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 Post subject: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 3:10 pm 
Craig has been good to us, and gone to the effort to create a documentation wiki for MapTool macro writing (and potentially for MapTool itself). There is a considerable amount of information there, primarily in the style of "programmer's reference" guides - function names, brief illustrations, and lots of definitions.

We have a few tutorials up too. So here's an idea. It's not mine - Sylphia, over in a thread in the MapTool subforum - came up with it, and I thought it was a good one. It has two parts:

1) Develop a basic campaign file that can be downloaded from the wiki - pick a game system, say D&D 4th for the sake of argument (but it could be anything), and create a campaign file that handles some of the essential functions (various die rolls, damage, healing, etc). This file could then be used as the basis for tutorials.

2) Look at the MapTool forums and User Creations and so forth, and see if we can identify "Frequently Requested Macros" and the responses that are given back, to put into tutorials, tips & tricks, etc. on the wiki.

Thoughts? This is a lot of work, obviously, but the request was aimed at coming up with way to get true novices comfortable with essentials.

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 Post subject: Re: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 3:13 am 
I like the idea.

I would make the campaign have anything that could be tied to a particular game system -- it would immediately be disregarded by anyone not using that system. :(

Instead, a campaign with a half-dozen tokens, with different types of vision, and at least two maps to demonstrate types of light. With some VBL on each map.

Each map would have a stamp that when clicked would give a description of the map: how it should be used and how it was created. Perhaps even with a "paint-by-number" scheme, where there are multiple such stamps numbered from 1..N, each describing one step in the process.

The tokens would have hit points and macros to cause damage and add healing. And maybe some kind of multi-target macro on an "advanced" map.

Down the road, a campaign macro might even be created to walk the user through the "1..N" stamps one at a time, by highlighting them or somehow making them stand out.

Interesting idea...


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 Post subject: Re: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:01 am 
Quote:
I would make the campaign have anything that could be tied to a particular game system -- it would immediately be disregarded by anyone not using that system.


Mmhmm...

Quote:
The tokens would have hit points and macros to cause damage and add healing.


I'm playing Risus. My game has no HP or comparable damage points.
Oh noes. See point 1 above.

I think making a working setup for a specific game has value - it shows how everything ties together and gives a working, coherent example of things in action.

A generic thing like you're suggesting isn't of much more use than a bunch of code snippets.

If you take a very common and known system, people can see how it all works, and then take it apart because they know the underlying system. Once you see how to do an attack roll, then you can make up rolls for different systems.

The game to use is no question at all - D&D is the most widely known system. I've never run into anybody who plays an RPG but doesn't know D&D to some extent.

The real question is... 3.5 or 4? Both have pros and cons.


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 Post subject: Re: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 8:35 am 
palmer wrote:
I think making a working setup for a specific game has value - it shows how everything ties together and gives a working, coherent example of things in action.

A generic thing like you're suggesting isn't of much more use than a bunch of code snippets.

If you take a very common and known system, people can see how it all works, and then take it apart because they know the underlying system. Once you see how to do an attack roll, then you can make up rolls for different systems.

The game to use is no question at all - D&D is the most widely known system. I've never run into anybody who plays an RPG but doesn't know D&D to some extent.

The real question is... 3.5 or 4? Both have pros and cons.


Personally, I'd go with 4th. A) because I know it and I don't know 3.5, and B) because it seems to be somewhat simpler mechanically. That is, an attack is generally one roll per round, with d20+bonus+whatever - whereas 3.5 had multiple attacks, decaying attack bonuses, and so forth. It just feels like it would be a bit easier to handle.

Also, since everything is a "power" in 4th edition, you can build the sample system around a "thing" - the power.

I'm open to suggestions, but since I know 4th pretty well, and by putting this idea out there I think I might have kindasorta volunteered to do it, that's my preference.

