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Banyan42
July 5th, 2013, 23:22
I downloaded the Demo version of FG yesterday and have been messing around with it off and on over the last day or so, trying to decide if it will be a good tool to run games for my group with. I am on the verge of buying an Ultimate license if I can figure the thing out. I think I'm getting the hang of it, but for the life of me I can't figure out how to add a class to a character.

I know you right click and pick "Create new" and that gives you a blank line, but from that point it feels like you should be able to drag a class from the library onto the character, and it doesn't seem to want to drop into the empty blank, like a weapon does. Do you just type in your class, and adjust the character sheet accordingly, with all that class's stats? That's fine with me, I just didn't want to do it the long way if FG is smart enough to auto-add stuff like class abilities, and I'm just missing how to do it.

Second question: We already use Hero Lab for character creation, and I see how to import from that and it works fine. I understand its not perfect and you have to validate the import. However, one of our players is a Ninja from Ultimate Combat, a class that isn't covered in the rules. It appeared to import just fine, even with some custom feats from the UC book. Will it work the same as a standard class, or will something about it not work correctly in a combat because its not "defined" in the libraries?

Third question: If a player has to leave before the session is over, can the GM take control of that character mid-session so if there is a combat going on, the party isn't suddenly one player short?

Extension of third question: Can I Control a PC at all? Although I GM, I usually run a cleric that stands around making wisecracks, healing people, and fighting when appropriate, because no one else wants to play the healer. I know I can use him as an npc, but I'd like the robustness of a full character sheet for him, as he is a permanent fixture of the party that I track as if he were a PC.

Fourth question: For any hero lab users reading this, tell me if I have the right idea here... Since you can't export back to hero lab, any updates to the character are entered manually to hero lab and then re-imported as appropriate on level-ups and acquisition of equipment, right? Which means re-auditing the character sheet every time?

Fifth question, and forgive my denseness on this one: What exactly is the monster parser for? (Parsing monsters, of course.) Do you just point it at a pdf and it will create a module with all the monster stat blocks contained therein? I know I should do my own research on that one, but I feel like I have such a staggering amount of stuff to figure out with this, if anybody could spare two or three sentences in very straightforward terms on that, I'd be grateful.

I intended this to be just a couple lines, and look at that wall o' text. For those of you still awake that decide to help out, thanks in advance, I really appreciate it. -Banyan42

Moon Wizard
July 6th, 2013, 10:25
Welcome to FG. Let me take a stab at your questions.

1. The character sheets in FG are made to allow you to enter any information you want for the characters, and automate many of the typical calculations. However, it does not perform any character creation tasks. Thus, the character sheet has no built-in knowledge of the different classes. They are just bits of text in the current character sheet.

2. As mentioned above, the sheets are written to hold information, so you shouldn't have to worry about a class not working since it's just a label. As you stray from the core rules, you may find character abilities that do not necessarily have a specific place or an automated feature. Those still need to be handled as you would at the table. For the 3.5E/PFRPG ruleset, one tip/trick is to create a new spell class record to track item powers or racial abilities.

3. The GM has full control over the entire game. They can not register a character to appear in the upper left as shown when players log in, but otherwise they can take all other actions that a player can make (make rolls from the character sheet, speak as the character (use speech bubble on char sheet to add to GM identity list), etc.)

4. Yes, that's essentially how it works. There was actually a group started amongst several of the character creation and virtual tabletop developers on creating a workflow to go both ways, but everyone has very specific data requirements which made the development prohibitively expensive on both sides and the project stalled.

5. I haven't used the monster parser, but I believe it is used to parse standard PFRPG monster stat blocks into an FG module that you can use during your games. If you look in the PFRPG forum, I believe that someone has already posted a link to a module containing all the Paizo generated NPCs and creatures from d20pfsrd. I use one for my current game labeled mega-bestiary that someone posted previously.

Regards,
JPG

Mgrancey
July 6th, 2013, 13:18
Biggest problem about Hero Labs converting I found is that due to the way they structure their XML, any familiars, mounts, summons, etc. won't be converted correctly to FG XML. You need to pull them out and either make them an NPC and share or as a second character for the player.

Its better that once a character is in FG the players would simply add items and update them in FG. Issues can develop, at least in Savage Worlds, when you delete and import characters.

Though there is plenty of videos that you can watch about FG, if you want someone to walk you through some of the stuff for GMing with FG. I'd be willing to help you out if you want.

JohnD
July 6th, 2013, 16:19
For HL familiars you need to export the xml separately from the PC and import as if it were a different character... that usually gets you most of the way. Personally I find HL gets me about 90% of the way to how I want my PCs to look as a player and as a DM.

The DM can start a player client on the same computer and load missing characters that way.

A demo from an experienced DM will do wonders for your learning curve! :)

Banyan42
July 7th, 2013, 15:32
Thanks a ton for the help, guys, that cleared up several misconceptions. I think this software will work for us.

@moon_wizard I appreciate the responses. Its great to see a Dev helping people on the forums. After reading many other posts, I can tell there is a great community of users, and that is almost as important to me as the software itself.

@Mgrancey I will absolutely take you up on your offer, sometime in the near future. First, I want to mess with the maps and combat tracker on my own for a bit. That way I'll be more familiar with the basics and able to ask more in-depth questions. Up till now I've been focusing on the character sheet and whether or not it would work with Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Magic classes and feats, because not being able to do so was a deal-breaker. Will private message you later in the week to look at setting something up, if the offer still stands.

@JohnD Great avatar. Futurama, right? I see from your signature that you're an old timer. I, too have looked at my Players Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual and been annoyed that their artwork didn't match all the new sourcebooks with the orange spines that were coming out. Or maybe that was just me.