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PaizoCon 2014!

A new Character Generator - InKarnate


Compatible Products from Other Publishers


I saw this project on Kickstarter and after reading all the info and watching the pitch video I am very excited to see the end product.

I also spoke to the Inkarnate guys at GenCon and they said they were probably going to switch from a subscription fee system to another system because of feedback from players who would like to see another revenue model.

Heres the overview:

InKarnate is a video-game-like interface for playing the world's most popular fantasy RPG. This fully-integrated web application frees GMs and players from tedious number-crunching and stat-tracking, so more time is spent weaving epic tales of saving the world and exploring dark, deadly dungeons. InKarnate also helps you visualize your adventures with character portraits, item portraits in an equip screen, custom made maps, and more. With InKarnate, our goal is to make it easier and more fun for you and your friends to sit around a table and role-play. Here are the key features we are currently building for our launch product:

•CREATE AND RUN CHARACTERS--Roll characters in minutes. Pick a portrait, select skills, and equip your PC with illustrated items. Then run your character with the playable character sheet while the rules are calculated under the hood.

•BUILD INTERACTIVE MAPS--Create world, wilderness, city, and dungeon maps. Then link them all together to quickly and easily navigate through your entire campaign.

•LIVE EPIC CAMPAIGNS--Run your games in a shared, virtual space around a physical table or over the internet. Roll dice (or input physical rolls if you prefer), place character tokens, and more.

The $100,000 funding goal will allow us to deliver the features above with a target date of August, 2013. If we can raise additional money, estimated at $200,000, then we will also deliver:

•WRITE GRAND ADVENTURES-Writing and organizing simple encounters or epic dungeon crawls has never been easier. You'll be able to bring in and edit encounters, monsters, treasure, and NPCs, write descriptive text, and link encounter keys digitally to your maps for easy navigation.
•UPGRADED VIRTUAL GAMESPACE-- Put a party together and run your game virtually. Reward treasure, reveal maps slowly as they are explored, tie into the adventure editor to easily scan and run encounters, and much more.
•ADDITIONAL RULE SETS AND CONTENT--This one is self-explanatory. The more funding we receive, the more cool features, new rule sets, and art we can add to make the app even better.

We already have the first of these components--the Character Creator--up and running and so we can share some specifics on its features:

•InKarnate currently supports the 3.5 rule set of the original medieval fantasy role playing game. We hope to add other rule sets in the future.

•As a web app, InKarnate will run on all major browsers and platforms: Safari, Chrome, Firefox, etc., and will work on PCs, Macs, iPads, and Android Tablets. InKarnate has not yet been optimized for smartphones, although this is a feature we are currently working on.

•The Character Creator allows you to roll up heroes from any of the core classes and races in a quick and intuitive manner. Choose a portrait and equip illustrated items as you prepare to slay dragons and dungeon delve.

•With the flexible, Playable Character Sheet, keep track of every bit of information related to your character. Roll initiative, skill checks, damage, etc., while rules are calculated for you. Memorize and access spell information from your spellbook. Buy new items and goods and add them to your inventory.

I highly recommend investing in this Kickstarter.

Heres the site:
InKarnate Kicktarter Page

Heres some links to some screen shots of InKarnate:

Stat Rolling Screen

Choose Race Screen

Choose Class Screen

Choose Feats Screen

Choose Spells Screen

Equip Items Screen

Sample Character Sheet

Works on Several Different Platforms

There is some potential for Battle-Map cartographers to ge some work from the Inkarnate guys because they are going to need Battle-maps for their software.


The guys over at the InKarnate camp have posted an update Post-GenCon.

Here it is quoted from their Kickstarter site:

UPDATE: After feedback from Gencon we've decided PF(Pathfinder) RPG will be the next rule set we support.
Also, we're going to offer up the Character Creator, Map Builder, Adventure Editor, and Campaign Tracker as components that are purchased for a one-time fee (each sold separately) instead of making it only accessible via subscription.

:)


Update video showing the map-maker in action.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1720821324/inkarnate-rpg-toolset/posts/ 299193


Well, they fixed the thing that bugged me the most (subscription model). I'm still not sure they'll be able to hit a $100,000 goal for funding. It seems like they'd have had better success with starting smaller and having stretch goals up to that level (and higher of course). We'll see I guess.


The guys at Inkarnate posted another video showing the Character creator in action:

Heres a link to the video:

**** INKARNATE Character Creator in action ****


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's very pretty, I'll be interested to see how well they integrate the pf system with all it's variants and archtypes


So far, I'm largely worried about how inflexible it looks. I like character generators that give you the freedom to ignore any and all rules if you want to and just let you know that you've done so.

