|Carlos Robledo Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka CRobledo|
|Eric Clingenpeel Venture-Captain, Michigan—Alma|
|Jiggy RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32|
|Chris Mullican Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Sierra Vista aka Spaarky|
Jonathan Cary wrote:
It will warn you AND gray out the option. But it will still let you select it if you double click on it. This is true for most options in HeroLab. It will tell you you are not supposed to do something, but will still let you do it if you insist (because in a homegame the GM is the law and may override any rule).
If you change the selection from Everything to Only Valid Items, you will also see all disqualified archetypes disappear.
Of course, if you are adding an archetype past first level, HL will object, at least initially.
And, of course, it is always possible for a data entry error allowing two non-stackable archetypes to stack. If that happens, use the HL bug reporting thread for Pathfinder to report it, and, hopefully, it will get fixed.
Other than keeping track of PFS-legal vs Pathfinder options, which can get confusing, HL does a fairly good job; and they do fairly well with the PFS-only stuff.
Specifically, one of the other local GMs checked out Sacred Knight and Empyreal Knight as a pair of archetypes for a local player using HL, and it claimed they could be stacked.
Both alter Divine Bond in similar fashions which a home GM might allow, but both alter Divine bond. You can't give up the same thing twice...
Jonathan Cary wrote:
It will be "greyed out" and if you select the second archtype that modifies the same class feature you'll get a Validation error, but it will still let you do it. That's not a bug in my book just allowing you to do something that your GM in your homebrew campaign would allow you to, but still lets you know that you're not supposed to.
Is HeroLab legal for PFS?
Is HeroLab legal for PFS?
It's the official character creation software for Pathfinder. It's definitely legal in that capacity. I don't think there's any issues with using it at the table, either, other than the usual obnoxiousness of having a computer screen between you and the other players, and the amount of space a notebook usually takes up.
IF Herolab were to be considered illegal because of the possibility of producing an incorrect character sheet, I'd guess we'd have even greater reason to ban pencil and paper as well.
Probably not necessary, sveden - my impression (could be wrong) is that it's the "official character creation software for Pathfinder" in the same way that M&Ms were the official candy of the new millenium or that McDonald's is the official fast food chain of the Olympics or whatever.
One of those examples is figurative sponsorship and one is paid sponsorship.
I was just really excited to hear it was the official character creation software. Knowledge is power. I want some.
If Herolab were to be considered illegal because of the possibility of producing an incorrect character sheet, I'd guess we'd have even greater reason to ban pencil and paper as well.
Hero Lab is good, but it isn't perfect.
Every time I've put one of my (home game) players' character sheets into Hero Lab there have been things that needed to be corrected. Most of the time they are pretty minor, and Hero Lab is usually pointing out something the player has missed (a skill bonus from a trait, or unused skill points, or an extra language available).
I also use Hero Lab for my PFS characters, and for my own weekly game character. I am aware of several things it gets wrong (unarmed damage for a monk doesn't take into account weapon specialization or an Amulet of Mighty Fists with the Agile property; the starting languages for a Kitsune haven't been updated to the ARG list). But Lone Wolf are pretty good about fixing problems; a few months ago the Boon Companion feat I was considering for my Ranger/Wizard had some issues, but the latest version of Hero Lab seems to have solved them.
Yikes! I stop paying attention for a couple days and there's a zillion questions and comments! In the interest of compactness, I'll try to answer all of them at once here....
1. First of all, thanks for all the kind words!! Can I ask some of you to please take the time to write up a brief review of Hero Lab on the product page here on paizo.com? :)
2. Yes, there are definitely bugs in Hero Lab. However, we do our best to get them fixed when they are reported directly to us. So please report any bugs you uncover on the bug thread of our support forums. With the deluge of material that Paizo releases, the over-caffeinated squirrels are running as fast as they can in their little wheels, but it's a constant juggle between getting new material added and fixing bugs that are uncovered in the existing stuff. :)
3. To provide a little perspective, entering everything from the Advanced Race Guide required approximately *six months* worth of total work, spread across multiple squirrels. Yes, we pay our squirrels. How else can they afford all the caffeine they need to drink to keep the wheels turning? :)
4. We do get material early from Paizo, but how early tends to vary. For example, we got a great head start on the ARG (more than two months), but we only got a few weeks on Ultimate Equipment. That's why the squirrels are still churning on UE and it's not out yet.