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Introduction to Properties
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 Post subject: Re: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:02 am 
Or you could design a simple 2-3 map adventure that is generic fantasy that has no rules-specific macros on it and no rules specific monsters or characters. Then take that and make a DnD 3e & 4e versions plus any other system that someone might volunteer to do.

@palmer - I know several RPG gamers that have never played DnD of any flavor and some started back in the late 70's.

In any case the first step is to design the adventure and then strong-arm Torstan into making some maps for it. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:01 am 
Phergus wrote:
In any case the first step is to design the adventure and then strong-arm Torstan into making some maps for it. :D



Or we could just use his existing Dreeston regional map: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1597&start=45 and the following several snowy battle maps he used in his campaign. I am sure someone could figure out an adventure with that series of winter maps and maptool it. Not sure about the generic part though. I guess you could make up your own game system pretty quickly with little number crunching(say for example everything has a 50% hit rate and does the same damage, from there it boils down to who hits most on the dice and how much damage each can take. ).

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I save all my Campaign Files to DropBox. Not only can I access a campaign file from pretty much any OS that will run Maptool(Win,OSX, linux), but each file is versioned, so if something goes crazy wild, I can always roll back to a previous version of the same file.

Get your Dropbox 2GB via my referral link, and as a bonus, I get an extra 250 MB of space. Even if you don't don't use my link, I still enthusiastically recommend Dropbox..


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 Post subject: Re: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:52 am 
jfrazierjr wrote:
Or we could just use his existing Dreeston regional map: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1597&start=45 and the following several snowy battle maps he used in his campaign.


Missing the point. Getting Torstan to create new maps for us under the guise of community service. :wink:

jfrazierjr wrote:
Not sure about the generic part though. I guess you could make up your own game system pretty quickly with little number crunching(say for example everything has a 50% hit rate and does the same damage, from there it boils down to who hits most on the dice and how much damage each can take. ).


Anything simple is good as the point is to demonstrate different features of MapTool, including the macros. From what I have seen of the current trend in the DnD macros they rely upon 20 or 30 token properties with cryptic names that are going to be meaningless to non-DnD players and probably some portion of DnD players.

The point I was vaguely wandering towards is that a list of the concepts to be demonstrated should be put together. A couple of encounter ideas would then be developed that would allow those concepts to be demonstrated in situ. From there someone puts together the base campaign file using a simplistic set of rules that could be described in a page or less. From there basic and advanced campaign files could be created by others for whatever systems we can get volunteers for.

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 Post subject: Re: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:42 pm 
Phergus wrote:
The point I was vaguely wandering towards is that a list of the concepts to be demonstrated should be put together. A couple of encounter ideas would then be developed that would allow those concepts to be demonstrated in situ. From there someone puts together the base campaign file using a simplistic set of rules that could be described in a page or less. From there basic and advanced campaign files could be created by others for whatever systems we can get volunteers for.


I think this is the correct approach to take.
As an added bonus if we start with a good small generic fantasy 2-3 map mini adventure with some nice maps, and states, and then convert that to a few systems not only can you make it the basis of a good macro tutorial/demo, but the finished product can be used as ready to run adventures for anyone who wants to be able to demo the use of MapTool for others (you know if anyone feels like showing it off at a convention or anything like that ;) ).

So I am in.
If no one else wants to volunteer for it I will volunteer to do the original macros in a real simple system.
I have also previously asked thelevitator if I can write some macros based on his homebrew system and share them with everyone else as a tutorial and he is fine with that so I will also convert it to his system.
I am also happy to answer questions to help anyone else who wants to port to another system.


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 Post subject: Re: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:55 pm 
You could use the Dark City Games rule set. Its based on the old Metagaming Melee system. If you cut out the spells and skills you've got three pages of stuff with tables.

http://www.darkcitygames.com/docs/Legends.pdf

There are lots of rules-lite games.... or create your own simplistic one. I'll volunteer to help if you like

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Last edited by RPTroll on Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:13 pm 
Not sure how many people are familiar with it, but something "like" HeroQuest would likely be a good system for new people. Even before I thought of HeroQuest, I was thinking something simple with d6's with x and above being a hit. And if we want, we could even get to the point of making up a table with images for the hit and miss actions(which would be nice extra feature anyway, say with a separate macro button for the image version) if someone would donate the artwork for the table images.

