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Official, New Character Generator for CoC! - Hero Lab


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#1 Khelbiros

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 12:56 AM

Hero Lab is an RPG character generator that uses official, licensed game systems. Looks like the next licensed system is Call of Cthulhu:
http://wolflair.com/...call_of_cthulhu

I've used Hero Lab for a couple of d20 and World of Darkness games and generally I've found it quite good to manage my character with. There's also vague rumours of a Mac version coming out at some point, using WINE as a base.
Regards,
Belinda


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#2 tlynch999

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 03:47 AM

It looks like it will cost about 30 USD. Is there a significant advantage over something like Byakhee (0 USD)? I don't know Hero Lab, so I'm honestly asking...
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#3 FunGuyfromYuggoth

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 07:38 AM

BRP Call of Cthulhu is just about the easiest game to generate characters with, in my experience at least, so this may be a product that could have difficulty finding its audience at that price point. Still, I have to give credit to them for thinking of BRP Call of Cthulhu as something worth marketing a new product for.

It just occurred to me that this product may have a stronger chance of finding a niche in the Modern Delta Green setting with updated skills for the various military and intelligence agencies worldwide. That may actually be worth $30.

#4 PoC

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 10:10 AM

Should be interesting to see. It's always good to see software developments (of any kind) for Call of Cthulhu.

If they do decide to do a Mac-based version, I'd be intrigued to see if they produce an iPad version, which I could see being quite handy (for those who have iPads).

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#5 Krypter

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 05:43 PM

Yeah, $30 seems a bit rich for a game that requires so little character generation. $10 might be more like it, if it included things like era-appropriate equipment lists and organizations. Otherwise I really don't see the attraction...even if it's for Paul's iPad. ;)

#6 FunGuyfromYuggoth

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 07:44 PM

Once the iPad is released, Paul will henceforth only communicate to his spouse and cats in verbal form. For the rest of us in cyberspace and meatspace: He will be on the iPad and taking notes on us very, very carefully under green eye shades. :wink: Yoggie Radio will be released only a Yoggie Bulletins (or Bulls as they will call them) and will be enforced by enthusiastic members of Bradford's football (soccer) hooligans.

You have been warned traitors!

#7 PoC

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 08:41 PM

Have you been sneaking a peek at our internal memos again. ;)

Paul

#8 knas

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 09:35 PM

ipaul :( the beginning of the end.

#9 Khelbiros

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 11:57 PM

It looks like it will cost about 30 USD. Is there a significant advantage over something like Byakhee (0 USD)? I don't know Hero Lab, so I'm honestly asking...


Hmm. Advantages? I haven't used Byakhee. With the Hero Lab generator, fundage will go to Chaosium when you buy a copy. It'll have the latest variant of the rules. One nice thing about HL is that you can easily add your own stuff to it, in terms of new skills, investigator templates and you can create your own custom campaign data. Also, there's an 'in play' screen on the character sheet, so you can have an electronic character sheet and subtract sanity from your computer screen rather than the pen and paper sheet. There's also a tactical console, which is handy in managing combats (probably more useful in d20, but could be useful a combat CoC campaign like a Delta Green SWAT team.)
Regards,
Belinda

#10 moonbeast

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 06:57 PM

@Khelbiros

I'd also agree with my peers that $30 is a little bit much. Then again, I also understand that this is a pleasant surprise that Chaosium ACTUALLY moved their tentacly butts to license this out so that the product may be enjoyed by CoC fans. It's just more evidence that Chaosium is starting to think outside the box. Or would that be thinking outside the paper?

Actually this is the second time Chaosium has surprised me with licensing NEW software intended for Call of Cthulhu. The first time was in 2009 when they finally licensed to allow a CoC version (ruleset) of the market-leading virtual tabletop FantasyGrounds.

However, I have to concur with Paul and the Yuggothian, this program's value would kick up three notches of value when used on an iPad-like device. In fact, it's software like THIS that would demonstrate its true potential (and portability) when used on such a tablet device.

#11 Badger

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 12:36 AM

Things that would make this a more compelling product for me:

- Full Mac support.

- Character sheets that cover multiple genres (Dark Ages, Gaslight, 1920's, and Modern at the very least)

- Ability to add character portraits

- Even better (and probably harder to pull off), a bunch of stock character portraits for players to choose from, rather than having to chase pictures around in the internet or scan them in by hand

- an iPhone version with ability to sync with the main program


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#12 A42

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 01:07 AM

I use MetaCreator which costs about the same. I've had it for years and have found it to be an invaluable resource. I do all my character sheets -- primarily convention games -- using it. There's a bit of a learning curve but it's fantastic once you figure it out.

Why is it better than Byakhee? Way, way, way easier to modify. I have custom templates that I use that allow me to add extra data to my character sheets. Here's a sample from one of last year's games.

Sadly, it's Windows only, but it runs fine under both VMWare and Parallels.

#13 Mathias

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 07:40 PM

Hello,
I'm Mathias Gehl, I'm an employee of Lone Wolf Development, and I wrote the Call of Cthulhu files for HeroLab.

I'd like to answer a few of the questions people have been asking.

