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 Post subject: Software aids to RP
PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:42 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:36 am
Posts: 58
Campaign Manager

A couple of conversations with people at the mini-mini-com had me wondering about what software (if any) people use to enhance their RPGs.

Obviously, most of us will use some sort of word processor (and/or spreadsheet) for notes, but there's a number of RPG-specific programs out there, and some that aren't RPG-specific but useful.

Here's my list, broken down into purpose.

Character generation software

1) Metacreator: a generic chargen program, which allows you to build your own chracter genterator (if you have the coding skills) or buy pre-made ones. I first encountered this as the game-specific GURPS Character Builder, and liked that so much I upgraded to the full version. I use it for 3.5, Fudge and Ars Magica 4th edition (and use GCB for GURPS 3rd edition). Buying a game-specific module gives you everything they've done for that system.

2) Hero Lab: Not quite a generic chargen software. You have to pay extra for the module that allows you to write your own system generator. I use this for Shadowrun, Pathfinder and Savage Worlds. You have to buy chargen rules for each book of each system separately, which is annoying (and expensive), though bubdles are available. I feel kind of obliged to use this as it's the only fully Pathfinder (and Shadowrun) generator out there.

3) GURPS Character Assistant: v2 was the first bit of character generation software I ever owned - in those days, when I ordered it, it was posted from the US on two floppy disks. V4 is the official GURPS 4th edition chargen software. Purchase price gives you pretty much all the GURPS worldbooks chargen rules as well.

4) Hero Designer: The official design software for Hero System. I use this a LOT, since I use Hero System a lot. Works on a two-year support subscription. Premade character and powers packs sold separately.

Mapmaking software

1) Campaign Cartographer v3. I have the full suite - all add-ons (Dungeon Designer, City Designer, Cosmographer, and the older add-ons), symbol sets and I've subscribed to the annuals (which give new drawing styles each month) since they started. It's CAD-based, and so accurate and powerful that I've used to to map archaeological sites. Absolutely the best mapmaking software designed specifically for RPGs, IMO (and also useful for archaeology!).

2) Fractal Terrains: By Profantasy, who also make Campaign Cartographer. This can create random worlds (based on fractals) and give you a spinning globe of your game world, or use real-world satellite data to produce real-world maps, which you can also export into Campaign Cartographer. I dislike FT's randomly generated worlds, but the real-world data is superb.

3) Astrosynthesis: Absolutely the best 3D starmapping software for RPGs. You can randomly generate (and populate) star sectors, or import real-world star data. That can be a pain, but is worth it if you want to go the hard-SF route. IN-sstem data has to be entered manually or randomly generated. I'd have finished my data of our solar system if I wasn't so intent on including major asteroids, all 54 of Saturn's moons (and the rings) and other details...

4) Fractal Mapper: I only got this recently, so it's tough to compare with Campaign Cartographer (which I've been using for around 15 years), but my initial impresions are that it's cheaper, and easier to use out of the box, but far less powerful and versatile. A nice touch is that it comes with a built-in equivalent of Fractal Terrains.

5) Online Map Maker

Campaign Management Software

1) The Keep: By NBOS, who make Astrosynthesis and Fractal Mapper. It's basically an extended database software which can open images, text files and PDFs - link all your campaign notes into one easy tree, no matter where on your hard-drive you've saved them. Stuff it can't open, it will call up the software that can. I am very impressed by what it does for the price. Since it came out, I've relied largely on this instead o the two stop-gaps below.

2) Anthemion Writer's Cafe: Not aimed at RPGs, but at wannabe novelists and screenwriters. Extraordinarily useful for keeping track of charatcers and plots, and works on WIndows, Mac OS and Linux. It's impressive, and integrates seamlessly with OpenOffice.

3) Scrivener: Another bit of writers' book-management software I've pressed into RPG service. Does pretty mich what Anthemion does.


1) The Ever-changing Book of Names: There are many random name generators out there. EBON is, IMO, the best. It's shareware, but well worth the $10 for the full version, which unlocks a huge number of real-world and Tolkien bases. There's a lot of fan-generated bases out there as well. With this, you should never be short of an NPC name again - just get it to generate your names list.

2) WeatherMaster: Superb weather generation software and calendar tracker. Handles fantasy calendars of your own devising, self-created worlds, multiple moons... I bought it twice for different machines. Unfortunately, the company that made it went belly up, which means I couldn't move it onto newer machines (its security is tough) but you can still get a time-locked demo from Wayback Machine (it'll tell you you can't download the file, but click next version, and you'll get it). This thread tells you how to get around the time lock (and how to get it working on Windows 7 64-bit).