Likewise, this style of game is very suited to tile based images which would help maximize memory usage for those tiles that are used over and over again.

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I save all my Campaign Files to DropBox. Not only can I access a campaign file from pretty much any OS that will run Maptool(Win,OSX, linux), but each file is versioned, so if something goes crazy wild, I can always roll back to a previous version of the same file.

Get your Dropbox 2GB via my referral link, and as a bonus, I get an extra 250 MB of space. Even if you don't don't use my link, I still enthusiastically recommend Dropbox..


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 Post subject: Re: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:50 pm 
Here is my Design-A-RPG-While-The-Server-Is-Down RPG rules.

Should allow for the demonstration of dice rolls, dice rolls with modifiers, states, modifying attributes when enabling/disabling states, determining damage, applying damage, healing, initiative and, with appropriate maps, vision, lighting.

No real attempt made at balance or internal logic so it should be crunched or playtested before use.

Code:
=== Characters ===
[Primary Attributes]
Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Endurance
Total of 14 points.  Minimum of 1.  Maximum of 6.

[Derived Attributes]
Hit Points   - (Endurance)d6
Armor        - (varies)
Movement     - Dexterity in Squares/Hexes

=== Combat ===
[Initiative]
Each combatant rolls for initiative at the beginning of each round.  Initiative roll is 1d6 + Dexterity.  Each combatant acts in order of initiative, highest to lowest, each round.

[Attack Rolls]
An attack is made with a Power (see below).
Melee Attacks - Roll 1d20 + Strength + Power Attack Bonus
Ranged Attack - Roll 1d20 + Dexterity + Power Attack Bonus
Spell Attack - Roll 1d10 + Intelligence + Power Attack Bonus

A 15+ on the attack roll hits.

[Damage Roll]
Damage from an attack = 1d6 + (Weapon/Spell Damage Bonus) + (Attackers Relevant Attribute) - Armor

Resulting Damage is subtracted from Hit Points.

=== PC Classes ===
PCs have 4 possible classes:  Warrior, Rogue, Wizard, Priest

Class     Beginning Powers
Warrior   Sword, Shield Bash, Bow, Shield, Torch
Rogue     Dagger, Hide, Backstab, Pick Lock, Torch
Wizard    Dagger, Staff, Light, Lightning Bolt, Fire Ball
Priest    Mace, Heal, Protect, Banish Undead, Torch

=== Powers ===
PCs/NPCs have Powers that represent their attacks and abilities.  Beginnning PCs have 5 powers.  NPCs will have a variable number but at least 1.  Two types of powers: Attack & Other. During any combat round a PC/NPC may have 1 non-attack Power active and may use 1 Power to attack.

Attack           Attack   Damage
Powers           Bonus    Bonus   Range  Special
Backstab           +4       2x           Must attack from rear and have been hidden previous round.
Banish Undead      +0       +8      4    Only works on Undead. With a roll of 6 on a d6 the Undead is Enraged and gains +2 damage for 3 rounds.
Bite I             -1       -2           
Bite II            -1       -1           Infects target on a roll of 5+, reduces Strength by 2.
Bow                +0       +1      8
Chilling Touch     -1       +2           Freezing touch does damage and reduces Dexterity by 2.
Claw               -2       +2
Curse              +0       +0      3    Pain from attack reduces Intelligence by 2.
Dagger             +0       -1      2    Melee or ranged.
Fire Ball          -1       +0      4    Does damage to target and all in the immediately adjacent squares/hexes.
Heal                *        -      4    Heals target (self/other) for 2d6. *No roll to hit.
Lightning Bolt     +1       +4      6    Single target
Mace               +1       +1
Shield Bash        -1       1/2          Stuns foe with a 4+ on a d6 for 3 rounds.
Staff              +0       +0
Summon Undead       -        -      2    Summons 1 zombie.
Sword              +2       +2

