Go through your Adventure text describing the current map's location. Look for details about lighting.
- Are there sporadic sources of light such as torches, fireplaces, braziers, and forges?
- Is the light an unconventional color?
- Are there monsters or NPCs that emit light (ex. fire elementals)
- Does the light radiate out as a sphere or in a beam/cone?
- Is your location well-lit or an exterior environment lit by daylight/moonlight/etc?
Here's how to light your Map for the above situations:
The Entire Map Is Illuminated
This is the easiest setup as you don't need to manually add any lights. Instead, we adjust the Page settings to light the entire area.
- On the Page’s Page Settings menu, under the Dynamic Lighting tab, toggle Daylight Mode to On.
- If the map should be brightly lit, the default position of the accompanied Brightness Slider will work just fine.
- If the map should be dimly lit, you’ll want to drag the Brightness Slider down to between 25% and 50%
Placing Light Sources Manually
If you are not currently on the Dynamic Lighting Layer, return to it.
On the Tabletop Toolbox is a torch icon. This is the Place Light Tool. Select it and your mouse cursor will change into a torch icon.
Click on a place on the map where a light source is needed (ex. torch sconce, campfire ring, table lamp). This will create a Token that looks exactly like the Place Light icon on the map at the clicked position and will automatically be set to Emit Light.
Click as many times with the Place Light Tool as you need light sources.
Note: If you don't have a Token in the same room that has its Vision enabled when you start adding lights, the room will still appear unexpectedly dim after adding lights. This is expected behavior. The full light brightness is only visible when a token is present to see it. This is to help the GM note the areas of the map their Players can currently see. The picture below is what the previous map looks like without a Token with Vision present (with the GM Darkness Opacity Page Setting at 90% to easier differentiate the lit and unlit areas of the map)
Light Token Defaults
The default light that is emitted from the Torch Token is 20 feet of Bright Light followed after with 20 feet of Low Light.
Different TTRPG systems have different rules on how much light a particular source gives out, so the Bright Light/Low Light settings of these tokens can be adjusted as needed.
Here is a very non-exhaustive list of light sources for a couple of common rule systems
- Torch, Light, and Continual Flame spells: Bright 20 ft, Low 20 ft., Total 40 ft.
- Hooded Lantern: Bright 30 ft., Low 30 ft., Total 60 ft.
- Bullseye, Everbright Lanterns: Brite 60 ft., Low 60 ft., Total 120 ft.
Pathfinder 2nd Edition
- Torch, Everburning Torch, Light, Continual Flame spells: Bright 20 ft., Low 20 ft., Total 40 ft.
- Hooded Lantern: Bright 30 ft., Low 30 ft, Total 60 ft.
- Lantern, Bull’s Eye Lanterns: Bright 60 ft., Low 60 ft., Total 120 ft.
Portable light (Beacon, flashlight, lantern, spotlight) Increases the light level by one step:
- Flashlight: 20 ft.
- Lantern: 10 ft.
- Beacon: 50 ft.
- Spotlight: 100 ft.
Enabling and Adjusting the Light Emitted from a Token
Any Token on the Tabletop can emit light; not just the ones created by the Place Light Tool. For example, if you have a piece of token art such as a campfire, you can set it up to light up as a small ball of red light in a forest clearing. Another example would be a Token representing a character holding a flashlight that is shining a yellow beam of light to covertly explore a suspicious-looking warehouse.
Note: If the light-emitting Token is placed on the Dynamic Lighting Layer, Players will see its light effect, but not the Token's art. If you want the Players to also see the Token, you'll want the light-emitting Token to be on the Objects and Tokens Layer.
Whether a Token has Vision or can Emit Light is handled within its Token Settings. We'll go into greater depth about Tokens and their settings later in this walkthrough, but we'll briefly go over what you need to know for setting up Dynamic Lighting.
- Click on the Select/Move Tool from the Tabletop Toolbar and double-click on a torch token to bring up its Token Settings menu(the torch token behaves just like any other token object in the VTT).
- When double-clicking on the Torch Token, you will already be on the Dynamic Lighting tab of Token Settings. If you're adding Light to a traditional Token, the Token Settings will likely open up to the Details Tab. Simply select the Dynamic Lighting Tab.
- Whatever you end up changing here, make sure you click on the Save Settings button at the bottom of the menu when you're finished.
The image to the right is the Token Emits Light settings under the Dynamic Lighting Tab under Token Settings.
A Token can emit Bright Light, Low Light, or both at once.
Setting Up Bright Light
Anything placed under Bright Light is 100% visible automatically. You can toggle this On or Off. When set to On, you will have a Bright Light Distance field to input how far out the bright light will be cast. The distance units used will be whatever is currently set in the Page Settings.
