Map Software for Party Exploration

Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Short version question - Is there a program that will display a JPG image "blacked out" that then lets you dynamically reveal the map as the party explores a dungeon? This will be on a wall mounted TV.

Spoiler below for the long winded version.
OK, this is something I have spent a fair amount of time searching the web for and I am unable to find something that is easy to use and covers the very basics of what I need. I am hoping some of the folks on the Paizo forums may have a suggestion. I have a group that comes to my house for local play. I have a PC with a monitor that I run Hero Lab on and I have the display extended (not mirrored) to a 46" TV mounted on the wall above me. I currently throw up pics, maps, etc with items that support the adventure rather then print out handouts.

What I am looking to do is have the maps from the Paizo modules and AP's be displayed on the TV but with a fog of war effect that greys or blacks out the image. I would then like to have the ability to reveal portions of the map in a simple way that keeps them visible after they are revealed. A second choice is something that adds a third active layer for lighting... but that is not mandatory.

I have looked at Maptool, Fantasy Grounds, etc. But those are way more complex then I need. I am not hosting a virtual table top for far flung players. I just want to be able to put a map on the TV and then click a spot, or circle an area, that is then revealed. I do not even really want the ability to make a map as I much prefer to us the image grab of the Paizo maps in my PDF's. I also do not need to have the players figs on the map... but a single "light source" icon would be fine. (We use a dry erase map for combat, I just would rather use the nice maps for exploration and quickly draw out the basic map when combat occurs on the dry erase map.)


It is free and cross-platform.

Check their forums for more help, or ask questions in this thread and I will answer them in time.

Grand Lodge

I recommend TTopRPG

There are some decent tutorials on the site and if you want a demo you can stop into DMTools Chat and Pygon (the creator) is usually willing answer questions and give demos.

It works great for in-person games, I use it myself.

Grand Lodge

d20 Pro is also a good program that does what you need, and I highly recommend it. Though it is not free (but there is a free trial)...

It even allows you to import your characters from Hero Lab...

But I'm afraid that it too is built for internet play, though it certainly can be used "in house" without problem (in fact, the computer/46" TV set up you have would be ideal for this).

From what I've seen however (and I could be wrong), a program like this is the only way to get that fog of war effect you are looking for.

And also, again, from what I've seen, they all have various "learning curves" to overcome (but d20 pro has some excellent video tutorials for this)...

d20 Pro website

-That One Digitalelf Fellow-

Thanks all for the feedback. The main thing I am trying to do is just throw up a JPEG file on the screen with a fog of war. I do not really want to have icons for the PC's mini's or anything. I am also not really interested in having the chat window and other items there as I would prefer a full screen map.

In all of the ones listed above it looks like you have to make the maps... or import a map from other sources in a map style format (aka not a BMP or JPG). In Maptool it would not let me import a JPEG file as a map and gave me an error message.

Can any of the recommended programs show the map in a clean full screen mode?

Again thanks for all of your comments as they are appreciated.

Grand Lodge

Thazar wrote:
Can any of the recommended programs show the map in a clean full screen mode?

I know d20 Pro can do this...

You need not have anything on the screen but the map and perhaps the menu as well, but you can close all of the other dialog boxes and not even bother with the tokens...

And with your set up, on your computer screen, you'll see the whole map, and on the TV screen, the players will only see what you have chosen to be visible through the fog of war...

There is a learning curve, but the online video tutorials are very good at teaching you how to use the program...

Grand Lodge

as you can see, you have a lot of choices here. I'm with EvilLincoln, maptools all the way - its free, and pretty intuitive. That said, d20Pro and TTopRPG are both excellent as well.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Thazar wrote:

In Maptool it would not let me import a JPEG file as a map and gave me an error message.

Can any of the recommended programs show the map in a clean full screen mode?

In MapTool you select Background layer and just drag and drop jpeg to green area. CTRL+ALT+ENTER switch to full screen mode.

Hope it helps.

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