For everyone who is interested in a mac version; Hero Lab runs well in Windows emulators - our convention demo machines are macs running Parallells.

Yes, character creation in CoC is simple - but if you're creating a character for a one shot game, or introducing a new player to the game, Hero Lab can make it even simpler - adding up the points for you, and dispaying how many occupation/interest skill points you still have to spend, and by moving your mouse over where the points are displayed, showing you exactly how you spent those points.

I think where Hero Lab would be more useful would be during play - Sanity changes are recorded as journal entries, so you can record the game and real dates for that event, and write notes about what happened. These journal entries can also be printed out. The in-play effects allow you to do things like apply a -5% modifier to all skills.

If your Keeper says to make a x3 DEX roll, move your mouse over the Dexterity score on the summary panels - the x1 - x5 multipliers are calculated for you. Impaling and Martial Arts percentages for weapons are also calculated.

Keepers can maintain the files for all their recurring NPCs in Hero Lab, so that you have them ready to go, and if you've come up with a standard profile for the Cultists of X, then add that as a stock portfolio - then, it's easy to add 5 of those cultists to the portfolio you already have open, and you can use Hero Lab to keep track of each one's HP.

Badger;

Depending on which setting you choose (1890s, 1920s, Modern), the skills available will change slightly - for example submachine gun won't be visible if you're creating an 1890s character, and Drive Auto / Drive Horse will have the correct base percentages for the era you select. The equipment lists also change depending on the era you select. Is this the sort of thing you were interested in when you asked about different character sheets for different eras?

Hero Lab does support the ability to add images to your character files, and you can choose whether or not to print those.

#14 Badger

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 11:46 PM

Hi Mathias,

Welcome to the forums! And thanks for the detailed response.

For everyone who is interested in a mac version; Hero Lab runs well in Windows emulators - our convention demo machines are macs running Parallells.


Well, this isn't any real solution for Mac users; it's just a workaround, and, for those of us who aren't running a Windows emulator, makes the product that much more expensive, as we'd have to pony up even more money for a copy of Windows, as well as the emulation software.

So until you have native Mac support, i'm afraid i won't be using this. :(


I think where Hero Lab would be more useful would be during play -


Honestly, the last thing i'd want to see at my gaming table is all of my players sitting around with laptops, especially if it's a 1920s-era game.

Having said that, all of these functions do sound very cool, especially the Keeper-centric stuff.

Depending on which setting you choose (1890s, 1920s, Modern), the skills available will change slightly - for example submachine gun won't be visible if you're creating an 1890s character, and Drive Auto / Drive Horse will have the correct base percentages for the era you select. The equipment lists also change depending on the era you select. Is this the sort of thing you were interested in when you asked about different character sheets for different eras?


Yes, it is. I (and other players) would like to see Dark Ages supported as well. At the very least, since it's one of the other major eras in the game.

One thing that you may not be aware of for Call of Cthulhu, is that for each era, there are specialized character sheets with their own look and feel. Some campaigns take that a step further (Beyond the Mountains of Madness, for example), and if you could pull that off, it would be more appealing.

Hero Lab does support the ability to add images to your character files, and you can choose whether or not to print those.


Good to know.

Thanks again for coming in here and explaining things. I know software development is tough sometimes, and you can't satisfy everyone. Even if i can't use the program, i appreciate your efforts in supporting CoC.

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#15 Krypter

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 02:36 AM

Frankly character generators are often lost on me as I can't but help tweak and house-rule every game I play. Which means my custom rules wouldn't be reflected in the software.

#16 jaysun81

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 12:40 PM

Why is it better than Byakhee? Way, way, way easier to modify. I have custom templates that I use that allow me to add extra data to my character sheets. Here's a sample from one of last year's games.

Are these custom templates available to download somewhere?

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#17 A42

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 03:26 AM

Why is it better than Byakhee? Way, way, way easier to modify. I have custom templates that I use that allow me to add extra data to my character sheets. Here's a sample from one of last year's games.

Are these custom templates available to download somewhere?


They are now.

You'll want to modify them to suit your needs. You may need to change or substitute some fonts, also.

#18 Mathias

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 09:43 PM

We've posted a few more previews of the Call of Cthulhu files for Hero Lab at http://wolflair.com/...call_of_cthulhu including a sample character sheet output.

Badger,
Adding support for CoC Dark Ages to the files is on our to-do list, but it hasn't been added to the schedule yet.

Krypter,
Can you tell me what sort of house rules you'd want to set up? Once the files are released, I'll be happy to help people implement their own house rules. If you could tell me what you're after, I can estimate how easy or hard it will be, and see whether it's something I might want to add to the program as an optional rule setting.

#19 Khelbiros

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 11:45 PM

Some house rules - what about the ability to bypass rolls and directly enter a flat amount for skill points and/or attributes?
Regards,
Belinda

#20 Mathias

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 07:35 PM

Khelbiros,
You mean entering the attributes without having the computer roll the dice for you? Our assumption is that people will roll physical dice and enter the results, but the program also has a dice roller that you could use to generate the dice rolls, then assign them as you wish.

Or do you mean you want to assign a specific number of attribute points?