Tutorials: Beyond the Basics

These tutorials cover various topics that may help a MapTool user, after they are comfortable with the basics.

Putting it all Together: Putting together what you have learned so far, to make a nice looking wilderness encounter scene in only a few minutes.  Created in an early development build, so there might be a few differences in MapTool’s look now.  Techniques are all the same though.

Map Navigation: A couple methods of quickly and easily jumping around to different locations on your map. So, you don’t have to just zoom out and drag yourself around trying to find the new spot, but can jump right from one encounter location to another. Very useful if your group tends to split up.

Tables:  How to build and use a basic table. How to add images to your table. Nesting tables. Dice rolling and other commands in tables.

Macros Part 1, Functions:  Functions are how you will get the most out of your macros.  This tutorial introduces how functions are used and shows some basic, but very useful functions in action.

French | Spanish

Entire Beyond the Basics collection! In one big zip file.  Double click on the files that end in .html to view the videos.


  1. Angelo says:

    Hi Brad,

    love this tool. I am a beginner and was trying your steps in “Putting it all Together” i created the path and river using the token layer as you did but then when i go to add the bridge as a background layer it goes under the river instead of being on top of it. but if i leave the bridge as a token it works ok. am i doing something wrong.


    • brad says:

      Hi Angelo,

      The problem is that I did not create the path and river on the token layer. Go back and watch the video again. The background layer was selected. Remember that the layers stack just like they are listed. Like a cake, with the rule that within a layer images go on top of drawings.

      Sorry for the delay in responding. I was out of town.


  2. Byron says:

    Everytime I try to drag a token to the map, it just moves the one I have on there, what am I doing wrong?

    • Errick says:

      If you’re using then newest version of maptool and the token you placed was an RPtok type, then it will not place anymore tokens. this is a bug, use version b87 instead

      - i had the same problem

  3. Demiurge says:


    Where can I find the tokens in the “Base Token” folder you used in the “Tables” video? I like the “old school” look they have.


    • brad says:

      They are old school. Remember that old board game “Dungeon” from TSR back in the 80′s. I still have it. I scanned or took digital pictures of all the graphics, so I could put it into MapTool and play with friends. In this case I just liked the look and used them in the tutorial.

  4. Bobvorn says:

    Hey, these tutorials are AMAZING. They have helped me out a lot in getting my game up and running and I want to thank you Brad for all you have done.

    I do have one question though, could you do a quick tutorial on Initiative? How it works, if its possible or not to halt players from doing anything unless its their turn,things like that.

    Thanks a lot for your help!

    • brad says:

      I will put in on the list. I had expected to be adding new tutorials and revising old ones over the last couple months, but real life has gotten the better of me. Hopefully soon.

      • Bobvorn says:

        Well I think I speak for all of us when I say “Thanks for actually taking the time to consider and respond to our requests.” It gets really annoying when you post something of a forum or website and they never reply or let you know they have even acknowledged you.

        If you ever need help just ask, I would be more then willing to do a couple of screen casts if you would like. I have a good working with the Macro toolset and find that using MapTools is easy (especially after learning from your great tutorials). If you ever need any help send me and e-mail at bobvorn@hotmail.com (bobvorn null@null hotmail NULL.com)!

  5. Carlos says:

    Brad, what about implementing the import of characters created with, for example, WotC’s Character Generator? I understand it is a standard XML file. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be too complicated to read that file and convert it into whatever MT needs to access the stats and numbers. Is this viable?

    • brad says:

      That is a question that would be better answered on the rptools.net forums. I know how to use MapTool to run games and make fairly good macros. The behind the scenes nuts and bolts are beyond me. I do know that there have been several discussions similar to what you are talking about and I think it would be possible, but I don’t know the level of work involved.

      • Carlos says:

        Well, for whatever its worth… I was undecided between buying Battlegrounds:RPG or FG. Your videos made me discard those two and go with MT. They really showcase the power of MT and pretty much walked me through most of the things I wanted to do right away. The section on lighting and FoW is worth its weight in gold and I check daily to see if part 2 has been posted yet.

        Amazing job. Thank you for your efforts.

        • brad says:

          Thanks for the compliments. I will be updating my screencast program(finally) in the next couple days and will be able to start work on tutorials again. The Vision and Light part 2 is high on the list to get done. Though there are a couple holes in my tutorial sequence that need to be patched before I get to it.

  6. Jake says:

    Quick question, in your tables video, what is the code you have for your macros that called the two tables you called? It just pasted the /tbl TableName into chat, but that’s exactly what I need.
    Was the only code just the line
    /tbl TableName

    Thanks for the help.

    • brad says:

      Yep that was the only code. You can get more complicated with the table() function that is now available, but this was just an introduction. If your macro is just printing out your code and not running it you need to make sure “Auto Execute” is checked. It is typically selected by default. Just edit your macro and look towards the bottom of the edit window and you should find the option.

  7. Jake says:

    Great stuff, hope it keeps coming. Looking forward to the Macro tutorial.
    Any advice on character sheet files? Most of what I do is multiple page pdfs. And through experimentation, I don’t think it takes those.

    • brad says:

      I have done character sheets two different ways. One is to use some application other then MapTool to track the character sheets, but that I can capture as an image. Then I import that image as the token handout. The characters and I can pop up the character sheets easy then, but you are limited to one sheet and it is an extra step.

      The second way is to design the character sheet in MapTool using Frames.

      The first way is more limited, but requires no work in learning macros and how Frames work. The second is very nice and convenient but you need to learn Frames and some basic HTML for formating.

      This summer I should be covering some of the basic macro stuff including how to make a basic character sheet using Frames.

      • Jarin says:

        Awesome. Glad to hear it. I’ve been fiddling with macros myself, but haven’t been able to go much beyond programming my attacks, with stats defined by hidden constants (i.e. [h:BAB=6]). Haven’t been able to get into referencing outside variables or characters yet.

      • Jarin says:

        So… any idea on when you’ll get to the macro tutorials?

        I know it’s only early summer still, but I’ve got a 4th edition game coming up and wanted to see the fancy stuff. ^_^

        • brad says:

          I just did a first draft of an Intro to Macros tutorial. I should have it out in a week or so. I doubt that it will help you much as it is the VERY basics for someone who knows nothing. I then plan on alternating between filling in the last couple gaps I have in the basic steps and the more advanced macro stuff. Keep in mind though that macros do so much that my tutorials will just cover a few of the main things. That will hopefully be enough that people will feel comfortable enough to delve into the Wiki for all the rest. Otherwise, I could do 30 tutorials the macros and still not cover everything. I plan on doing 4 or 5 covering most used techniques or functions.

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