Is Hero Lab Online going to ruin PF2 for my group?


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Grand Lodge

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At our last gaming session, my group had a discussion about being so frustrated with the Hero Lab Online experience that maybe we should go back to PF1 or even switch to 5E D&D.

Now I know this is a rather extreme position, but my group was deep into Hero Lab Classic for PF1 and really enjoyed using it as a tool at the gaming table. They are all veteran players but we are older and have less time now so using a tool like Hero Lab is kind of essential to our enjoyment of the game. Several of them are engineers, techies, or teachers and have definite experience and opinions about software and interfaces.

It was a bit of persuasion on my part to get them to switch to PF2 last August, but we did and we are almost done with Hellknight Hill...and loving it, even with the steep learning curve of the new rules. They were all looking forward to using Hero Lab.

But the transition there has been rough. They don't like the interface. They balked at the cost. There have been significant bugs and glitches in the software. There have not been enough system upgrades. They don't like being tethered to the Internet. They don't want to pay additional money for additional packages. There was not support for Age of Ashes at launch. And then this week we get great new that Age of Ashes package is available, but it is only the first 3 adventures AND it will cost each of them $9.99.

There are no clear alternatives out there for iPad/MacOS. I'm also not sure why the financial model can't be more like D&D Beyond, which allows me to purchase data packages and then share that with my group at no additional cost to them. It just felt like a kick in the head to tell them they needed to start paying more to get the content when the experience has been so negative.

I was glad to hear that Lone Wolf was pulling people off RealmWorks to increase support of HLO. But I am worried that it is too little, too late for my group. There need to be significant improvements to the experience and cost structure if my group is going to continue with HLO...and maybe Pathfinder 2e!


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Timothy A Dohrer wrote:


There are no clear alternatives out there for iPad/MacOS. I'm also not sure why the financial model can't be more like D&D Beyond, which allows me to purchase data packages and then share that with my group at no additional cost to them. It just felt like a kick in the head to tell them they needed to start paying more to get the content when the experience has been so negative.

For what it's worth, I agree with you on Hero Lab Online (we have hundreds of dollars into Classic, and HLO hasn't gotten anyplace near making me want to invest in it). We are mainly iOS as well, but a couple guys have Android phones and use Pathbuilder 2. I tried it using Bluestacks emulator on Windows/MacoS and liked it so much I got a cheap Amazon Fire tablet to install it on. It's very good and gets updated regularly, so keeps getting better. Worth looking into if possible. It makes character creation MUCH easier and faster, and even if it doesn't have the functionality of Hero Lab, P2e is quite a bit simpler to play anyay with fewer of the seemingly endless +1/+2/-1/-2 and other effects that 1e had.


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Timothy A Dohrer wrote:


Now I know this is a rather extreme position

Yes, I would agree that it is.

Timothy A Dohrer wrote:
They don't like the interface.

Personal taste. Fair enough.

Timothy A Dohrer wrote:
They balked at the cost. There have been significant bugs and glitches in the software. There have not been enough system upgrades. They don't like being tethered to the Internet. They don't want to pay additional money for additional packages. There was not support for Age of Ashes at launch.

You seem to be expecting Lone Wolf's small team (which just went through some painful restructuring) to have the same resources as Curse - which was bought by Fandom and according to public Internet sources has 300+ employees. Lone Wolf doesn't have a staff close to that size.

Timothy A Dohrer wrote:
And then this week we get great new that Age of Ashes package is available, but it is only the first 3 adventures

For now.

Timothy A Dohrer wrote:
AND it will cost each of them $9.99.

Is there really enough AP-specific mechanical content their that ALL of your players need/want the add-on? And if so, that's $10 for 6 APs worth of content.

Timothy A Dohrer wrote:
There are no clear alternatives out there for iPad/MacOS.

So, this is actually a positive for HLO for your group but it's presented as a negative. Ok...

Respectfully, you seem to be applying some pretty unrealistic expectations to Lone Wolf and Hero Lab Online. The amount of content that Lone Wolf had to digest and encode for PF2's launch was MASSIVE. For comparison's sake:

D&D 5e's PHB launched August 2014. D&D Beyond was announced in March 2017 and launched in August 2017. Curse also had revenue streams prior to the D&D Beyond partnership with WotC and independent of tabletop RPGs. Lone Wolf's entire existence is effectively predicated on RPG/wargame support.

PF2 launched August 2019. PF2 HLO content for Core Rulebook also launched August 2019. Lone Wolf also coded the PF2 Playtest into HLO a year prior when the playtest launched.

