Hero Labs and Pathfinder Society Play


GM Discussion

The Exchange 5/5

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As a response to Hyrum's message here. Please note not to click that link unless you are planning on DMing or have played through [b]Heresy of Man Part III/b].

So after doing a few Con and game store games recently I've begun to try to look at my player's character sheets more often to get a feeling of the character and I've noticed quite a few errors that Hero Labs is producing. I understand the importance of this tool in bringing more people to the fold, but it also has a few unintended consequences that I've noticed.

1. Players always assume that Hero Labs is correct. As a DM I correct them and I've frequently gotten the response "But I made it in Hero Labs, so it has to be right."

2. Players don't seem to understand their character or their abilities as much as when made from pencil/paper (Or manually by electronic means). This goes as far as one person simply not having the rulebook and using Hero Labs to make the character.

Maybe I'm noticing this because I'm going much further outside my normal circle of friends who understands the rules exceedingly well and we tend to understand the game (even for those that are relatively new to the game, our pressure forces them to learn quickly), but it seems like Hero Labs is definitely creating problems when playing.

Now, I'm not even talking about banning it or anything. I'm wondering if people have advice on how to deal with hero labs characters/players. I've never gone to the Hero Labs website, is there a place to find a concise list of bugs so that I know what to look for when looking at sheets? Does the program auto-update itself or do I need to check for old bugs as well as new ones?

How well do character building sessions go in a game store environment? I've helped a few people build characters at the store but I've never tried a mass session as it were. Also has anyone else noticed this problem cropping up lately or is it just because my gaming group has been more insular and not going to gaming stores as often?

The Exchange

I have no information on HeroLabs as I've never used it; however, I've helped organized and participated in what we called a Pathfinder Bootcamp.

we advertised around the college campus and on the buses and online.

We organized 2 3-hour slots, the first was time to build the character, ask questions and basically get help understanding all the different parts of the character.

The 2nd slot we played through Masters of the Fallen Fortress.

We also had a raffle for the local convention in Feb for free admission to the con.

We had 8 players show up and the next weekend at our normal game day we had several of them come back and bring friends to play. I've noticed at our normal game days since that we've started seating a 3rd table and if we have anymore show up then we'll need to realistically look at a 4th.


Alizor wrote:


.... but it seems like Hero Labs is definitely creating problems when playing.

People make mistakes during character gen, I would suspect one would find mistakes on other character sheets even if they weren't generated by Hero Lab. I know my first PFS character built by hand had a mistake as I somehow mis-read the starting gold. It happens.

Alizor wrote:


I'm wondering if people have advice on how to deal with hero labs characters/players. I've never gone to the Hero Labs website, is there a place to find a concise list of bugs so that I know what to look for when looking at sheets? Does the program auto-update itself or do I need to check for old bugs as well as new ones?

The developers of Hero Lab are generally quite responsive to bug fixes. They use their forums and have stickied threads where people can report bugs. The Pathfinder forum is here.

The program alerts you when there are updates and it is a simple process of saying update to make sure one has the most recent data sets.

If you play regularly with people that use Hero Lab encouraging them to apply all updates as they come out is probably a good idea. Getting them to report the bugs you find when you review their character sheet would be quite helpful as well as that will help get these issues corrected.

Do you have some specific examples of bugs you have found?

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
IronWolf wrote:
Do you have some specific examples of bugs you have found?

I have an identical problem with Hero Labs as Alizor. I wound up buying the product because all my PFS players were using it, and I didn't feel comfortable with just blindly using things.

Problems I've seen:

A medium sized longsword was listed as dealing 2d6 damage when used 2-handed. This one was huge. We made it 75% through a module before I caught this one and asked the Magus how he was doing so much damage.

Subdomains were not permitted for druids even though Sean has explicitly stated otherwise. This just causes validation errors.

Don't get me started on the complexity/problems with the whole buying items thing. I had to reset a character to a previous save three times because of problems where items were costing nothing.

I really don't think that the set-up for the new Druid Shaman archetypes is functioning properly. This is manifesting itself in several ways.

For PFS play, you're not allowed to buy the "lower level" version of wands (such as a wand of lesser restoration), although any player who doesn't know this rule can easily select the Level 1 version of lesser restoration when buying a wand.

The list is pretty extensive.

The Exchange 5/5

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
IronWolf wrote:
Do you have some specific examples of bugs you have found?

