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This is an application I created for myself a few months back and have been slowly improving. It's a simple initiave manager linked with the monsters data pulled from the SRD (as posted at d20pfsrd.com). I've also got tabs for Searching Spells (updated for APG) and Feats.
The application runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, and requires the .Net Framework 4.0.
I've got screenshots here so you can take a look before installing.
Good work! One important improvement - program should allow to see and directly edit rolled initiative of characters and creatures.
You can see the initiative by hovering over the creature. I used to have it in the UI but I removed it for space reasons. I can certainly find a space to put it back in though, or add settings for it.
I also used to allow direct editing, but I cut out the direct editing because once combat starts I only ever cared about what order the players were in and it was a little weird once combat started. There's also a hidden tiebreaker number that's not exposed anywhere in the UI which makes this a little more complicated to work with.
Does anybody work with the initiative number after the beginning of combat? If I can find a way to make the application useful to more people I will.
The point of having editable initiative is ease of using delay or ready action. One certainly can use arrows to move combatant up or down in the turn sequence, but its initiative wont change. For example character with initiative 10 will act before character with 18 one. It's counterintuitive and in complex combats with many participants can easily lead to DM mistakes.
In my opinion it is much more easy to edit initiative directly and then sort combatants list accordingly. When DMing I usually use Excel Visual Basic script that sorts combatants list after I have set or edited initiative.
Using Excel as DM tool is very convenient because I can store a lot of different info such as session notes, remainders, log of crucial events happened with my players in campaign, etc, and at the same time I can add buttons with VB scripts and other simple programmable controls, all in one application. But that requires some basic programming skills, so not everyone can use it.
That's why I recommend you to add sorting of combatants list when focus leaves initiative edit box or when Enter is pressed if initiative for selected combatant has changed. Also sometimes you can have a situation where a delayed combatant wants to act between two other combatants with consequent initiatives - 17 and 18 for example. To resolve such case I recommend using fractional initiative instead of integer.
And I found a couple of bugs:
2) When many players are added to party list the scrollbar appears. The scrollbar cuts some part of player boxes from the right. Also I have experienced lags when using this scroll by dragging the mouse. Same with monsters list.
Thanks for improving this program!
Thank you for the feedback. I really appreciate it. I think being able to move a player up or down on the initiative chart should function as well as entering fractional initative, but I may add more controls to move the player up and down.
I'll try and fix the crash and layout issues in the next version. I can repro both so I think I can get them fixed.
I'm currently finishing up a monster advancer which I think will greatly improve the utility of the tool.
Folks interested in a cross-platform solution (Java based -- it works on Windows, OSX, Linux) may want to check out InitTool from RPTools.net (the same people that put out TokenTool and MapTool).
I'm not sure of its current state as I contribute primarily to MapTool and don't track the other tools in particular.
Just wanted to say "Brilliant!" This is the piece of software I've been looking for for over five months now. Too bad it took me that long to type "Combat Manager" into the messageboard search box. Thank you Kyle for this great piece of software. If I could make one suggestion it would just be to have additional input boxes for AC, Saves, CMB and CMD, and maybe a box for main melee weapon, and main ranged weapon. I realize all those could be put into the "notes" section, but if the boxes were part of the stored content, and showed up in the init tracker it would help me stay much more streamlined as a GM. Thank you again. I will be implementing this right away in my game.
I've updated to 1.0.2:
Added Monster Advancer
Please take a look at the Monster Advancer, testing and feedback on this feature would be useful.
MendedWall12: Thanks for the feedback, I'll see what I can do to the extra information for AC/Saves/CMB/CMD in the UI. I'd also like to add some conditions/temporary modifiers display to the UI. I just need to find a good place to keep it.
Kyle Olson wrote:
I just installed this last night and just started looking at it. The monster advancer piece was great. I am prepping some material to DM with shortly and applying some templates to some of the monsters from the Bestiary and wasn't sure I was doing it correctly. This made it so easy to do.
Echoing some of the comments above, the ability to add Feats to monsters, adding the source of the data would be great. Also, and I don't know if this is possible, but the ability to quickly add other content to the program for other spells and feats and monsters would be very cool as well.
