MapTool

- a free, collaborative, network-enabled, multiuser, shared whiteboard

More than a map

Do not be fooled by the name. While it does include powerful tools for the creation of detailed maps, its primary role is a Virtual Table Top, replacing pen, paper, battle mats, and dice. MapTool is a free, open source and extremely flexible VTT with all the bells and whistles. You can utilize the integrated server function to connect to players wherever there’s an Internet connection. Miss your buddy in Singapore? Not a problem. Roll up that character and then your sleeves.

You are in control

It’s not browser-based so you have to download and install it, but because of that, it doesn’t depend on a remote server. That means you’re not dependent on other servers that might charge you a subscription fee or have inconvenient “maintenance windows”, you can use your own high resolution images, and you’re not restricted in storage size (except for the amount of available disk space you have!).

Amazing Features

  • Supports advanced features like Dynamic Lighting, Vision, Fog of War and much more.
  • Features its own scripting language – allowing you to code and share your own creations.
  • It is “game system agnostic”, meaning that while MapTool has special support for some game systems, there is no requirement for you to use these features.
  • A set of “topology” tools to enable the GM to limit the view of their players, revealing the map as they explore it. Walls, pits, hills and other objects can prevent players from seeing what lies behind them.
  • Vision features allows darkness to be made to fall, blinding players who lack a light. Lights can be set on objects or on tokens that illuminate however much of the map you define. If the GM wishes, s/he can limit the view of players to what their specific token sees, adding a whole new level to the experience of splitting up the party.  Woe be to the character who can’t see around the corner of a wall but steps out into the view of the enemy!
  • Tremendous macro facility that allows you to automate just about any facet of your game. These are entirely optional bits of code you write yourself or borrow from others you meet in the forum or on Discord.
  • On the horizon, MapTool 2.0 will see new scripting language support and a complete refresh of the UI into JavaFX. Much of the macro-only functionality will move into the UI to make MapTool easier for the new user.
  • ([Read more] about our community.)

How to get started

  1. Head over to the download page and follow the steps for your operating system.
  2. Download a framework from our [framework page] (optional).
  3. Watch some [tutorials] (optional, but recommended!).
  4. Join our Discord or our forums and get all your questions answered.

MapTool will always be free and always be supported by people that love to game.
So don’t worry: fire up the tool, draw a map, and call your friends. It’s game time!

FAQ

- Maptool -
Is MapTool really free?

Yes, all the tools at RPTools are completely free and will always remain so.

This seems like it’s still a work in progress. Is MapTool stable enough to use?

Most definitely you can use it now. It is constantly being improved, but you don’t have to upgrade; if you do, rest assured that we work very hard to maintain upward compatibility of the resources you create!

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There are so many versions! Which do I use?

The short answer is: “whichever one you want”. Using the [latest release] build is a good start, but if you will be connecting to an ongoing game the GM of that game will let you know which version you’ll need to use.  This is also a good place to start if you will be running your own games as the GM for your players.  Development (aka, beta) builds are available with new features but may occasionally have issues that requires workarounds; these are best if you want access to bleeding edge features, but it’s best to stick with a stable release for your must-work game sessions.  The list of releases is kept on our [GitHub page], with “release” vs. “development” builds clearly marked.  You can always ask on the [forum] or [Discord] to get the current status of builds. You’re sure to get a very quick response.

How difficult is it to learn to use MapTool?

MapTool is actually very easy to use. It sometimes can seem otherwise to new users, because the system is so flexible that even serious code-monkeys can spend a lot of time customizing it to impressive degrees. They then report back to the forums to post their magnum opus and the casual reader’s eyes boggle at the pages of code! But all of that is completely optional. The basics of MapTool, more than enough to make it emulate the tabletop experience, can be learned in a matter of minutes. It really is that simple. You may wish to take a look at our video tutorials, though bear in mind that MapTool is constantly evolving, so some of the layout and menus have changed. The concepts and techniques used, though, will remain very instructive.

What are the system requirements?

