that send the text to chat). Empty read aloud tokens can be placed throughout the adventure at the appropriate points. The DM can then just copy and paste the relevant text blocks in as part of the preparation for the adventure. That's only a few more seconds of prep for each of the text boxes that the DM should be reading through already.

    As for tokens, DevinNight has a huge set of free top down monster and person tokens that can be downloaded as an art pack straight into maptool - so there's already a lot of free art. The portrait art won't be there, but again it's a matter of a moment to drop portraits from a pdf into a token so I can't see that slowing down the prep time if all the tokens are already in place.

    As for the actual framework - our plan is to have something with very slim functionality that's rock solid. So we will not have every feat built in, or try to code every exception. We will have a character sheet that handles the final state - you're AC, hit modifier and so on - without calculating that from all possible modifiers. I don't want someone to come along and not use our framework because they're using Feats 101, or one of the other licensed 3rd party Pathfinder supplements. And I certainly don't want to have to buy and read all those supplements. So we'll be trusting the players and GMs to figure out their characters and NPCs and then supplying a framweork that's clear and easy to use that handles their final character. This is still a work in progress, but will be released for open use when the product is complete.

    I think more than one framework is a good thing. Everyone has different degrees of expectation from computer automation. Having choices is great. I agree that having some means to share PF modules around without violating Paizo IP would be wonderful. I think that contrary to EvilLincoln's wishes, this might require talking directly with Paizo. However I think that they are fairly open to this. I'd suggest that someone strip back an existing modification of a print module - take out the text, take out the maps - and see if Paizo are willing to let you send it around. If they'd rather it didn't contain any non-srd stats (quite understandably!) then we need a framework that allows us to easily extact a statblock to a token - so that NPCs and non-standard monsters can be easily reintroduced. However, with the SRD much of the content should be shareable in principle.

    If anyone is interested in chipping in on the Breaking of Forstor Nagar, you can find out more about the project and get involved here.

    /gets his head down drawing maps for battles on ice bridges and exploding longships.


    Thanks Jon! I have a couple of questions for you, actually:

    Is the framework for BoFN going to be re-used in future modules? What is the policy going to be on people using the code from your product in their own distributed maptool products (I'm thinking free, but perhaps commercially as well).

    I'm really interested in a free standard framework that people could use for Pathfinder Maptool things... that way multiple parties can maximize the utility of their adventures and products.

    But I also understand the BoFN is going to be a great product, and I expect you'll want to make money on the entire effort.


    I'm project lead, but the IP on this belongs to Rite who I freelance for. S in what follows this is my opinion and best guess but not in anyway decided fact.

    I'd expect we'll go for releasing the framework under some form of creative commons license. I think it's best for everyone to be able to use it. Whether we make it available for commercial use or not is less obvious. I'd expect to go for only free use, but perhaps with a licensing option for people to use it, if it's popular enough that other companies want to use it.

    Realistically there's no way we'd be able to stop people from using it in their home games, and there's no better way to get some customer loyalty than having a supported framework that people use regularly, so I'm 99% certain that it will be totally free for use for non-commercial uses.

    If we can get a good solid base for Breaking then I intend to use the same framework to turn my map packs into pick-up-and-play Pathfinder mini-modules. That would provide a large chunk of content that people could use pretty quickly.


    JonathanRoberts wrote:
    I'd expect we'll go for releasing the framework under some form of creative commons license. I think it's best for everyone to be able to use it. Whether we make it available for commercial use or not is less obvious. I'd expect to go for only free use, but perhaps with a licensing option for people to use it, if it's popular enough that other companies want to use it.

    This is an awesome idea! I can't wait to see if it pans out. It would be phenomenal to have a VTT equivalent of the Open License that would allow people to step seamlessly into maptool. I'm really impressed by what we've seen of these tools, and if you offered them to the community as a springboard I do not doubt that code for more rules coverage would soon follow.

    I find it very encouraging that you would create something like that in good faith for the MapFinder community, I really hope it works out!


    I think we'll stick with cautious optimism right now, but I think making these tools have open use has no drawbacks.

    On the other hand maptool will be going to a different basis for macros in 1.4 (probably) so any framework is likely to have a limited shelf life. Nonetheless, this is still a useful way forward at the moment.