One other thought on the Combat section though, the ability to quickly add and subtract hit points. Monster takes 27 damage rather than trying to subtract in your head a place to put the total damage, click a plus or minus to subtract from the HP total. Just a thought.
That being said, I won't be using this at the table as I don't have a laptop, but if I did, I would definitely would consider it. In the interim using it for the monster advancer piece is fantastic.
Thanks for your work and your consideration.
Edit: With regard to content adds, if there was some way I could generate Excel formats for additional and provide the data to you to add to the program, that would be phenomenal as well.
Thanks you all for the suggestions. I'm working on the Stats info for players right now. I'll find a spot to insert the source for the material in feats/spells/monsters. I'd think a filter for source would also be nice for people who only want Core.
As for the feats, I have code to modify monsters for some feats, such as Toughness and Improved Initiative, and I could probably add more as part of a "Monster Editor" which would allow you to change the other stats for the monster individually instead of as a part of a template. I haven't thought this feature through completely.
As for importing monsters from another format, it's something I would like but it's not on top of my list. If you want to you can add them to the Bestiary.xml file yourself, but the app might crash if you get the format wrong or do something I wasn't expecting.
Editing XML is not on my list of things to do I am afraid or on my skill list for that matter, but was thinking if an Excel file of feats and/or spells from other Pathfinder sources, could be provided to you, you could import them or do whatever it is that gets them to the appropriate XML format...
Editing the XML is easy, ensuring it doesn't crash the app is harder so certainly it's a try at your own risk kind of deal. I just leave it out there for anyone desperate enough.
As for creating a new feature, importing data isn't rocket surgery, but making a useful import is tougher. I'll see what I can do in the future for importing from Excel. The easiest option will probably be to import from Excel or anywhere exported to CSV. The other problem is managing the data once it's imported. Users will probably want to remove monsters or import new versions of monsters. Anyway, this feature is on my To Do list, probably not for 1.0.3 but 1.0.4 or so.
Will definitely take a look at this when I'm on my home computer.
Kyle Olson wrote:
I'm not desperate to do it, just thought I'd throw it out there and that in conjunction with the Source flag and a way to filter would probably go along way, at least I know it would with me.
Like I said, very cool program and the upgrade monster piece is the most useful part of it for me at this time.
Added player stats UI
Kyle Olson wrote:
EDIT: I noticed that, when changing a dragon into a skeletal champion, that his number of skills didn't seem to decrease.
Creatures with the dragon type get 6 skill ranks per level, wheras undead only get 4 ranks per level. The undead dragon should have had two less skills, but that wasn't accounted for in your program. I suppose this is a good thing though, as it lets the GM decide which skills to drop (or to add in some cases).
I also noticed that creatures with manufactured weapons that are given the skeletal template keep both claw attacks in adition to their weapon attacks. Generally, holding a one handed weapon will keep you from using that hand's claw attack and wielding a two-handed weapon (or two weapons) will keep you from using any claw attacks (at least, from your hands).
You've picked up on two things that have been bugging me :P
I'm not quite sure how I want to handle the skill increase/decrease yet. For now I'm obviously doing nothing. I want to find a way to make this simple. I may implement some kind of proportional change, where the app makes it's best guess.
I also want to work on making the attacks work more normally. I need to add a DB all of the weapons and natural attacks into the app so I can determine what kind of weapon the creature is attacking with and setup the proper number of claw attacks, which is 0, 1 or 2 depending on the weapon in hand (without worrying about creatures with more or less than two hands).
I'm also not increasing the damage for 2H weapons properly and having a DB of weapons would allow me to do that. I would also like to find a way to allow the user to switch weapons, as this is something I'm frequently wanting to do as a DM.
Fantastic piece of work, definitely a valuable tool. First reaction to the feats section though is that it needs some sort of filer system between core and 3rd party. Probably same thing with the spells. Perhaps also a form section may be useful where people could insert feats and spells they allow from sources outside what you have or from home-brew would be pretty cool. All in all, amazing job, I plan to keep playing with it and try it out real time.
Update to 1.0.4
Fixed Racial HD change BAB/Saves
The Skill changing algorithm isn't perfect, but I think for now it's good enough for most cases. There are certain things a skill need to take into account when deciding if I can increase a skill, particularly Feats that modify skills.
