D&D General Software for a TV table battle map (and more uses)

RoiC.

Explorer
I've just recieved a spare TV from a friend leaving the country, and I've decided to use it as digital battle map for my face to face 5e campaign. I'm looking for a software that can run battle maps and offer some nice features (mostly distance, AoE, auras and possibly tokens with status effects and markings) without being too complex and having a too steep learning curve, and can also run simultaneously the DM and player sides on the same machine (each on a different screen). I don't mind paying for a good enough software, but I don't feel like getting beyond the 10-15$ area (unless it also adds a really good map editing feture).

Also, any suggestions for additional uses for a mid-table screen other than cobat would be really awesome, because I'm pretty sure there's a lot more that can be done with it.
 

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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
MapTool is great for this. It is open-source and free. Most of the frustration people have getting started with it is networking, which is not an issue if you are using it for displaying to horizontal TV display. I have yet to find another product that makes it as easy to sift through thousands of tokens and hundreds of battlemaps and set up a map with tokens in a couple minutes.

It support line of sight and lighting, but if you don't have time to prep the maps, it has excellent manual review for fog of war.

Basically you connect your laptop to the horizontal TV with extended desktop. You run two instances of MapTool, one as GM, one as player. Put the player window to the horizontal TV and size to 1" = 5' scale, which is as easy at zooming in/out until the grid fits a 1" miniature base.

You add media folders to MapTool like you would when you import/link a folder in an image program. Then you can easily filter through the images (you can set it to show all images in all subfolders as well, so you can keep your foldering but still filter through everything without drilling down into subfolders) and open an image with fog of war auto applied. Matching the grid to to grid on the map is easy, but if you are using physical minis, you don't even need to do that. If you want to use line of sight and lighting, however, you will of coarse need to use digital tokens.

The only downside with MapTool is that if you want players to control their own tokens, you'll need to set up a local network. That is easier then configuring it to work remotely, but it still isn't as easy as a hosted tool.

If you want automations and official content and don't mind spending a bit of money, then I would recommend Fantasy Grounds. It also works well with in-person play and horizontal TV, but networking is much easier, and you can get all the official 5e content for it. Fantasy Ground has a high learning curve, but I think it is the best option for in-person VTT play using official WotC 5e content.
 

Horwath

Legend
The only downside with MapTool is that if you want players to control their own tokens, you'll need to set up a local network. That is easier then configuring it to work remotely, but it still isn't as easy as a hosted tool.
you could just do it with wireless mouse (or 2nd mouse if you want yours to stay behind DM screen and have one be next to the TV).

just give permission that all players control all player tokens, then they can just use mouse to move their token while viewing them on TV.
 

maxed

Explorer
I used roll20 for this. I had the DM map on my laptop, then the player map on the horizontal 32 inch TV. I had 2 browsers open, one with each. Which meant I had 2 separate logins for roll20. You could have a player login to the player account, though.

I purchased some digital maps, but relied mostly on free maps I found online. I moved all the tokens, which was time consuming when in combat, but it worked.
 





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