Friday 14 August 2015

#RPGaDay2015 - Day 14, Favourite RPG Accessory

This feels like an incredibly broad topic. I could talk again about my dice collection (it's grown again...), or go over some of the wonderful props GM's make - letters, newspapers, scrolls, journals, runes - or the use of glass beads to track health levels and power (eg quantum) expenditure without ending up wearing through your character sheet (we have separate tubs so we can keep note between games).

But I think I'm going to talk about Hero Lab instead. I didn't like the sound of it at first, thought a digital character sheet would be somehow inferior in lacking the physicality of a paper sheet, and there's that feeling of "it's not a proper character sheet until you've spilt coffee on it" which is not something I really want to do to the laptop...

I've come to the conclusion I was wrong. Svetlana is still a paper based character (as is Chrissie and my new Exalted character, Taji) and that works fine for her because she's fairly straightforward. Jvala is immensely more complicated and I really appreciate the ways Hero Lab helps me keep track of what she can do as a two-weapon ranger. I can just tick a button to have all the stats update to include favoured terrain/enemy bonuses rather than scribbling all over the sheet to remind me of the different bonuses under different circumstances. It also has a hover-over feature that sums up different abilities so I don't end up wasting time trawling through books trying to remember how something works - Svetlana's sheet is covered in scribblings of my tiniest handwriting to remind me about her lesser-used abilities and using Hero Lab to run Jvala means her sheet is still tidy and, importantly, legible. 

It's not perfect. An upgrade I would particularly like would be to share Jvala's money with her animal companions automatically. At the moment, if I want to buy them equipment I generally have to 'buy for free' on the pet and then deduct the money from Jvala's journal, which is a faff. It would, I think, be a lot simpler, if animal companions had money and equipment available from their related character's sheet - so I could buy the shiny collar of awesomeness on Jvala's page and equip it on Flash's, or buy the super-sharp fang extenders directly on Cinder's page without having to fuss around with where the funds are coming from.

Overall, though, it's been a very valuable tool. It saves time during level up, as well, because we all have a copy we can fiddle with, whereas before we were all trying to read the same books at the same time. Hero Lab also has all the feats together, so it's a lot easier to find the one you're after if you're not sure which book it's in.

1 comment:

  1. Hero Lab is bloody awesome, and the most accurate electronic sheet for the game too!