HeroLab??


Pathfinder Society

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The Exchange 5/5

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I've had HeroLab since they incorporated the Pathfinder rules. I didn't use it because it still had a lot of bugs. I used pen & paper until about a year ago when I took a second look at HeroLab. I had noticed that an increasing number of players were using it. Unfortunately it allowed them to build characters without understanding how their class/abilities/features/feats worked. Worse, they had no idea about the flavors they were mixing. That is really a problem with the individual, not with the program. These are the same adults who have trouble totalling up their dice without counting on their fingers. It gives the program a bad rap. I do think that you shouldn't use HeroLab unless you can build the same character using pen & paper.

What really sold me on HeroLab is when the iPad app was released and I could actively use the program at the game table. When you can turn on rage, inspire courage, barkskin, bull's strength, deathknell, enlarge person and haste with a few taps of the screen, it becomes a guilty pleasure to use.

Unfortunately, I am still hoping for a HeroLab feature reminding people to know what the #*!% they are doing when their turn comes up.

1/5

Okay thanks


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Usually if you mouse over a number, HeroLab will tell you at least the types of bonuses it used to calculate the final result (i.e. Armor Class has base + dex + dodge + deflection etc etc). It's YOUR job to know when situational modifiers apply, such as when you are making an attack you get a bonus for (i.e. Sundering with Improved/Greater Sunder).

Every Feat, Trait and Spell (and gear too, I think) has a reference noted in it's entry, so you can tell what book it came from. It's YOUR job to make sure you own it outside of HeroLab.

Clicking the "Pathfinder Society Organized Play character" box in the "Configure Hero" menu should usually show you everything that's currently legal for PFS play. If you don't own the data package for a book, obviously it won't show up. You can manually click on boxes for every book that you DO own the data set for in the same menu. It's YOUR job to make sure your clicked boxes coincide with books you actually own.

Finally, a data set is a lot cheaper than the accumilated costs of the PDFs for the books contained in the data set. Saying "I'd rather buy more PDFs" is disingenuous, because you can buy 5 PDFs for over $50, or one data set that contains the HeroLab files for the same 5 books for $5, less if you get it in a bundle. AND you could just use the included editor to code it all in yourself for FREE if you want. The data sets do cost more money, but the money spent has value and it is not necessary. Try coding in some data yourself and see if your time is worth more than the $5 it costs to just buy the set.

Dark Archive 5/5

As a GM I use it for monster stats all the time. Beautiful, when you want to add a template, power attack or have a great reference to their special abilities.


I would suggest to use it only after you created your share of characters manually - so when you understand how bonuses related to stats, and character works as a whole. I personally dont use it cos it have several bugs in calculations and it triggers my perfectionis's OCD.

5/5 *

Doug Miles wrote:
Unfortunately, I am still hoping for a HeroLab feature reminding people to know what the #*!% they are doing when their turn comes up.

I'd pay for that feature!

The Exchange 5/5

3 people marked this as a favorite.
DarkPhoenixx wrote:
I would suggest to use it only after you created your share of characters manually - so when you understand how bonuses related to stats, and character works as a whole. I personally dont use it cos it have several bugs in calculations and it triggers my perfectionis's OCD.

Yeah, I know what you mean ;)

Liberty's Edge 1/5

Vrog Skyreaver wrote:

As a quick aside, I find it useful to annotate what book a feat/trait/whathaveyou comes from, so that you can pull that book up quickly during play if the GM asks for it, and you don't know it off the top of your head.

I don't use herolab personally, but that might be worth doing if you print out your sheet (or have notation space in esheets).

Hero lab will print out a separate sheet that generally includes this info.

5/5 *** Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

I've GMed a fair number of PFS scenarios, played a huge amount and helped audit a lot of characters as well.

I find character sheets done by hand are much more likely to be off by +/- 1 or 2 in places. Due to things like failing to update armor check penalty, or missing a favored class bonus, or just plain arithmetic mistakes.

I've found HL users to have fewer errors, but more catastrophic ones. There's the incredibly common gold weighs too much problem, but much more frustrating to me as a GM isn't an error but it is the 90% of the time when I ask a HL user:

"Why is your bonus +7?"

