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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Question D20 Application Suite

    So we are looking into starting a web application which will streamline all the technical tasks in the D20 game such as character creation, running the initiative, getting grapple checks right etc.
    We already know what we need (we use very few extensions and once we get character creation and combat rules in there we're pretty much set) but since it's looking to be quite a big project I'd rather it would serve the community as well, which raises the following question:
    What would you want from this kind of web application?
    Note that since we plan to make it free to use we can't use any licensed material.

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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    I would like it to keep track of active buffs and have a counter to show how many rounds they have left.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    I would suggest adding an Allowed/Banned section so the players and
    DM can set up what is and isn't allowed, as well as have the rules section modifiable to account for homebrew rules, DM fiat, etc.
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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite



    When you say web application, can I ask why it's web based? Is it just so it can be accessed without download, or by phone App? Is this for customizing the D20 module, so that anyone running the game can design the choices involved in character creation? Is this for managing characters remotely? I don't totally understand the nature of your application.
    Last edited by roguemetal; 2012-06-27 at 11:21 PM.

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    Thumbs up Re: D20 Application Suite

    OK Mayito, buff tracking check.

    killianh, can you please expand? Do you mean like banned classes and spells or "you can't grapple a dragon even if the rules say you can"?

    roguemetal, even in our small group we need to support iPhone and iPad, Android phones and windows notebooks. Since all theses have a browser and you can do cool stuff with HTML5 we decided to go with a web application instead of native application.

    Web applications also inherently add the benefits you mentioned - no download, remote access from everywhere, the ability to share easily and more. One of the planned features is shared combat, meaning several players (and one DM) logged into the same combat and everyone can advance the initiative, edit combat statuses etc'. We are using a google document today which gives us a lot of freedom but we want to expand on that with a set of permissions.

    Its not easy for me to explain what the application will do since we haven't developed all the concepts fully - that's why we are asking for help. The idea is to streamline all the activities which now get us to crack open the books and pause the game for a long time. We know for sure that we want to tackle character creation (most time consuming) and combat (happens often and we're too old to remember all the rules).
    We have been considering a shared battle grid although there are quite a few solutions to that and quite honestly we like our miniatures so that will probably come later if any.
    Another feature we are thinking about is the adventure roster. The idea is to get the DM to upload the adventure (or use one someone else uploaded) and have it ordered in hierarchical fashion by encounters, locations, NPCs, treasure etc'. That would reduce the awkward silences when we open the "wrong" door to a bear minimum instead of sending the DM into the adventure book for 5 minutes of silence (there only so much coffee breaks we can have).

    Great input guys, thanks

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Being able to design custom character sheets from the ground up would be awesome. That way ACF's and homebrew could be seamlessly integrated. I'm thinking a system where you could just select BAB, save progression, spell progression (including multiple lists for multi-classed casters), attacks, etc. independently then combine them into one sheet.

    Specifically, something that can display all the relevant information for a Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian/Focused Conjurer Wizard/Sword of the Arcane Order Mystic Ranger/Swift Hunter Scout without looking like a complete mess would be gravy.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Quote Originally Posted by vrigar View Post
    killianh, can you please expand? Do you mean like banned classes and spells or "you can't grapple a dragon even if the rules say you can"?
    Both if its possible. I have rarely seen an anything goes RAW only type of game so having a section that lists which books are/aren't allowed and a notes section for things like the dragon example would make managing house rules much easier for the DM and the players using your application.

    I really like the idea so far, and would love to do testing with it once you get into beta.
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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Here's some things I'd love to see from something like that.

    - Allows you to create a character in the system and displays it on a character sheet.
    - Allows character sheets to be saved so you can view them later.
    - Allows the creation of custom feats/spells/skills/etc. so that non-OGL content and homebrew content can be entered on the character sheet.
    - Allows you to set up buffs and apply them to the character, and displays the results on the character sheet. So for example, if I get Cat's Grace cast on me, I don't have to remember that I get +4 dex, +2 initiative, +2 AC, +2 Touch AC, +2 to attack rolls with ranged weapons, and +2 to all dex based skills. I just tell it to activate cat's grace, and it calculates all that stuff for me.
    - It tracks initiative order, and rounds in combat. Telling you who's currently going, and who's 'on deck'.
    - It tracks how many rounds are left on combat-length buffs, and alerts you when it's time to remove one.

    That's all I can think of at the moment.
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Quote Originally Posted by killianh View Post
    Both if its possible. I have rarely seen an anything goes RAW only type of game so having a section that lists which books are/aren't allowed and a notes section for things like the dragon example would make managing house rules much easier for the DM and the players using your application.
    Noted and will be added to the pipeline - although I'm not sure how relevant it will be since it will probably take us quite a bit to get the license to use all the expansions.

