Best Character Creation software


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Hello,

Can anyone point me in the direction of the best character creation software for Pathfinder?

I have looked at both PC-Gen (free) and Hero Labs (paid). I would like to hear other options and feedback from anyone that has used the above (or other) tools.

Thanks,
-Bill


I think that keeping your character on Google Docs is the best idea.

Why?

Because it will always exist. Unless you decide to delete it.

Anywhere you go you will have your character sheet. As long as you have internet access.

and you can print it off and and and...

The problem is finding a good character sheet from google spread sheet.

I was unhappy with the ones I found so I have always just kinda made my own.

I am working on one but its not near worth showing anyone.


Karlgamer wrote:
I think that keeping your character on Google Docs is the best idea.

Well, the program used to create a character and where you choose to place the exported character are two different matters. There's nothing that says you can't export your character from either of those programs and then upload the PDF (or PNG, html, etc) to Google, DropBox, or any other location.

While (like Karl) I prefer to create my own character sheets/generators, one of my players swears by HeroLab. In fact, the only reason I'm not using it is due to the fact that it doesn't support Gestalt characters without manually building a custom class to fake it. From what I recall, the interface was easy enough to work with (my friend is new to the game actually and he could work it), and there is a lot of content available.

IMO, you should download the free trial and test both out to see which works best for you. Don't allow price (or a lack thereof), be the deciding factor. The amount of time a good tool can save you can easily pay for itself.

If I were you, I'd try performing a search of the forums for various Excel character sheets/character creators. There are more than a few Paizonians who have posted theirs over the years and many have a great deal of the character building functionality built-in.


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Go with Hero Lab. At least that's what I would suggest. Using it, I've been able to make PC's of 20th level in less than 15 minutes. It can literally be 3 or 4 minutes for a 1st level character.

It's more than just a character creator too. I use it as my character sheet these days. You can track items, spell memorization and use, buffs, conditions, and even different tactics, such as fighting defensively or higher ground, all with the math done for you.

And it's so straightforward and easy to use.

PCGen I've found a little difficult to navigate in.

The only problem with Hero Lab is it can get a bit expensive if you want a lot of the Pathfinder stuff beyond core programmed in for you.


I just purchased Hero Lab. Love it. I made a 16th level character in about 20 minutes. It was expensive, but it has already saved me several hours. But, I have also spent several hours learning how to create magic weapons, and locate add on information for the product. So, as I get better with the tool, which to me is fairly intuitive, but I know how to program, it will save time, and allow me to spend more time elsewhere, which is important to me.

James

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Hero Lab in my opinion wins hands down. The software is easy to use and well put together. It works great for char gen, NPC generation and advancing monsters. I love the software so much, I started supporting it with my own releases.

Liberty's Edge

Hero Lab still does not have a Mac version though, right?

Lone Wolf Development

Marc Radle wrote:
Hero Lab still does not have a Mac version though, right?

Beta testing of the Mac version begins in a few weeks. For screenshots and more details, please see our monthly newsletter, which can be found on our website here.

Liberty's Edge

Hero Lab. There is no other choice that is even remotely close to the quality of this software.

Cost is the only issue. If you won't pony up the bucks? Then you won't. But Hero Lab is better than any other alternative choice without exception or qualification.

It's ENNie Award Winning for a REASON.


lonewolf-rob wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
Hero Lab still does not have a Mac version though, right?
Beta testing of the Mac version begins in a few weeks. For screenshots and more details, please see our monthly newsletter, which can be found on our website here.

If you have a Mac version, would a Linux version be on the horizon too?


You can try some of the Excel sheets like
Heroforge or Ogresheet

Liberty's Edge

lonewolf-rob wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
Hero Lab still does not have a Mac version though, right?
Beta testing of the Mac version begins in a few weeks. For screenshots and more details, please see our monthly newsletter, which can be found on our website here.

