Online Dungeon Master

June 23, 2010

MapTool campaign frameworks

Filed under: Advice/Tools, Macros — Tags: , , , , , , , — OnlineDM @ 11:08 PM

After I had done a lot of work to start building macros for my D&D game that I’m running in MapTool, I discovered something – it’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel if you don’t want to.  It turns out that a number of people on the MapTool forums have created what are known as campaign frameworks.

A campaign framework is a work of art.  It’s a MapTool campaign file that contains within it everything you need to run a campaign under a given rule set (D&D Fourth Edition, d20 System, as well as other RPGs).  The particular framework I’ve played around with is from a MapTool forum user called Rumble.  His framework for D&D 4th Edition is in this post.

The framework is basically a campaign template.  If you want to start a new campaign, you start with the template file.  When you open the file, you’ll see something like this:

Rumble FrameworkWhat you see here is several pre-made tokens on the top part of the screen, some campaign macros (including those that will let you import character or monster info), and some macros for the sample PC token that’s selected.  The campaign file has an extensive set of properties to keep track of the sort of things my properties do and then some.  For instance, I hadn’t thought of keeping track of action points or experience points in the character sheet, but this property set does it.

Furthermore, the macros that are built in for both PC and monster tokens are all-encompassing and way cool.  They include everything I’ve done (hit point management, attack powers, skills) as well a bunch of things I haven’t done (delaying one’s turn, pulling up a formatted character sheet and power cards).  There are even macros to make editing the character stats easier, rather than having to directly fiddle around with properties.  The attack macros take into account who the target is, figure out their defenses, establish whether the attack hits or not, and so on.  It’s very, very detailed, and from what I understand it all works!

So, I learned that I don’t have to write all of these macros from scratch – others have done it for me.  Macro-writing over, right?


See, I LIKE writing macros!  I’m not a professional programmer, but I’m pretty good at programming.  When it’s for a hobby, it’s something I just enjoy doing.  Plus, I like the idea of being able to customize my macros for my players.

Now, I would be foolish if I completely ignored the existence of excellent MapTool frameworks like Rumble’s.  If I’m having trouble with my own macros, I can see how Rumble implemented something.  I’ll certainly take inspiration from some of his ideas (such as tracking XP and action points).  But I don’t feel like using a pre-packaged setup like this because then I would deprive myself of the fun of discovering how to write my own MapTool macros.

All that said, if you’re not into the idea of writing your own macros for the pleasure of writing them and you just want a bunch of macros that work for your D&D 4e game, start your campaign from a template like this one.  There are lots of others on the MapTool forum for a variety of games, and they look fantastic to me.  I love the MapTool community!


  1. Fantastic! I just stumbled on your site while trying to hunt for the correct term to set initiative in MapTools. You’ve done some great things here!

    I greatly enjoy the summation of hitpoints, surges, and defenses into single line displays. I’m sifting through your Macro code (like you, I enjoy writing my own) for bits and pieces to pilfer. A lot of its much cleaner than what I write normally so I’m sure I’ll learn quite a bit looking at them.

    Great job!

    Comment by QuackTape — March 31, 2011 @ 10:21 AM

  2. I’m glad you’re finding this information to be helpful! I’m guessing you saw the link to my MapTool Education Central page – that’s where I’ve pulled together all of my “how to” articles for MapTool.

    If you run into any macros or other issues that give you trouble, feel free to reach out. I love working on MapTool macros!

    Happy gaming!

    Comment by OnlineDM — March 31, 2011 @ 12:42 PM

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