Request: A "Hero Labs" version of DnD Next

I'm using www.wolflair.com/index.php?context=hero_... to manage my 3.5e character. Something I would really like to see with DnD next is something like Lone Wolf's Development "Hero Lab" software for doing the same thing with 5e characters and their inventory.

A *major* problem with Hero Lab is that it is SRD. All the stuff is limited to what they can *legally* distribute. WotC owns the material, WotC is in the best position to manage the software and content. Tweaks, updates and errata to the books? They can push updates on the software. Suppliments? Roll it into the software. Hell, make the software run on Android and iPhone platforms, tie the software into the eBook versions of your published material. Lordy I would love to have hyperlinks between the Hero Labs material and book discussions of the same.

So I buy the 'eBook' version of the core, it comes with the base program that runs on the same platform as the eBook version. The two are linked. I buy something like, "Races of the Wild" and all the new material with that eBook sockets right in with my 5e software so new feat, new spells, all that supplimental material I paid for gets rolled right in.

I *have* paid for a legal copy of Hero Labs to Lone Wolf Development, but I'd much rather be paying WotC for that function and get the benefits of synchronized material and hyper-linked reading with D&D Next. 
Lets hope that they allow the D&D character builder to allow for the creation of D&D:Next charactes (while still allowing for 4E characters too!!)
Well since the people at hero labs are 'friends' with the WotC people, and that's the only reason they were allowed to create a 4E character builder, I'm pretty sure that is what's going to happen with 5E...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Well, the problem I have with Hero Labs is that it is *only* SRD. All the stuff outside of SRD but part of 3.5e cannon... nope. I'll have to build it or find it where someone else already did that.

I'm reading 'illegal' eBook format stuff until I can legally purchase eBook versions of 3.5e rulesets for my wife's Kindle Fire. It helps having the "Web Edition" formats, the low dpi scanned documents are the suxx0rs. But even then, the pages are meant for reading out of a book, and they are not well suited for eBook. Table of Contents, glossery and so on are not hyperlinked, but they *could* be as an eBook. And "Hero Labs" won't run on Kindle Fire.

Perhaps WotC would consider *hiring* Lone Wolf for a branded version of the software? I just have this mental picture of purchasing, say 5e's "Blood and Tome" and then having all the feats, spells and items magically show up in this "branded" version of Hero Labs. Even better if it would support iPad and Andriod patforms. I might be the only one thinking this way, I just want to have the entire ruleset on my tablet device instead of dead-tree versions I have to haul around with me. It's ok if people like dead-tree, I simply don't have the space, but I do have a library in my pocket.

Wait a sec... that doesn't sound right.  
Well, the problem I have with Hero Labs is that it is *only* SRD. All the stuff outside of SRD but part of 3.5e cannon... nope. I'll have to build it or find it where someone else already did that.

I'm reading 'illegal' eBook format stuff until I can legally purchase eBook versions of 3.5e rulesets for my wife's Kindle Fire. It helps having the "Web Edition" formats, the low dpi scanned documents are the suxx0rs. But even then, the pages are meant for reading out of a book, and they are not well suited for eBook. Table of Contents, glossery and so on are not hyperlinked, but they *could* be as an eBook. And "Hero Labs" won't run on Kindle Fire.

Perhaps WotC would consider *hiring* Lone Wolf for a branded version of the software? I just have this mental picture of purchasing, say 5e's "Blood and Tome" and then having all the feats, spells and items magically show up in this "branded" version of Hero Labs. Even better if it would support iPad and Andriod patforms. I might be the only one thinking this way, I just want to have the entire ruleset on my tablet device instead of dead-tree versions I have to haul around with me. It's ok if people like dead-tree, I simply don't have the space, but I do have a library in my pocket.

Wait a sec... that doesn't sound right.  

Eh, what's wrong with the Compendium? I have a 7" tablet. It isn't great, but it has a perfectly functional browser and works with DDI. I can say that they could mobile optimize that site a LOT, but I'd rather have functional online versions of the tools I can access from my tablet, my netbook, and my desktop.