    Quote Originally Posted by killianh View Post
    I really like the idea so far, and would love to do testing with it once you get into beta.
    Noted and will be taken advantage of


    Quote Originally Posted by molten_dragon View Post
    Here's some things I'd love to see from something like that.

    - Allows you to create a character in the system and displays it on a character sheet.
    - Allows character sheets to be saved so you can view them later.
    - Allows the creation of custom feats/spells/skills/etc. so that non-OGL content and homebrew content can be entered on the character sheet.
    - Allows you to set up buffs and apply them to the character, and displays the results on the character sheet. So for example, if I get Cat's Grace cast on me, I don't have to remember that I get +4 dex, +2 initiative, +2 AC, +2 Touch AC, +2 to attack rolls with ranged weapons, and +2 to all dex based skills. I just tell it to activate cat's grace, and it calculates all that stuff for me.
    - It tracks initiative order, and rounds in combat. Telling you who's currently going, and who's 'on deck'.
    - It tracks how many rounds are left on combat-length buffs, and alerts you when it's time to remove one.

    That's all I can think of at the moment.
    Thanks molten_dragon, that fits our intentions quite well but let me ask you this: Would it be sufficient to "apply" cat's grace or other ability changing spell (or AC or whatever) on a character or would you also like to apply a specific bonus - like a -4 circumstance penalty to hit with ranged weapons?

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Being something of a luddite I probably won't ever get a chance to use this, but I support the idea 100%.

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Okay, so this is like a remote content management system that not only handles character creation, but within the character sheets allows for some shortcuts in calculations. That's actually not something I've seen before, short of Mythweavers, and they're not automated much... Might be worth looking at their sheets if you haven't though.

    So, since we're actually almost handling the game off of this program, I do I have a few suggestions.

    1. For every option using a dropdown or text input, include a dropdown of suggestions. Make this memory based, e.g. not just regexp "did you mean..." but based on previous choices that are selected or have been selected during a session. For example, with prerequisites for each Feat, if a Feat's prereqs are met, put that on higher priority, even higher if more prereqs are required for it and are still fulfilled.

    2. Include a way for those running the game to customize the options entirely. This means supplanting values everywhere, and having 'smart text' so that an explanation of an ability can be registered and then automated just based on what is written. Of course, since you're just two people, just include an index so people know what can be read by your program rather than build an AI (screw that).

    3. Calculate time passing for temporary effects, so that whoever is running the game doesn't have to do more than click something to set passing of time, and rounds will automatically advance time.

    Just a few suggestions, each are time consuming, but I've put them in order of importance. (in my opinion)

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    It sounds like you're already planning this, but just to clarify: I'd really like to be able to create encounters ahead of time (complete with enemy statblocks, links to player character sheets, links to srd content [and non-srd content that I add myself], pre-generated loot and XP awards, etc.) then save those encounters in one place for quick access whenever I need it. If you can do that (along with robust sheets for heavily multi-classed/ACFed characters like I mentioned earlier), this will basically be everything I've ever wanted in a DM tool.

    Also, I hope it will display well at netbook resolutions.

    Good luck to you!

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    A potentially serious problem is that certain key aspects of character creation are not OGL specifically, WBL and XP tables, and perhaps something else I'm forgetting.

    You may want to take a look at PCGen for some inspiration/double-checking.
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Quote Originally Posted by roguemetal View Post
    Okay, so this is like a remote content
    1. For every option using a dropdown or text input, include a dropdown of suggestions. Make this memory based, e.g. not just regexp "did you mean..." but based on previous choices that are selected or have been selected during a session. For example, with prerequisites for each Feat, if a Feat's prereqs are met, put that on higher priority, even higher if more prereqs are required for it and are still fulfilled.
    Not sure I follow. Order the feats in the order that makes sense? How do I know whether the player want to build a combat brutish fighter or a mass cleaver based on the fact he chose power attack? I can think of a "people who chose X also chose Y" but that's way down the road...

    Quote Originally Posted by roguemetal View Post
    2. Include a way for those running the game to customize the options entirely. This means supplanting values everywhere, and having 'smart text' so that an explanation of an ability can be registered and then automated just based on what is written. Of course, since you're just two people, just include an index so people know what can be read by your program rather than build an AI (screw that).
    Where did you get the 2 people? Currently I'll be the one coding it and only part time since the crowd sourcing option seemed to have fallen through. I'm used to working agile so I'll start by one set and then allow (DMs? Everyone) to customize.