Also, from browsing the site, it doesn't seem like they have given up on the idea of subscription fees. It's still listed as $10 a month for the GM tools.

From what I see so far, I predict this will be one shiny, well-polished failure.


Umbral Reaver wrote:

So far, I'm largely worried about how inflexible it looks. I like character generators that give you the freedom to ignore any and all rules if you want to and just let you know that you've done so.

Also, from browsing the site, it doesn't seem like they have given up on the idea of subscription fees. It's still listed as $10 a month for the GM tools.

From what I see so far, I predict this will be one shiny, well-polished failure.

Heres the quote from their kickstarter site as to how the pricing is going to work As Of Right Now:

Players:

Players will pay a one-time fee for the Character Creator/Playable Character Sheet. This fee will cover a single rule set.

GMs:

GMs will pay a one-time fee for each of these components (separately):

•Map Builder

•Adventure Creator/Campaign Tracker.

Then for a sub fee (we are thinking $10/month at present), the GM will receive:

•Access to the Virtual Tabletop (the GM can allow access to players, so the players do not have to pay a sub fee--there would be one fee per gaming group).

•Regular content packs (including digital adventures, artwork, and more)

The subscription is to help support ongoing feature development as well as server costs. We will make it very easy to place a sub on hold or cancel it--so if you are heavy up on gaming one month but have nothing going on the next you can just turn it on and off as required.

What that means is that the pricing model could change later.

Everything is up in the air right now.

And they are looking for feedback as to what players / GM's want.


The problem with the subscription fee is that it assumes that only one player per group is going to GM. As far as I know, almost every group rotates GMing duties every now and then.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Umbral Reaver wrote:
The problem with the subscription fee is that it assumes that only one player per group is going to GM. As far as I know, almost every group rotates GMing duties every now and then.

You might be wrong. As an example, I know of no such groups in my gaming circles.


Every group I've been in has had a GM run for several months, then get tired and another takes over (usually with a new game, sometimes as a 'side adventure' from the same one) for a while. Sometimes we go back to the previous campaign.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I've been the GM for my various groups for more than 20 years now, and the group I play in has been playing with the same GM almost as long.

Taldor

Ours switches it up every 6 to 8 months also, there are six of us total.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
The problem with the subscription fee is that it assumes that only one player per group is going to GM. As far as I know, almost every group rotates GMing duties every now and then.

How do you propose they pay for the servers to stay up and running?


This is Marc from the InKarnate team. The business model is still under evaluation. We're doing our best to find a way to make InKarnate a good value for everyone while still generating enough of a revenue stream to justify ongoing development. If we can sustain development over the long-term, there're some pretty exciting places we can take this. However, it takes money to professionally develop something this large in scope and do it right. An underfunded project is more than likely only going to yield a result that looks a little better than the current apps out there but that doesn't really make GM and players experience more fun.

Now having said that--the point that GMs rotate in a group is a good one. We were setting out to create a model where the players only had to pay a single fee (like the player's handbook for example) while GMs paid a higher cost for the overall group if the full feature set was wanted (just how it is typically divided with the pen and paper). We're open to all suggestions, but ultimately we will need to find a way to monetize the service (and it is important to realize it will be a SERVICE) in order for it to succeed. We really believe that once everyone gets a chance to use the app and see its full potential it will be a strong value for the money.


@Umbral Reaver--Regarding customization in the app: this is a question we are constantly evaluating among the team--it is a critical one as you rightly point out. Our current thinking is that we will allow all numerical data to be edited. So, for example, on the digital character sheet, if you want to change your HP to something outside the bounds of the rules, you could do so and a pop-up would warn you it was outside the programmed rule set (which you could, of course, then ignore). Then, we want to add in a series of editors that would allow you to create custom classes, feats, etc. Our hope is that those two approaches will cover many of the customization issues.

The above will not, however, allow you to change the fundamental mechanics of a rule set (i.e. I have decided to add 'edges' from Savage Worlds instead of feats into my 3.5e campaign). Testing will tell us how well our approach is working and what, if any, adjustments need to be made.

And please don't take offense, but I hope your crystal ball is more cloudy than clear :-).


Hero Lab is probably a decent example of a 'do anything' ruleset. It lets you plug in placeholder abilities and feats (at least, it does for Mutants and Masterminds) and lets you type in your own rules text.