Ultimately, you seem to want hold HLO to a standard that even D&D Beyond didn't meet initially. The fact that Lone Wolf was able to have the content of a 600+ book ready at launch with a team their size is amazing.

Does HLO need improving? It sure does. But improvements do continue to happen. And they are still releasing content that is timed to, or very close to, when those products are released by Paizo.

And while I applaud your enthusiasm for PF2, it's not like Paizo drops an entire AP in the same month, so I can't see how you're faulting Lone Wolf for releasing AP packages and then ding them for "only the first 3". I suppose that they could have waited until all 6 are released but then the complaint would have been nothing was available. And are you really playing through the AP so quickly that you're into Book 4? By all means, dive in and play the game, but developing content takes time. Paizo doesn't always have an AP's pawn set available until well after that AP's installments are out and they're publishing a different AP.

Many of the issues that you raise have been addressed by Lone Wolf as to why the architectural changes are necessary or have been acknowledged that alternatives are being reviewed/considered but announcements aren't being made until viability is assessed. (Check out LW's forums for more details.) Pricing is being looked at, Lone Wolf has talked about "family licenses" and things of that nature. They also view HLO as being in a beta-style-state and aren't charging for server access yet. And while I haven't looked at in over a year, D&D Beyond's pricing was a turnoff for me. A quick stop at D&D Beyond today greeted me with a $300+ Sourcebook bundle, a $630+ Legendary bundle, and a $364 Adventure bundle. Granted that's a lot of content, but it ain't cheap. Especially, if I also want a physical book copy. And I'm SoL if I want a PDF...

For that matter, although I purchased a 5e PHB, I decided the game wasn't for me - but that was based on 5e limitations/weaknesses, not D&D Beyond weaknesses.

These reasons included:

1. Lack of mechanical variety within classes.
2. Every class effectively having a magic-powered subclass/theme (so much for 5e being the "lower magic" edition).
3. No PDFs
4. The game seems to be heavily tilted in the players favor. As in, unless you're playing a Matt Colville "I don't believe in CR" style game, the players being at risk is rare. This is a strictly subjective assessment derived by watching Actual Play sessions on YouTube or Twitch.

(If 5e is your jam, have a blast. PF2 is mine.)

I too, like my electronic tools. I like HLO well enough but I recognize that it's early in its lifecycle and refinement will take time. But I would never drop PF2 if HLO didn't exist or I decided it wasn't for me.

So, to answer the question in the title of your thread: Only if you let it.

The Exchange

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It is wonderful that Lone Wolf has kickstarter-like supporters who understand that their product is still in development for PF2 and that people need to pay to make it usable. People have to understand that when they buy into Hero Lab Online, they are investing in a product that should eventually become usable as a tableside tool once they have enough people buying into it

It is effectively a subscription model which means you should count on at least $100/yr per person to support the ongoing development


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hero Lab Online will be vastly improved by the group license system they've been talking about. As-is, it's usable except for the print outs (which are 200% unmitigated dog-crap).


"and loving it, even with the steep learning curve of the new rules."

If you love it without hlo keep using it without hlo?

If you need character building you have pathbuilder and fantasygrounds.

Personally I am a big fan of using fantasygrounds. While the interface will give pause it is hugely customisable and very powerful in play, even for in person games.

Oh and no defense of HLO, it is garbage and being a small team is no excuse.


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Hsui wrote:

It is wonderful that Lone Wolf has kickstarter-like supporters who understand that their product is still in development for PF2 and that people need to pay to make it usable. People have to understand that when they buy into Hero Lab Online, they are investing in a product that should eventually become usable as a tableside tool once they have enough people buying into it

It is effectively a subscription model which means you should count on at least $100/yr per person to support the ongoing development

I can't tell if this is supposed to be parody or not.


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If you don't like HLO, I'd recommend pathbuilder 2, if you don't like that, there aren't quite enough options yet in pf2 for pen and paper to be a problem.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

HLO isn't a paizo product. Abandoning PF2 because you don't like HLO doesn't make a lot of sense.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Ageron wrote:
HLO isn't a paizo product. Abandoning PF2 because you don't like HLO doesn't make a lot of sense.

This is about how a particular group likes to play, not about whether Paizo has some responsibility for a 3rd party product. Whether there are tools that work with how that group likes to play is relevant. HLO not being a Paizo product isn't any more relevant to that group's game experience than my not feeling a need for digital support is.


