Making D&D easier and smoother to play

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I'm designing a web app to make RPGs easier and more accessible.  I've been introducing a lot of people to the wonderful world of tabletop RPGs, but even so people are intimidated by the time it takes to create a character and the books full of rules.  


Any suggestions for things that could be made easier?  The basic concept so far is:


*An online character sheet that comes with a built in wizard/tutorial (like starting a video game), and where you can click on stats for the appropriate rolls (so you don't have to memorize them, or spend lots of time explaining them to new players).


*A story app for designing and saving story assets (characters, locations, maps, pictures, etc).  Eventually, I'd also like to set up a resource-sharing site where GMs can give, trade, or sell story assets they've developed.


*A game session, which loads the characters and the story, allows for private messages, GM requested rolls, automated combat (and other) rolls, and applying effects (bonuses, penalties, etc).


The idea is that, unlike virtual tabletops, I want to reduce time spent flipping pages and looking up charts. These apps could be used to play games over the internet, or just as an aid to reduce set-up and chart-examining in live games.


Any additional D&D pet-peeves or rough spots I should address in the app?


(If you like the idea so far, vote for it http://www.saltvalleytally.com/campaign/detail/206" title="http://www.saltvalleytally.com/campaign/detail/206">here, and I can win $5,000 to develop the app!  Email confirmation to vote, but they don't spam)
Did... did you delete your previous thread with my response in it and start a new one?

No, nevermind, I found it. You just reposted your thread with a different title.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

It sounds like a great idea, and when you do finally get it off the ground it would be pretty cool to let us know.


I would suggest including someway for the DM to add an additional pentalty or bonus to an action, based on circumstances but that's more of a question of implementation.  Still as long as there is some ability to use an "advanced" mode for actions that might be beyond the scope of the program that would be awesome.  Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant by the apply bonuses and penalties though, and I'm just sticking my foot in my mouth.  If that's the case don't mind me.
An interesting idea.

One thing I would say that would be quite important for a tool like this if I were to use it would be the ability to attach tags to pretty much any concept in the world. So if there is a temple, an NPC, an event and an item that are all related to concept BLAH, I should be able to tag them all with BLAH...and if need be some I should also be able to add other tags to them that some will share and some will not. Then I should be able to easily search and group those tagged items together by their tag.

If I could type in "Dusk Knights", hit enter and get a grouping of every NPC, item, place and event tied to them that I've tagged that would be a very worthwhile feature.

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I like the idea, particularly the character wizard to have someone holding your hand through your first character. I think Wizards did a good job of having backgrounds more just as a series of questions to prompt answers from you, rather than being pidgeon-holed.

The one pet peeve I have about DnD e-tabletops is the automated combat. Once you start automating combat (eg: just clicking a button that says "Twin Strike" that then does the attack, the damage, the effect) then the game starts to just become a very, very slow RPG. It takes a big step towards bad final fantasy games, at least in my mind. I suspect this is more just a personal superstition of mine, but as someone who played a lot of computer games, and relatively few DnD campaigns the automatic combat is one of the crucial differences between d20 systems and RPGs.

Having each player being able to plan their move ("preview move action") that privately allows them to move their character without showing the entire group of players would be handy for both DM & players.
No offense, but there are already about sixty seven apps/programs that do basically what you're describing here.

What is your program going to do that's so much better that people will have to have it? 
I'm designing a web app to make RPGs easier and more accessible.  I've been introducing a lot of people to the wonderful world of tabletop RPGs, but even so people are intimidated by the time it takes to create a character and the books full of rules.  


Any suggestions for things that could be made easier?  The basic concept so far is:


*An online character sheet that comes with a built in wizard/tutorial (like starting a video game), and where you can click on stats for the appropriate rolls (so you don't have to memorize them, or spend lots of time explaining them to new players).


*A story app for designing and saving story assets (characters, locations, maps, pictures, etc).  Eventually, I'd also like to set up a resource-sharing site where GMs can give, trade, or sell story assets they've developed.


*A game session, which loads the characters and the story, allows for private messages, GM requested rolls, automated combat (and other) rolls, and applying effects (bonuses, penalties, etc).


The idea is that, unlike virtual tabletops, I want to reduce time spent flipping pages and looking up charts. These apps could be used to play games over the internet, or just as an aid to reduce set-up and chart-examining in live games.


Any additional D&D pet-peeves or rough spots I should address in the app?


(If you like the idea so far, vote for it http://www.saltvalleytally.com/campaign/detail/206" title="http://www.saltvalleytally.com/campaign/detail/206">here, and I can win $5,000 to develop the app!  Email confirmation to vote, but they don't spam)

A major rough spot would be if you made the app keep up with game mechanics. New edition = obsolete. By the time the edition is popular enough to warrant enough users to buy the program and the program is ready to use, the edition is on its way out. There are several existing apps that do this sort of thing.

If the app were more general to various role-playing games and had a feature to help budding novelists keep up with their plots, etc., it could be marketed more effectively as an all-around tool.
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