Not applying Max Dex bonus from weight/armor to CMD / touch attack. The above mentioned two-handed longsword bug that MisterSlanky brought up. Druid animal companions applying racial modifiers from the bestiary to their skills (making an Elasmosaurus with +18 to Acrobatics/Stealth as a level 2 druid).

Those are a few of the ones that I can think of off the top of my head, but there are definitely more, especially on the "buying of items" issues.

While problems can and do definitely happen while creating a character manually, it's significantly easier to catch it if you make the character yourself and level it yourself.

Scarab Sages

I find that made with Herolab characters are less likely to have fewer mistakes than ones made with out. It could be argued that is not saying very much, but I really do like the program.

As good as it is, it's only as good as it's latest update, but I can say that about a lot of things. When you take into consideration the sheer amout of work that needs to be done to get everything to play well with each other, that's pretty impressive.

All in all, mistakes happen and players and GMs will have to work through them.


MisterSlanky wrote:


A medium sized longsword was listed as dealing 2d6 damage when used 2-handed. This one was huge. We made it 75% through a module before I caught this one and asked the Magus how he was doing so much damage.

This appears fixed now.

MisterSlanky wrote:


Don't get me started on the complexity/problems with the whole buying items thing. I had to reset a character to a previous save three times because of problems where items were costing nothing.

I believe the items costing nothing was a bug when using search. It appears to have been fixed now.

MisterSlanky wrote:


Subdomains were not permitted for druids even though Sean has explicitly stated otherwise. This just causes validation errors.

This has been fixed as well.

MisterSlanky wrote:


I really don't think that the set-up for the new Druid Shaman archetypes is functioning properly. This is manifesting itself in several ways.

For PFS play, you're not allowed to buy the "lower level" version of wands (such as a wand of lesser restoration), although any player who doesn't know this rule can easily select the Level 1 version of lesser restoration when buying a wand.

I did not look closely at these, so I can't say one way or the other.

The Hero Lab guys have been very responsive in my experience and are more than happy to fix bugs that are reported. So while there may be bugs here and there they will get fixed if the bugs are being reported making for a valuable tool for those that prefer a character build tool.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

Alizor wrote:

"But I made it in Hero Labs, so it has to be right."

not having the rulebook and using Hero Labs to make the character.

Hero Labs is definitely creating problems when playing.

list of bugs so that I know what to look for when looking at sheets?

Does the program auto-update itself or do I need to check for old bugs as well as new ones?

I'm mostly a DM and I subscribe to the "if HL made it, it has to be right" view.

I found more problems with characters built by hand than by HL, so I prefer people to build with HL.

The only gotchas you might run into:
1) Have them build level by level, otherwise they can obtain too many high level feats/abilities.
2) Make sure to not carry 1000 lbs of gold pieces.
3) Equip armor, tools (thieves tools, artisan tools, etc), and weapons how you use them (one handed, two handed)

If you do those things most of the problems (bugs you call them) are minor.

They (Lone Wolf) are very good about fixing problems reported, so if you find a new bug report it.

It updates when you click to download the update. There are program updates and data file updates.

I'm curious, what are the "bugs" you have seen?

MisterSlanky wrote:

1) A medium sized longsword was listed as dealing 2d6 damage

2) Subdomains were not permitted for druids

3) Don't get me started on the complexity/problems with the whole buying items thing.

4) Druid Shaman archetypes is functioning properly. This is manifesting itself in several ways.

5) any player who doesn't know this rule can easily select the Level 1 version of lesser restoration when buying a wand.

Alizor wrote:

6) Not applying Max Dex bonus from weight/armor to CMD / touch attack.

7) Druid animal companions applying racial modifiers from the bestiary to their skills

8) it's significantly easier to catch it if you make the character yourself and level it yourself.

1) Never seen this problem and I've got players with Longswords holding two handed and I just built a test char that properly displays 1d8 so I assume it has been fixed.

2) Fixed, was a rules interpretation difference and was nearly immediately fixed when Sean clarified. You run into this often, but I mostly agree since most of the time they (HL) agree with my interpretation. A few times they don't (like Monk Flurry of Blows with outside BAB from multiclass) I've been able to write a fix for it.

3) This is just a program use issue. The program has a button "Set" in the item purchase area to set the price to book price. You can override or you can click "buy for free". Some times in the older (appears fixed now) you would get stuck in buy for free mode. Just educate players on how to click the set button should fix this.