    JonathanRoberts wrote:

    I think we'll stick with cautious optimism right now, but I think making these tools have open use has no drawbacks.

    On the other hand maptool will be going to a different basis for macros in 1.4 (probably) so any framework is likely to have a limited shelf life. Nonetheless, this is still a useful way forward at the moment.

    I eagerly anticipate a new macro system for maptool, but I have a feeling that the stable version of 1.3 is going to be the software of choice for a good long time. At the moment, Trevor seems committed to retaining backward compatibility with 1.3's tools, so going forward I imagine things would work out alright.

    I certainly won't hold you to what you've said as "official" at all, but I am glad that somebody sees potential for an open Pathfinder framework — especially someone in a position to (potentially) deliver it.

    Before we dwell on that too long, I'm sure you guys at Rite would have lots to contribute to such a venture, even if you weren't spearheading it as a company.


    Not sure if anyone is following this thread anymore, but it inspired me to try maptool, and it is fantastic! I am using it with the 3.5/PF framework, and had a few questions for more experienced users until a fully supported PF framework comes to market.

    the macros (for 1.3.b63) seem to need some tweaking, and I am getting pretty limited use out of them (which is still great and I am thrilled that someone did all of this work for me). I am using the attack macro mostly, but even that has some bugs, like the multiattack penalty of -6 on any full attack (whether or not there are natural weapons), and I have been relying on work arounds (defining lots of weapon slots for full vs single attack, tracking buffs, etc.). I am worried (hoping?) that I may have set something up wrong, has this been the experience of others as well?

    I am also manually tracking hp, ammunition, spell slots, saves, skill checks, channel energy. etc. I haven't tried to more fully automate those functions although it seems like it is possible and there have been attempts. has anyone tried this, and if so, any tips? I am particularly confused by the spell support, is either version useful for a PF campaign?

    finally, I prefer to use open source software whenever possible, does anyone have experience using voip other than skype? I've tried ekiga, but it seems buggy for windows.


    Which framework are you using? I'd suggest going to the specific framework thread for the particular questions about multi-attack and such. I'm not currently using them, so can't speak for their implementation.

    As for open source software - try ventrilo. It's free for up to 8 people on a conversation (if I remember rightly) and has lots of excellent features.


    JonathanRoberts wrote:

    Which framework are you using? I'd suggest going to the specific framework thread for the particular questions about multi-attack and such. I'm not currently using them, so can't speak for their implementation.

    As for open source software - try ventrilo. It's free for up to 8 people on a conversation (if I remember rightly) and has lots of excellent features.

    thanks for the helpful and quick reply!

    the framework is for the same build of maptool and is the 3.5/pathfinder version. It seemed to be the only one. Would you suggest an earlier/different version as being more compatible with what you will ultimately release?

    I will check out the RPtools forums as you suggest, but I suspect that in the end, I will have to learn to modify the macros myself or just hash out a lot of work arounds.


    Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
    Clockwork pickle wrote:
    like the multiattack penalty of -6 on any full attack (whether or not there are natural weapons), and I have been relying on work arounds (defining lots of weapon slots for full vs single attack, tracking buffs, etc.). I am worried (hoping?) that I may have set something up wrong, has this been the experience of others as well?

    Sounds like you are using the D&D/Pathfinder framework, if so there is a multiattack/natural attack checkbox on the attack form that will get rid of the -6 penalty. Buffs can be handled through the Edit Temp Mods button - you don't have to set up attacks for each of those.

    Shameless plug: My program - DM's Familiar, has an export function that creates Maptools macros. So in DMF, you open up the creature, click the button to export it, and then in Maptools in the Selection window you right-click and Import Macro set. That quickly gives you macros for attacks, saves, initiative, skill checks, and ability scores. I find that a lot quicker than entering the info into Maptools directly.

    Data entry for many of the adventure paths is already done in DMF as well: http://www.paladinpgm.com/dmf/downloads.htm


    DMFTodd wrote:

    Shameless plug: My program - DM's Familiar, has an export function that creates Maptools macros. So in DMF, you open up the creature, click the button to export it, and then in Maptools in the Selection window you right-click and Import Macro set. That quickly gives you macros for attacks, saves, initiative, skill checks, and ability scores. I find that a lot quicker than entering the info into Maptools directly.

