2013 is a good year to be a gamer.
There are just so many web-based and non web-based tools that make a gamer’s life easier; whether he be an omnipotent GM with a god-complex, or a humble gamer looking for an adventure.
Things were pretty bleak, back in the mid-80s when my best friend, Jonah, and I started gaming.
Back in those halcyon days of our youth (our favorite gaming spot was a bowling alley that had an extensive arcade and when we ran out of quarters we started our games) we spent many hours generating our characters the “Old School” way: studiously writing that character down on a piece of paper (with a pencil… GASP!), referencing the various rulebooks we were playing out of, re-writing our characters and making sure everything was on the up-and-up.
Though it all seemed dreadfully tedious to our pre-teen brains, I later came to realize that the act of character creation is one of the most critical aspects of the entire gaming experience.
We dreamed of the day when we would be able to afford a computer, much less one that we could comfortably carry around in a backpack, to do all of the number-crunching for us!
Looking back in retrospect, we didn’t much miss the things we didn’t have.
But I digress and I am pretty fond of doing so.
Let’s get back to my original point: namely that 2013 is a great year to be gamer and one product in particular is my focus: HeroLab!
You’ve probably heard of it, you probably use it and I probably don’t need to sing its praises to the proverbial choir…
HeroLab, quite simply, is character creation software. Some of HeroLab’s élan comes the following observations that I have made over the past year and a half of using the product:
+ It’s beauty lies in the fact that nearly anyone, from the saltiest GM, to the greenest Noob, can use it.
+ It’s tabbed interface is fairly clean and self-referential.
+ It provides a new player with simple explanations of items that one would need to reference in a rulebook; these explanations are nearly always a mouse-hover away.
+ It provides equipment lists, weapon lists, spell lists, skill lists and various other data drawn from the core rulebook of which ever system package that you purchase.
+ You can add modules from other expansion books as you go, effectively building a database for your favorite systems.
+ You can save your character profiles for later editing, or print them out as PDFs to distribute to your victims, ugh, I mean players, yeah… players…
+ It allows you to track the various elements of your character; including advancements, special conditions, hit points, etc. etc.
+ White Wolf Development’s support is brilliant. Nancy at White Wolf has always resolved my issues in a timely and professional manner; she will help you too, if you run into problems!
– My only knock would be that you actually have to pay for the right to use the program and, if you’re a Pathfinder player, all those extra packages can get a bit pricey.
I recently purchased the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition core package and I have to say that I love it. It makes simple and painless work of generating characters in a jiffy!
I am lucky that I game with a group of guys who are in the “know” and turned me on to HeroLab, but I find it strange that we, as a group, don’t marvel at HeroLab’s usefulness and ease more often.
HeroLab is a tool that you will probably just stop thinking about and start using; I can’t think of any higher praise!