In addition to The Absalom Initiation, I’m running a second group through a test run of Pathfinder Second Edition and Fantasy Grounds Unity using the Fall of Plaguestone published adventure. We had our Session Zero on Saturday and, as they finished up characters, I quickly put together a map for them to practice the basics on.
Personally, I found map making in Fantasy Grounds Unity to be not at all intuitive…but it was fast, powerful, and accessible after getting over that initial learning curve. The features are not accessed in the ways I thought they’d be accessed.
- Layers: These are really great for separating the effects. I can see having one for each spellcaster’s spell effects.
- Line of Sight: I know this is a common feature in virtual tabletop but it’s still pretty fantastic.
- Terrain: For Line of Sight, there are only three kinds of terrain but they actually open up some interesting options. Those are completely visible, vision into but not out of (like the tree in the featured image), and blocks vision.
- Tiles: It took me awhile to figure out that these link to grids…if the grids are placed before them. After that I really appreciated these.
- Effects: Snow, Rain, Mist… These are all really cool and atmospheric. It took a bit to figure that I had to add an fX layer first.
- Paint: The ability to ‘paint’ images is my favorite part of this set-up. It makes it very easy to quickly throw up a simple fort, paint a river, or lay out a cave. The fact that this supports Line of Sight out of the box is fantastic.
- Adding Images: I love how easy it is to add images from my computer. Just drop things into the folder. You can even paint with them.
- Eraser: I wish the eraser was smarter. I often erased things I didn’t mean to erase. Which leads to…
- Undo/Redo: Maybe I just missed these but an Undo/Redo option would be really helpful.
- Painting: Painting by image is awesome! Most of the time. I had one time when the image would not align and it painted bars of a path instead of path. Rotating the image didn’t seem to help but maybe there was another option.
- Organization: The various art is buried in ‘bags’. It’s a pain to dig through them. There is a nifty search feature – show me trees – but it would be nice to have a better quick access.
- Timing by Round: Less a negative, more an item for the wish list. It would be really awesome to be able to set a layer or paint item to go invisible after a set number of Rounds. Layers can be set invisible now but automating when that Wall of Fire ends would be fantastic.
Fantasy Grounds Unity is still in Beta so I’m looking forward to seeing how the map making function improves over time. Now I want to find a nice art pack that contains spell effects like flames, ice, mystic energy, and so on.