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"Virtual" Battlemat: Advice?


First Post
I'm hoping someone can help me with this one:

I have a laptop that I want to use as a virtual battlemat for a tabletop RPG. I'm hoping I can use the maps directly from the pdf of the adventure without having to re-draw everything on a battlemat (whiteboard).

The problem I'm facing is that I need a way to do "Fog of War". I can't just show the players the whole map at once, but I can't figure out how to reveal sections as they explore.

Just to be clear, this is for a local, real-world, everyone-in-the-same-room game. I've tried using Maptools, OpenRPG, Fantasy Grounds, ect., but they all primarily online systems, and for the life of me I can't get it to do what I want on one local laptop. I just want to load a jpg (or something), and be able to reveal it bit-by-bit as I go.

Can anyone please help me with this?

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I crit!
Try using a graphics program with layers. Push the map back to the bottom and color in the top layer, then erase as needed.

Does the GIMP do this?

Hand of Evil

You may want to check out some of the on-line tools like Fantasy Grounds, while not what you are looking for does provide the tools. There are others also, for the table top, just can't remember their names -- see link in my sig as some may be in it.

Another way is PowerPoint, just place an object over the area and remove it.


How are you displaying the maps to the players? Are you using a projector or is everyone looking at your laptop screen?


I use Maptool for this, but I have a PC on my LCD-TV that I use for the players and my laptop is the server. This works so well that I stopped using my numerous battlemaps. Not only does it have fog-of war and can import maps, but also calculate hitpoints and do full attacks with a button. :cool:

But obviously this works so great because I use two PC's, but Maptool might still be used if you don't have the same setup:

-) Another player should bring a Laptop that they can use for the player view.

-) You could just switch to the "Player View" Function that can be started in the Menu, I think that might perfectly work for you, but I haven't played with that function.

-) You can just open Maptool twice on your Laptop, once as a Server and once as a Client, extend the Desktop to an external Screen (TFT, Projector, TV,..) and just show them the external Screen with the Client.


I have used Paint.Net, and hooked the laptop up to a projector. I copy the maps from the pdfs and edit them, cutting out each individual room and saving them as a layer. I start out with a totally black layer (or no more than the initial room). As the players enter another room, I add that layer to the top.

There's a little floating control that lets you select the layer(s) to display. I move that down to the lower right-hand side of the display, and put a small screen around it so the players can't see it. It's really very simple once you get the 'cut-and-layer' technique down.


First Post
I'd like to also suggest giving Maptool another gander.

I recently discovered the WiiMote Whiteboard mods, and I'm in the process of converting my game to a virtual projected display.

The heavy lifting for the graphics is simply done by running two instances of Maptools (one server, one client) on my laptop. I don't use it for anything other than running the map, the fog of war, and revealing new areas.

I'm certain that you could find it to your liking.



Battlegrounds sounds ideal for what you're wanting to do.

As with MapTool, you'll want to run two instances of the program (one for the GM, and one to drive the players' view).

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