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Coming very soon: lots more tutorials on how to play D&D
Skype and Ventrilo are programs that allow you to talk to other people online for free.
Download Skype here
The difference between skype and ventrilo is that ventrilo offers a "push to talk" button like a walkie-talkie. Skype is always on, but has a mute button.
I prefer "always on" because it captures outbursts and group laughter better.
Plus, "always on" forces people to stay involved in the game. It makes it difficult for them to stop to talk to their roommate or make cell phone calls.

MapTools is a program that does 3 things: it shows maps which you can draw or edit, it enables you to put tokens on those maps which represent monsters, and it is a web client that lets other people connect to that map and communicate.

Download MapTools here. (Get the latest version in the downloads section)

Once you get MapTool installed try opening Basic4e campaign by a MapTools user. It only has one generic map but is filled with macros and some tokens.
This one is a complete campaign of Keep on the Shadowfell an adventure published by WotC.
You'll need the latest version of java installed also. Get Java here.Java.com

MapTools--Video Tutorials
Here are some of my homemade videos on how to use MapTool, which is a free program that enables people to play D&D online. Each video is about 1 to 2 minutes.
MapTools Tutorial 1.wmv
MapTools Tutorial 2.wmv
MapTools Tutorial 3.wmv
MapTools Tutorial 4.wmv
MapTools Tutorial 5.wmv
MapTools Tutorial 6.wmv
Simple Macros:
MapTools Tutorial 7.wmv
MapTools Tutorial 8.wmv

Additional (I still need to film these):
Impersonation: You can right click on a token and choose "Impersonate" which sort of means you take over that token and everything you do or say will be done as if coming from that token. If you look in the "Window" menu you can click to turn on the "Impersonation" window which displays the macros of whatever you currently impersonate. Impersonation stays on until you change it to another token. The macros you see in the "Impersonation" window can be run on other tokens you select with the mouse. For instance: You impersonate your human fighter, you then highlight all the monster tokens around him, and then press the Sweeping Blow macro. That fighter's macro will be run on all the monster targets you highlighted.

Layers: Say you have a picture you want to show the players, or you have a picture of a wagon you want on the map, or you have dungeon tiles that you want to be able to slide around. Drag a picture into maptools and it will become a token. Right-click on that token and you can change what "layer" it sits on. You can change it into a "background" layer object. In the upper-right hand corner of maptools is a selection window that says token,hidden,object,background. By highlighting what's in that box it will let you select objects in that layer which you can drag around etc. You can resize them to be 4 squares by 8 squares or whatever. Actually every map you have can just be a large picture you drag in and set as the background layer.

Here is a generic, attack macro that will let you attack single or multiple enemies. Maptool macro txt
Highlight one or multiple monster tokens. Enter in your attack bonus, then the macro tells you if you hit and/or crit. Then you can use another macro to apply damage and effects to the hit monsters.

THE EASIEST WAY TO GET MONSTERS INTO MAPTOOLS: Here is a demo of macros that let you paste monsters directly from a pdf into MapTools. It will give you a monster card and fill out all the stats. Monster Importer Demo---Monster Importer Instructions---Monster Importer Macro-Token

Here is a file that will let you download a list of monsters and output macros that will set the tokens up in MapTools Monster Setup Download
Here is a file that will let you open up a .dnd4e character file and transform the powers into MapTools macros.Character Macros Download

Connection Issues in MapTools:
If you are hosting a game and you have a router you will probably need to allow your router to do "port forwarding".

To do this you have to edit settings in your router through internet explorer, you can connect to the router usually by typing into the internet explorer address bar. Depending in the manufacturer it could be or or
You'll have to know what your password for the router is, as default they are usually user:admin pwd:admin or pwd:password
You can usually google your router model and default password and you'll be able to find it.

Once you enter your router, look for "port forwarding" or "virtual server"

Create a server in maptools, then get the server connection info from the file menu.

That public ip address is what the maptools.net server is posting as your ip address and the one you send to players, players try to connect to that address.
What is happening? Players go to that ip address, but it is in fact the address of your router and then your router does not know what to do.
Your private ip address is the actual address of your computer on your own little private home network (which is just your router and your computer)
You need to tell your router to forward those players coming to that public ip address to your computer's private ip address.

Usually, if your router asks for Port Forwarding, you type in the public ip address in one field and your private ip address in the other and include the port number of 51234 which MapTools uses to communicate.
If your router asks for Virtual Server then your router knows the public ip address. You need to put your private ip address in the field along with the port number of 51234 which MapTools uses to communicate.
Sometimes for port people enter in ranges, example: open up ports 2123 through 2145 or 2123-2145, but in our case we only need one port: 51234 so if you see any boxes with dashes just enter in from 51234-51234 in both public and private port boxes.

If one person keeps getting a message "connecting" and it just hangs there forever, try having the host of the game stop and restart the server. This fixes things sometimes.