    Quote Originally Posted by roguemetal View Post
    3. Calculate time passing for temporary effects, so that whoever is running the game doesn't have to do more than click something to set passing of time, and rounds will automatically advance time.
    Do you mean outside of combat? Like an adventure calendar?

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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Thumbs up Re: D20 Application Suite

    Quote Originally Posted by Nepenthe View Post
    It sounds like you're already planning this, but just to clarify: I'd really like to be able to create encounters ahead of time (complete with enemy statblocks, links to player character sheets, links to srd content [and non-srd content that I add myself], pre-generated loot and XP awards, etc.) then save those encounters in one place for quick access whenever I need it. If you can do that (along with robust sheets for heavily multi-classed/ACFed characters like I mentioned earlier), this will basically be everything I've ever wanted in a DM tool.

    Also, I hope it will display well at netbook resolutions.
    Yea, that's pretty much planned. We'll start with character generator/viewer, proceed to combat management and next in line is the campaign management module which should include the loot, encounters and XP awards you mentioned as well as the actual adventure.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nepenthe View Post
    Good luck to you!
    Thanks!

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    Thumbs up Re: D20 Application Suite

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    A potentially serious problem is that certain key aspects of character creation are not OGL specifically, WBL and XP tables, and perhaps something else I'm forgetting.

    You may want to take a look at PCGen for some inspiration/double-checking.
    PCGen is one of my key models - both for capabilities and for pitfalls to avoid. As far as raw capability goes PCGen is amazing. I'm our resident PCGen expert and so far there has been little that I wasn't actually able to do. Creating complex characters has become a breeze.
    On the flip side the other members of my group - which include highly technical people - can't seem to make left from right using it. I can't remember the last time they created a character without needing my help with PCGen.
    I think that it takes a few good hours of research to start making the most out of PCGen and most people don't want to take that learning curve.
    What I'm aiming for is a web application with most of PCGen's capabilities which with a few added cool features (application wide search and social capabilities) to make it even better.
    I'm aware of the stuff WotC intentionally left out of the SRD but there are enough applications which showed us the way around them.

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    *Some sort of feature where the DM can make a 'Previously on' sort of thing to be a summary of what happened last. (Yes, the people I play with have very short attention spans)

    *Some way to get portraits in? People seem to remember those more. Maybe some sort of backstory/goals thingy?

    *HP tracker with Barbarian Rage HP and Temp HP in it.

    Sorry if these are in PCgen, but I have never personally used it.
    Last edited by Honest Tiefling; 2012-06-29 at 12:51 AM.

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Oh, another thing. It would be cool if players could create and save a character from level 1-20 and then select and display whatever level is appropriate. It would make leveling up during a game as quick as clicking a single button.

    Sorry if I sound greedy. I'm just excited about your project!

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Quote Originally Posted by Nepenthe View Post
    Oh, another thing. It would be cool if players could create and save a character from level 1-20 and then select and display whatever level is appropriate. It would make leveling up during a game as quick as clicking a single button.
    Going to second this, since this alone would make it really nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vrigar View Post
    PCGen is one of my key models - both for capabilities and for pitfalls to avoid. As far as raw capability goes PCGen is amazing. I'm our resident PCGen expert and so far there has been little that I wasn't actually able to do. Creating complex characters has become a breeze.
    On the flip side the other members of my group - which include highly technical people - can't seem to make left from right using it. I can't remember the last time they created a character without needing my help with PCGen.
    I think that it takes a few good hours of research to start making the most out of PCGen and most people don't want to take that learning curve.
    What I'm aiming for is a web application with most of PCGen's capabilities which with a few added cool features (application wide search and social capabilities) to make it even better.
    OK, fair enough, sounds like you're pretty on the ball.

    I'd tend to agree with your assessment of PCGen, which has frustrated me a time or two trying to do fairly simple things.
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    *Some sort of feature where the DM can make a 'Previously on' sort of thing to be a summary of what happened last. (Yes, the people I play with have very short attention spans)
    Do you mean that the DM could keep a journal with the adventure? I'm not sure I get it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    *Some way to get portraits in? People seem to remember those more. Maybe some sort of backstory/goals thingy?
    That's the least used feature in PCGen but sure - we'll do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    *HP tracker with Barbarian Rage HP and Temp HP in it.
    The whole point is to save you all those calculations so any effect caused by barbarian rage, cat's grace or putting on monk's belt should be immediately visible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nepenthe View Post
    Oh, another thing. It would be cool if players could create and save a character from level 1-20 and then select and display whatever level is appropriate. It would make leveling up during a game as quick as clicking a single button.
    That would make sense regarding skills, feats, ability scores and class abilities. I hope you don't mean remembering what you had equipped at each level.

