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Khelbiros

Official, New Character Generator for CoC! - Hero Lab

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Khelbiros

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/index.php?context=hero_lab&page=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.

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tlynch999

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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FunGuyfromYuggoth

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.

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PoC

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).

 

Paul

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Krypter

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. ;)

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FunGuyfromYuggoth

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!

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PoC

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

 

Paul

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knas

ipaul :( the beginning of the end.

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Khelbiros
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.)

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moonbeast

@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.

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Badger

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

 

 

-=badger

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A42

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.

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Mathias

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.

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Badger

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.

 

-=badger

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Krypter

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.

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jaysun81
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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A42
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.

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Mathias

We've posted a few more previews of the Call of Cthulhu files for Hero Lab at http://wolflair.com/index.php?context=hero_lab&page=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.

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Khelbiros

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

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Mathias

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?

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Khelbiros

That's right, and being able to track expenditure from the point pool - such as giving all PCs 250 point to spend on skills and attributes.

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Mathias

Since there are no suggestions in the rules for exact numbers of points for attributes, the number of points spent on attributes are simply totaled and reported to the user, but not checked against anything, to make alternate character creation method 3 easier.

 

By using the editor, you could make replacements for the picks that calculate the total attributes and skills, replacing the existing logic to create a fixed total, instead of depending on EDU or INT, and pooling points from more categories than they do now. Once you've created that, email the resulting file to your players, and they can add it to their copy of Hero Lab.

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Mathias

The Call of Cthulhu files for Hero Lab are now available. You can download the program at http://www.wolflair.com/index.php?context=hero_lab&page=call_of_cthulhu, and try it out with a free demo. The only things demo mode can't do are saving and printing (print preview is available so that you can see what the character sheets will look like), so you can get a very good idea of what the program is capable of before you purchase.

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StephanieMcAlea

This is all very nice but as an official 'grumpy old man'tm I shall be running my games using the OS 'Cthulhu 25th Anniversary edition' with the apps 'Pencil v1' and 'Paper 2.4'.

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FunGuyfromYuggoth

Thanks Mathias for taking the time to come over We appreciate it! :D

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