Powers (Other)  Range   Special
Hide                    Hides Rogue from enemies.  Cannot attack except for Backstab.
Light             6     Illuminates a 6 square/hex radius around Wizard
Pick Lock               Opens Lock on 1d6 + Dexterity > Lock Difficulty
Protect           4     Gives +4 Armor to target (self/other).
Shield                  Adds +2 Armor. Can't be used with Shield Bash.
Torch             3     Illuminates a 3 square/hex radius around character.

[Scenario]
Characters fight giant rats in ruins of abandoned barn.
Characters fight zombies and lich in dungeon beneath barn.

Characters [S,D,I,E], {HP,Armor,Move}, Powers
Warrior - [5, 3, 2, 4], {18, 6, 3}, as above
Rogue   - [2, 6, 3, 3], {12, 2, 6}, as above
Priest  - [4, 2, 4, 4], {16, 4, 2}, as above
Wizard  - [2, 3, 6, 3], {12, 1, 3}, as above

Foes
Giant Rats - [1, 4, 1, 1], {4, 1, 4}, Bite I
Zombies    - [4, 2, 1, 3], {11, 2, 3}, Claw, Bite II
Lich       - [2, 2, 6, 6], {30, 5, 2}, Staff, Curse, Summon Undead, Chilling Touch


Almost certainly inspired/derived/ripped-off from any of a hundred or so RPGs I've played over the years.

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Last edited by Phergus on Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:05 pm 
Phergus wrote:
Here is my Design-A-RPG-While-The-Server-Is-Down RPG rules.

Should allow for the demonstration of dice rolls, dice rolls with modifiers, states, modifying attributes when enabling/disabling states, determining damage, applying damage, healing, initiative and, with appropriate maps, vision, lighting.

No real attempt made at balance or internal logic so it should be crunched or playtested before use.


Almost certainly inspired/derived/ripped-off from any of a hundred or so RPGs I've played over the years.


This is doable. In fact, it looks like fun to play, too.

It occurs to me that JSON support makes the power string a lot easier (well, more elegant, perhaps).

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Introduction to Tokens
Introduction to Properties
Introduction to Macro Writing
Introduction to Light and Sight


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 Post subject: Re: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:22 pm 
I think you might want to axe the powers and spells and keep it a melee/ranged combat only and use pre-gens. No character creation.

Just my 2 cents

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 Post subject: Re: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:47 pm 
If you look at the system again you'll see there is no difference between melee/ranged attacks and spell attacks. They are all treated as Powers so that all attacks are "Power" attacks. This was a conscious choice to (in theory) make it easy to put each characters powers into standard set of Token attributes and from there make it fairly straightforward to develop standardized set of macros that run them.

The additional non-attack Powers were put in specifically to allow demonstration of Token States and macros that enable/disable said states. This adds more complexity than I was originally thinking but demonstrating Token States is worthwhile I believe.

The character generation section is purely to provide context for the pre-generated characters which are listed at the bottom of my post along with the suggested encounter.

One thing I was trying to avoid was having one token's rolls be dependent upon another token's attributes. Except for Damage I believe this is true. Damage will have to be rolled by the attacker without modifying for defender armor. Then the macro that applies the damage to the defender would just subtract the armor value.

I think the ranged attacks could all be removed and still accomplish the goal since the isn't any macro functionality that works of map distance.

As for using this vs some free system, my goal was simply to avoid even the hint of partiality while still having enough rules to demonstrate the desired MapTool features. I would go with the Savage Worlds Test Drive rules otherwise.

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 Post subject: Re: Documentation Wiki - Idea
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:59 am 
My recommendation - no autocalculated properties on the token unless we don't display anything in the statsheet. MapTool seems to wedge itself easily with a setup of displayed properties that are based on other properties.

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Introduction to Properties
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