Setting Up Low Light
Low Light is a radius of light where you can adjust the light's brightness with the accompanied Brightness Slider.
Just like Bright Light, you can toggle it On and Off and set its distance in the Low Light Distance field.
If Bright Light is Off, the origin of Low Light will center itself with the Token. If Bright Light is On, Low Light's distance will start radiating where the Bright Light ends.
Setting Up Directional Light
If you'd like the light to not radiate in a circle but instead shine as a cone or a beam, you can set this under the Directional Light setting.
When toggled On, Directional Light allows you to narrow the light down to a specified angle and also the direction in which to point the beam of light.
The Total field specifies the width of the Field of Light. At default, this is set to 0°, which means that the light isn't narrowed down at all and casts a full circle of light.
The Center field specifies the direction that the light should be cast. At default, this is set to 0°. If left unchanged and the Field of Light is narrowed via the Total field, the beam will point directly up (North). Any degree value is valid here. If you need a cheat sheet, the values for their respective map coordinates are:
- North: 0°
- Northeast: 45°
- East: 90°
- Southeast: 135°
- South: 180°
- Southwest: 225°
- West: 270°
- Northwest: 315°
The length of the light beam and its brightness is dictated by what is set for Bright Light and Low Light settings.
Adding Colored Light
The Light Color setting gives you a color picker to choose from. Currently, this color picker only has a sequence of color swatches and a single field to input a hex color value.
Note: The invisible color swatch has a different appearance compared to the white color swatch. The invisible swatch will reveal the map but not adjust its hue. If the white swatch is selected, the map will have its hue adjusted and will wash out some of its colors.
Copying Light Sources
If you need multiple copies of an adjusted Light Emitting Token, select it with the Select/Move Tool and then use Ctrl/Cmd(⌘)+C keyboard shortcut to copy it. With the Select/Move Tool still in use, click anywhere on the Tabletop where you'd like a new copy of the Token. Press the Ctrl/Cmd(⌘)+V keyboard shortcut to paste a copy of the Token to the location you just indicated. You can also spam the Paste keyboard shortcut to place down as many additional copies as you need which you can move into place individually later.
Testing Your Barriers
Once you have your Dynamic Lighting drawn and your light source added to the Page, this is a good time to check for any gaps in your Dynamic Lighting barriers or missing lights. We'll go about doing this by creating a test Token that has some specified vision settings and then sweeping across the map to check for irregularities in your Dynamic Lighting. These vision settings will be discussed at greater length when we're at the step where we're setting up character Tokens in the VTT.
Testing for Light Gaps
- Place a Token down on the Objects and Tokens Layer. It doesn't matter what you use artwise here as this is only for testing purposes.
- Double-click on the Token or click on the Gear icon that appears below the selected Token to bring up the Token Settings menu.
- Go to the Dynamic Lighting Tab and toggle Vision to On.
- Also Toggle Night Vision to On and set the Night Vision Distance to a very large radius. A 60-foot length is a good baseline to start with unless your map is really big.
- Click on the Save Settings button to close the Token Settings menu.
- While the test Token is still selected, use the keyboard shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd(⌘)+L
This keyboard shortcut will isolate the view of the Tabletop to only what's visible to that Token. This will also simulate what a Player can see if they were to control that Token.
- Without deselecting the Token, click and drag it around the map to check for any light leaking between wall segments and fix them where necessary. Check especially the boundaries between your stationary walls and door sections. Ensure the secret doors are well-masked.
- If the Page you're testing has the Movement setting on the Page Details tab toggled to On, the Token will behave as if Dynamic Lighting barriers will block its way. For the purpose of checking for light leaks alone, you'll want to temporarily toggle this setting to Off.
- Once done, remember to delete your test Token from the Tabletop.
Checking Your Light Sources
- You'll want to follow the same instructions above with one main major Token Setting change: Toggle Night Vision to Off. Now the Token will only be able to see areas of the map that have been intentionally lit with the inclusion of Light Sources alone.
- Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl/Cmd(⌘)+L again to sweep the map and check to make sure that what the Token sees align with your adventure or encounter text. Add or adjust your Light Sources as needed here.
- Once done, remember to delete your test Token from the Tabletop.
At this stage in this guide, your battle maps are nearly complete. In fact, if you're producing Dynamically Lit Addons, you are done. For everything else, what's likely left over to finish things up is to add Monster Tokens to the Map (whether that's on the Objects and Tokens Layer or kept hidden on the GM Info Overlay Layer. Before we do that though, those Tokens will need to be represented by Characters that are attached to filled-out character sheets. So we'll move next to populating your Journal Tab with Character and Handout entries.
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