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Quality of tools can be a really big deal for some people.

One of the main reasons I was able to convert my old group from 4e to PF1 was the existence of sites like d20pfsrd (4e had an equivalent but it was locked behind a subscription service). I don't think any of them would have been willing to try the system if we had to manually browse PDFs or physical books for each option.

It's not hard to imagine that if you're used to having robust chargen tools that having to switch to a system that has a worse underlying system can be a turnoff.


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Hsui wrote:

It is wonderful that Lone Wolf has kickstarter-like supporters who understand that their product is still in development for PF2 and that people need to pay to make it usable. People have to understand that when they buy into Hero Lab Online, they are investing in a product that should eventually become usable as a tableside tool once they have enough people buying into it

It is effectively a subscription model which means you should count on at least $100/yr per person to support the ongoing development

Threadcrap much?

1. The point was abandoning a RPG system over a single character builder seems excessive.

2. I stated that HLO needs work but is steadily receiving improvements & fixes.

3. The D&D Beyond comparison was flawed for reasons I laid out.

4. I’m able to use HLO for my campaigns and players using 1 license and a $48 outlay of cash ($35 CRB + $13 Bestiary). No one needs to spend $100+, let alone do it per year.

5. And all of this optional. As in want, not need. Play what you like, buy the character builder you want. Or don’t.

6. Assuming that HLO will be 100% at feature parity at this point shows an ignorance of software development effort and costs, a level of ignorance equal to expecting the PF2 CRB to have equivalent options to PF1’s 10 year run in a single book, or both. (Note: I don’t think this was the OP’s expectation, FYI). If it’s your expectation, Hsui, good luck.

I’m always open to better tools. If something better than HLO unseats it as my character builder of choice, Lone Wolf had me for a customer for a long time. Right now, however, HLO is the best option available for my needs, warts and all. That doesn’t make me a “Kickstarter-like supporter”.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I guess the heart of the matter is the "online" thing.

I can definitely see why people used to PF1 Herolab would expect the same service from PF2 Herolab and be disappointed if it does not deliver because of "online".

Love Pathbuilder 2 myself. Never bought Herolab for PF1 so very unlikely to buy it for PF2.


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Personally, I refuse to support any product that has a subscription fee or that is online only (so I will never consider either HLO or D&D Beyond (at least beyond has (or is supposed to get) offline support). I was all set to get HLC for PF2 until I found out that Lone Wolf were not releasing PF2 content for HLC.

5e is simple enough that I don't really need tools. At least for now, I'd like a PF2 chargen but I'll keep looking until I find something other than HLO (and I don't have Android so Pathbuilder 2 is out)...


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WatersLethe wrote:

Hero Lab Online will be vastly improved by the group license system they've been talking about. As-is, it's usable except for the print outs (which are 200% unmitigated dog-crap).

What's wrong with the printouts? They appear pretty much identical to HL classic, to my eyes.


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Matt Haddix wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

Hero Lab Online will be vastly improved by the group license system they've been talking about. As-is, it's usable except for the print outs (which are 200% unmitigated dog-crap).

What's wrong with the printouts? They appear pretty much identical to HL classic, to my eyes.

I have so many problems with it, I could write a book.

1. Zero customization
2. Printout problems (lines printing out over other lines)
3. Unacceptable for the visually impaired, very small font in many places
4. Complete lack of feat organization
5. Weapon names/descriptions running off their blocks
6. Incomplete weapon and armor information
7. Wasted space, especially in the skill section
8. Portrait forced to be over-large and located on the front page where it absolutely should not be
9. Auxiliary sheets for full descriptions need to be printed from separate pdfs, also mixes in item abilities/other sources with no discernable organization.

The biggest problem is there is no way to fix any of a thousand minor problems. The original hero lab Printout alowed you to move blocks around be scaling up and down size, and adjust details included in a single pdf.

Now when you hit print it spits out a zipped file of 5 or 6 pdfs with no way to combine or eliminate blank spaces


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Kids these days with their fancy tablets! Back in my day we used Paper and we liked it!!

Ok enough of the old man rant :p

Hero Lab Online, tried it when PF2 came out and wasn't impressed. Keep reading reviews to see if its improved yet, seems it hasn't yet.

At our table we still old stand by of PnP for our character sheets. Yea we are old :p


Why not crack open a Roll20 game just for automated sheets? It's not like you can't just copy paste feat text from AON.