I just downloaded the application today when my friends mentioned it, and I have to say that it made my job running combat much easier. I didn't get to fully try it this week (since I was mainly using creatures I created myself), but just being able to track initiatives and HP damage was much easier. I was able to give each creature it's own initiative count and not be overwhelmed. In fact, combat was incredibly smooth, much more than normal. At the end of the session, I threw a few creatures at the party just to see how well it functioned, and it was great. It was so nice to be able to take into account effects like Ray of Enfeeblement completely and not worry I missed it somewhere.
I definitely plan to keep using this, as it will help cut down prep time and speed up combat (that can be a big complaint in our group). Not much to suggest right now, but I may have more as I use it more.
Thank you for making this.
Kyle Olson wrote:
I hate to sound like a sycophant fanboy, but this program is so ridiculously useful, I can't imagine running a laptop derived PFRPG game without it! Great work Kyle, thanks again.
I appreciate the comments, and I'm glad it's working so well for you.
I'm working on adding a pile of improvements now, including the monster advancer dealing with weapons better and hopefully the ability to switch monster weapons. If there's anything you would like just add a comment and I'll see what I can do. Some things are complicated, but some things are easy and I just haven't thought of them.
I just used it for the first time during actual play night before last. It was FANTASTIC! Things went along so smoothly and I was able to switch between monster stat blocks and PC basic stats with ease.
My players love it too and intend to start using it in their games. The sole complaint I heard from everyone was that they didn't like the program rolling their initiative for them. They insist on rolling their own initiative and then having me enter it into the program manually and then moving their slot into the appropriate position (which in itself is a fantastic feature).
As always, here are some improvement ideas:
- Add a CMD slot into the quick stats alongside the ability scores, saves, and AC.
- Add a "current HP" and a "Maximum HP" box to the quick stats rather than just an HP box.
- Add a new primary tab that has some of the game's basic rules, such as those you would find on a gamemaster screen (such as conditions summaries, combat maneuver rules, common skill DCs, item/substance break DC/hardness/hit point/break DCs, lighting conditions, etc.). Since it's hard to use a screen and a laptop at the same time, you might as well modify your program so as to turn the laptop INTO a GM screen.
- The ability to change a few monsters as per there own entries. I realized that I could add animated objects to an encounter, but I was forced to make them all medium-sized, since your program doesn't support animated object stats of other sizes.
- The ability to group creatures together for the purposes of initiative (so that an encounter involving the PCs, gnolls, and orcs can have ALL the gnolls going on the same initiative count and ALL the orcs going on a separate initiative count).
I'll add an initiative sort feature for people who feel the need to insert the items themselves.
CMD/CMB will be in the block in the next version.
I'll see where I can fit the Maximum HP in. It's something I frequently need, so it seems like I should have already got to it.
I'd like to get some of the other rules content in another tab. Skills and conditions are both something I'd like to see when I'm running, but I haven't gone through the process of creating an XML for those things in a useful format. Combat maneuvers make sense as well.
I've had a Dragon Creator on my todo list, and I think Animated objects would be a similar feature. There are also a couple of templates I haven't quite worked out what to do with. Lycanthrope will probably be the toughest.
I also certainly want grouped for similar guys, but I haven't worked out the UI yet. The important thing is that it's less clunky that just moving all the guys to the same initiative manually.
I've added all your thoughts to the my official OneNote page of Features to add :)
Kyle Olson wrote:
Do you really need to put the CMB on there? All your other numbers are passive. A GM doens't really need to know a PC's CMB (unlike the CMD).
I'd say drop CMB in favor of the max/current hp if you are having trouble with space.
I've split the stats popout into 3 tabs right now, Base, Combat and attacks so there is space for the CMB. The CMB is not very useful for players, but it's there for quick reference for the monsters or for inputing for a blank monster. Here's what it looks like right now:
The BAB may not be the most useful, but it balances out the block.
I can stick the maximum HP on this page or on the Base page, but I think it's most useful next to the HP, and I'm short on space on the simple 2 line item. I've got some ideas of how to clean it up.