4) Probably a rules reading thing, since for instance shamans don't get Wild Shape until 6th level and then it works +2 (8th) for some and -2 (4th for others). Can you describe the difference/problems you were seeing?

5) Again, nothing to do but educate players. I tend to make PFS players tell me everything they buy before they buy it so I can audit the item availability. But then again, my players tend to try out lots of new things so they don't tend to do the simple items.

6) Can you describe this better?

7) Known problem, will be fixed in next release as it is on their todo list.

8) I'm on the reverse, I think it is significantly easier to catch HL problems than paper sheet problems. At least it takes less time for me.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
IronWolf wrote:

Subdomains were not permitted for druids even though Sean has explicitly stated otherwise. This just causes validation errors.

This has been fixed as well.

This was not fixed as of last night with a fully upgraded product.

The point isn't the specific examples, it's that they exist and that people honestly believe that Hero Labs "must be right" because it's an approved product. I understand that it has errors and bugs, that's the nature of software, but altogether too much faith is often put in its output and the vast majority of players don't double check even common sense things.

The 2d6 longsword issue is a prime example. I had a player who swore this was correct because "Hero Labs said so."

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

MisterSlanky wrote:
This was not fixed as of last night with a fully upgraded product.

I have a character that has subdomains as a Eagle shaman druid, so it is fixed for me.

Can you tell me the versions you have? And possible send me the .por file?

The Exchange 5/5

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Risner wrote:
6) Can you describe this better?

As far as I understand it a person with 16 DEX in Full Plate should only apply +1 to both AC and to CMD. In the past weekend I had an issue where the dwarf's CMD and touch used +3 dex instead of +1.

Like I said I do understand that mistakes happen written by hand (and to be honest they may or may not be more; at this point it's just opinion which has more), but I can't subscribe to understanding a character better or finding mistakes when doing it on Hero Labs. Every person I see use it barely touches a core rulebook and simply assumes it is right.

My problem isn't with the problem itself, it's with how people are using it. To be honest the point of the thread was to see if anyone had good ideas on how to educate folks who do use Hero Labs, and would still like to use it, on character building, creation, and use.

Also do people generally pick up character sheets before DMing to check the characters or just go with it and trust the sheets?


MisterSlanky wrote:
IronWolf wrote:

Subdomains were not permitted for druids even though Sean has explicitly stated otherwise. This just causes validation errors.

This has been fixed as well.

This was not fixed as of last night with a fully upgraded product.

I just created a level 1 druid and it let me choose a sub-domain without validation errors. Maybe we are looking at different things?

MisterSlanky wrote:


The point isn't the specific examples, it's that they exist and that people honestly believe that Hero Labs "must be right" because it's an approved product. I understand that it has errors and bugs, that's the nature of software, but altogether too much faith is often put in its output and the vast majority of players don't double check even common sense things.

The 2d6 longsword issue is a prime example. I had a player who swore this was correct because "Hero Labs said so."

Bug reports will minimize the cases where this is even an issue. Many of the examples have already been fixed or acknowledged and being worked on. Of course people will need to update their software, but you get nagged to do so.

I can see difficulty if a player is going to go the "Hero Labs said so" and refusing to listen to reason. Simply point the rule out in the core rulebook and go from there. If the player is still being difficult I suspect there is more than a software issue and if it wasn't Hero Lab being the line they are drawing it would be "my last DM said it worked this way, so it must be true."

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Alizor wrote:

Like I said I do understand that mistakes happen written by hand (and to be honest they may or may not be more; at this point it's just opinion which has more), but I can't subscribe to understanding a character better or finding mistakes when doing it on Hero Labs. Every person I see use it barely touches a core rulebook and simply assumes it is right.

My problem isn't with the problem itself, it's with how people are using it. To be honest the point of the thread was to see if anyone had good ideas on how to educate folks who do use Hero Labs, and would still like to use it, on character building, creation, and use.

Alizor and I represent the exact same faction. I know people are asking for specifics, and are indicating things are fixed and want to help with Hero Labs, but that's not the point. The point is that Hero Labs is a tool, and it's a tool that's not 100% correct. This is fine, and it's understandable. The problem is that people assume it is 100% correct and don't do the their due diligence. I too believe that numbers and assumptions should be rechecked. This is why I started using electronic forms in the first place; to use a tool like this though and assume its correct puts players in the awkward position to start defending themselves on a topic they may not understand when numbers are questioned at the table.