Stand alone software always ends up not working on most platforms and is a PITA to maintain on more than one (which in the case of D&D stuff means you get a windows version and that's it). WotC managed to stumble some with the 4e DDI, but they can go back and do it right this time.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I agree Wizards should allow HeroLab to make their Character Builder software. HeroLab is awesome! and a great tool. I don't like how Wizards switched to the browser based program which is only usable as long as you continue a subscription, I much prefered the program approach, which is why I would love D&D NEXT on hero labs.



and yes, I know the switch to browser based Character Builder probably had a lot to do with making a program that works on PC and MAC at the sametime without the need to make two different programs.    
  
At both the Bellingham Eagles Game Room where we had our last two play sessions and at the home of the DM, we have no public Internet. There is the presumption everyone has access to the 'Net all the time, every time. That presumption is not necessarily accurate.

So... I explained to my wife that the entire bookshelf of D&D books is pretty much like the programming that goes into Ultima Online, all down on paper. There do exist "Web Edition" versions of 3.5e books, I would expect PDFs of D&D Next books. Even better if those books were 'aware' of the environment and would format accordingly so reading them is less painful, and included hyperlinks. Better still if all this 'programming' expounded upon by the published release would be encoded in an actual program that could manage all this stuff like Hero Labs.

It's just a hopeful request. If WotC would prefer I fork money over to Lone Wolf, so be it. 
I want an offline builder that matches the simplicity of the former 4E offline builder. It would be great to extend out the ruleset for other programs like Hero Lab, but I would want one dedicated to 5E, versus trying to accomodate mulitple RPGs.
See, that's where I want to keep eBook rulesets in sync with the builder program, especially if I could bring up hyperlink references from the builder program to the text. I buy from WotC "PHB II" and the new things added in that book get pulled right into the App. I don't want to learn how to program in Hero Lab (which I will *have* to do for things not in SRD), I want to buy the material and just have it work, and *offline* because "Online Always" isn't always a choice.
They really just need to make jQuery/Ajax/HTML/CSS/PHP software and put their books out in different digital formats. The above would work on 95% of all systems (I'm using an android 2.1 phone and jQuery works on that pretty well). The rest of the 5% could lug the physical books around and use an abacus and pencil and paper and wooden dice.

If they did that it would work on most devices and be updated all in one area, no need for multiple versions for multiple platforms...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Cool! Dead-tree does have uses, but I'm married, I have a full-time job, and turning a game into a exercise of bookshelf memorization and paper & pencil programming does not rank very high on my list of things to do. 3.5e comes across as 95%, "If you can memorize this bookshelf and calculate all this out in your head and doodle it up on paper, you *might* be qualified to work as an IRS auditor!"

Ooog... I have a laptop, better yet I have a Kindle Fire. Those were not very popular in the late 1970's, but some 35 years later we have options and I'd prefer to pay WotC for some of these options. But if WotC wants me to pay someone *else* for these options, well... that is an option.

I'd love some software tools for D&D but I'm not willing to pay a subscription to get access to them. If that's what it comes down to then I'll be looking for 3rd party tools or google fu to sort out the more esoteric character builds I want to pull off.


I think that demanding a subscription fee is a serious barrier to new players, especially if they just bought a book to play only to be told that they actually really ought to go pay more money for this other service that makes the book they bought redundant.


If I were WOTC here, I'd make the web tools free and players can unlock content by registering books on their profiles the way game distribution platforms like Steam manage purchases and player profiles.



The other huge blow to how it's handled now is if I buy a book and bring it to a session, everyone then has the book. As a group we can spread the cost of the hobby out by buying supplements that expand what we're playing or what interests us.


Until they find a decent way to make books available to other players in your group I will be using greyware and third party software to meet my needs, but only grudgingly. I'd rather pay WOTC.

I would very much appreciate full HL support from Hasbro/WotC but I see chances for this dwindling with the latest news:

Wizards announce Codename:Morningstar

 

Maybe payback for the great support Pathfinder has in HL?

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