For those of you unaware, there is a company called Lone Wolf and they make a wonderful little program called Hero Lab. Hero Lab was recently named the official (but not exclusive) character builder by Paizo for Pathfinder. I purchased this program several months ago and am absolutely in love with it. The only drawback (which doesn’t affect me as a Windows user) is that it is currently not available as a native program for the Mac or any other OS. However, they have recently released a statement saying that by the end of the year, they will have it available for Mac and by early next year it should be available for the iPad.
In case you don’t know why I am in love with this program, let me take a few moments to tell you. First, I love character creation. I love, if only for a few moments, building the back story and personality of a new character. For a long time, I used to have to build these characters by hand and it would take hours per character with two or three books laying about me. Now it just takes my laptop and about twenty minutes. This has been a huge time saver when making opponent forces for our regular gaming group.
That is another of the wonders of this program. I paid the extra $15 to add the entire Pathfinder Bestiary to my Core Rules (which come with the purchase of the software). So I can now customize almost any creature that I want. I can add hit dice, templates and class levels to whatever creature I would like. So, when the players run into a bearded devil (handily identified by the cleric), they might expect it to have a bleeding attack and that weird beard thing, but they probably wouldn’t expect it to also have a couple of barbarian levels complete with rage abilities. I love the diversity that it allows me to throw at the players, which keeps them on their toes.
I can then take these newly modified monsters and output their created data in lots of useful formats. Obviously there is its own format, but it can easily be saved in XML to be edited later. You can also output the character data as plain text, BBCode, html or WikiText. This format ends up being identical to the format used in the Pathfinder Bestiary. This is super useful if I am running custom bad guys alongside stock monsters.
There is some functionality that I have not attempted to utilize yet. According to the fine folks at Lone Wolf, I can edit pretty much anything in the software to reflect our houserules. For example, at our table we give fighters 4+Int skills per level, rather than 2+Int, and we give extra iterative attacks one point of BAB early. I could go in and make these changes to my software so that it can reflect our table’s preferences. It also is supposed to allow me to custom create classes and creatures. I’ve not needed to do any of that yet, but I like that it is available. However, having not done any of this, I cannot say whether this is a simple and clean process or a cludgy and complex one.
Lastly, Lone Wolf is continually expanding the software and doing so without charging an arm and a leg. At least in my opinion, the software and expansions are very reasonably priced and very simple to acquire. Looking at the post over in Paizo’s forum, you can see what their future plans are for Hero Lab.
In short, I really like this program and I know that it has really enhanced my gaming experience. I don’t have any ties to Lone Wolf or Hero Lab other than being a now loyal customer. You can download and purchase Hero Lab here.