So to reiterate what Alizor said, the point of the thread is to see if there are any good ideas on educating players. Like most tools of this nature, it's making people less aware of what's "really" going on, and only harms their gameplay in the long run by not really being aware at how to do things "by hand."

Quote:
Also do people generally pick up character sheets before DMing to check the characters or just go with it and trust the sheets?

I do now. The last time I did so I found 4 character sheets out of 4 had significant errors ranging from incorrect skill points, far-far too many attribute points, and way too many feats.


Alizor wrote:


Like I said I do understand that mistakes happen written by hand (and to be honest they may or may not be more; at this point it's just opinion which has more), but I can't subscribe to understanding a character better or finding mistakes when doing it on Hero Labs. Every person I see use it barely touches a core rulebook and simply assumes it is right.

If a person assumes the software is always 100% correct and refuses to acknowledge that the actual core rulebook says differently, then I can see your issue. I just attribute it more to the player than a fault of the software.

I know when I see something that looks odd in Hero Lab that I will consult the rulebook to verify whether or whether not the issue is a bug or my misunderstanding of the rules. It seems we are all on the same page in acknowledging that software is not infallible and the issue is people in games not listening to logical explanation where Hero Lab is not the tool to decide rules issues, the core rulebook is.

Alizor wrote:


My problem isn't with the problem itself, it's with how people are using it. To be honest the point of the thread was to see if anyone had good ideas on how to educate folks who do use Hero Labs, and would still like to use it, on character building, creation, and use.

First I would make it clear the core rulebook is the go to source for figuring out the rules and determine what does or does not apply. And gently remind people that Hero Lab is software with a complex set of code to correctly apply bonuses and such and that there are bugs that occur in nearly all software.

Once that is established I think the Pathfinder Bootcamp Thea Peters mentioned would be useful. I know I prefer to go through many manual character creations before turning to a tool to speed things up. The Pathfinder Bootcamp sounds like a great way to walk new people or people that have not built a character manually through the process and provide an open atmosphere for questions.

Sovereign Court

It sounds to me that this is a player problem and not a program problem. Programs, ALL programs, have bugs, and no one should assume it's perfect. Honestly.

Likewise, many of these bugs seem to be with non-standard character builds from the Advanced Player's Guide. If the player isn't "advanced" enough to know how things work on paper, then they probably shouldn't be making "advanced" characters to play in Society games.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Twowlves wrote:


Likewise, many of these bugs seem to be with non-standard character builds from the Advanced Player's Guide. If the player isn't "advanced" enough to know how things work on paper, then they probably shouldn't be making "advanced" characters to play in Society games.

+1

We let our players know that when they decide to take something from the APG. The Summoner in particular can get sketchy.

Liberty's Edge

I'm generally more comfortable seeing that a player has used Hero Labs to generate his character, even though I know it's not perfect.

A note about the Druid and sub-domains: The designers explicitly told Hero Labs that sub-domains were not allowed for non-Clerics but apparently changed their minds after all the whining on the boards, so that one is not on Hero Labs.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Alaska—Anchorage aka Dragnmoon

Kortz can back me up on this one.

Most of the errors I see on HeroLabs Character Sheets are user generated not HL generated.

Examples

Forgetting to Check that you are wearing the armor you bought *Just saw this, this weekend*

Not realizing that you have Buy item for free checked, I have done that myself.

Thinking it is wrong, but not realizing that you are encumbered!!

That said, most of the errors I see in HL is not in the character Gen but with the Monsters, Many of stats are not fully correct due to lacks of capability of HLs that hopefully will be fixed in the future.

Liberty's Edge

Dragnmoon wrote:

Kortz can back me up on this one.

Most of the errors I see on HeroLabs Character Sheets are user generated not HL generated.

Yeah, I'd agree with that. Not checking the boxes for items currently in use being one of the more common mistakes.

If anything, HL has taught me some of the rules I didn't know.

Scarab Sages

I'm not seeing the Longsword issue. I think the user may have actually been playing the system.

There is an area under personal that allows you to make Permanate adjustments. One of the adjustments is weapon size. I think that's where you are having the issues.

