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  1. #1

    A Question of Templates

    I posted this in the Savage Worlds forum, but the topic also has bearing on my 3.5 campaigns.

    I was wondering if there was a way to "drag and drop" a "template" onto a character or NPC. This would alter both Attributes and Skills/Feats, as well as add Hindrances or Benefits, Alignment Changes, etc. on a character. An example would be, say, becoming a Vampire, in which your core stats are altered (increased STR, DEX, etc), various Vampiric abilities, and weaknesses.

    The concept is drawn from the aptly named Book of Templates put out by Goodman games. There, they describe how to adjust a creature or character block in this manner. It was also used in DragonMech. Does anyone know if this feature is available in FG?
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  2. #2
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    I've thought about doing this before. But, from what is actually required to implement the template rebuild rules there would have to be a lot of work to do this properly - especially for more advanced templates.

    It could be done though - an extension would need to be written that would allow templates to be entered (and stored for future use) and then apply the changes in the template to an NPC when the template was added.

    The big work would be templates that do a lot of changes that need comparisons of what is there now and what they change to. Take the young template as an example: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/m...vancement.html

    The creature's size reduces by 1 step. This affects a lot of things - to hit rolls, AC, weapon damage dice, etc.. This would all have to be programmed into the template extension for all sizes of creatures.

    At first I thought it would be a fairly straightforward extension, but on further investigation realised it would be more work that just adding a few modifiers and abilities to an NPC statblock.
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  3. #3
    True, however a fair amount of the recalculations are either provided for by FG or could be worked out once (however laborious this may be) and then applied to a PC/NPC/Creature. The Book of Templates uses tables to provide the answers for most of the very material and complications you describe.

    I just wanted to know if it *could* be done within FG. (or with a "template extension").
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  4. #4
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S Ferguson
    True, however a fair amount of the recalculations are either provided for by FG or could be worked out once (however laborious this may be) and then applied to a PC/NPC/Creature. The Book of Templates uses tables to provide the answers for most of the very material and complications you describe.

    I just wanted to know if it *could* be done within FG. (or with a "template extension").
    Yes, it can be done with an extension (as there will need to be a lot of coding and additions to the ruleset to do this). Are you the man for the job?
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  5. #5
    Oh good god no. I could design the algorithms and functionality but my XML and Lua skills are sadly lacking.

    If someone were to help I could give it a shot. Or at least point me in the right direction to Extension building resources, Lua shouldn't be hard to pick up for me but XML.. there's my problem. Know of any good references?
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  6. #6
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    I was just thinking this would be quite a good FG extension learning project. Start off small and then expand on it if wanted.

    Perhaps try just adding the advanced simple template to an NPC. The rebuild rules for this are: Rebuild Rules: AC increase natural armor by +2; Ability Scores +4 to all ability scores (except Int scores of 2 or less).

    Suggested steps would be:
    1. Add an "Apply Tempate" button to the NPC window. Modify npc_top.xml in \campaign or the underlying npc_main.xml file. These contain the structure definition of the NPC window.
    2. Attach some code to this button (in a new LUA script) that applies the modifiers to relevant areas.

    This would give an introduction to FG XML (it's really not that bad), how to call some LUA code from the XML when the button is pressed, and how to access the DB information of the NPC and modify it based on the template being applied. This will also require a bit of string searching and manipulation to find the various bonuses (to hit, damage, skills, AC, etc.) and add the +2 for the improved abilities.

    A few steps to do before getting started:
    1. Get the 3.5E.pak file from the Fantasy Grounds installation directory (usually Program Files\Fantasy Grounds II). Rename to .zip and extract to the <FG App Data Directory>\rulesets directory - but give it a new directory such as 3.5E_DEV. This will allow you to create a new campaign, with the ruleset name 3.5E_DEV and so you can modify the files in this ruleset and test, without impacting the normal 3.5E rules. We can work on migrating any changes you make into an extension later.
    2. Download Notepad++ (free) and add the XML plugin: http://notepad-plus-plus.org/ You can use this for modifying both XML and LUA files - and check the XML syntax with the XML plugin. Also, "Find in Files" is your friend for working out where things are in the ruleset.
    3. Have a look at the Ruleset Modification Guide - available under the "Library" link at the top of this page.
    4. Check some of the XML resources mentioned in the FG library: http://www.fantasygrounds.com/modguide/introduction.xcp
    5. Check the LUA resources too: http://www.fantasygrounds.com/modguide/scripting.xcp


    Then, you should be ready to give it a go...

    First step would be to add a button to the NPC sheet. The buttoncontrol is detailed in the Ruleset Reference in the Library: http://www.fantasygrounds.com/refdoc/buttoncontrol.xcp There are also a number of button templates defined in the \common\template_buttons.xml file. To see an example in action - look in \charsheet\charsheet_toplevel.xml for the <button_charmini> section - this gives the location of the button "button_charmini" that is defined in charsheet\template_charsheet_general.xml.

    Decide where you'd like to add the "Apply Template" button to the NPC sheet and add the button to npc_top.xml in \campaign or the underlying npc_main.xml file. Check the XML syntax in Notepad++ and save the file. Create a new campaign using your 3.5E_DEV ruleset (where you have just made the change to). Load the campaign, create a new NPC and you should see your new button...

    Next step is to add code behind the button...

    Hopefully the above is not too confusing - please ask questions on anything.
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  7. #7
    JohnD's Avatar
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    Would this not be possible also through effects (possibly multiple would be needed)?
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  8. #8
    O.K. I'm willing to give it a go. But I was thinking of having (possibly) a button associated with a "library" of templates that could be "dropped" on the "Base" PC/NPC/Creature. Each would be handled differently, of course.

    Would this change the coding style any? .

    Luckily, I don't have to worry about Notepad++, I have a more powerful editor.
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  9. #9
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnD
    Would this not be possible also through effects (possibly multiple would be needed)?
    Basic templates could be applied through effects. e.g. Advanced would be: STR:4;DEX:4;CON:4;INT:4;WIS:4;CHA:4 which works for most things, but some aren't updated (HP based on the CON increase for example).

    Also, effects can only be applied to creatures in the Combat Tracker (CT), so you can't prepare in advance an "Advanced Kobold" or whatever - you'd have to remember to apply the effect to the entries in the CT when you initiate the encounter.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnD
    Would this not be possible also through effects (possibly multiple would be needed)?
    Some of it definitely would, but perhaps not all. For example, you can't, as far as I know, change space or reach with an effect, which would be needed for Trenloe's example of the Young template. You also couldn't change hit dice (like changing humanoid d8's to undead d12's), much less re-roll them.

    It's a shame you can't change size with an effect though, it would make dealing with the Enlarge Person spell a lot easier. But dealing with weapon damage changes could be a real headache.

    ~P

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