    Data entry for many of the adventure paths is already done in DMF as well: http://www.paladinpgm.com/dmf/downloads.htm

    Really... hm.


    Clockwork pickle wrote:

    ...the macros (for 1.3.b63) seem to need some tweaking, and I am getting pretty limited use out of them (which is still great and I am thrilled that someone did all of this work for me). I am using the attack macro mostly, but even that has some bugs, like the multiattack penalty of -6 on any full attack (whether or not there are natural weapons), and I have been relying on work arounds (defining lots of weapon slots for full vs single attack, tracking buffs, etc.). I am worried (hoping?) that I may have set something up wrong, has this been the experience of others as well?

    I am also manually tracking hp, ammunition, spell slots, saves, skill checks, channel energy. etc. I haven't tried to more fully automate those functions although it seems like it is possible and there have been attempts. has anyone tried this, and if so, any tips? I am particularly confused by the spell support, is either version useful for a PF campaign?

    finally, I prefer to use open source software whenever possible, does anyone have experience using voip other than skype? I've tried ekiga, but it seems buggy for windows.

    As for the first question, you need to make sure you have the weapon setup properly. If it is a manufactured weapon, check this. If two-handed make sure you select it as such and then single attack. If you have two weapon fighting, select two-weapons and Off-Hand light if ti is light. If you need help, send me your token at neofax99 <AT> google's mail dot com.

    Second question; currently LMarkus's FW does not handle spells. However, there are two that do. You have a choice of Wrathgon's (which I prefer as it is more feature rich) or Plothos's. I can help you set them up if you need help. Also, I would suggest adding Aliasmask's Spell Library as it allows you to view spell info without having a web browser open. Inventory management is handled by Pyromancers library, which I still need to figure out how to use.
    Third question; I use Skype even though it is a memory hog, but have setup a Mumble server(never had the chance to use it yet though) which is open source and based on feedback at the site is as good as Ventrilo/Teamspeak.


    NeoFax wrote:
    helpful stuff...

    thanks for the tips. mumble looks perfect as I am trying to get ubuntu to work voip with windows. will look into the other frameworks and may hit you up for advice.

    thanks also to DMFTodd for the advice, I will absolutely check out your software, sounds very useful.

    I am starting to think that I am using a different framework as there is no multiattack checkbox. there is a multiattack option in the feats line of the token's properties, which does nothing to affect the attack options. using the states for spells, rage, etc also helps, now I just need a single attack and full attack for each weapon, which is a big improvement.


    In case anyone has a similar problem with the mysterious multiattack penalty, I figured it out at last! the weapon properties has a field "OHLight" that needs to be set to 2.


    I said I would be back to ask questions.

    Ok I think I have a handle on Maptool kinda. Would any of you mind giving me a simple run-down on what a framework is?

    Is it too early for me to install it? Should I have a go with the basics and once I master it, start looking at implementing the frame work?


    A framework is just a saved set of properties and macros designed to support a certain game. Some generic frameworks exist for things like "equipment management" but to make sure these play nice with other frameworks you should ideally understand how each one works.

    Once you understand how to use properties and a few basic functions within macros, start checking out some other peoples' frameworks and see how they work. If they meet your needs, awesome, otherwise you'll need to request features from the author or add them yourself.

    You can get really fancy with frameworks, bordering on video-game like automation. Good luck!


    I've just started work on my "MapFinder" framework. Not due to any particular gripe with iMarkus' framework (which I will likely take some inspiration from), I just wanted to make my own.

    My chief goal is to make it as user-friendly and as uniquely "Pathfinder" as I can. To this end, I'll be ignoring most of the built in macro functionality in favor of custom built frames. Pathfinder books are pretty, and I hope MapFinder will do them justice.

    Anyway, it's going to take a long time, but I thought I would solicit requests from the Maptool + Pathfinder demographic:

    So far I have a Quickbar and a Character sheet. I plan on automating attacks, but I won't be doing any character building features. I definite plan to have spell management. Anything else you would like to see?


    Okay.. Lets see.. These are the functions that are most invaluable.