Doesn't matter how good the program is, if people cheat, thre is nothing you can do.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

I use HL for both my home games and PFS and love it. Makes generating advanced versions of monsters, leveling NPC's, etc. very quick and easy. That being said, even experience players can miss something when you start to compile multiple bonuses. I recent noticed that my pally had a damage bonus that was too high. Not sure how it happened, but between a THW, PA, weapon enchants, divine weapon bond, smite, etc. the bonus can get a little "glitchy." Most of the errors I have seen, however, are related to the player settings. Click/unclicking boxes like encumbrance, coins not having any weight, skills requiring tools, bonus feats, etc can cause a lot of errors that do not trigger an internal validation error. Also, if the wrong point buy was selected, the PC gets more/fewer ability points. I see a lot of errors when an existing PC is transferred into HL for the first time. Rather than build the PC from scratch, the user levels up and then adds the details. This can cause issues with selecting abilities. All in all, HL is a great tool, but user error will be an always present issue. The validation message can be a trigger to find custom "cheats" but only if it's activated in the player settings.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Alaska—Anchorage aka Dragnmoon

TwilightKnight wrote:
Rather than build the PC from scratch, the user levels up and then adds the details. This can cause issues with selecting abilities.

Yup, you need to build from scratch with HLs, if you add all the levels at once you run into problems. That is a problem with HL itself, that they are aware of, but I don't think they will fix because it would require too much work..

By the way, I always hate that excuse... "That is to hard!!!", that annoys me to no end, and I have seen that excuse from them more then once.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Some of the issues being raised here could be the result of a lot of different things within the specific character builds being made, and may not represent actual bugs in HeroLab. But this feedback is helpful, in that I know the software developers are continually working to improve things.

I encourage people to continue using HeroLab to generate characters, especially when someone needs one fast or doesn't have a masterful grasp of the rules. That said, having someone look over the sheet and give it a check for obvious errors is still encouraged, because a computer can make mistakes (as can the person entering the information).

I also agree that the best way to learn the rules for someone wanting to gain a better understanding of how things really work under the hood is to craft your character by hand, as it makes one read the rules as they go instead of having that done for them.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
I also agree that the best way to learn the rules for someone wanting to gain a better understanding of how things really work under the hood is to craft your character by hand, as it makes one read the rules as they go instead of having that done for them.

This is easily my biggest complaint about a lot of the reliance on any electronic tool. For those who are well educated on the oddities of the system, a tool like HL can make your life a whole hell of a lot easier. For those who are new to the system, it may make that initial build go faster, but the overall understanding of the system itself tends to be a lot lower. I don't consider this a good thing.

If anybody has ever come up with a good happy medium though, I'm interested to hear your story.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

I recommend that you build your Pc both by hand and with HL and see how the numbers differ. Do this a few times, until you understand how different mechanics work together. There is just as much chance of making an error manually as with HL. If you know the rules well, you will pick up on errors generated by HL. Alternately, if you are not familiar with all the nuances of the rules, HL can help you discover combinations you were not aware of.

The Exchange

The only major problem HL has is tracking gold and items spent. I've found numerous (and reported numerous) inconsistencies in how certain items are being calculated for item purchases and worth.

But they are fixing it. In the mean time, I suggest using an Excel spreadsheet to accurately maintain purchases. I found that I had 20 more gold in Hero Lab than I should, even after painstakingly rebuilding my character and inserting everything that I bought and sold ever (I am now level 6, just did this last night).

I know 20 gold isn't much, but I know it can be for certain items (check out what happens when you by 50x +1 arrows and then sell them back in HL...)

HL is great and I recommend it to everyone that I see. It calculates almost everything correctly, even catching things that I would miss. It is awesome!

The Exchange 5/5

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Another thing with HeroLabs that I've been lax about is items bought. Does the program tell you what source items are coming from when you are looking to buy? A few times I've had someone have an item bought without a printout of the item in question, however I've generally been lax as a DM because I personally have the material and know what it is. I'm weighing whether I want to be less lenient about this in the future as well.

Again this can happen whether you are doing it by hand or by HeroLabs, but the potential for inadvertent abuse is larger with HL I think.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

Alizor wrote:

As far as I understand it a person with 16 DEX in Full Plate should only apply +1 to both AC and to CMD.

Also do people generally pick up character sheets before DMing to check the characters or just go with it and trust the sheets?

Actually, you get +1 Dex to AC and +3 Dex to CMD with Dex 16 and Full Plate (PHB p149 and p199)

I always look at character sheets, and often give advice on what feats to pick if they haven't chosen particularly optimal choices.

MisterSlanky wrote:
good ideas on educating players.