5. For those of you who want to see things done differently and/or new features added, please post those on our support forums as well. We do our best to add features that are frequently requested, and they get juggled into the mix with new content and bug fixes.
6. The philosophy behind Hero Lab is that the GM always is the final arbiter of everything, and virtually every GM has his/her personal set of house rules. So Hero Lab flags errors but it does not prohibit them from being made. Some GMs may allow it as a house rule, and we want Hero Lab to be useful for everyone.
7. Is Hero Lab legal for PFS? Paizo set up tables for us immediately adjacent to the official PFS areas at both PaizoCon and GenCon the past two years. The Character Creation Stations were specifically for players to use to create their characters for play in the PFS games being run by Paizo. And they were heavily used, with waiting lines at many times.
8. Is Hero Lab the "official" tool for Pathfinder? In keeping with Paizo's philosophy of openness, the Hero Lab license is not exclusive. However, SKR has already leaked that Paizo is in the process of officially standardizing on Hero Lab for in-house use. Once that process is completed, Hero Lab will be utilized for creating the officially published material from Paizo. To me, that makes it as close to official as you can get without actually being official. :)
If I missed anyone's questions, please point them out and I'll do my best to answer them. Thanks!!!
I don't want to do much else, but dote on you and your crew, Rob. Hero Lab is a great tool for GMs and Players alike. I use it almost every day for everything from creating/updating my characters to quickly checking the specifics of a certain feat/spell/item/skill/etc.
You guys are doing a great job and I continue to be a huge supporter of yours. Keep up the good work, Lone Wolf. You guys are earning your keep in my house. It's my hope that at every convention I attend where PFS is also organized by myself, we will be able to utilize Hero Lab for our own Creation Stations.
I agree with Robert Above. Since a guy at a local game day told me about Herolab and I paid for the original license I have come to like it a lot. Sadly my Wallet has also come to dislike it as I quickly spent another load of cash to buy all the interesting pathfindery data files.
I found the Wizards 4e character generator (and still do) quite excellent so I was hoping id be able to find a similar product for Pathfinder. I found that in Herolab.
I think in terms of pregens (and esp now that the new classes are quickly dating the older core classes) that there might be a button for quick character for Herolab. IE a 1 , 2 or 3 step process to create a 'legal' character. Im not sure if that's possible, but considering characters can be basically nearly totally retweaked before level 2 then I think this would be appreciated.
All in all though I give Herolab a big thumbs up.
Love Herolab. I have a friend who brews up lovely PFS characters and as he has all the Pathfinder books currently available the application is extremely powerful. Not 100% bug free and he still cannot work out how to turn huge quantities of gold coins into smaller amounts of other metals but the software is at the moment best of breed. It's position re PFS is clear by it's physical position at Gencon etc.
I still use PCGen and am looking forward to the new front end getting a stable and working release. Any time soon would be good...
I stay with PCgen because the cost for the whole Pathfinder set simply put is two or three times more than I am prepared to pay. One of my best mates is PCGen developer and it would amuse me to get Herolab and point out it's superiority. I have to satisfy my darker impulses by reminding my other friend on the £130 + he as spent on character creation software.
I just cannot justify it and I spend £1000s on the the hobby every year.
If you can justify the cost Herolab is a seriously nice piece of kit.
Yeah, that's the one thing that I'm having a sort of problem with. The price of Hero Labs plus having to buy all the supplemental sets as they come out... added to the fact that I'm already buying the books themselves... I LIKE HeroLabs I really do... Just not sure if I can afford it.
In fact, just did a quick add-up, and to get the books I need to make the characters I would want to, we're talking $180 dollars. :(
Not every GM allows HeroLab at their table, so best to bring a printed copy or else they won't let you play.
Perhaps this is not the place to mention this. However, I feel that utilizing the technology at the table has been distracting for me. I'm sure this has been a huge debate and will continue to be, but I would like to clarify the statement above from a GM perspective.