... Wasn't beta testing supposed to start sometime soon after PaizoCon last June?

Lone Wolf Development

darth_borehd wrote:
If you have a Mac version, would a Linux version be on the horizon too?

There are no plans for a Linux version at this time. Sorry.

Lone Wolf Development

Marc Radle wrote:
... Wasn't beta testing supposed to start sometime soon after PaizoCon last June?

What we showed at PaizoCon was a very early Alpha version that wasn't remotely complete and had some huge holes. Our plan at the time was to get the Mac version into Beta by the end of the summer (nominally September), but there's just been too much other stuff to deal with and we didn't hit that target. All the functionality is now in place and we're just testing and refining things right now before we go to Beta.

Sovereign Court

If you like form fill-able PDFs, you can download the one I made here. Then just use the SRD for reference.

Grand Lodge

patnodewf wrote:
If you like form fill-able PDFs, you can download the one I made here. Then just use the SRD for reference.

And here I was about to post the link for you and do a bit of sales on your sheet... :) Except you beat my by 4 hours.

Yep - this is now my preferred medium. It works a treat and it produces a good quality PDF sheet when printed.

Lantern Lodge

I've been using Herolab and I love it. It has a bit of a learning curve when it comes to creating custom items but otherwise it's incredibly intuitive. The only real complaint-- and it's not really a complaint per se-- is having to buy new updates as new books come out. It adds an additional 10 bucks typically to any new PF book I buy. But given the sheer amount of creation ease, not to mention the ability to run combat from within the program, tracking hit points, spells, conditions etc. makes it well worth the cost.

Dark Archive

Dr. Horatio Thwack wrote:
I've been using Herolab and I love it. It has a bit of a learning curve when it comes to creating custom items but otherwise it's incredibly intuitive. The only real complaint-- and it's not really a complaint per se-- is having to buy new updates as new books come out. It adds an additional 10 bucks typically to any new PF book I buy. But given the sheer amount of creation ease, not to mention the ability to run combat from within the program, tracking hit points, spells, conditions etc. makes it well worth the cost.

The core books yes, companion/setting bundles are typically more in the range of $5 for two or three books.


Personally I like PCGen over Herolab, but then I'm a bit biased.


Hello,
I've got to admit my use with PC-Gen was really short. I don't like to input all of the stuff, and at the time I didn't know enough to find what I wanted on forums and stuff.

My use of HeroLab is another story. Yes the fact you have to pay for the supplements makes it a little pricey, but I really don't want to learn how to do it in a free program. I love HeroLab.

A lot of it depends on your computer knowledge and the amount of time you have to adding all of the extra stuff.

Good Luck & let us know what you decided!


All of what stuff? I think we have everything but Ultimate Combat in the beta release.


Gimril wrote:

Hello,

Can anyone point me in the direction of the best character creation software for Pathfinder?

I have looked at both PC-Gen (free) and Hero Labs (paid). I would like to hear other options and feedback from anyone that has used the above (or other) tools.

Thanks,
-Bill

Been using HeroLab for about 10 months now, and it is an essential tool for a DM. I literally was able to create 214 NPCs for a game arc I helped run at DragonCon last year in a matter of days, while at work on lunch breaks alone. The program is user friendly and well worth the dollars for just the core set, which is what we used for the game. Adding the bestiary next opened the doors to an all new game that I am currently constructing for this year's DragonCon. I highly recommended this product to my gaming group, and already, three of us have purchased it, and most of the supplments offered. You can avoid some of the supplements, but the core book (which comes with your purchase of the program), the bestiary #1, and Advanced player's guide are a must if you are going to expand your game.

Hope this helps in your decision.

Scarab Sages

Another nod to Herolab here. In addition to agreeing with the comments of others here, I would point out that it makes online gaming with a vtt MUCH easier in that allows export of your pc into most vtt's including fantasy Grounds. HUGE timesave there.


