– February 2012 –
Hello everyone, and welcome to this month's edition of the newsletter. In-between all our Valentine's Day machinations, we've found the time to address some significant items, and want to update you on the following topics:
In keeping with our goal to provide regular updates about what's going on here at Lone Wolf Development, we've posted our plans for 2012 here on our web site. We're going to cover a lot of ground this year, and our State of the Wolf update will give you a sense for what we're going to tackle. The update also includes a look back at some key 2011 accomplishments, as well as some things we'll improve this year.
Within the update, you'll find information on current and new products. We've also outlined our plans for Hero Lab and Army Builder on the Mac, as well as our plans related to tablets. No matter what your interests may be, there's something for everyone, so be sure to check it out!
February marked the successful launch of beta testing for Realm Works. The testers are hammering away at the software, and have provided great feedback so far. In the past, we've described how Realm Works is game system neutral; it's designed to support a GM, regardless of the games they play. To give you a sense for how this is playing out among the beta testers, the GMs chosen for the first phase of the beta are using Realm Works with almost 20 different game systems, including some home-brew games. We've gotten some great feedback and some awesome suggestions so far, and look forward to more of the same as we move through the first phase of beta testing.
Don't forget; we'll be conducting multiple phases of the beta test, with each phase adding additional testers. If you haven't already done so, complete our survey to be considered for future phases of testing.
With Hero Lab for the Mac on track for release at the end of March, we wanted to provide some insight into our planned schedule for releasing Army Builder for the Mac. As we've mentioned in the past, we expect the Army Builder release cycle to benefit from all the work we've done to date getting Hero Lab ready for the Mac, which should mean that the development cycle will be shorter.
We currently expect to commence beta testing of Army Builder in April. We already have a full team standing by, so we aren't accepting further applications at this time. We may open the beta to a wider audience during testing, so watch our web site, Facebook and Twitter for announcements, as well as status updates.
If the beta testing goes as well as we expect, we'll be releasing Army Builder for the Mac in May!
We've got some good news for all of you who use the free version of Hero Lab for the Beginner's Box. We'll soon be including the data files for the Beginner Box in Hero Lab with all the other game systems we offer! We'll still offer the free Beginner Box version of Hero Lab on a stand-alone basis, but this will allow those of you using Hero Lab for Pathfinder to access everything you need without installing extra software.
All users with Pathfinder licenses will be able to save and print Beginner Box characters, and those without will be able to check it out in demo mode like our other game systems. Hero Lab users will simply see a new game system listed for selection when you start Hero Lab. This will enable you to easily switch between Pathfinder and the Beginner Box, depending upon which game you're playing. We expect to release the Beginner Box data files before the end of March.
This month, we also added new material to two of our existing data packages. "Pirates of the Inner Sea" is now part of our Golarion #2 data package. For those of you that have already purchased this data package, you'll receive the new information automatically in your update. If you don't have Golarion #2, this might be the time to check it out! In addition to the material from "Pirates of the Inner Sea", you'll find "Faiths of Corruption" and "Dragon Empires Primer". Whether you want to pillage the seas of Golarion, explore Tian Xia as a shape-shifting kitsune or a white-haired witch, or simply spread the word of the evil gods, this is the package for you.
For those of you that might be tiring of trekking across Golarion in search of fame and glory, now's the time to try something new – Golarion's solar system! Our Campaign Setting #7 data package now includes "Distant Worlds" to support all your off-world needs. For those of you that have already purchased this Campaign Setting data package, you'll receive the new information automatically in your update. Just remember, in space, no one can hear you scream!
Last month, we provided some details around our plans to release our first sets of data packages to expand your runner's options. If you missed that update, you can find out all about it here.
In February, we released our first three add-on data packages for Shadowrun, covering "Augmentation", "Arsenal" and "Street Magic". We're also still on track for releasing material from "Runner's Companion" in two installments. As we mentioned, the add-on won't initially support the alternate character creation and alternative character concepts, but those will be added after the initial release. There's a lot of good stuff that we knew you'd want to use, and releasing in installments allows us to get it to you as soon as possible.
Remember, you can get each data package separately for $9.99 or you can buy the bundle for $34.99 and save 30%. For users who purchase the bundle prior to the completion of all five supplement packages, the additional packages will be added to your license as a free update when they become available. If you purchase the bundle or "Runner's Companion" as a stand-alone add-on, you'll receive a free update with the alternate character creation and concepts when we release them; we currently expect to release this update before the end of April.
We also wanted to outline our plans for additional Shadowrun material beyond the Runner's Companion release. First up, we'll be releasing "Unwired" as the final data package in our Shadowrun Bundle of supplement books. "Unwired" will join "Augmentation", "Arsenal", "Street Magic", and "Runner's Companion" in the bundle, and we expect to release it before the end of April. Also, as a special "thank you" for all those who purchase the bundle before we release the Unwired data package, you'll be able to access the qualities from Unwired in early April as a pre-release bonus!
Once we've released the final data package for "Unwired", we'll be turning our attention to even more Shadowrun material, including add-on packages for the much-requested PDF content! These add-ons will include material from "This Old Drone", "Digital Grimoire" and more! In cases where "Runner's Black Book" expanded some of the material previously published in particular PDFs, we'll be including this additional material in these compilation add-ons as well. We're still in the process of defining exactly what material will be available in the first PDF Compilation, which we expect to release before the end of April, and we'll update you in future versions of the newsletter.
In the first half of March, we'll release our second of three Savage Worlds Companions, the Fantasy Companion! Within this add-on, you'll have access to additional Professional and Racial Edges, some new gear or weapons, and some new spells to bulk up your spell selection as you adventure in various realms.
