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The Portal of Wonders

Maptool Macro Basics: Lesson 1

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I'll be doing a series of blog posts that help break down one of the more complicated aspects of Maptool: macros.

What is a Macro?

According to Urban Dictionary, a macro is a program which performs a repetitive task. In Maptool, this can be pretty much anything. For example, if you have an attack routine you regularly use, putting it into a macro can speed up play and allow more time in the game for other things besides rolling dice and adding bonuses. Simple macros can provide 1-click execution of simple text commands, or can become a multi-menu'd applet.

Where are they at?

For portability reasons, all your macros for your player character should be stored on that character's token. This tutorial won't get into tokens, but suffice to say, if you ask someone how to bring a token onto the map, you'll probably get a pretty concise answer. Anyway, to add macros, you need one of the token's panes visible. Do this by going to the "Window" menu and activating the "Selected" pane. If you have no macros already on the token, this pane will be blank.

Click on any token you have added to the map to bring it to bear in the Selected pane. Right click in the blank pane, and you have a number of import and export options on the context menu. To create a blank macro, just select the new macro choice and voila... a brand spanking new, completely do-nothing macro. This macro is now stored on your token, so after saving the token, any map you bring this token onto will have this macro already on it.

Redshirt Bob, the Generic Fighter

Redshirt Bob is a fighter. He was created as a 1st level Fighter using Pathfinder rules. He has the following stat array: 20,12,16,10,06,06. He's good to catch a blaster bolt or to karate chop a klingon, but he usually dies every mission. Bob will be joining us as our example throughout this tutorial series.

The Basic Macro

Perhaps one of the simplest rolls in a d20 based game is a skill check. This simple roll is just a d20 roll with a set numeric bonus added to it. Redshirt Bob has a skill he likes to use: Intimidate. By looking at Bob's character sheet, I see that his total intimidate modifier is +2. We will now use our new, blank macro to make an intimidate macro for Bob.

Right-click the new macro button we just made. There is an edit macro choice on the context menu. Choose this and it will bring up a simple text editor, quite similar to when you make a forum post. To make this really simple, Bob's macro won't even have HTML formatting. In the text area, I add the following to give Bob his macro:
Intimidate: [1d20+2]
After entering the text, you can do other things on the editor window, like giving the macro a name (Try: Intimidate), changing the button color and changing the button text color. There are a few more options, so explore when you get the chance. Hit "OK" to close out the editor window.

The Breakdown

This code is pretty simple to break down. First, I have added the name of the skill and a colon. Second, I have initiated a roll (via the brackets) and put 1d20 (for 1 roll of a d20 die) then added the +2 for his total modifier.

The Result

Clicking the new "Intimidate" button on the Selected pane will now execute the macro, and Bob can go yelling at random aliens for no good reason.

Preview of Next Time

The next blog post will cover unassigned variables and basic pop-up menus.

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  1. Ao's Avatar
    Nice post. I'ma have to create an area on the site to organize these educational posts after we update tonight.
  2. Aerthos's Avatar
    That's actually a great idea. And kudos to archmagi for posting on macros--now I can just link the post when I'm too busy to explain it myself.
  3. coboney's Avatar
    Great Idea Arch!