If you break the rules, it'll still add up all the numbers but will put a little note at the bottom of the sheet telling you exactly what you've done outside of the rules (such as more skills ranks per level than normal or whatever)


I agree, Hero Labs definitely does a good job in the 'broadness' of what it covers. Our concern with that particular app is that it's a bit overwhelming. One of our goals with InKarnate is to make things as easy as possible--particularly for someone new to tabletop RPGs. One of the interesting challenges with this approach is then balancing that against the needs of veteran gamers so that it is useful for both groups (and the various shades between of course).

A fun challenge...


I have to say I think you may be aiming at the wrong audience. The people new to RPGs are those least likely to invest in subscription-based services. Those veterans are possibly also less likely to, having the experience and knowledge to handle most of what it offers by hand. There's a middle-ground of people that have delved into the game enough to know how it works and want to buy further tools and supplements for it.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
I have to say I think you may be aiming at the wrong audience. The people new to RPGs are those least likely to invest in subscription-based services. Those veterans are possibly also less likely to, having the experience and knowledge to handle most of what it offers by hand. There's a middle-ground of people that have delved into the game enough to know how it works and want to buy further tools and supplements for it.

I think that a character generator with a video-game-like user interface is the perfect product to sell people new to Paper & Pencil RPG's.

Most likely they were playing video games before they even thought of playing a Paper and Pencil RPG so that makes the transition that much easier.

Your also forgetting a couple of facts.
--The character generator is a one time purchase. Doesn't cost any extra per month to have.

--The subscription fee for the Virtual Game Space isn't set in stone. Maybe they'll settle on $5 a month or $7 a month instead of the $10 a month for the Virtual Game Space.

--Who's to say that down the road that the subscription service isn't found to be very profitable and that releasing expansion packs makes them more money so they go that route.

As far as gaming veterans not being interested in INKARNATE, i am a 20yr. RPG gamer and everyone else in my group are in their late 30's to mid 40's. We're ready and waiting for INKARNATE to be released.

Now everyone in our group owns a copy of HeroLab and its the best character generator on the market as of right now.

But it could be laid out way better than it is now and aesthetically, its got absolutely nothing on what I have seen so far from INKARNATE.

Now while I am barking the awesomeness of INKARNATE, I will keep my copy of HeroLab until I am sure INKARNATE is the character generator software that HeroLab passes the torch to.


The reason I don't use Hero Lab for anything except M&M is that it costs huge loads.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In regards to customization, the more you can add in the better. Not just numerical values either. Say you want to be a longbow weaponmaster and you have the good luck to have a DM that says you can take the trick shots abilities from the Archer as well. Have some way of tweaking those extras on rather than designing a whole new archetype.

And whatever you do, make designing custom archetypes/classes/items a bit more idiot friendly than what you see in HeroLab. Being able to add to a basic magic item could be a boon as well.

That said, Inkarnate looks like it has potential. Give me the kind of truly broad customization I'm looking for and I can put HeroLab in the closet.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
The reason I don't use Hero Lab for anything except M&M is that it costs huge loads.

I use HeroLab for M&M, Pathfinder, and used to use it for D&D 3.5.

But like I said, If INKARNATE surpasses HeroLab in all the right ways i'm switchin.


All good thoughts. We definitely appreciate the discussion as the more we can learn about how people are likely to want to use InKarnate, the better for our development.

As to the newbies question, we really feel if we make it accessible and make sure it is a good value for the money, we are likely to be able to bring more new players into the fold. The main scenario we are envisioning there is when one or two newbies joins an established group. If that group were already running on InKanrate, then they are likely to get those new players to use it.


10 more days to donate to this kickstarter.

Heres the link:

INKARNATE Kickstarter page.

Lets push to get it funded guys.


****

Found an interview with the INKARNATE guys here:

Escapist Magazine interview of INKARNATE staff

Fills in some of the informational gaps some gamers may have about the software.

:)


Hey guys,

4 days left for INKARNATE on their kickstarter.

One last push to get it funded guys!!!

Even if it doesn't get funded you got nothing to lose because all pledges aren't collected until a kickstarter project reaches its funding goal.

If it does reach its goal, INKARNATE becomes a reality.......its a win-win situation.

Heres the link:
INKARNATE Kickstarter page.


Sadly, at $81,000 still to go, I don't think this will be funded in the 4 days it has left.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

To be truthful, while this looks like it would be flashy, it does not look like it would be very flexible. I mean the prettier things like this are, the less able that an owner can enter custom content. That is the reason I use Hero Lab. I can enter custom content for my campaigns.

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