Introduction to Initiative

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BEGINNER
THIS IS A BEGINNER ARTICLE

The MapTool Initiative Panel provides tools to track rounds and turn order for tokens on the current map, and can optionally be used to prevent players from moving tokens out of turn.

UI Overview

Showing the Initiative Panel from MapTool 1.8

In the example to the right, you can see three tokens all displayed a little differently. The elements that make up this display:

  • The current initiative is indicated with the green check mark. In this example it is the Dragon's turn.
  • NPC tokens have a blue background. The Dragon is an NPC token.
  • PC tokens have a light grey background. The Hero is a PC token.
  • Hidden tokens (those that are not Visible to Players) have a darker grey background, their names are italicized, and their tokens are transparent. The Mage here is not visible to players.

Basic Operations

Adding Tokens to Initiative

To start using the Initiative Panel, add tokens to it by either:

  • Using the Add PCs or Add All shortcuts from the Initiative Panel's menu
  • Choosing Add to Initiative from the right-click menu of selected token(s)

Note: If the Owner Permissions option is enabled on the Initiative Panel's menu, players can add their owned tokens to the Initiative Panel. Otherwise only GMs can do this.

Sorting the Initiative List

The Initiative Panel will initially list tokens in the order in which they were added. GMs can drag & drop entries on the Initiative Panel to re-order them at any time, but the list can also be sorted automatically:
  1. Set Initiative values for tokens by choosing "Set Initiative..." from the right-click menu of selected token(s), from the right-click menu of rows on the Initiative Panel, or by selecting a row on the Initiative Panel and choosing "Set Initiative..." from the panel's menu. (Note: if the Owner Permissions option is checked on the Initiative Panel's menu, players can set the initiative values for their owned tokens. Otherwise only GMs can do this.)
  2. Choose Sort from the Initiative Panel menu.
    • The Default sort order is descending, with any non-numeric values coming after any numbers, and any blank values coming last.
    • If the Use Reverse Sort Order option is checked on the Initiative Panel's menu, this order is reversed - blank values come first, and any non-numeric strings (in ascending lexical order) come before numbers (in ascending order).
    • See the examples of each sort order to the right.
Showing the differences between the two sort orders.
Default Order Reverse Order
InitiativePanel DefaultOrder.png InitiativePanel ReverseOrder.png

Next/Previous Initiative

The Next and Previous buttons at the top of the Initiative Panel will move the current initiative to the next (or previous) token in line, automatically updating the Round counter when starting a new round (or returning to a previous one).

If you intend to control initiative flow with macros instead, it may be helpful to disable these buttons with the Disable Panel Buttons option on the panel menu. If the Owner Permissions option is enabled, players that own tokens can click Next to end their own turn. Otherwise, only GMs can use these buttons.

Note: starting in version 1.8, these buttons will trigger macro events that have the opportunity to reject or react to the change in initiative. See #Macro Events for more info.

Hold

Showing the Hero token On Hold in MapTool 1.8

The Hold button at the top of the Initiative Panel can place a selected token On Hold, causing their row to shift to the right in the Initiative Panel (see the example to the right). This is often used to indicate that the token has a readied action, but different GMs sometimes use it in different ways.

A token's hold status can also be toggled by choosing Toggle Hold from the right-click menu of its row on the Initiative Panel, or by choosing the Hold or Resume options under Initiative on the right-click menu of a selected token.

Note: If the Owner Permissions option is enabled on the Initiative Panel's menu, players can manage the Hold status of their owned tokens. Otherwise only GMs can do this.

Reset

Click the Reset button to clear the current initiative and reset the round counter. Tokens will remain in the list with their current initiative values.

Remove Tokens

To remove all tokens from the Initiative list at once, the GM can choose Remove All from the Initiative Panel's menu.

Specific tokens can also be removed by choosing Remove Token from the Initiative Panel's menu, or by choosing Remove under Initiative on the right-click menu of selected token(s).

Menu Options

Showing the Initiative Panel's menu in MapTool 1.8

In addition to the actions already covered in #Basic Operations, the Initiative Panel's menu contains a number of options that can be enabled or disabled:

Use Reverse Sort Order

When enabled, choosing Sort from the menu will use the Reverse (ascending) order. See #Sorting the Initiative List.

Show Tokens

When enabled, token images are shown in the Initiative list.

Show Token States

When enabled, state images will be shown on the token images in the Initiative list.

Show Initiative

When enabled, the Initiative values will be shown in the Initiative list.

Initiative on Line 2

When enabled, Initiative values are shown under the token names instead of beside them.

Hide NPCs

When enabled, only GMs can see any NPC tokens in the Initiative list.

Disable Panel Buttons

When enabled, the Next/Previous buttons on the Initiative Panel disabled for GMs and players. This can be helpful in preventing mis-clicks when intending to control Initiative through macros instead.

Owner Permissions

When enabled, players with token ownership can perform some otherwise GM-only operations. These operations can only be performed on tokens they own, and include Adding and Removing tokens, setting Initiative values, advancing to the Next turn, and toggling the Hold status.

Lock Movement

When enabled, only the token that currently has Initiative can be moved by players. GMs can move any token at any time as usual.

Macro Functions

Initiative can also be controlled via macros. For a list of Initiative-related macro functions, see Category:Initiative_Function.

Macro Events

Macro events are a more advanced feature, allowing Library Tokens to provide specifically-named macros that will be executed automatically when other actions are taken in MapTool. See the List of Events for all supported macro events, and the Guide to Initiative Events for specifics on those related to Initiative.