July Newsletter 2013
With July comes a happy birthday for our oldest (ahem – that is, most venerable) product, Army Builder! To celebrate Army Builder’s 15th anniversary, we’re announcing some major changes any AB user should be interested in. Also in this newsletter, we’ll be highlighting some important information about Gen Con, our latest Realm Works updates, and more. Take a look at some of the topics below:
- Army Builder 15th Anniversary Changes
- Realm Works Update
- Gen Con is Coming!
- This Month’s Pathfinder® Releases
- Hero Lab: Did You Know…?
- Fate™ Core for Hero Lab
- Frog God Games and Pathfinder
- Welcome to the Team
It’s hard to believe, but Army Builder is 15 years old this summer! To celebrate the occasion, we’ve been taking a close look at the feedback you’ve been giving us, and are pleased to announce some changes that we think will be welcomed by everyone. Read on to find out more!
In recognition of Army Builder’s 15th birthday, we’re streamlining and simplifying how licenses work by retiring Army Builder’s license renewal mechanism. Starting on August 1st, active Army Builder licenses will no longer require yearly extensions to access program and data file updates for Army Builder 3. As of that date, all Army Builder 3 licenses that have not yet expired will forever more remain “active” and never expire.
All new licenses purchased henceforth will never expire. All existing licenses that are active on August 1st, 2013, will similarly never expire. Army Builder licenses that are expired on August 1st can be renewed to that date and will thereafter never expire. All future updates to Army Builder 3 will be free to all users with unexpired licenses. In other words, everything just became a lot simpler!
We hope these changes will let even more people enjoy Army Builder than before, including the upcoming “Army Builder Roster Viewer for iPad and iPhone”, which you can read all about in our May newsletter. We’re putting the finishing touches on the roster viewer now, and we anticipate this great free tool becoming available in August, assuming approval on the app store goes quickly! If you don’t have an iPad or iPhone, or if you’d just like to see it in person, come see us at Gen Con this month and we’ll be happy to show it off!
Finally, we’d like to thank the thousands of loyal Army Builder users who have been actively supporting us by renewing their licenses every year. For all of you who have previously extended or renewed your Army Builder license, if your license is active as of August 1st we’ll be providing a credit for all remaining time on the license. Once our new online purchase system is up and running (currently in development and planned for this fall), users with non-expired licenses will be given pro-rated credit on our online store for the time remaining on their license. We’ll let you know via email and this newsletter once we have the mechanisms in place to make this happen, so keep an eye out for a communication from us.
For those of you that have been with us since the original release of Army Builder in 1998, and to everyone who’s joined us since then, we salute you! Here’s to another 15 years of miniature mayhem – roll on 2028!
– The Army Builder team
The Realm Works team is beginning end-to-end testing now and we’re working out the kinks in order to get the Early Access release out the door. As is often the case on projects of this size and complexity, we’re running into a variety of corner cases during testing that require special handling. We’re also uncovering assorted little details that need to be properly covered in order to ensure the product works smoothly for everyone. We’re working through all these cases steadily, but each one takes time to solve and it’s unfortunately all adding up to delays right now. The entire team is putting in long hours to get everything into place as quickly as possible, and we’ll be unleashing the Early Access release as soon as we believe it’s in solid shape.
Last month, we made some major improvements to the Realm Works user interface, and the good news is that the feedback from the Beta team regarding them has been uniformly positive. The product has significantly evolved since the start of the year, and we’re really looking forward to everyone’s reactions when we finally get Realm Works out the door!
The official commercial release of Realm Works will probably end up occurring in September. We’d love it to be out sooner, but we still have important functionality to add beyond the Early Access release, especially on the server side of the project. We’ll also all be spending a week at GenCon this coming month, plus time to prepare for the show and recover afterwards. We’d need to pull a rabbit out of our hat to get everything finished in August, so September is a more likely timeframe.
Regarding GenCon, we’re going to be showing off Realm Works in all its glory in booth #1519! Be sure to stop by and take a tour of everything Realm Works offers. We’ll also be holding two seminars on Realm Works during the show (see the Gen Con section of this newsletter for details), with those seminars delving deep into all the power and capabilities of the product. If you can make it, the seminars will provide an amazing jumpstart to getting the most out of Realm Works when it releases.