As a GM, I encourage my players to get involved at the table as much as possible. I try to provide ample opportunities for players to RP and try to enrich combat as much as possible to make the combats challenging so there is a sense of accomplishment. I also try to make my table as fair and open as possible.
As a rule, I don't allow laptops at my table because:
1. It is a screen. I don't run games with a screen and don't hide the nasty or sympathetic rolls I make, though some might have to be hidden for RP flavor. Rolls need to be out in front of me so I can see them as everyone can see mine.
2. It is a physical barrier and a distraction. What I have often found during this my first year of table-top gaming, remember, this is personal opinion - not stereotyping, that those with laptops seem to be enthralled more with their devices than what is happening at the table itself. This is unfortunate since it limits the potential for a great table experience. As a GM I often question, are they here, or are they online?
I use my smartphone often, but quickly, to look something up as it is handy, but I don't feel it is a distraction nor has anyone come to me yet complaining about it, and likewise, if you have a smartphone or ipad device and use it to look something up, that's fine. If you are on it for several minutes, it's a distraction. I enjoy and use Herolab often, but at home. I bring a copy of my sheet and look forward to playing with others present.
In fact, just did a quick add-up, and to get the books I need to make the characters I would want to, we're talking $180 dollars. :(
For that $180, you get the complete material from eight massive hardbound tomes (CRB, APG, UM, UC, ARG, Bestiary 1/2/3) plus fifty-seven supplements (I may be off by one in that count) and all the crunch from every Adventure Path. That's a total page count in the neighborhood of 8,000 pages of Pathfinder material, with everything fully entered and tested for you. That includes all the rules exceptions, plus all the exceptions to the exceptions, that make Pathfinder the hugely complex beast we all love.
If you actually use all 8,000 pages of printed Pathfinder material, then you've already invested vast sums of money into the game and spend similarly vast amounts of time wading through all those tomes. In that case, the time you'll save with Hero Lab will pay for itself in no time at all. Witness all the earlier comments to that effect in this thread.
However, not everybody uses everything. In our gaming group, we certainly don't use all of the material that's been published. In fact, we generally stick to the four "core" books (CRC, APG, UM, and UC). You can get all that for Hero Lab for only $60, and then you can cherry-pick the few additional supplements you actually find yourself using down the line. Or, if you only use one or two bits from a given book, you can always add that content yourself, since we provide users with all the same tools we use in-house.
I wholly understand that Hero Lab represents an investment. It all boils down to how much your personal time is worth. If someone makes $10/hour and they invest $60 in Hero Lab, they need to save at least 7 hours to come out ahead at the end of the day. If they make $25/hour, that number drops to 3 hours. That's an assessment that each person needs to make for themselves. However, it's also important to consider exactly what options are truly needed. When I buy a car, I always *want* the top-of-the-line model with all the cool options, but that doesn't mean I *need* that model or the options. In the end, I end up buying something less expensive that balances my finances against my true needs. The same logic applies to RPG materials, where serious gamers always *want* everything, but then we have to balance the finances against the true needs.
It may be that you truly need everything for Hero Lab, but I'm willing to bet that most gamers would be thrilled with a balanced solution that fits their needs. And that's typically going to cost only a fraction compared to buying everything, just like buying a new car. The big advantage of Hero Lab over a new car is that it's trivial to add a new option if you later decide you need it. :)
Our goal with Hero Lab is to provide a flexible solution that adapts well to most gamers' needs. I genuinely feel that we've achieved this, offering a quality product at a fair price that can be tailored to each individual's situation pretty well.
Hope this makes sense... :)
Also, the equation works out REALLY favorably if you look at the per-book cost of dead tree versus pdf plus herolab components.
Really, really, really favorably.
Bestiarys are also pretty much entirely optional for players not using animal companions or exotic familiars, which saves a big chunk of the 180.
6 page character sheets printed before each game gets expensive. I just plopped down $52 for a ink cartridge from about 2 months of games.
Best to email or know ahead of time which GMs allow Herolab at the table so you're not forced to play a pregen or worst not play at all.
I play Herolab with a netbook instead of a laptop. When rolling dice I always roll on the otherside of the netbook in plain view. Additionally, when I'm not actively reading something off my screen I tilt the netbook halfway close or move it to the side if there is room so as to not be out of the action or miss something on the battlemat.
