I Need New Dice!

"I Need New Dice" is all about my love RPGs and all aspects of the hobby. Right now we're playing the Pathfinder Role Playing Game and finishing up the Rise of the Runelords adventure path.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009


Right after we converted to the official version of the Pathfinder RPG I was looking around for a nice character generator/character management tool that supported the updated rules set.

For a number of years I’ve been using Heroforge and all it’s related sub-sheet with great success. The “SCoreGen” and “adVance” sheets were great, but all work off the beta rules. Now I know there wasn’t a lot that had changed between beta and the final version, but when my brother needed a pregen character because he wrote his PC out of the story for the day**, we realized just how much had changed with barbarians when the whole “rage points” sheet printed out for Mr. Turok *EARTHBREAKER*.

After Cyruscon, I setout to find another character generator that was updated for Pathfinder, and found only one: PCGen (you must download the pathfinder dataset seperatly)

I’ve used a much earlier version of PCGen but gave it up for Heroforge, but thought I would give PCGen another shot. Turns out I’m still not happy with it.

It’s a sourceforge project, and I really like to support collaborative open source software. However, it’s a sourceforge project…. and that often means that there is some extra fiddling with it to make it work.

I didn’t like my experience with using PCGen for Pathfinder because:
  • Clunky interface to define the rule sets in use.
  • Some issues with not calculating things correctly (like BAB for a cleric/fighter)
    OW! MY EYES (this isn’t the 90s)
  • Needs some interface tweaks for usability. Some things are just not located where they should be. Example: I have to go several tabs in to select a deity, and then go back to the first tab to select Cleric? The Tabs should be progressive in how a user uses each.

In all fairness, there are good things for PC gen, like the random traits and total flexibility on the ability for a user to customize the data available. I also thought all the options for character sheet appearance was neat.

That being said I needed a character generator that hit these three marks:

1) My Players would be comfortable using
2) Could quickly generate characters and continue to track them
3) Flexibility for user generated content

My Players would never use PCGen. Even accounting for a learning curve, it’s too slow in it’s generation of characters and failed the (use with a laptop at a game test) The only one of my criteria it hit was the flexibility for user generated content.

In conclusion, we’re going to sit back and wait till and updated version of heroforge comes out. When real-world work items clear up a bit, I’ll see if I can pitch in to the whole heroforge project.

If you know of a Pathfinder compliant character generator, let me know!

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