For our Kickstarter backers, look for further details regarding the Early Access release via the Comments and Updates mechanisms there. We’re doing everything we can to get Realm Works into your hands while still maintaining reasonable quality on the product.
Lone Wolf’s presence at Gen Con will be bigger and better than ever before! We’ll be located at booth #1519 this year, and we hope that you’ll stop by and check us out. Not only will we be demoing our new Hero Lab and Army Builder Roster Viewer apps for the iPad, but we’ll also have demos of Realm Works, which has changed a lot since we showed it off last year.
Once again, we’ll be running our popular Character Creation Stations inside the Pathfinder Society Organized Play area. You can try out Hero Lab by building a character for any events in which you’re participating! Even if you just want to make sure your character meets all the necessary requirements, feel free to stop by and check out Hero Lab. Existing Hero Lab users are also welcome to update their characters between games. Just look for the big Character Creation Station banner!
Over the course of Gen Con, we’ll be hosting four seminars as well. Please note that some of these seminar times have changed since first released! Stop by and check out any or all of the following:
- Friday, 10am – 12pm – Hero Lab® – Adding Your Own Content (SEM1352120), located in the Westin Chamber Room. Curious about how to add your own custom content to the Hero Lab character management tool? This tutorial will teach you how! We’ll be focusing on the Pathfinder and Shadowrun game systems, but questions about other games are welcome too. If you’ve been working with the Hero Lab Editor already, bring your “.user” files with you on a laptop or a flash drive for suggestions from the experts on overcoming any hurdles you’re facing!
- Friday, 12pm – 2pm – Realm Works™ – Harnessing the Power (SEM1352121), located in the Westin Chamber Room. Interested in Realm Works and want to see what it is about? This seminar will be focused on the tools within the product using specific examples, and also give advice on how to avoid common hurdles faced by most campaigns.
- Saturday, 4pm – 6pm – Realm Works™ – An In-Depth Look (SEM1346778), located in the Embassy Suites Coronation 1 Room. This is a great opportunity to see our revolutionary new product for RPG world development and collaboration between players and GMs. This detailed look will show how to leverage Realm Works in your games and what the future holds.
- Sunday, 11am – 12pm – Hero Lab® – An In-Depth Look (SEM1345841), located in the Westin Chamber Room. Join us for a guided tour through our ENnie Award winning character management software. This seminar features an in-depth discussion on character creation, in-play support, Tactical Console, game system nuances, and more.
Stay tuned for the special Gen Con newsletter we’ll be sending out in early August. On behalf of the Lone Wolf team, safe travels to Gen Con and we hope to see you while you’re there!
With Baba Yaga safely rescued from her son, the heroes must try to release her from her prison within a magical doll. Not only must they open the nesting dolls to free Baba Yaga, they must battle the monsters guarding the hut and finally face-off with Queen Elvanna herself. Will the heroes succeed, or will Queen Elvanna and her forces overrun the world and send Golarion into an eternal winter? This update for Pathfinder will have everything players need to save the Witch Queen in the newest Adventure Path, “The Witch Queen’s Revenge”. We’ll be adding all the player content from this Adventure Path into Hero Lab as part of this month’s free update, available late next week.
A new add-on for Pathfinder, our Player Companion #12 package, will be available for only $4.99 with this month’s Pathfinder release. The first book in this package is the “Pathfinder Society Primer”, which includes everything you need to join the illustrious Pathfinder Society! We expect to add at least one more book to this add-on, which will be included as it’s released. As usual, anyone who purchases the package now will receive additional material as a free update.
We’ll also be adding new material to our Player Companion Setting #11 add-on package. You’ll soon find “Dragonslayer’s Handbook” in this package, joining “Kobolds of Golarion” and “Quests & Campaigns”. All three books will soon be available for only $4.99. Pick up both packages and take advantage of the new options available to your characters!
For all of you Game Masters out there looking to expand your worlds, check out what’s available in our Campaign Setting #10 add-on package. You’ll soon find “The Worldwound” in this package, joining “Castles of the Inner Sea”, “Dragons Unleashed”, “Fey Revisited” and “Chronicle of the Righteous”. All five books will soon be available for only $4.99.
Don’t forget that the new Pathfinder Classic Bundle was released earlier this month! This combines our existing Campaign Setting and Player Companion Bundles to create one big package of awesome material. The content from over 35 books are packaged together and offered for the price of only $29.99! That’s a 25% discount compared to buying the two existing bundles separately, and a 40% discount over the individual package prices.