Best method is to walk them through building their character or have another player adept at using HL walk them through it the first time. I have multiple computers set up with HL on it and everyone of my players share these computers. So most of their HL use is with me or another player present.

Kortz wrote:
I'm generally more comfortable seeing that a player has used Hero Labs to generate his character, even though I know it's not perfect.

+1

Michael Griffin-Wade wrote:
I'm not seeing the Longsword issue. I think the user may have actually been playing the system.

I bet I know what they did, they probably selected a large weapon instead of a medium by changing the default pull down from medium to large. Was it down by -2 to hit?

Sovereign Court

Personally, I manually input every aspect of my chronicle sheet into the notes section every time I gain an XP. I include PA, XP, Total GP, items available from the chronicle sheet, any boons or other unique benefits, and a list of money spent/items gained/conditions cleared. While I haven't had a character get very high level yet, this isn't terribly hard to do and I can accurately track every GP I have ever had come across my character's palm.

The Exchange 5/5

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Risner wrote:
Actually, you get +1 Dex to AC and +3 Dex to CMD with Dex 16 and Full Plate (PHB p149 and p199)

Spoilering this cause it's off-topic:

Spoiler:
I have looked at those before and still think max dex affects CMD. "Any penalties to a creature’s AC also apply to its CMD. A flat-footed creature does not add its Dexterity bonus to its CMD." tells me that max-dex would apply to CMD.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Kyle (aka..Alizor), I use HL almost exclusively to build characters because my schedule is literally jam packed. Sometimes I've caught errors, other times I have not. Same thing with Wes and Caleb. You are always free to check any of our characters at any game day we attend with you. If you catch something I don't, let me know so I can get it corrected and make sure to report it to the HL folks.


Alizor wrote:
James Risner wrote:
Actually, you get +1 Dex to AC and +3 Dex to CMD with Dex 16 and Full Plate (PHB p149 and p199)

Spoilering this cause it's off-topic:

** spoiler omitted **

Just spoke with Sean and max dex only applies to AC*. (See pages 149-150 under the Maximum Dexterity entry.)

"This number is the maximum Dexterity bonus to AC that this type of armor allows. Dexterity bonuses in excess of this number are reduced to this number for the purposes of determining the wearer's AC. Heavier armors limit mobility, reducing the wearer's ability to dodge blows. This restriction doesn't affect any other Dexterity-related abilities."

Hyrum.

*(Changed from CMD)


One thing that has made me extremely wary of using HeroLabs is the fact that it doesn't calculate starting spell allowances for Wizards correctly.

The program permits you to add an unlimited number of 1st-level spells to your spellbook, instead of the basic three plus your INT-bonus (if any).

(I'm not talking about daily spell slots, HL appears to handle that correctly.)

I reported the issue on their forums here.

In summary, Lonewolf (and others) put up a bunch of stuff about finding/adding other spellbooks during their travels, etc, but it doesn't excuse the fact that HL should have handled the limit correctly in the beginning.

Sure, there needs to be a provision for adding stuff as the PC adventures, but to fail at something basic such as this makes me wonder. :\

It's apparently on their "to-do list", and who knows when they'll get around to it? Moral: triple-check everything HL puts out. Good tool, but not entirely reliable.

Liberty's Edge

PurpleWizard wrote:
One thing that has made me extremely wary of using HeroLabs is the fact that it doesn't calculate starting spell allowances for Wizards correctly.

Seems to me like that is something that the player and GM are going to have to police themselves. There's no sense in making it limited since a player could pick up spells-known during his very first adventure.


Kortz wrote:


Seems to me like that is something that the player and GM are going to have to police themselves. There's no sense in making it limited since a player could pick up spells-known during his very first adventure.

If you'd read the link, you'd find that's precisely what they said. I don't agree with the logic, since there's more than one way to code things, but that's just me, I guess. :)

Probably spoiled by WoTC's character generator *grin*

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The moral of the story is a software tool (any tool) is no substitute for knowing the rules. The pnp approach is no more or less prone to error across the entire spectrum of players/users. (It could be argues that the tool is better because the errors will likely be limited to a finite set of known bugs, while the pnp approach could encompass the superset of all possible errors.)

This thread really seems to be falling along the typical divide of folks that like HL and those that don't. PFS GMs should probably check all character sheets regardless of source. There's no particular need (that I see) in singling out HL sheets over pnp or those from, say, pcgen.