+1 Everything he said would be useful at my game as well.
Great work Kyle! Would you mind if I also hosted the download on the Pathfinder Database?
I'd need you to submit the installer file to me formally. You can send it to:
Kyle Olson wrote:
I'm just in the installation process now for .NET framework
I'm currently trying to pick a program language to learn and the appearance of this seems to output what I would like to do.
I am also thinking though, I would like to learn a cross-platform (PC/Mac) language so that it is usable on either (i.e. Java). From what I have heard Mac's can emulate a PC, so does anyone know if you can run the .NET framework on a Mac?
I've had a chance to run a quick test on the application. Very well done!
Here would be my current recommendations:
Change the Initiative Modifier box label to:
Just calling it "Mod" was not too intuitive for me, but after warming up the "old thinker", I figured out what it was :)
HP changes. This basically needs 3 boxes:
For the +/- entry it would be a box with the two buttons next to it similar to the up/down arrow boxes you have, but replaced with +/-. The user would then type in a number in this box and select either +/- which would update the Current HP Box, and clear the HP +/- box.
The current up down arrows are just too cumbersome, especially when my 100 hp characters takes 56 points of damage.
Display Window Changes
Initiative Button Sizes
Somewhere, a "Reset Rounds" button would need to be added.
Drag & Drop Names
Initiative Inclusion Toggle.
Resizable Window Split
Alternatively, you could remove the list altogether. Use that entire right side as a "Monster Details" display, and just have a Pull Down / Drop Down entry field that will would show a list of creatures which could extend down to the full screen height, since it would be over top of the monster details display area. I'm not sure if you can have a combined "pull down list" as well as the ability to type part of the monster's name, so when you do select the pull down arrow (which would be to the right of the field) it would then only show the matches based on what you typed in the field? Your selection from the list would then close the list, clear the entry field and add the monster to the Monster stats area.
Smaller Display Font on Tabs
#1 - I would like a better name, but I'm trying to save space. I'll fiddle around with this, though.
#2 - I've got a HP Max and +/- box coming
#3 - I'm not sure I agree, but I'll see what I can do
#4 - I can't see this myself, but I can see the numbers might do this on some systems. I'll try and make it all even.
#5 - This is a good idea, I've added it to my todo list
#6 - I would like do this, but it hasn't been high enough priority to do yet.
#7 - This is also something I want to do
#8 - I could make this an option, but I'm not a big fan of confirmation dialog boxes. If I get around to adding a whole set of options I can do that.
#9 - I've just added a splitter here for the next version
#10 - Try using Ctrl + mouse wheel. You can decrease the font size that way right now.
I love #5 and #9. I hope to see them implemented soon.
I've just added in the round counter. I think I'm getting close to the next release. Adding the weapon switcher has been a long process. I need to figure out if I've broken anything and clean up the UI a little bit.
Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:
Also, if you have used ASP.NET for the programming, did you use AJAX at all? (I'm just trying to figure out all the different things I need to learn to make my applications). Thanks.
Frozen Forever wrote:
I see the toughness get added. Is there a monster this isn't working on?
The Charisma (and Wisdom) are not being adjusted, so I'll fix that now. Thanks for catching this.
Combat Manager Update to 1.0.5:
Added weapon change dialog
New, easy to remember location:
The weapon changer doesn't calculate right for a few monsters, but it should work properly for most. Every monster gets at least 2 hands, even if you know they have none. The feature is complicated enough that I'm sure there will be some other bugs. Please send me any bugs you see.
Because there's no way to add feats to players or blank monsters yet (without hacking some XML), you probably won't get to much out of this feature for players/blank monsters.
Unless something changed, I believe you can have a bloody, burning skeleton champion. Right now the monster advancer only allows a bloody skeleton champion or a burning skeleton champion but not all three types. I dunno if the same is true of the zombies types because it doesn't say so but I think it might be so...Also, skeleton champions are getting charisma boosts when either bloody or burning is chosen as well but those two templates are supposed to replace charisma scores with their own if it's a normal skeleton and probably not supposed to do so if their charisma is higher via skeleton champion. Anyway I just thought I'd let you know so when you get around to working on the templates, you could work on this.