Last game I played I was playing a Barbarian/Alchemist with a Bard and a Summoner in the party. I love how easy it was for me to:
Turn on/off Rage
and everything recalculated. Before my turn I would make any adjustments and then have my to-hit and damage ready-to-go as best I could to keep combat going.
Unfortunately on a netbook though the Saving Throws are cut-off on the Summary Windows (going to request a Summary Window that is 'Defenses' that only shows Saves and Armor Class because I had to go to the "Abilities" tab to see my saves because the "Basic" Summary Window is too long).
Having to do that on paper would mean wasted time at the table trying to figure out all the numbers. I recall one this guy would calculate his to-hit every time and it didn't change the entire combat (I'm yelling in my head, +8, +8, its been +8 the last 5 rounds, yet he still take everyone's time to calculate everything out each time).
I agree with the "No Tech at the Table" group. I use HeroLab and I even have my phone and netbook ready to go at the table. I usually use these for things like three to four calculators up for HP (when I'm GMing - if I'm playing, its all dead trees) and my phone for quickly looking things up on the fly (like my Spellbook app).
But, I still prefer my players to print their character sheets out and bring those as well as a physical set of dice. I can't begin to describe to you the ire I adhere to when it comes to digital dice rollers. Don't get me wrong.
*insert 'You kids get off my lawn' (though I'm 23) speech here*
As Alf said, it's a physical barrier. I don't use a GM Screen (all the time) so I'd prefer if you didn't. I had one player that would play his DS whilst at the game table. That irked me quite a bit that I had to pull him to the side. He hasn't done it since and he's now one of my best buddies as well as a reliable - and damn good - player.
Thanks for your impassioned defence of your excellent products pricing structure.
Of course PCGen offers less than Herolabs and what it does offer for free is comparable to what a fairly basic Herolabs package offers. The "cost/benefit" of it all has me occasionally visiting the Herolabs site and shaking my head. (and going to PCGen and asking what is their definition of "soon"?)
Whether you earn $25 or £25 an hour if your expenses (mortgage, family etc.) leave you with limited money for hobbies it is that figure rather than your hourly rate that figures into affordability.
Still a seriously nice peice of kit though!!!
Rob, thank you for an excellent product, and your support of third party add-ons.
As to paper sheets at the table, I was stuck for several months without that as an option. Out of toner, no solvency to buy a replacement. It was ugly, but, fortunately, no local gm objected to my pdf printouts on my Nook's screen, allowing me to keep playing until my finances improved.
Hopefully, when my current toner runs out, I'll be able to afford a good toner, not the one I am currently using, which has trouble printing everything out that it should. And if still cost about $40 for the junky toner. :(
And, as a gm/coordinator, I still have to figure out how to get good hardcopies of the chronicle sheets for my players...
Alf N. Schreiber wrote:
I think the single biggest negative of laptops is the physical barrier it creates. That's why we're focusing heavily on tablet development right now for Hero Lab. Tablets grant all the benefits of the small form factor and instant calculations, but without the physical barrier.
However, even tablets won't solve the person who simply can't focus on the game when there's a device in front of him/her. I honestly think those people need to be spoken to and ultimately either learn to stay focused on the game or go do something else that they're more interested in. If the game isn't captivating enough for someone, it's a matter of figuring out with the GM what changes *would* captivate them or simply concluding that the game isn't a fit for them.
One thing is for certain, though. Technology is going to continue to play an ever-greater role in RPGs in the coming years. And it's going to occur at an ever-accelerating pace, which means an ever-increasing chance that schisms will arise within established gaming groups regarding the role technology plays in their games. So it's going to become very important to find a balance, and I think the days of "zero technology" gaming (heck, even "low technology") will very soon just be stories we tell our kids.
I think the only thing that will defy technology is dice. :) There is just something incredibly tactile about dice that is impossible to resist. Rolling the dice makes it feel like you are somehow controlling your character's fate, while computer-based dice rollers are just callous and impersonal. So dice will continue to thrive for eons to come, but that's really about it. Everything else will give way to technology-based aids that facilitate/streamline the game and augment the entire experience.
At least, that's my vision of the future. Time will tell whether I'm right... :)
Given that Herolab is the only commercial tool out there, that day won't be coming soon.