I have not used anything else, but in the 1 week I have owned Hero Lab I was able to crank out 8 14-17 level NPCs, fully worked up, all equipment, everything. Took about 2 hours per, but I had to read a lot of the information, not an expert on every class.

I give it 5 of 5 stars.

Also, the support on their forums has been tremendous.

Cheers,
James

Dark Archive

I will add my vote for Herolab.For running gamer online with D20pro Herloab is a godsend.


I find "Epizephyrii's Pathfinder Character Sheet" on google docs to be pretty good. Naturaly it has some errors but I find a web doc character sheet to be great for the slow tinkering process I go through creating a character.


Nylanfs wrote:
All of what stuff? I think we have everything but Ultimate Combat in the beta release.

Granted when I tried PC-Gen it was for 3.5 and like I said it was before I really became adept at messageboards and the like. Sorry if I misled anyone.

Silver Crusade

Herolab for me.


gotta add my support for hero lab. buy it. It's worth it.

Lantern Lodge

Matthew Winn wrote:


The core books yes, companion/setting bundles are typically more in the range of $5 for two or three books.

Right, thanks for clearing that up. I don't actually run a game in the PF core setting so I've never really had a need to pick up any of the setting/companion materials.

And taking price out of the equation, the speed with which they get the updates out for PF has been very impressive. There's nothing my group hates more than getting a new book with options for their characters that they have to "wait" to use because the character creation software is pending an update!


LtlBtyRam wrote:
Granted when I tried PC-Gen it was for 3.5 and like I said it was before I really became adept at messageboards and the like. Sorry if I misled anyone.

Ahh okay, you would be referring to WotC's Closed Content stuff. Honest mistake then :)

Although once you do learn how to make items (whether in HeroLab or PCGen) it gives you a greater range of freedom in you're home game. Plus a greater appreciation for game design :)


Nylanfs,

Hadn't thought about it, but the more I play with Hero Lab and create characters and items, the more I do appreciate and understand how the game itself is put together. Helps drive a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanics. Sounds crazy, but, it is what it is.

James

Silver Crusade

I'll get Herolab once it's useable for mac. Or can I use a virtual PC until the mac version comes out?

Silver Crusade Lone Wolf Development

Mystic_Snowfang wrote:
I'll get Herolab once it's useable for mac. Or can I use a virtual PC until the mac version comes out?

Hero Lab works well on emulators - we use Macs running parallels for our convention demo stations.


LovesTha wrote:
I find "Epizephyrii's Pathfinder Character Sheet" on google docs to be pretty good. Naturaly it has some errors but I find a web doc character sheet to be great for the slow tinkering process I go through creating a character.

One such bug is that it doesn't do the Wizard's class skills correctly.


The Only Sheet gets my vote...the best integrated Excel-based sheet I've found...www.theonlysheet.com


How much would it cost to buy Herolab with the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, Advanced Players Guide, Ultimate Combat, and Ultimate Magic?

Their website is not clear what you get with the basic bundle.


Your initial Hero Lab license purchase is $29.99. This includes access to the core data package for one game system of your choice, which you select when you first install Hero Lab and activate your license.

So you pay $20.00 for the Game system (Pathfinder), $9.99 for the application itself. Pathfinder game system comes with the Core Rule Book, the Inner Sea World Guide and continuing addition of most of the Adventure Path content from each new one. Not sure where they are at them moment with how complete that content is. Someone from Lonewolf would have to answer that.

The APG, UC and UM are $9.99 each.

Bestiary 1 is $14.99, Bestiary 2 is $9.99 and presumably Bestiary 3 will be $9.99. Further once Bestiary 3 comes out they will be offering all three Bestiaries for $29.99 as a bundled deal, saving you about $5 on the three.

In addition they are releasing various bundles of books for $5.00 each.

Does that help?


Gimril wrote:

Can anyone point me in the direction of the best character creation software for Pathfinder?