    Skill Rolls
    Saving Throws

    (I suppose those are pretty obvious)

    The attack macro needs to be robust. This is everything. This is the dealmaker and the dealbreaker; and I have to emphasize it, because it's not enough to have an attack macro. The more more robust and flexible it is, the better the Framework. Right in the 'sweet spot' things get tricky with iterative attacks, sneak attacks, flanking, favored enemies, Power Attack and Deadly Aim, Rapid Shot, blah blah, blah.. This is not where you're gonna wanna tell me, "Well, I was thinking of a simpler and more elegant approach." I can talk my way through a lot of stuff, but what overheats the old brainpan is combat, so this is where I'm looking for the Framework to pick up the slack and help me.

    I really like LMarkus' condition tool. Where I can apply conditions like prone, shaken, enlarge person, and god only knows haste to the tokens and have it alter its properties. That is a huge time saver.. except when I run haste on 6 tokens on his.. I clocked it at about a minute.. which is pretty darn long. If you can do better, you have my attention. :D

    I hope this helps!


    Just for the record...

    I too use LM's FW currently, with the Plothos' and Aliasmasks spell tracker and library.

    I find Wrathgon really 'on again off again' with Pathfinder. He only likes parts of PF, so he tends to be lukewarm about supporting the whole game. It never filled me with confidence.. so I stuck with Plothos who was more committed to it.

    ***********

    That being said, far be it from me to discourage Evil Lincoln. If anyone can build a better tool, I'm interested. I'm not so partisan that I'd refuse to look at something new.


    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

    I'm excited to hear this, and wish the absolute best!

    I use LM's framework, and think it is the bomb. I would say his framework is the benchmark.

    The key is automating everything that occurs often, and involves a lot of bonuses/penalties. Watcher mentioned the important stuff above. I also agree with him that LM's condition is the bomb.

    Best.

    Evil Lincoln wrote:

    I've just started work on my "MapFinder" framework. Not due to any particular gripe with iMarkus' framework (which I will likely take some inspiration from), I just wanted to make my own.

    My chief goal is to make it as user-friendly and as uniquely "Pathfinder" as I can. To this end, I'll be ignoring most of the built in macro functionality in favor of custom built frames. Pathfinder books are pretty, and I hope MapFinder will do them justice.

    Anyway, it's going to take a long time, but I thought I would solicit requests from the Maptool + Pathfinder demographic:

    So far I have a Quickbar and a Character sheet. I plan on automating attacks, but I won't be doing any character building features. I definite plan to have spell management. Anything else you would like to see?


    Watcher wrote:
    Right in the 'sweet spot' things get tricky with iterative attacks, sneak attacks, flanking, favored enemies, Power Attack and Deadly Aim, Rapid Shot, blah blah, blah.. This is not where you're gonna wanna tell me, "Well, I was thinking of a simpler and more elegant approach."

    This is my second framework, and I'm putting a lot of thought into the design. My plan is to actually have a procedural series of frames that hold your hand through the stages of each attack, for example, letting you step through your iterative attacks target by target or assign them all to just one target. Likewise for spells, which will have a list inside the procedure frame where you can add or subtract targets selected in the map.

    More later!


    Evil Lincoln wrote:
    So far I have a Quickbar and a Character sheet. I plan on automating attacks, but I won't be doing any character building features. I definite plan to have spell management. Anything else you would like to see?

    hats off to you! good luck on your project.

    From the perspective of a GM trying to get a campaign together, my biggest concerns are:

    1)understanding how to use the framework. I am finding it slow going getting all of the features of the LM framework to work, and although the forums are helpful, I would far rather have a good help file that holds my hand.
    having a single dedicated framework for pathfinder might make it simpler, I hope so!
    it would also be very, very helpful to have a few sample tokens to illustrate how the framework is implemented.

    2)making tokens for monsters and NPCs.
    there are several ways that this could be improved over LM:
    - having a macro to "translate" a PF stat block (maybe this exists elsewhere but having it built it would be great)
    - the skill system is really tough to edit in line format, a dialogue box would be superior. It might be nice to be able to add custom skills (e.g. I collapse climb swim and jump into a single "athletics" skill in one of my games).
    - I really like the idea of macros for adding templates to monsters, so expanding this beyond fiendish would be welcome

    there are lots of little picky things, but those are my big 2.

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