So some people who’ve been following this blog for a while may remember a project I’ve been developing with Rite Publishing for a while called the Breaking of Forstor Nagar. The adventure is an 8th level adventure for the Pathfinder game set in a city carved out of the living ice of the Forstorheim glacier. The city is under siege and the adventurers must break through the enemy lines, secure the target and escape. Of course, it’s never quite that simple…
Well I’m here to announce that the adventure is released tomorrow – in all it’s multi-format glory! You can already preview the pdf over on RPGNow and order print or pdf on Paizo (as well as reading some of the nice things people are saying about it).
The adventure was written by the multi-talented Ben McFarland (Streets of Zobeck, Kobold Quarterly), edited by Mark Moreland (since abducted to Seattle by the Golarion goblins and hard at work in the Paizo mines), beautifully illustrated by Tyler Bartley and the token art for the panoply of monsters was done by Devin Night, the doyenne of VTT tokens. I put together the maps and sorted out the maptool integration. The adventure is published by Rite Publishing, organised and corralled by Steve Russell and made possible by the involvement of the patrons.
The adventure has 9 encounters – taking the PCs from their first encounter at the mouth of the glacier, right into the heart of the icy city in its final death throes. It’s great to see a designer at work. Ben avoided predictable encounters, offering twists and catches throughout the story to really keep players on their toes. Those kind of encounters are fun to make maps for.
But this post is to to show you a little of the maptool nuts and bolts. I put together a minimalistic Pathfinder framework in maptool to run this. The design philosophy was to have a simple, clean interface with attractive UI elements that put everything you need to run the adventure at your finger tips. I’ve held off from overly automating play. Pathfinder is an exceptions based system. I want my players to wat to throw snow in their enemies eyes or leap from a bridge to slide down a sail. I don’t want the GM to say they can’t do that because ‘there’s no button for it’. Here’s a video that shows what I mean (best watched full screen):
(be nice – it’s my first shot at a screencast)
Here’s a few screenshots that show off a bit of the functionality:
All the encounter text in the pdf is already built into the maptool campaign. Each button shows the corresponding section of text for the GM for quick reference – with read aloud sections clearly marked. I love the CSS tools in maptool. They make for some pretty looking dialogs.
The CSS in maptool allows us to style the stat blocks to match the formats that are the industry standard, so all the information is where you expect it. Each stat block can be accessed with a single click from any token, and it not only reflects the standard information, but also the current state of health of the token in question. Mousing over a token gives a short summary of the most useful information.
Spells (and other useful rules) are hyperlinked directly to the Pathfinder Reference Document on the Paizo site for quick reference during game play.
Hit a Full Attack button on a monster and the chat window shows a full breakdown of the attack, with each dice roll if you mouse over the value. This is only shown to the GM, so that you can make any adjustments before telling the players their fate. This makes life easy for the GM, whilst not surrendering any of the control.
This is in addition to all the normal functionality of maptool that makes it great, such as:
- Dynamic vision and line of sight with vision blocking topology
- Online play
- Dice rolling
- Initiative management
- Cross-platform support – works on Mac, Linux and Windows just as easily
I really wanted to create a commercial adventure that really shows off the power of maptool as a game aid. If I were running a face to face adventure, I’d still have maptool running on my own side of the screen because it makes play so much quicker. The fact that it works as an online tabletop is really just icing on the cake.
Check it out. If you have any questions, send me an email.
2 thoughts on “Breaking News”
Looks neat – I take it you didn’t use the Pathfinder framework for maptools?
No this framework was developed in house. Partly that was to have total control over all the behavior of the framework – and partly because, with this being a commercial release, we didn’t want to raise issues of licensing as many of the licenses are CC licensed somewhere in their construction.
However there’s nothing to stop you dropping the existing pathfinder framework in for character management for your players, if you’re already used to it.