Back in 2003, I started working on my own character sheet, as I was very disappointed with the quality of the D&D sheets that existed at that time.
Nine years later, TOS+ has become extremely powerful and customizable. The Community that has grown around it is friendly, and a lot of shared resources (classes/races etc.) can be downloaded directly from the Community Forum.
TOS+ can be easily used for either Dynamic Play (i.e. type 'Haste' to apply it directly to your character) with a Laptop or Printed for pen & paper play. Being based on Excel, all the power of Excel is behind it - this allows unprecedented 'customizability' and ease of use (for example, you enter basic information DIRECTLY on the FRONT/BACK sheets - those very same sheets that you will print!)
Check the home page for more details. You are welcome to visit the Sheet's IRC channel if you have quick queries about it (just click the "IRC CHAT" link on the home page) - or you can post on the community forum.
No offense meant, but if I never work on or see an excel-run spreadsheet ever again, it'll be too soon. After Heroforge, I've gotten throughly sick of them.
On the subject of using a laptop or other device at the table...
Occasionally as a GM I find myself needing to run a scenario from a pdf on my laptop. So I'm never going to deny a player his laptop during play, provided it's being used for play. However, if I find a player tweeting, shopping, sharing on facebook or otherwise not playing, I'd handle it the same way I would if the player were to constancy wander away from the table.
What I'd really like to do is one day run a table where everyone had a laptop/tablet and could send me a copy of their character files for HL and I could make use of some of the options for managing a group. Having everything on one screen could really speed up combat encounters.
I stay with PCgen because the cost for the whole Pathfinder set simply put is two or three times more than I am prepared to pay.
How much of the set does PCGen have now? Last time I checked it was still working on the finer details of the APG. It has been awhile since I've done so though.
The Only Sheet uses all of the core books aimed at players. Ie. Ulimate combat, magic and the AGP. And with just one click you can convert if back to 3.5 if you still play that.
I use it as a GM for my bosses and NPC's to quickly update buffs and effects when beating the h**k out of the players... mwahaha.
I presume you mean the APG not the AGP, whatever that may be.
Probably wouldn't cover many of my PCs, really.
Just off the top of my head.
As for your other options you might still find them on the forum but as fan contributions Anything that is not SRD cannot be used as official releases by ToS+.
For example, I wanted a Hemothurge back when I was running my CoTCT AP a few years back. Couldn't find it on the forum but there is a Help wanted topic where you can put in requests. Within a day a fellow user uploaded a file to open in ToS+ so I could create Togomor for the upcoming battle. You can also ask for help for PrC's, feats, traits, items and spells.
I can't help thinking that if 10% of the effort that is spent by users providing community support for features not found in the various free products were spent providing the same sort of thing for HeroLab it would be possible for a lot of people to get by with just the basic HeroLab package. It still wouldn't be free, but it wouldn't be $200, either.
Jacob Saltband wrote:
Working on it. I'm working hard to get it PFS compliant, but I don't play PFS so it has been difficult to keep up with the rules as they change and update. I'm always looking for helpers.
As for HeroLabs and PCGen, I've used them both, and they both have there strong and weak points. Making my own made sure i got just what I wanted.
When it comes to core mechanic work, if I'm going to buy Herolab I'm going to buy the commercial supplements, not something that hasn't had professional oversight. Professional work is something you pay for. You don't want to pay for it...there's PCGen.
Oh, don't get me wrong - I'm happy paying for Hero Lab. I've got (almost) everything they've released for Pathfinder, and when I get round to putting in our next order for the ARG (which will be before my wife and I build PFS-legal Kitsunes) I'll add the extra $4.99 to get rid of that "almost". I'll also be picking up "Ultimate Equipment" as soon as it comes out. It's not cheap, but when I look at what I'm spending on rulebooks (or Adventure Paths, or miniatures, or ...) it's by no means the biggest chunk of my gaming-related spending.
I was just musing on the fact that paying $30 for the core engine (and all the Adventure Path crunch) and relying on crowd sourcing for add-ons for just the extras you want might be a more affordable way for folks who watch their discretionary spending a bit more closely.