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Quote Originally Posted by vrigar View Post
    Thanks molten_dragon, that fits our intentions quite well but let me ask you this: Would it be sufficient to "apply" cat's grace or other ability changing spell (or AC or whatever) on a character or would you also like to apply a specific bonus - like a -4 circumstance penalty to hit with ranged weapons?
    I suppose it would depend on how easy it was to create custom spells/buffs. If I could whip up a "spell" that gave a -4 circumstance penalty to hit with ranged weapons in just a few seconds and apply it like any other custom buff spell, that would be sufficient.
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    Chimera

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Initiative tracker

    CR calculator

    Buff tracker (what buffs/debuffs are up, what they do, and how long they last. )

    The ability to link from an ability/spell/item of equipment on the character sheet directly to the explanatory text for that ability/item.

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Quote Originally Posted by vrigar View Post
    That would make sense regarding skills, feats, ability scores and class abilities. I hope you don't mean remembering what you had equipped at each level.
    Of course. Equipment shouldn't change just because you levelled anyway, at least as far as I'm concerned. Players of Magic-mart style DM's might appreciate that though.

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Quote Originally Posted by vrigar View Post
    Not sure I follow. Order the feats in the order that makes sense? How do I know whether the player want to build a combat brutish fighter or a mass cleaver based on the fact he chose power attack? I can think of a "people who chose X also chose Y" but that's way down the road...


    Where did you get the 2 people? Currently I'll be the one coding it and only part time since the crowd sourcing option seemed to have fallen through. I'm used to working agile so I'll start by one set and then allow (DMs? Everyone) to customize.


    Do you mean outside of combat? Like an adventure calendar?
    Thought I read somewhere you were two people... my mistake.

    In any case, what I was talking about with the first idea doesn't need to be as complicated as you're making it to be. No, the program can't tell what character you're making with one feat, but if you already have powerattack, and then type S into the dropdown input, I want to see Sunder show up above Stealthy. Obviously this can be enhanced by keeping track of what is popular, which is something that should be implemented sooner than later, but as you said, that side of it is a long term goal.

    Adventure calendar isn't far from what I had in mind, just as long as the player is informed when their buff spells or crafting times are over by means of a counter of some kind that updates their sheet automatically. How this time counter actually advances is up to interpretation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roguemetal View Post
    No, the program can't tell what character you're making with one feat, but if you already have powerattack, and then type S into the dropdown input, I want to see Sunder show up above Stealthy. Obviously this can be enhanced by keeping track of what is popular, which is something that should be implemented sooner than later, but as you said, that side of it is a long term goal.
    I would not want that. Strictly alphabetical lists lets me find whatever I'm looking for. Lists that play guessing games do not.

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Actually, a calendar would be great. We didn't bother keeping track of time when we began our current characters, and now I can only approximate my character's age. A lunar calendar would also be nice for some things, such as were-creatures.
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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    I am surprised no one has mentioned Heroforge yet. It's an Excel spreadsheet and doesn't get everything right, but can be a really useful tool. In it is a buffs page which automatically updates the character-sheet pages with the buffs.
    Note, it has errors and cannot handle some classes properly (Mythic Exemplar for one) so always double check it's output.

    They also have a lot of other tools...

    Now, even if you can't use what's there as it is not web, you may find it very useful in terms of ideas.

    http://nzcomputers.net/heroforge/default35.asp

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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by roguemetal View Post
    Adventure calendar isn't far from what I had in mind, just as long as the player is informed when their buff spells or crafting times are over by means of a counter of some kind that updates their sheet automatically. How this time counter actually advances is up to interpretation.
    That is an excellent idea. To have the group in the same calendar and progress the time so players will know when their buffs, overland movement and other time dependent effects are still in effect.
    Of course it should support the "wait of course I would have cast another mage armor" scenario - meaning it will have to support roll back. I can hear the arguments already...

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    Default Re: D20 Application Suite

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    I am surprised no one has mentioned Heroforge yet. It's an Excel spreadsheet and doesn't get everything right, but can be a really useful tool. In it is a buffs page which automatically updates the character-sheet pages with the buffs.
    Note, it has errors and cannot handle some classes properly (Mythic Exemplar for one) so always double check it's output.

    They also have a lot of other tools...

    Now, even if you can't use what's there as it is not web, you may find it very useful in terms of ideas.

    http://nzcomputers.net/heroforge/default35.asp
    Thanks, I'll have a look and try to get some ideas from there. I tried heroforge a few times but it never worked for me. Do you know if it's strictly SRD or does it include licensed material?

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