Silver Crusade

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BPorter wrote:

Respectfully, you seem to be applying some pretty unrealistic expectations to Lone Wolf and Hero Lab Online.

I personally don't think "at least a little better than the free pathbuilder product" is too unrealistic an expectation.

Does HLO meet that bar yet? It didn't last time I looked into things

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I have had the same experience. I have all the content for HL PF1, and I love it. I have used it for years, and most of my players use it too.

I tried HLO and I had a hell of a time making a character. It was brutal.

I think PF2 should be a new game in HLC. It worked and I get it is a new game, but I doubt that I will try it again any time soon, if at all. I also tried Realm Works and for some reason lost all my data. It was days of input. I will not go there again either.

Give me my classic or forget the whole thing I think.


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You're not the first person to have issues with HLO.
There's an entire thread.


I love Pathbuilder2E and I am deep into Fantasy Grounds. I use it for 2E and my one leftover 1E game.
Trenloe is doing a great job with PF2 on FG.


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Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:

I love Pathbuilder2E and I am deep into Fantasy Grounds. I use it for 2E and my one leftover 1E game.

Trenloe is doing a great job with PF2 on FG.

Are you able to print out a character built with their tool?


AJCarrington wrote:
Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:

I love Pathbuilder2E and I am deep into Fantasy Grounds. I use it for 2E and my one leftover 1E game.

Trenloe is doing a great job with PF2 on FG.
Are you able to print out a character built with their tool?

As I understand it, no. I just picked up FG during their recent Winter Sale, though, so perhaps I just haven't figured out how to do it yet.

As a VTT, FG has a different focus than HLO.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Thanks. I’ve been following FG for years, though have never taken the plunge. Even though the focus in on the VTT, I’d have little issue using it if the character sheet was pretty robust. I’m not particularly sold on HLO as the core functionality (for me) has lagged and their recent turn of events has left me questioning their long-term viability.


I have been having a love hate relationship with HLO. I can say that without it I personally would have struggled with the actual character creation side of PF2. Part of that is the always a GM curse, so I don't make as many characters as I do monsters.

Yet, in making the characters that I have made I still find simple things missing that should have been there during the play test. Such as picking a familiar as a wizard, but HLO does not give you the option of "making" that familiar in any capacity.

Even with the negatives that are there, HLO has helped me learn a good chunk of the rules and I find that it has been a great asset for my game, which is played online only via Roll20. If I was at the table I am not sure just how viable HLO would be without a laptop at my side.


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My main gripe with Herolab Online is that they're essentially double-dipping: You have to pay upfront for the content, but they you also have to pay a monthly subscription fee. Pick one, guys. :)


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kalanth wrote:

Such as picking a familiar as a wizard, but HLO does not give you the option of "making" that familiar in any capacity.

There's a familiar page available when you click the "Characters" button while you currently have the wizard character open.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think the problem is the HLC was a great product and HLO is not there yet. The expectations for HLO were absurdly high because of how good HLC is.

As to quitting a game or switching versions due to lack of character builders see D&D 4th edition. The paywall subscription to access Dungeon & Dragon mags online and the character builder helped doom it. The character builder was really good at the end, but the monthly fees killed it. Our group took a break for a month or so and everyone dropped their subscriptions. There was huge resistance to restarting the monthly fees and our group switched to Shadowrun for awhile away from D&D over lack of a good easy to use character builder alternative.

Shadowrun with HLC was pretty good by the way.

Liberty's Edge

There is quite a bit of hyperbole here and a dash of misinformation about how things work with the service. As WatersLethe said, there is indeed a fully functional Familiar creation/customization set of tools, even for custom Familiars and a number of other claims here are similarly incorrect. The price/sub topic is also rife with misunderstandings too.

LWD is a tiny company, especially after the cut-backs they've recently had to deal with and any bug reports, feedback, feature requests and the like that the community can offer are helpful.

Anyone who runs into problems with HLO in general which they encounter during use or trial of the demo should really reach out to their support so they can track the problems, especially if it is something that seems pretty fundamental as there is a good chance they can help.

The best way to help make the product better is to let them know what you want out of it.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ares71 Lord of War wrote:

I think the problem is the HLC was a great product and HLO is not there yet. The expectations for HLO were absurdly high because of how good HLC is.

The problem is you don't even need to compare it to HLC. Compare it to free PF2 character builders and there is no way to justify the double down price.

Sovereign Court

I could very well be wrong in this, but doesn't Bluestacks have an android emulator that works on iOS? So you can Bluestacks pathbuilder2 on your iphone / ipad?