I would like to remind those who buy HeroLab expansions that this does NOT qualify as ownership of said resource. For example if you use something from the Dragon Empires Primer in HeroLab, but do not own the book/PDF then your character is illegal.
I recently did an audit of my highest level character and found that I used something from a book I did not own. HeroLab should have a link inside the app to buy a resource btw...maybe Pazio will give you a kickback?
Audit if you're curious:
Archtype: Tattooed Sorcerer (Inner Sea Magic 40)
Bloodline Arcana: Orc (Orcs of Golarion 16)
Ethnicities: Varisian (Inner Sea World Guide 22)
Feat: Accursed Hex (UM 143)
Feat: Cosmopolitan (APG 156)
Feat: Extra Hex (APG 160)
Feat: Varisian Tattoo (Inner Sea World Guide 289)
Patron Spells: Insanity (UM 254)
Spell: Air Bubble (UC 223)
Spell: Blood Transcription (UM 209)
Spell: Boiling Blood (UM 209)
Spell: Burning Gaze (APG 208)
Spell: Glide (APG 225)
Spell: Ill Omen (APG 229)
Spell: Infernal Healing (Inner Sea World Guide 295)
Spell: Lipstitch (Pathfinder Society Field Guide 57)
Spell: Memory Lapse (APG 232)
Spell: Putrefy Food and Drink (APG 237)
Spell: Restore Corpse (UM 235)
Spell: Scrivener's Chant (Seekers and Secrets 19)
Spell: Share Memory (UM 238)
Spell: Spark (APG 246)
Spell: Stalwart Resolve (Pathfinder Society Field Guide 58)
Spell: Summon Minor Monster (UM 241)
Spell: Transfer Tattoo (Inner Sea Magic 62)
Spell: Vanish (APG 253)
Spell: Vocal Alteration (UM 248)
Spell: Vomit Swarm (APG 254)
Trait: Reactionary (APG 328)
Trait: Valashmai Veteran (Dragon Empires Primer 19)
A feature I requested on HL forums, and one I would like, is for it to print a list of all of the sources it gets everything from for a character. It would be very nice so that in PFS you could audit someones character easier or so they know where everything comes from.
One thing you might want to keep in mind is that you do not HAVE to buy all the supplements for Hero Lab. If you buy the core rule set which is all you really need, you have the tools to do all the supplements that you can buy. It would take longer to do of course as Lone Wolf has a team doing all of this for you at a cost of course. But they are nice enough to say "Hey, if you do not want to spend the money, you can do all of this yourself and we will even give you the ability to do so". That says a lot.If you have the time it is not that difficult to do really. Heck if you come on the Lone Wolf forums there is a whole community out there that has already started doing so with quite a few of the products out there already. Lone Wolf supports this! They will even help to answer questions should you have any problems doing all of this too.
So while you might not be able to afford it, they at least understand this and give you the tools do what they do too. :)
I've set our default Hero Lab configuration to only include the books that we own. But, as your character audit shows, you can end up needing to carry quite a few books to demonstrate character legality.
I've got the rulebooks as PDFs. I've got just the title page of each one printed out as a quick proof of legality (and the actual PDFs loaded on a tablet if I need to show a GM details of a feat/spell/item, although a full Hero Lab character sheet printout is often sufficient). For anything particularly unusual (such as, say, the Daredevil Boots from Ultimate Equipment, or the Kitsune pages from the Advanced Race Guide) I'll print out the relevant pages as well.
I don't have PDFs for some of the older Campaign Settings or Player Companions, so if I want to use anything from those (such as the 'Agile' weapon property from the Pathfinder Society Field Guide) I have to bring the actual resource with me. I may still scan & print a copy of a page as a reference, but as it isn't watermarked it doesn't count as proof of ownership.
I'm eagerly awaiting a version of Hero Lab that runs on an Android tablet; we've got one because it's a lot easier to carry around than a stack of hardcover books. I personally wouldn't use it at the table as a character tracker, but I'm trying hard to reduce my table footprint. Most of the time I try and use just a 3x5 index card listing the most important numbers (attributes, skills, saving throw bonuses, and to hit and damage for the two or three most commonly-used forms of combat) - I've found that makes an amazing difference to how fast I can play most of the time!