You can buy the Savage Worlds add-ons individually, or through our Savage Worlds Companion Book bundle option. This bundle includes the previously released Super Powers Companion as well as the Fantasy Companion, with the brand new Horror Companion on the way. Each add-on will be $7.99 apiece, but with the Companion Book bundle option we're offering an introductory discount price of $19.99 for all three add-ons - that's a 17% savings on this bundle of awesomeness! For users who purchase the bundle prior to the release of all three Companion packages, the Fantasy and Horror Companions will be added to your license as a free update.
We expect the Horror Companion to be released in mid-April. We had planned to release Horror Companion sooner, but based on some feedback we've received, we made a slight alteration in our plan. Before we address Horror Companion, we're going to spend a couple weeks expanding our documentation to include detailed tutorials on customizing Hero Lab for Savage Settings. This will make it easier for you to introduce your own content into your games through Hero Lab. So, look for updated information on customizing Hero Lab before the end of March.
Finally, we've got some great news for all you Savage Worlds players. The fine folks at Pinnacle have agreed to allow us to start making data files for various Savage Settings available. Here's the best part – they'll be FREE downloads for any Savage Worlds player using Hero Lab!
We've reached out to some members of the community who've already put together data files for various Savage Settings, and they've agreed to maintain and distribute their data files directly through the Hero Lab Updates Mechanism. The first two Settings we expect to release are "Deadlands Reloaded" and "Savage World of Solomon Kane", with more on the way. We'll keep you updated via the newsletter as more Settings become available.
Additionally, if you're a data file author who is interested in distributing your Settings data file through Hero Lab for free, please let us know!
Avast and prepare ta be boarded, ye scurvy bilge rats! Even though Talk Like a Pirate Day is still more than six months away, we can't help but get excited by the latest data file released by Rite Publishing for their "101 Pirate and Privateer Traits". Villains, heroes, the open sea, parrots and monkeys, rum, and chests of gold. What's not to love? You can learn more about this cool publication here.
In addition, just when you thought it was safe to go adventuring again, TPK Games has released another Hero Lab portfolio with their Infamous Adversaries sourcebooks! Challenge your party with "Infamous Adversaries: Slogar the Uncaring". A ready-made villain, this filthy, haggard and vicious half-orc cleric doomsayer and his zombie steed, Daisy Pusher, leave blood and pain in their wake. Check it out – it's Free!
A few months ago, we discussed how the Tactical Console in Hero Lab could be used to streamline encounters. This month, we wanted to highlight an alternate approach in more detail. The key aspect to this approach is that you create a portfolio which includes all the player characters, and then create separate portfolios for all the monsters or NPCs in each of your planned encounters. We recommend this approach for GMs whose games typically involve multiple encounters in a single game session.
To set-up a portfolio in Hero Lab that includes all the characters in the game, open the first party member's portfolio in Hero Lab. To add the rest of the party members to the portfolio, select "Import Hero From Portfolio" from the Portfolio menu in Hero Lab, then select the file containing the other party member(s).
As you import additional heroes, each one will be added to the dashboard on the right. You'll also be prompted to indicate whether the hero you are importing is an "ally" (for party members) or an "enemy" (for NPCs) of the party. Once you've added all the heroes, select "Save Portfolio As" from the File menu and give your group a name, such as Party Members.
During the game, you can quickly switch between characters to find information. Click the "crosshairs" button to the right of the Hero's name in the dashboard and make that hero the active hero. You can also select a hero using the Portfolio menu.
Next, we'll create a unique portfolio for each of the expected encounters the party members will face. As an example, we'll use Pathfinder, but this same technique can be used for any game system.
Start by creating a new portfolio for the encounter. Then, from the Portfolio menu, select "Import Stock Hero". This will open a window listing your available options, including NPCs and monsters. For this encounter, first select "Miscellaneous Monsters (E-H)". Scroll through the list of monsters until you find "Goblin", use the right-arrow to increase the number from "0" to "7", click "OK", and then confirm your selection. Hero Lab will add the seven goblins to the dashboard on the right.
Use "Import Stock Hero" in the same manner to add five orcs and a troll to the encounter (trolls are included in the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 1 add-on package, or you can build them yourself using the Editor). Once you've added all the members of the encounter group, remove the "Unnamed Hero" or any heroes from the portfolio by selecting "Delete Hero" from the Portfolio menu and choosing which ones to remove. Finally, select "Save Portfolio" in the File menu and give the Encounter Portfolio a name, like "Encounter at the Old Mill". Repeat this until you've created a Hero Lab portfolio for each encounter in your adventure.
When you start your game, begin by loading the Party Members portfolio into Hero Lab. If the party heads to the Old Mill, where they'll find your group of 13 monsters, just import the Encounter at the Old Mill portfolio using the "Import Hero From Portfolio" option in the Portfolio menu and selecting the relevant file. Choose "Import All" from the pop-up window, and all of the monsters from that encounter will be imported. Now you have a single portfolio containing all the players, and all of their NPC opponents.
At this point, select "Show Tactical Console" from the View menu. Run the encounter using the Tactical Console, as described previously in November's newsletter. Once the encounter is over, you can remove the monsters from the portfolio by choosing "Delete Hero" from the Portfolio menu. Select "Delete Multiple," check the monsters in the list, then select "Okay".
In this way, you'll have an up-to-date listing of the party members which reflects any damage they've taken or other conditions they've incurred. You can manage any healing or other in-play effects and conditions in the Tactical Console. When the next encounter starts, simply import that encounter and you're ready to roll.
Give it a try in your next game!
As always, you can keep up to date with what we're doing by checking out the following social networking sites!
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