(I think that's what one of the players said they were doing last week, but not certain... I'm still almost a fully pen-and-paper player.)


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
The King In Yellow wrote:

I could very well be wrong in this, but doesn't Bluestacks have an android emulator that works on iOS? So you can Bluestacks pathbuilder2 on your iphone / ipad?

(I think that's what one of the players said they were doing last week, but not certain... I'm still almost a fully pen-and-paper player.)

While I haven’t tried it myself, a number for people here (and elsewhere) have done exactly this, with very positive results.


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Another HLO gripe... they are charging rather large amounts for the AP and module player content.

$10 for age of ashes, $5 for plaguestone.

Something I swear they are only charging for now because the option 9f custom making and sharing content isn't an option anymore.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:

Another HLO gripe... they are charging rather large amounts for the AP and module player content.

$10 for age of ashes, $5 for plaguestone.

Something I swear they are only charging for now because the option 9f custom making and sharing content isn't an option anymore.

I asked about the significant increase in price from the HLC AP and Module prices and this is what they told me.

BJ Lone Wolf Staff wrote:

When the idea of player content being negligible was had, the player content in Pathfinder adventures was relatively minimal. We reached a point with Starfinder and PF2 where that wasn't the case and money would be lost trying to cling to the old ways. Adjustments had to be made to ensure enough was being earned to at least cover the cost of the time spent by our data file team.

At the same time, we didn't want to penalize players who wouldn't need the encounter libraries for the adventures so we chose to split the product allowing the players to purchase just the content relevant to them.

Stand-alone adventures are a different creature than APs. Our price for a full AP is still $24.99, we simply split off the player content and charge for it separately to benefit players. When the encounter portion is out, you'll be able to purchase both to have everything you need to run the AP and the total of the two packages will still only be $24.99.

Hope that helps!


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Dragnmoon wrote:
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:

Another HLO gripe... they are charging rather large amounts for the AP and module player content.

$10 for age of ashes, $5 for plaguestone.

Something I swear they are only charging for now because the option 9f custom making and sharing content isn't an option anymore.

I asked about the significant increase in price from the HLC AP and Module prices and this is what they told me.

BJ Lone Wolf Staff wrote:

When the idea of player content being negligible was had, the player content in Pathfinder adventures was relatively minimal. We reached a point with Starfinder and PF2 where that wasn't the case and money would be lost trying to cling to the old ways. Adjustments had to be made to ensure enough was being earned to at least cover the cost of the time spent by our data file team.

At the same time, we didn't want to penalize players who wouldn't need the encounter libraries for the adventures so we chose to split the product allowing the players to purchase just the content relevant to them.

Stand-alone adventures are a different creature than APs. Our price for a full AP is still $24.99, we simply split off the player content and charge for it separately to benefit players. When the encounter portion is out, you'll be able to purchase both to have everything you need to run the AP and the total of the two packages will still only be $24.99.

Hope that helps!

The amount of content hasn't changed/increased that much. Bullhonkey. $5 for plague stone is nickle and diming when a sub fee is planned.

APs have for sure, but $9 a player is still pretty darn sharp considering how relatively little is in one to any other book.


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Charging $5 a player to choose 1 of 5 backgrounds, possibly get a few of the 3 alchemical items, maybe 1 of the 2 ranger feats, maybe a cool cat, a ring or 6, and possibly a few other things is quite a bit of money!

I'm currently playing Fall of Plaguestone so I don't want to read too much of what's in it, but it honestly doesn't take much to copy/pasta that info into some proper data structures and load it into a program. I know this because I am a programmer. An experienced programmer, who hears these gripes, and wishes to do some good in this world...


BlueStacks has an Android emulator for iOS? That's news to me. I've been using their emulator for Windows but it would be nice to use it on my iPad. I'll have to check it out...


Twilight2k wrote:
BlueStacks has an Android emulator for iOS? That's news to me. I've been using their emulator for Windows but it would be nice to use it on my iPad. I'll have to check it out...

Its primarily for PC and Mac, but there does appear to be an iOS version as well.

https://bluestacks-app-player.com/mobile/11-bluestacks-for-ios.html


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

There is nothing on the BlueStacks homepage that suggests they have an iOS variant (unfortunately)...I think this site is interchanging iOS and MacOS


Draco18s wrote:
Twilight2k wrote:
BlueStacks has an Android emulator for iOS? That's news to me. I've been using their emulator for Windows but it would be nice to use it on my iPad. I'll have to check it out...