MapTool, like all of the RPTools applications, is a Java-based program. The current builds (1.11+) include the Java JVM for the Windows, MacOS and Linux platforms as part of MapTool.  Older builds of MapTool required you to install Java separately.  Only 64-bit operating systems are supported by Java.   If you plan to use large, complex maps, you should have a minimum of 2 gigabytes of RAM (4 gig or more is even better), but with simpler maps you can run with much less memory. And remember that the players will need at least as much memory as the GM! (Java defaults to a maximum of 25% of your physical RAM.  MapTool reports in the [lower right corner] how much memory your campaign is using on your machine at any given moment — this should tell you if you’re running up against your system’s limits.  If so, our wiki has information on [increasing that 25% number].)

How do I get started?

To install, you will have to download MapTool HERE on our website or through our GitHub.

Are there any instructions or other information that can help me?

It’s hard to keep current when product updates are released as often as they are. We do have some helpful [tutorials], and there is a useful [wiki] being built for instructions on the creation of macros (this is a more advanced feature, and likely not something you’ll want to get involved in until you have the basics down). If the tutorials don’t give you what you’re looking for, ask around on our [forums] or on [Discord]. Questions rarely go more than a few minutes without a knowledgeable user posting a response, and are at present our very best source of information.  (Discord is better for real-time chatting, while the forums are indexed by the search engines and are better for searching.)

I can’t get my server to work. How can people connect to my computer?

The two most frequent problems people run into when connecting players to the server computer are (a) firewalls/routers not letting players through to the server, and (b) players and GMs using different versions of MapTool. Problem (a) crops up when a modem, router, operating system, or security feature (such as antivirus tools) blocks signals entering your computer. It is resolved by opening a portal or exception through the firewall. How this is done varies depending on where the firewall is located. [This post] by our beloved Azhrei contains a very useful networking guide that will answer most questions in this area. See especially the section on port forwarding on p. 4.

Can I use MapTool to play Game X?

MapTool is not designed with any game system in mind. Or perhaps more appropriately, it is designed with all game systems in mind! It can accommodate maps of all sorts, has functionality for square and hex grids, and can take tokens and images of all types. Clever users have even gotten it to approximate a 3D look with isomorphic maps. Other users have set it up to play card games. It could be used to play board games, miniatures games, wargames, or even just spoken-word RPGs. In short, while we can’t brag to be able to accommodate absolutely every system, chances are your game will be no problem. Currently, users are playing D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder (1e and 2e), D&D 4e and 5e, Savage Worlds, GURPS, Runequest, MTG, Battletech, Star Frontiers, Call of Cthulhu, Shadow Run, and many, many more.

Are there pre-made modules available for Game X?

The RPTools site does not offer any pre-packaged modules for any games, per se. However, most commonly played games have been given much affectionate attention by our community. They have created basic campaign files for these games, with many convenient features encoded for you to speed up or augment that particular game system. They post links to places where you can download these campaign files on our forum. Since MapTool stresses upward-compatibility, the most recent versions of the tool will be able to load older campaigns with no trouble. So — you download the campaign file, start MapTool, open the campaign, and you’re done! Start importing or drawing your maps, and then start your server. You’re good to go. It’s actually easier than installing modules can sometimes be for other systems.

I’ve heard about a torrent with a lot of images for MapTool use. Where do I find it?

If you’re looking for the 2GB torrent of images (animals, equipment, weapons, furniture, etc) that the folks on the forums are always talking about, [here’s the forum thread].  Also, check the [Sticky threads] at the top of this forum for more image links.

How do I get MapTool to ____?

The answer to this, of course, depends on the ___. The best place to get information on the stuff that comes ready-made within the tool is from the

This will show you some of the ins and outs of drawing maps, importing images, setting up basic token properties (to record hit points or status ailments, for example), and getting familiar with the topology and lighting functions. The [main page] of our wiki has a column of beginner-style articles that cover setting up and using the tool.  MapTool is very flexible, and you can get it to do some amazing things, but to automate calculations and complex rolls, to automatically keep track of your armor class or your magic enchantments, or track which laser pistol you’ve drawn, requires writing up a combination of campaign properties and macros. The best place to get detailed information on specific functions used in our macro coding language is the [wiki]. Any other information, especially anything specific to a particular system, should be asked about in our very active [forum], where experts lurk just waiting to beat one another to the punch to help you…  In fact, your question may have been asked and answered already, so try searching the forum.

This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. RPTroll

    I respectfully disagree. MapTool has tremendous functionality without resorting to MTScript. Also, there are frameworks for many game systems available in the User Creations portion of the forumes.

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