MapTool Education Central

Last updated March 15, 2012

It’s become clear from the large number of posts I’ve devoted to MapTool that I need a page to organize them.  After all, I’ve frequently said that I want my site to be able to help people who decide that they’re interested in creating their own MapTool campaigns, so why don’t I make it a little bit easier for you?

The posts below will take you through my own discovery process with MapTool and my improvements as a MapTool-using dungeon master.  In the future, I’ll be adding to this page to present my own tutorial – what you need to know if you want to run campaigns in MapTool.  Please leave comments to let me know what topics you’d like me to address!

Jumping to the end: My MapTool campaign framework can be downloaded here.

My page of MapTool macros: Lot of good stuff here.


Discovering MapTool: I first learn of this awesome, awesome program.

Getting the images you need for maps: A good place to start for your map-making pleasure.

Playing around with macros and states: Just a little flavor.

Simple monster attack macros: I later decided to make these player-visible rather than using the gm roll option in all of them.

Basic dice macros: Buttons for everyone to roll d20s and the rest.

Player character attack macros: Plus an intro to properties

Multi-target attacks: For your burst and blast pleasure

Campaign frameworks: For the non do-it-yourselfer who wants a finished package

Creating maps with Dungeon Tile Mapper in MapTool: I quickly abandoned this approach

Setting up states in MapTool: Exactly what it says on the tin

Better attacks and properties: Improvements from my first real MapTool game

MapTool with a projector: Oh how I love this!

Brutal weapons: Programming them in MapTool

Generic character tokens: Useful for convention games

Tracking encounter and daily powers: Good stuff for more sophisticated macros

Auras in MapTool: Having MapTool display color-coded auras around a token

Flexible and fast monster templates: Templates for fast monster construction, by role

Ongoing damage macro: A guest post from Paul Baalham

Prepping to run a MapTool game: My weekly process

Macros for numbers on tokens: Useful for showing elevation, for instance

More condition icons for D&D 4e: My own MapTool states for ongoing damage, etc.

Frames and MacroLink: I learn these for my Marvel RPG framework

IF statements in MapTool: My first mailbag column!

Advanced Macro Topics

JSON objects: Not as scary as I thought they’d be.

JSON arrays: Very useful, but a bit harder than the objects

Library tokens and calling macros from macros: Super-useful, but harder to follow.

Full-on condition tracking: Whew. Lots of macros here. Definitely more advanced.

Creating macros using macros: Also covers the encode and decode functions

Creating monster powers using macros: Very advanced stuff, but so cool!

13 thoughts on “MapTool Education Central

  1. Thank you! I’m want to start re-playing AD&D with some old high school friends, but of course, we’re scattered all over the place. I’ve seen your posts, and thought this would be the answer. You have saved me a lot of trial and error.

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  4. yeah i have this issue..i cant open any of my previous made maps and when i try i get this messege
    campaign file is not readable by this version of maptool.
    we will attempt to load using the legacy format…
    com.thoughtworks.xtream.converters.conversionexception:cannot construct sun.awt.geom.order0 as it does not have a no-args constructer
    —debugging information—
    message: cannot construct sun.awt.geom.order0 as it does not have a no-args constructer
    cause-message: cannot construct sn.awt.geom.order0 as it does not have a no-args constructer
    class: net.rptools.maptools.util.persistenceutil$perisistedcampaign
    requiredtype: sun.awt.geom.order0
    path :/net.rptools.maptool.util.persistenceutil$persisted campaign/campaign/zones/java.util.collections$synchronizedmap/default/m/entry/
    line number: 24

  5. Been playing with maptools for a while now. Been using Rumbles 4e Framework. Everything works really well, but I am tired of recreating power macros for all tokens. He uses Lib: tokens to store things like weapons and implements. I was tring to figure out how this was done exactally and create a sort of power library. After reading several if not all Maptool posts you have I am still lost. Does this sound like something you might like to take on, or might help With?

    Any help would be appreciated

  6. My second post today!

    Now i have a question.
    you see, I love setting up systems to “do it for you”. Using Excel to do all the stat related math for me and so fort and so on. And i prefer to do the job just once if it is possible (Improving something made once is another matter). I have friend who just use pen and paper, for him that works great. He is good at doing the math in his head and remembering how the different stats and such influence the outcome. So far he’s been the DM. Now it’s my turn, but i am concerned that I’ll spend to much time calculating and plotting.

    Can MapTool help me to quickly illustrate for the players the current situation. Or does it quickly become a tedious waiting game for the players as i do the math for their encounters, add macros and tokens?

    And what is a good tip against me being heavily involved in a world and storyline that for the most part exists in the documents on my laptop?

    • I’m not completely sure I understand the question, but I’ll do my best.

      When I use MapTool to run a game, I set up the monsters beforehand. Then, during the session, it’s extremely easy to keep track of their hit points and powers and such. The same is true for the players, if I’m running MapTool online rather than via the projector at the table; the online players have their MapTool character tokens set up in advance.

      As for a tip against being heavily involved in the world that exists on your computer… well, I personally enjoy that aspect of DMing! I like getting involved in the world, and the fact that it exists on my laptop is very convenient for me in case I want to change something or refer back to something.

      I’m not sure if that helps, but I hope so!

      Michael the OnlineDM

  7. Hi,

    You look like a real master in Maptools macro programming, and I want to ask you a question that Google cannot answer ^^ :

    Is-it possible, with a macro, to change the sight (i mean the actual arc of vision) of a object or a token ? It’s possible to change it manually, but i can’t find any macro to do it.

    Thanks in advance,


    • Thomas,

      I appreciate the kind words, but I actually haven’t used MapTool almost at all in about two years. So, unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to your question!

      I’d suggest asking in the MapTool forums; there are always some really smart programmers around.

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more assistance!

      Michael the OnlineDM

  8. So… I’m running a tabletop with my laptop doing the dmscreen job, the dm map job, and the… Everything i would usually toss into a binder to dig for during the session. Besides here and the maptool forum, can you suggest an *extremely* comprehensive tutorial for macros in maptool? I can’t even get the wiki pages token:lib tutorial to work for some reason… I’m that inept right now.

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