Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Project X: Part 12


RPG Manager
Version 2.0
Flavio Roli
Status: Active


Talk about an ambitious project, this is one of those under the radar programs that has been produced with a ton of care and thought. RPG manager isn't for a specific system, but what it does cater to is the GM/DM whom wants finite control over their world and what is in it. There are 2 distinct programs here; the Campaign Editor and the Game Manager.

The Campaign Editor allows you to create world maps (with hexagonal tiles), local maps (both indoor and outdoor) with a square grid, and then link them to each other either via a hex on the world map, or via an image that you've saved. Don't overlook the capability of the world creator based on your previous experience with Hexagonal software. I've discovered it to be robust, and what makes it nice is how quick and simple you can create a map that is functional and works great. Layers offer ease of use, and each tile can be mirrored/flipped if need be, while there is a random tile placement system that handles multiples of the same type. On top of this is the ability to set encounters/weather for each tile position, while it keeps the DM firmly locked into the creation process.

Next is the various creator buttons. Adding a PC/NPC/Creature is a breeze, and while this software isn't AD&D specific I was able to quickly add in a 2nd Edition Aerial Servant and all his stats in just a few clicks. I like that the program will tell you if you've made an error (like forgetting to include # of attacks) and once its added to the library, when reopened it takes on a different color. Subtle things like this abound with RPG Manager, like when I clicked on my world map and decided to do an encounter table for a specific hex, up pops my Aerial Servant, and when I highlighted him, his image and base stats showed up. Excellent design!

The Game Manager allows you to collate all the data you created in the Campaign Editor, and places it at your fingertips. One thing that shocked me was when I opened up my Isolde world in the Manager was that each hex has its own terrain, vision, and random encounters at the bottom. Move your mouse to a new hex and voila, instant feedback. No more searching for charts covering terrain, vision, encounters etc.

While I can't possibly cover everything this program has in this short review, the included screen shots should help shed some light on the features.

Overall, this software has so many great features and best of all its still under development. The designer has put a ton of effort into this product, and while the first glance may lead you to believe its just another hex mapping program, what is hidden inside is as solid an entry into the DM Tool's field as I've ever encountered. I'll be following this product closely and urge you to do the same. Two thumbs way up!


Project X: Part 11

Version 2.1
Scott Metzger
Status: Inactive

Monster is one heckofa program. First it uses the Magnificent Monstrous Database 5th Edition (worthy of mention for the sheer size of it) and its already set up for 1E/2E games. You can quickly print out a set of monsters via HTML or hardcopy for use at the table, and it has a configurable system that allows you to choose what/how to set up the database to fit your campaign. Don't need monsters from Birthright? Set the marker to False for them and they won't be included in your searches. You can edit monsters quickly and easily, and if you need to create an encounter its flexible enough to add in Name and background info for the event.

Overall, while Monster has been updated to 3.0 standards, I lean towards this version due to its ease of use with my 1E games. Well worth owning.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Project X: Part 10


Version 1.1.3
Milieu Simulations
Status: Inactive

WeatherMaster reigns as the king of Weather generating software for campaigns because it can be as detailed or as simple as you like. Say you need a detailed month, day and moon cycles, and a spot on your own world map where the players are located (longitude/latitude). Then create weather specifically for them? or, maybe you want a detailed/Automatic creation of complex weather events so you can fill in a on-the-fly outdoor encounter? or just need a temperature for Mid-Summer? On all accounts Wm delivers. Included is a list of what it can do:

·Event-based, not day-based weather
·Batch weather creation
·Database storage
·Create weather for any number of worlds
·Built-in game log for recording the action
·Print/Export Reports
·Support for Customized Worlds
·Custom Calendars - ·Track Phases of Multiple Moons·Custom Climates
·Custom Storms·Wrath of God Wizard·
·Horizon Finder
·Wind Speed and Direction
·Precipitation Accumulation
·Wind Chill and Heat Index
·Atmospheric Visibility
·Cloud Ceiling and Cloud Layer Thickness
·Altitude Affects Temperature
·Support for both Metric and English Measurements
·Hour-by-Hour Temperature Updates
·Terrain Effects on Weather

I can't give a higher rating for this product as its as near to perfect for what it does as any software I've ever used. Get it, use it, love it.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Project X: Part 9


The Creature Encyclopedia
Gibson Graphical Studio (1999)
Status: Inactive

The Creature Encyclopedia has a very simple interface and yet provides everything a DM needs when a creature's stats are needed, and is flexible enough to allow for creation/addition of new monsters to the listing. As a bonus, you can also edit current entries, so adding more material is a snap. Traditional Armor Class is represented here, so use with 1st Edition requires little work.

Each Creature has a reference to the exact page in the Monster Manual for more detail if needed, and has enough information that you may never have to crack the book open during a session. Two hearty thumbs up.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Project X: Part 8

Continuing part 8 of Project X


DM Secretary
Occult Entertainment
Status: Active

DM Secretary has an interesting interface, complete with tasty graphics, and a GUI that is quite intuitive. This tool has a multitude of options, chief among them is a campaign system that is flexible - setting up world features like day/week/year/calendar/moon phases and generating weather on the fly. You can create a town step-by-step, or generate one in seconds and then alter it to fit your vision. The same type of interface is used for PC/NPC design.

This program, like DA: The Role Player's Assistant, has a map feature which allows you to import a map and add features/icons/notes/objects on the fly for quick and easy reference. One idea which struck me as solid was the ability to add a NPC then switch to the map and voila - they can be added to the map. Excellent conceptual design.

Next we come to the reference tab - herein you are able to import your own rules set in PDF/DOC/RTF formatting. You can add DM notes and even add in your own Web links. One way that I've used this program is to access offline web data I've collected - which is excellent for collections like a virtual DM Screen with all the charts.

Lastly is the best feature (for me), a custom program feature to add in all those small executable that I use during a session. This one is solid and the best implementation I've seen.

Overall, I give this program high marks for what it has, and while a monster generator is not included within the program, this is something I can overlook given the quality of DM Secretary.