-Skeld

Liberty's Edge

PurpleWizard wrote:
Kortz wrote:


Seems to me like that is something that the player and GM are going to have to police themselves. There's no sense in making it limited since a player could pick up spells-known during his very first adventure.
If you'd read the link, you'd find that's precisely what they said. I don't agree with the logic, since there's more than one way to code things, but that's just me, I guess. :)

Well, it seems to me like all they could do would be to add another layer of bookkeeping. Go to the Journal page and fill out the number of spells you learned for that adventure; then go back to the Spellbook and it would allow you to add the correct number of spells.

There's nothing you could do to stop someone from adding too many spells. You could only slow them down.

You could add some text to the Spellbook page to make sure everyone knows what the base number of spells per level is, but if someone wants to add too many spells on purpose I don't see how Hero Lab could stop that.


Skeld wrote:


PFS GMs should probably check all character sheets regardless of source. There's no particular need (that I see) in singling out HL sheets over pnp or those from, say, pcgen.

-Skeld

Agreed. :)

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

Hyrum Savage wrote:
Just spoke with Sean and max dex only applies to CMD.

Did you mean to say "max dex only applies to AC" because you referenced p 149.


James Risner wrote:
Hyrum Savage wrote:
Just spoke with Sean and max dex only applies to CMD.
Did you mean to say "max dex only applies to AC" because you referenced p 149.

Arg. Yes, only to AC. :)

Grand Lodge

An interesting discussion.

Actually I just transferred all my players characters to HeroLab to check them out.

So far HeroLab wins flat out. If there was a difference, then HeroLab has either been right or not used correctly.

I'm not saying it can't fail. There are a lot of options that you can check. If I doubt the value, then I go back into the small print of the rules - and so far I learnt a few mistakes I did myself.

And it depends on the players how wrong the characters are. Worst is my wife - i found an additional 7 HP for her main character plus two feats she hadn't added yet.

But HeroLab needs some time to get right - and you always can overrule it and deliberately take extra feats, skill points, even go beyond 20 point buy. If it shows red - check it out.

Just my experience.

The only bit I don't leave to HeroLab is money. It's too easy to buy something for free. You often forget the set button if you buy multiple, etc. So money is kept separate. I haven't yet been able to generate a third level character without a single mistake in gold. I know it's a user issue - but this bit is too clumsy.

Anyhow - there are ways to add/take away money to make it correct again. Just buy items and sell for free or vice versa to balance the gold at the end.

Thod

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Thod wrote:
The only bit I don't leave to HeroLab is money. It's too easy to buy something for free. You often forget the set button if you buy multiple, etc. So money is kept separate. I haven't yet been able to generate a third level character without a single mistake in gold. I know it's a user issue - but this bit is too clumsy.

Oh dear God yes. I was making up a character just today that somehow I miraculously had an addition 4k or so gold tacked on to. I still don't know when I forgot to hit the apply button so the gold total actually was included in the purchase price.

This is not the first time I've done this either. The very first time I tried to transfer over a low-level PFS character with all his chronicle sheets broken out it took me roughly ten reloads before I finally got the gold right.

Grand Lodge

MisterSlanky

Here are the two most common (in my view) reasons for underspend in HeroLab:

a) If you buy multiple items, it will default to the cost for a single item. You have to hit the set button to ensure you pay.
b) Custom items always need the set button. Magic custom items even twice to ensure you actually pay.

For me this is an annoying quirk. But for me the final number I need is the one on my chronicle sheet.

I never so far had to reloard/recreate characters in HeroLab. HeroLab allows to make invalid selections - but it also allows them to be deleted/corrected.

To balance the money - say you have 4020 gold too much - just buy one item of 4000 and one for 20 or two for 10 and delete them (sell for 0%). You can also buy for free and sell for 100% to increase the money. It should be a lot faster as reloading/recreating a character.

Thod

The Exchange

You can also go to the Journal tab and 'earn' a negative amount of gold to adjust. I've corrected my own errors this way a time or two.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Thod wrote:

a) If you buy multiple items, it will default to the cost for a single item. You have to hit the set button to ensure you pay.

b) Custom items always need the set button. Magic custom items even twice to ensure you actually pay.

For me this is an annoying quirk. But for me the final number I need is the one on my chronicle sheet.

