RPG-filter - Looking for software to help with Pathfinder
September 13, 2013 8:41 AM   Subscribe

A group of friends are starting a Pathfinder RPG campaign. Pathfinder is a 'fork' of D&D. We spent 3 hours last night with the DM creating characters, flipping lots of pages, and writing on character sheets. By the end of the night, we were wondering if there was software or sites that helped players keep track and calculate the bonuses of characters online or in software. Can anyone one point us in the direction of good tech to help us spend more time bashing monsters and less time erasing & re-writing. Google shows a variety, but not what's the best stuff. Thanks!
posted by Argyle to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I think HeroForge/PathForge is exactly what you're looking for.

That being said, it is not all-perfect and you'll want to briefly double check the values, especially after leveling up.
posted by griphus at 8:47 AM on September 13, 2013

A few of the folks from my party use this character sheet that calculates certain totals for you.

d20pfsrd.com also has some helpful stuff to get you up to speed on your character's abilities quickly, so less time is spent flipping.
posted by gone2croatan at 8:53 AM on September 13, 2013

PCGen? I know not everyone likes it, but I've used it for years for both 3.5 D&D and Pathfinder. It works pretty well, assuming you don't have some hideously complicated character or need a lot of custom stuff (deities, spells, items, etc.). And it's possible to put homebrew rules in, it's just kind of a hassle to do so.
posted by Janta at 8:57 AM on September 13, 2013

I am still playing D&D 3.5 with my gaming group, but I've found that my experience has immensely improved with having an electronic character sheet on an iPad. I'm currently using DnD Sheets, which does a good job of tracking damage, temporary modifiers and handling electronic dice rolling (if that's your thing, some people still like the visceral experience of rolling a dice and seeing a 20 emerge)

for Pathfinder, this app looks intriguing, but I haven't used so can't comment. On Droid or Windows devices, I've usually resorted to making my own spreadsheet in OpenOffice or Google Docs and adding in formulae as necessary.
posted by bl1nk at 8:59 AM on September 13, 2013

If you're slightly comfortable with Excel, it's relatively simple to make your own auto-calculating character sheet, with as much or as little formatting as you want. Bonus: no reliance on weird or buggy stuff like PCGen. I made a list of the attribute modifiers -- they still have those in 3.PF right? ;) -- and used the "Hide sheet" option so that the main sheet can call the modifiers associated with whatever attribute scores are input next to them, up to epic scales (50+ iirc).

I also cobbled together (what I believe to be) an accurate attribute score generator using my preferred method (the roll 4, drop 1 method)...
=RAND()*(6.5-0.5) + 0.5
...four of those, then four of =ROUND(_cell_, 0)
then =_cell_+_cell_+_cell_+_cell_-MIN(_first cell_:_last cell_)

...as well as a skill point calculator, for when I want to roll up a high-level NPC. That one was toughest.

The rest of character building/advancing is, in my view, so case-specific that a standardized approach risks being a lot of work for not enough payoff. Even something as simple as auto-totalling skill modifiers is subject to occasional weirdness (though that's the easiest to do in Excel).
posted by Z. Aurelius Fraught at 9:29 AM on September 13, 2013

If you're slightly comfortable with Excel, it's relatively simple to make your own auto-calculating character sheet...

I probably should have mentioned it in the answer, but the HeroForge thing I linked above is exactly this, if you don't feel like rolling your own but don't want to use third-party software.
posted by griphus at 9:53 AM on September 13, 2013

HeroLab is the definitive solution, IMO.

It's not cheap if you want to add everything that Paizo has produced, but it's pretty reasonable if you stick to just the Core stuff. And, you get two licenses for the purchase cost.

Everyone in our group wound up getting a copy.
posted by The Blue Olly at 10:10 AM on September 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Seconding HeroLab. It has a very complete interface for turning on and off equipment bonuses, special ability bonuses, spell effects, etc. It's available for several platforms, including tablets, which makes it very easy to use at the table. The price can add up if you start buying support for books beyond the core, but the Pathfinder core set is pretty complete.

A word of warning: it has a free trial, but you can't save any characters you make in the trial mode, and buying a license requires restarting the program, meaning you lose anything you've entered. So don't get too attached to anything you enter in trial mode.
posted by jedicus at 11:02 AM on September 13, 2013

I've used a few.

PcGen is good, but takes some learning to use and I came across a few bugs. It also takes a fair bit of time for content to be available and I found that very frustrating.

Myth-weavers is great for online character sheets. They do *some* calculation but you still need to know your stuff, IMO.

HeroLab is what I use now and it's fantastic but boy was it pricey. Two people could split it, as you get two licenses, but I easily dropped over $100 to get all the content I wanted. If you play in a single game, don't bother. But if you GM, or if you play in multiple games as I do, it's amazing.

There are also a plethora of spreadsheets and the like out there. Some good, some less good, some good enough until you try to build a certain kind of character, etc. In the end I had the best luck rolling my own... but I am a programmer so this was pretty simple for me. I also make extensive use of d20pfsrd.com and archivesofnethys.com and so I essentially never touch paper or pdfs.
posted by utsutsu at 1:57 PM on September 13, 2013

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