Its primarily for PC and Mac, but there does appear to be an iOS version as well.

https://bluestacks-app-player.com/mobile/11-bluestacks-for-ios.html

Unfortunately it is a misnomer. At the bottom of the link you included, it talks about installing on Macs and says something like "can not be downloaded for iPad". It would be really nice if we could get BlueStacks on iPad.

Eventually, I may go with the other option I was considering (get an Amazon Fire 8" for cheap and install Android apps on that).


Wow, ok then. That page is full of misinformation. And I got suckered.
(I didn't try the download links because I don't have either a Mac or an iOS device).


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yeah...had me going for a while too...always amazed at how I can try to sell myself on something I want. Lol


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AJCarrington wrote:
Yeah...had me going for a while too...always amazed at how I can try to sell myself on something I want. Lol

I love how I left a comment pointing out that it's not actually for iOS and it was deleted.


Timothy A Dohrer wrote:
At our last gaming session, my group had a discussion about being so frustrated with the Hero Lab Online experience that maybe we should go back to PF1 or even switch to 5E D&D.

I do find it odd that you might change games over it, but I do admit that when one of my games bailed on PF2 and switched to D&D 5e several folks remarked how much better they liked D&D Beyond. I find the homebrew features to be appealing.

My other game still uses Hero Lab Classic for PF1 and loves it. Again, we've been able to add custom content to HLC, which is a nice feature.


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Chance Wyvernspur wrote:
Timothy A Dohrer wrote:
At our last gaming session, my group had a discussion about being so frustrated with the Hero Lab Online experience that maybe we should go back to PF1 or even switch to 5E D&D.

I do find it odd that you might change games over it, but I do admit that when one of my games bailed on PF2 and switched to D&D 5e several folks remarked how much better they liked D&D Beyond. I find the homebrew features to be appealing.

My other game still uses Hero Lab Classic for PF1 and loves it. Again, we've been able to add custom content to HLC, which is a nice feature.

It is a necessary feature for a tabletop tool imo, infact one of the reasons I dislike D&D beyond is because of awfully clunky and limited it has been to add homebrew content to.

Blows HLO out of the water in functionality though. HLC is clunky too, but it has flexibility and power under the hood as well as running offline and being capable of outputting custom sheets and statblocks.

When I can make a character faster in fantasygrounds than I can in herolab or D&D beyond something has gone horribly wrong :P


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HLO is immensely frustrating, since they had something that worked in HLC and abandoned it for the new thing. Okay, fine, that happens. The new thing is worse than the old thing in a lot of ways (no custom content, doesn't work offline, etc).

The new thing is also more expensive than the old thing, with the double-dipping subscription model and relatively high price for minor things like AP player content that used to be free.

So lets summarize this. It's more expensive for less functionality. It is not shocking why HLC users would be balking at this. I totally agree that things like family plans and an all-in single subscription would help significantly, but until that stuff is actually delivered, it's meaningless to talk about it.

I don't think it should ruin anything for a group, simply because Hero Lab isn't nearly as necessary in PF2 the way it was in PF1. The math in PF2 is much simpler, you aren't going to have to try to figure out how seven buffs interact with each other, and in general it's a simpler game to run. It'd certainly be hard to let it go when you're used to having the toolchain (like I am), but PF2 is far easier to play with paper and pencil, so it's a thing you can adapt to.

Maybe HLO will one day become better than HLC and get a pricing model that's more palatable. But right now it's just not there, and I'm not sure if it ever will be.

Liberty's Edge

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For anyone who might care the Campaign Theater features which correspond to the Tactical Console and Encounter Builder from Hero Lab Classic actually just launched.

LWD is always taking open feedback on all aspects of the service and now the CT out in a beta form now which adds a ton of new usage potential and functionality. If you've already given HLO a shot and found it wanting, now is a great time to check it out again especially if you already own an Account.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I have not tested it out yet, but this just was added in today's update.

SF & PF2 - Custom Faction options are now available, to let users add new factions.
SF & PF2 - Custom Boon options are now available, to let users add the boons they earn during adventures.
SF & PF2 - Custom Weapons & Armor are now available, to let users create new weapons and armor they encounter in their adventures.
SF & PF2 - The Custom Feat is now available in most tables where a feat is being selected, instead of only being available as a general feat.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Initial Tests...

Custom Armor and Weapons you can stat.

Custom Feats and Boons are basically just named and for boons typed. You can't seem to have them actually do anything other then describe them.

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