The answer is that's what HL says.

The PnP user is at least able to tell me that they're getting +2 from wisdom, 3 skills ranks, and +3 from the class skill bonus.

---

Note there is massive sampling bias here. The player that seems to know what they're doing, I'm much less likely to ask them why their bonus is +7, while the player who is having trouble or who has messed up something already I'm much more likely to ask.

Mostly I've just given up though. I almost never get a satisfactory answer and don't have the time to delve into the problem and solve it without telling the other players at the table "sorry you don't get to see the second half of the adventure, here's your 1xp, 0pp 1/2 gold chronicle sheet, because we spent all the time sorting out Bob and Alice's perception bonuses."

Grand Lodge 4/5

Carlos Robledo wrote:
Doug Miles wrote:
Unfortunately, I am still hoping for a HeroLab feature reminding people to know what the #*!% they are doing when their turn comes up.
I'd pay for that feature!

That isn't the fault of the program.. it's the fault of the player/group/gm to encourage the player to do their job to learn their role?

Shadow Lodge

TwoWolves wrote:
Finally, a data set is a lot cheaper than the accumilated costs of the PDFs for the books contained in the data set. Saying "I'd rather buy more PDFs" is disingenuous, because you can buy 5 PDFs for over $50, or one data set that contains the HeroLab files for the same 5 books for $5, less if you get it in a bundle.

The bit about coding it yourself may indicate you already know this, but to make sure this is absolutely clear: buying the appropriate data package for Hero Lab is absolutely not a replacement for buying a PDF of the material. The PFS Additional Resources rules state you have to own the book the material is from in order to use it, and buying the data package is not the same.

In other words, in order to use the material included in said data package (which, yes, is cheaper on its own than the PDFs of the books said package supports), you also have to buy the PDFs of said books. That means the cost of the data package is in addition to the cost of the books, not instead of.

That said, I don't have a problem with the relatively inexpensive cost of the data packages.


SCPRedMage wrote:
TwoWolves wrote:
Finally, a data set is a lot cheaper than the accumilated costs of the PDFs for the books contained in the data set. Saying "I'd rather buy more PDFs" is disingenuous, because you can buy 5 PDFs for over $50, or one data set that contains the HeroLab files for the same 5 books for $5, less if you get it in a bundle.

The bit about coding it yourself may indicate you already know this, but to make sure this is absolutely clear: buying the appropriate data package for Hero Lab is absolutely not a replacement for buying a PDF of the material. The PFS Additional Resources rules state you have to own the book the material is from in order to use it, and buying the data package is not the same.

In other words, in order to use the material included in said data package (which, yes, is cheaper on its own than the PDFs of the books said package supports), you also have to buy the PDFs of said books. That means the cost of the data package is in addition to the cost of the books, not instead of.

That said, I don't have a problem with the relatively inexpensive cost of the data packages.

Yes. Hence the paragraph I wrote just prior to the one you quoted.

Shadow Lodge

graywulfe wrote:
Vrog Skyreaver wrote:

As a quick aside, I find it useful to annotate what book a feat/trait/whathaveyou comes from, so that you can pull that book up quickly during play if the GM asks for it, and you don't know it off the top of your head.

I don't use herolab personally, but that might be worth doing if you print out your sheet (or have notation space in esheets).

Hero lab will print out a separate sheet that generally includes this info.

Which is why I love Hero Lab so much; not because it simplifies the creation of characters, but because it allows me to print off sheets with the full text of all my feats, class features, and racial traits. Heck, it can even print off the full contents of my spellbook or spells known.

If someone wants to be elitist about making their characters the old fashion way, fine, have fun with that. But after your character has been created, slap it together in Hero Lab so you can print out your abilities and spells, so you don't have to go flipping through a book every time you want to cast something.