My wife and I use HeroLab. Now after seeing how it works, each player in our group uses it too. 7 total.

It is the best one I've used in my 30 years of gaming. Awesome tool and they have great support and regular updates. It has even taught me things about the game. I looked at my sheet and said, "that's wrong!" then looked the rules up and found that HeroLab was doing it the right way.

100% recommend it.


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I use and like PCGen. I think it lacks contributors to make it even greater.

I despise Herolab.

I don’t like using spreadsheet for characters.

Liberty's Edge

lonewolf-rob wrote:
darth_borehd wrote:
If you have a Mac version, would a Linux version be on the horizon too?
There are no plans for a Linux version at this time. Sorry.

That's too bad. I'll never run Windows or an Apple OS again.

Liberty's Edge

Mystic_Snowfang wrote:
I'll get Herolab once it's useable for mac.

Same here ... whenever that may be ...


If you have an Ipad, I recommend trying the Darktheatre Character Folio


Marc Radle wrote:
Mystic_Snowfang wrote:
I'll get Herolab once it's useable for mac.
Same here ... whenever that may be ...

Can't you dual boot into windows? :)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

I'd add one other wonderful thing for Herolab...

It makes tracking PFS characters much much easier.

My only concern now is i'm about to get a new mini, blank the old one and give it to my sister. I don't know how difficult it will be to move the license from the old mini to the new.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
houstonderek wrote:
lonewolf-rob wrote:
darth_borehd wrote:
If you have a Mac version, would a Linux version be on the horizon too?
There are no plans for a Linux version at this time. Sorry.
That's too bad. I'll never run Windows or an Apple OS again.

I once had a very similar attitude. Then I woke up from Slashdot madness and came to an epiphany. I didn't give a damm what operating system I ran as long as I can run what I want, do what I need to do, and not have to rebuild my computer for each application.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Matthew Morris wrote:

I'd add one other wonderful thing for Herolab...

It makes tracking PFS characters much much easier.

My only concern now is i'm about to get a new mini, blank the old one and give it to my sister. I don't know how difficult it will be to move the license from the old mini to the new.

It shouldn't be that hard. Your base purchase also gives you two license codes so you can use it on two machines at once.

Sovereign Court

+1 for HeroLabs. Used to be a Heroforge user, but tried HL and never regretted it. Plays well with other applications, like D20 Pro, Fantasy Grounds, Combat Manager, and probably many others that I am not even aware of. Support for ALL PF products appears very quickly after the print release of the product, and the community support on the web is quite strong.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

LazarX wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:

I'd add one other wonderful thing for Herolab...

It makes tracking PFS characters much much easier.

My only concern now is i'm about to get a new mini, blank the old one and give it to my sister. I don't know how difficult it will be to move the license from the old mini to the new.

It shouldn't be that hard. Your base purchase also gives you two license codes so you can use it on two machines at once.

Yeah, and my other copy's on my home PC. That's my worry. ;-)

Well like my idol General Sherman said, "We'll burn that bridge when we come to it."*

*

Spoiler:
Disclaimer: Not actually said by Sherman.

Grand Lodge

Matthew Morris wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:

I'd add one other wonderful thing for Herolab...

It makes tracking PFS characters much much easier.

My only concern now is i'm about to get a new mini, blank the old one and give it to my sister. I don't know how difficult it will be to move the license from the old mini to the new.

It shouldn't be that hard. Your base purchase also gives you two license codes so you can use it on two machines at once.

Yeah, and my other copy's on my home PC. That's my worry. ;-)

Well like my idol General Sherman said, "We'll burn that bridge when we come to it."*

*** spoiler omitted **

Generally you can transfer a license to another computer if need be. If you have problems and the license does not go over well to the new computer then you can contact Lonewolf and they will facilitate the transfer for no problem usually.

If there is a problem they will even work with you to help as well.
I have done this a couple of times and no problems yet.

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