taladan wrote:maybe I'm not understanding how you're 'starting' with the generic monster token. I tried making a copy of it and modifying it, but...how about a list of steps you do? I'm actually in the middle of a TT game with my wife and kids, using some cobbled macros that I've come up with because I can't get the framework NPC stuff figured out. Once I figure out the framework I can switch up to the framework and it'll make my dm'ing life easier slightly.
First, I copy the token, edit its name, and add appropriate token and portrait images. If the token image is a top-down orientation, I change that setting. I'll also set the vision at this point.
Second, I edit the properties. You could use the 'edit stats' macro but it doesn't cover everything except for the most basic of tokens so I find it quicker to just go into the properties directly and just tab through to edit the ones I want to edit. The key things (off the top of my head, I'll double check this when I'm at home with maptool pulled up): ability scores, hp / max hp, skilldie, hit dice if I want to be able to roll HP, and, for spell casters, spell attack and save DC. Although informational rather than essential to macro functioning, I also edit AC (with the armor type in parentheses), immunities/resistances/vulnerabilities, condition immunities, level (I also put XP in parentheses), passive perception, movement rate, creature type, and alignment. If there is something else important I want a reminder of (e.g., suppose a creature has tremorsense or blindsight), I'll stick it in the 'Note' property.
Third, I add proficiencies/expertises via the appropriate macro.
Fourth, I add languages via the appropriate macro.
Fifth, I make the attack macro. More recently I've been using a new system that is more like the PC system and is a bit more automated, but there are still some problems I need to work out. The old system has every attack launch from the attack macro. If the creature has some special condition or text that goes with the attack, I usually add that to the macro itself rather than to the miscellaneous info box in the attack macro, b/c that makes it easier to actually use, and so if necessary, I'll create multiple versions of the attack macro so the appropriate text is only triggered when the appropriate attack is taken.
Sixth, I add macros for properties and non-attack actions. Examples of all the various kinds are on the NPC spellbook token (and often all I have to do is drag the appropriate macro over from the impersonated window to the selected window). For properties, the tool tip is generally more important than the actual text of the macro b/c I like to be able to see what the property does without having to send text to the chat window. If any of the powers are an aura effect (e.g., 'all creatures who start their turn within 10 feet take damage' or whatever), and the aura isn't meant to be a total surprise to the players, I'll also set an appropriately sized & colored aura in the light sources. (also in the rare event that the creature itself casts out light, like a flameskull, I'll edit that as well).
If the NPC isn't a spellcaster or doesn't have any unusually complicated abilities, I'm generally done at this point, and so I long rest it, test everything once, and then save the token in my library. If it is a spellcaster, a few more things are necessary:
First, the long rest macro has to be edited to fill up the spell slots, which is done by adding lines like
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Second, the Slots property needs to be populated with the all the levels in which the creature has slots (not strictly necessary but useful to help track it just by mousing over the token). So if the creature has up to fourth level slots, I would fill that property with
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Third, I'd drag over the appropriate spells. All the spells from the PHB, and most of the non-PHB 5e spells, and even a few third-party spells, are on the NPC spellbook token, so they just need to be dragged over. I usually create a macro group called 'Magic' so that they stick together. If any of the spells are concentration spells, I also drag over the 'End Concentration' macro.
Fourth, I create macros for limited use powers. Generally, I have these things change the color of the macro when they are expired (examples of this on the NPC spellbook token). If so, I'll add a line to the long rest macro that changes the color back. If a power is rechargeable, I copy the recharge macro over and modify it to change the color of the macro back to normal if the target roll is hit. Usually, that's sufficient to track things, but occasionally I'll set it up to prevent the power from working if I try to cast it too many times. In practice, I've found it generally isn't necessary, but the code is already written so it doesn't take much time to set up, and so I'll generally do this if they have multiple (but not infinite) uses of a power, especially if they have multiple powers that borrow from a single pool of uses (e.g., legendary actions -- you can see examples of this on some of the higher level NPC tokens like Strahd or some dragons). It can be a little tricky if they have a limited use power that casts a spell without using a spell slot. There are various ways to deal with this, and I think the easiest thing to do would just be to model one of the tokens I've already created that is like this. Fortunately this is pretty uncommon for 5e monsters.
That's pretty much it. Sometimes I'll also add descriptive text to the description area of the token, but the only thing that really accomplishes is that it allows players to click on the corpse once the NPC/monster dies and is sent to the object layer to read the description and see the token portrait. So I generally only do this if either I want them to see some detail about the corpse, or if the monster is so weird and unusual that I know I will otherwise have to look it up when I use that monster in play in order to accurately describe it.
I think that is everything. Let me know if any of the steps are unclear. It seems like a lot, but honestly, of all these steps, the thing that takes me the longest is finding good art (and, as is often necessary, editing it in GIMP to remove watermarks or other defects). In a pinch, if you need a very quick monster token, all you really need to do is edit the token name and the HP/max HP. You can create the attack macro on the first attack and use other stats directly out of the manual. I avoid this b/c I like to be overprepped, but in emergencies I've found that as long as I've got access to the monster manual or whatever other source has printed the stat sheet, it isn't any less efficient than the old pencil & paper method of tracking that I used back in the stone ages before we had cool VTTs to facilitate play.