3) GURPS Vehicle Builder: Don't attempt to build a GURPS Vehicles vehicle without it (or solid arithmatic and a lot of patience). Seriously. GURPS Vehicles is totally grognard.

So does anyone else have anything different? Dunjinni for mapping, maybe?


Dundjinni is a full-featured fantasy map creation program. It allows users to create walls and floors, place objects, insert text, and more. It boasts an intuitive interface and an impressive selection of objects and textures (over 190 images). It also allows you to author d20 adventures in a simple yet elegant way. Available for both PC & Mac.

Fantasy Grounds

Fantasy Grounds is an application acting as a virtual online gaming table primarily intended for pen and paper style narrative role playing games. Fantasy Grounds is designed to perform many of the things you can do while playing at a conventional gaming table and move it online. Run games as the gamemaster or take part as a player, the application provides all the necessary tools to communicate, manage information and perform tasks such as rolling the dice or creating drawings.

Some more useful links: ... t=software

 Post subject: Re: Software aids to RP
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:08 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:12 am
Posts: 83
Location: Dubai
I'm very interested in Lone Wolf's Realm Works, a campaign manager due out imminently (they say Fall 2013).

Looks like it'll cover the same kind of ground as The Keep, but in a different way. I like Lone Wolf's Hero Lab as a Pathfinder character generator, so I'm keen to see what their campaign manager will do.

Details here: [linkage]

Pathfinder Society Venture-Captain (UAE)
Active games: Pathfinder - Rise of the Runelords. Pathfinder Society games.

 Post subject: Re: Software aids to RP
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 9:52 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:36 am
Posts: 58
For some useful 'art':

And: ... t-creator/

 Post subject: Re: Software aids to RP
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:00 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:36 am
Posts: 58
TL;DR Use Syrinescape for a pay by month slick application with tinny music and Scene Sound for a free program that utilises your own excellent music collection.

I love music in games. I also mix my own tracks for play. However, I have also wanted to be able to play tracks and drop in sound effects as and when I wanted. To achieve this I have sometimes used two separate sets of speakers linked to two computers. Through talking to another GRC member I was recommended some products. Here are my thoughts.

Syrinescape (
Is the up and coming leader. It has packs of sounds. These have a background track and looped sound effects. The timings and volume of these are dependent on which scene you pick. Thus in the Asylum Pack you have a number of scenes such as ‘Initial Atmosphere’ and, ‘This place is haunted’.
You also have buttons to press to add individual sounds to the mix. The program is excellent; however, some of the music packs are somewhat ‘tinny’, and are at the same level as gaming music. To my taste I prefer ‘real’ music with sound effects added.
The program is beautifully presented, but like an Apple product does not allow you to pull apart the elements, and see the bare bones. Thus, unless you have hours to spare you’ll never know what all the sounds are. For me this limits its use.
There is a beta out soon that will allow you to make your own mixes. If this works well this program will become the king of all the programs. There is a monthly subscription fee.

Scenesound (
A one-person show, which is still current and ‘supported’. This is my interface of choice. It offers you several panels. These have different functions:
One: you can drag and drop continually playing music. You can chain each piece together so that a whole album plays.
Two: a random track will be played between a certain time.
Three: you press play on a track and it will play.
Four: Scripting also allows you to utterly control events.
So far I have not used any of the scripting. It required a little bit more time than I was willing to devote.
All the tracks can have their volume levels set, which is an excellent feature.

RPG Soundmixer ( Softrope (
Dead and gone. No longer supported. If anyone knows different then post on the forums.

RPG Ambience ( I have just discovered this on the day of posting and will give it a spin. OK, just tried it. It is a browser based program, and not to my taste.

 Post subject: Re: Software aids to RP
PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:35 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:36 am
Posts: 58
One of my players has indicated that he wants to do some 3d modelling for his games, but lacks the time to learn the skills to do so. On that note I hunted around and found two model makers, which would be ace for any DM to use.

Sketchup Make (Skup) is free, and the models are free. You can download Skup, and learning how to navigate any model is easy (just google navigate in Sketchup). Then go to the Sketchupwarehouse by following the links. Download the models, and then open them.

You can then get any view you want, and export that in 2d. Eh Voila: your campaign rendered in 3d.

As an extra you can press 'r' in Skup, type in 10,10 and create a 10x10 grid square. Select the grid square, press 'm', then ctl and drag the grid square so they are adjacent. Type a number, say 20, to create 20 new grid squares on the axis. Select and move them under the model. By repeating this, you have a grid map. By selecting the top view or navigating to it you can export a map for use in your tabletop or online games.

All for free.

I am happy to answer more Skup or Vue 3d questions.

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