I know exactly where I go wrong, which is part of the problem. The whole "set" button thing on "custom" items is more than simply irritating. All it takes is me missing that one critical step and I'm suddenly up 8310 gp by just buying a +2 weapon. I consider this not only an irritation but a "feature" that good software developers would quickly realize is a HUGE problem for new players. Frankly, the UI on Hero Labs often borders on horrid. If I know what I'm doing and I make the mistake time and time again, imagine what the newer player who doesn't know the finer points of the program does? Heck half the time I notice problems is 2-3 item purchases down the road, which makes it a pain to back out, especially when you then have to hand-calculate your gold totals to figure out where the numbers went wrong. That's just the obvious eccentricities of the system too; like all software I'm sure there are hidden "features" as well.

Quote:

I never so far had to reloard/recreate characters in HeroLab. HeroLab allows to make invalid selections - but it also allows them to be deleted/corrected.

To balance the money - say you have 4020 gold too much - just buy one item of 4000 and one for 20 or two for 10 and delete them (sell for 0%). You can also buy for free and sell for 100% to increase the money. It should be a lot faster as reloading/recreating a character.

When it comes to normal characters I agree, but when it comes to PFS characters, I want the journaling to reflect what really happened to me. It acts as a "backup Chronicle" so-to-speak that I can reference should anything happen to the paper. If I don't get around to entering in my chronicles as journal entries for 3 chronicles (because that's when I level up), this problem rears its ugly head more than once easily.

When I first got Hero Labs and tried to enter in a level 3 character and his six chronicles I really am not kidding when I say it took me ten reloads. It took me the first four times to realize what the problem was in the first place, as I just thought there was some critical bug in the software. After that even understanding what the issue is, I sometimes have to figure out that I have a math error in the first place (and being off by some random number like 428 gold doesn't make that easy), and I have to figure out the extent of the error that either requires that I just start from scratch (often easier), or hand-calculate my gold expenditures. This really defeats one of the primary purposes of the system.

Worst part is? I know what I'm doing. Every suggestion you've made I do. I know the software system well enough to look for the issues and I know the Pathfinder rules system to recognize when something isn't quite meeting my expectations. New players often incorrectly assume the system is infallible but don't realize that UI issues make their own use of the system fallible. Additionally, as time goes on I see more players relying on Hero Labs to tell them what to do rather than understanding the rules and knowing why Hero Labs tells them what to do. This causes major disruptions at the table when Hero Labs has its occasional bug or Hero Labs presents something in a simplistic manner that doesn't give a full picture of the rules. I know this is happening too because as a GM I continue to find character errors on HL characters and I continue to have players tell me what HL is telling them to do without really understanding things.

Hero Labs is a tool, nothing more. Players do rely too heavily on it, and I continue to try to have to educate, which I don't mind doing, but trying to educate against the rule book is quite a bit easier than educating against something that never was intended to give a full picture of the rules. Problems like what's been mentioned about the gold are just one of many reasons why I believe that too much reliance on anything like this is a very bad thing, just like too much reliance on Wikipedia for your knowledge-base might also give you a slightly distorted view of things. Both are tools that need to be monitored, and it frustrates me to see the extent at which Hero Labs is trusted, even beyond the scope of common sense.

Thod

Grand Lodge

Mister Slanky

I keep a copy of expenses (as written text) in my journal. Well - I try to keep this always up to date. As this allows me to go back.

The reason I do it this way - how else to I account for items I use.

I have a wizard. So I buy a scroll and use it. Any trace of what I did is lost if I don't keep a note how money was spend. Another issue is scribing spells into the spellbook. You could argue that the program should force you to pay for this. Maybe ...

The other bit is - it tends to use by default a skill-point as favourite class bonus if you level up. I tend to keep hit-points instead. So often I felt - oh - some extra skill points available - only to realize some HP are gone instead.

But in regard to custom items - yes - maybe I write up a improvement suggestion. This is the main bugbear I have with the program. Apart of that I'm actually very, very happy with it.

2Wolfthulu

I wasn't aware you could enter negative values in the journal. Will try it out. So far I deleted the few that I got wrong and re-entered. Seems you never stop to learn.

Thod


I do the same as Thod in both PC-Gen and HeroLabs. I put in my journal the module I played, when I played it, Tier played at, running tally of PA/XP/GP, wand usages, items purchased and sold, loot and boons and now I keep whether the DM tells me if some of the characters are re-occuring(like to play the module to see the development of the NPC). I also use the buy and sell method to fix cost and also adding a negative price in the journal. This is the only way I have figured out to add the cost of upgrading a +1 to +2 armor or weapon.

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