4/5

Would it help if someone were to write a quick guide to using Hero Lab in PFS? Things like:

  • Legality (owning Hero Lab packages vs. owning resources)
  • Noting Sources (every time you add something to your character, note the source and add it to your Background Details for future reference; how to audit what sources you're using if you haven't been doing this from the beginning)
  • Printed Sheets vs. Using the program in-game (did you print with options like Power Attack or Point-Blank Shot checked?)
  • Known bugs, inconsistencies or controversial interpretations of rules

I'd even consider making one for players and one for GMs, including auditing tips (e.g., check the adjustments tab).

Silver Crusade 1/5

The only bug I have not been able to get rectified with HeroLab lately is that when I activate 2 judgements on my level 10 inquisitor, it tells me I have too many active. They both still go into effect, so it's hardly game-breaking.


DarkPhoenixx wrote:
I would suggest to use it only after you created your share of characters manually - so when you understand how bonuses related to stats, and character works as a whole. I personally dont use it cos it have several bugs in calculations and it triggers my perfectionis's OCD.

If you haven't already, please report bugs via our bug reporting form here: http://www.wolflair.com/redirect/bugreport.php?project=pathfinder

5/5 5/55/55/5

SCPRedMage wrote:

If someone wants to be elitist about making their characters the old fashion way, fine, have fun with that. But after your character has been created, slap it together in Hero Lab so you can print out your abilities and spells, so you don't have to go flipping through a book every time you want to cast something.

The character print out was a big turn off for me. I really don't need to see it start listing "druid weapon proficiencies" so that it runs out of space before listing the feats I have.

And I don't need to flip through the book. Its duct tapped hide knows to open to the rule i want.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TheFlyingPhoton wrote:

I've seen a lot of players use HeroLab. Just be sure you know all the details on the character sheet back and forth and don't just take each number as gospel.

Example: Recently played a game with a Lv 1 witch who used HeroLab. He almost died because every player had to make five climb checks in a row individually, and he kept botching them. When we found out he had a -4 to Climb, we immediately asked why. He wasn't sure. After looking at his sheets for a bit, someone else figured out that he had encumbrance due to weight. We were climbing down something, so we just told him he could drop all his gear and only have a -1 to climb. He just took the -4 penalty to Climb without asking why or thinking about how to get around it until everyone else asked him about it (he was a great player at the table otherwise).

You probably had coin weight turned on. Then again, if you were a Str 5 wonder, then maybe the minus to climb was legit.

5/5 Venture-Agent, Australia—NSW—Sydney

redward wrote:
Would it help if someone were to write a quick guide to using Hero Lab in PFS? Things like:
  • Legality (owning Hero Lab packages vs. owning resources)
  • Noting Sources (every time you add something to your character, note the source and add it to your Background Details for future reference; how to audit what sources you're using if you haven't been doing this from the beginning)
  • Printed Sheets vs. Using the program in-game (did you print with options like Power Attack or Point-Blank Shot checked?)
  • Known bugs, inconsistencies or controversial interpretations of rules

I'd even consider making one for players and one for GMs, including auditing tips (e.g., check the adjustments tab).

It's easier to print a stat block without any in-play options ticked; and then do a second version of the same stat block with daily abilities switched on.

I copy/paste a plain stat block into a word document and add; mage armour, power attack and vital strike by hand as second attacks before printing off the full sheet.

The gear and abilities sheet is useful but sometimes lacks special abilities or a full explanation of a spell like abilities (in this case) it's useful to add a custom scroll of the spell to the PC and then when this page prints out you have a reference to hand.Also check class abilities descriptions.

Re-check figures, especially; skill ranks and abilities from traits and feats; that sometimes numbers get missed. You'll also need to manually add boons gain from chronicles. (I copy/paste them into the Journal, but this is just as a reference - you'll still need the chronicle to claim the boon in game.

5/5 Venture-Agent, Australia—NSW—Sydney

LazarX wrote:
You probably had coin weight turned on. Then again, if you were a Str 5 wonder, then maybe the minus to climb was legit.

Yep, HL doesn't let you carry cash as gems (you can turn off coin weight though)

A lot of low Str characters end up with Handy Haversacks anyway... all HL does is highlight and issue which tends to get hand-waived by a lot of GM's. no biggie.

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