Good luck, fearless adventurers!
We’re back this month with our latest installment of “Did You Know…?”, our overview of awesome but lesser-known functionality within our products. This month, we show you how to create custom monsters with the Bestiary Monster Creator for Pathfinder. As you’ll see, anyone whose license has the Bestiary package can use it to create new monsters without touching Hero Lab’s editor!
Sometimes the most memorable and colorful monsters in a campaign are custom creations by the GM. One of the most cuddly, yet terror-inducing monsters is the Owlbear, but what if you went further? What if your players could fight a miniature Owlbear? This introductory “How To” guide will teach you the basics of how to use Hero Lab’s Bestiary Monster Creation tools to create Ted, the Miniature Owlbear.
Step 1: Create a new character, and make sure that the “Bestiary” setting is checked on the “Configure Your Hero” screen (as usual, if you don’t have access to the Bestiary package, you can purchase it through the License menu). You don’t need Bestiary 2, 3 or the Bonus Bestiary, but feel free to enable those if you have them.
Step 2: On the Background tab, select “Bestiary Monster Creation” from the “Choose Race” list. This enables some special rules, allowing you to create your own custom monster.
Step 3: Use the Bestiary Appendix (p.290-293) as guidelines to define your creature. See Ted the miniature Owl Bear as an example. Ted was given a Target Challenge Rating (CR) of 2. The average Owlbear has a CR of 3, but because Ted is smaller he is less (but not much less!) of a challenge for players to take on. As you can see in the “CR Estimate” summary panel, Hero Lab calculates suggested statistics for the monster, which you can use as guidelines during creation.
Step 4: On the Abilities tab, set your monster’s Ability Scores, using the Bestiary appendix for a guide on appropriate ability numbers for your monster’s CR and size. Ted is similar to a regular Owlbear, but is slightly weaker in all categories. The only ability where Ted differs from his larger Owlbear counterpart is Charisma, because a miniature Owlbear is unquestionably cuter.
Step 5: Return to the Background tab and scroll down. Give your monster some style by adding attacks and other special abilities. Ted was given some normal claw and bite attacks, but he was also given the lesser-known special attack of a miniature Owlbear: because of his disarmingly cute appearance, he can cast charm on one opponent once a day and, if successful, the charmed person runs straight into his arms for a deadly hug.
Step 6: Give your monster skill points and feats under the Skills and Feats tabs. Ted, for instance, was given a skill point in Climb, as miniature Owlbears often like to perch in trees.
Step 7: Open the other tabs and adjust as appropriate to your monster. Don’t forget to refer to the Bestiary Appendix (p.290-293) as you develop your custom monster.
We hope this helps you create some new monsters for your next game and that you have just as much fun creating your monsters as we had creating ours. Ted the Miniature Owlbear may be tiny compared to the average, but make no mistake that he still gives ferocious hugs.
Remember, you can help us spread the word by sending your ideas on things we should cover in this section by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Hero Lab has supported Spirit of the Century, a pulp role-playing game based on the Fate system, since early May. Hero Lab users have had nothing but praise for the game, so we’re excited to announce that our team will begin work on the new “Fate Core” ruleset for Hero Lab after Gen Con! Like “Spirit of the Century”, Fate Core will be free to all Hero Lab users, and also included with the free Hero Lab Starter Edition tool.
Fate, Evil Hat’s multi-award winning RPG, is a role-playing game system that is customizable to support any genre or setting, and is available online for free. So for all of you Fate system fans out there, dust off your sonic bolt rifles and flying carpets, because it’s coming soon to a computer near you!
It’s been six months since we released Tome of Horrors Complete from Frog God Games, and we’re glad to report that it’s been a big hit with our users as well as the Pathfinder community. When the book was released in 2011 as a PDF, it was so popular that Paizo set a record for the largest gross sales ever on their website! Thanks to a lot of hard work by the creators of the Hero Lab version, we’ve been able to introduce old and new players alike to the Bunyip, Sand Kraken, and Tentacled Horror (wait, are we sure that’s actually a good thing?). If you’re looking for over 700 more monsters to use in your games, it’s definitely something you should check out!
Keep an eye on the Hero Lab updates mechanism over the next weeks, as Frog God will soon be making available a free “Frog God Games Pathfinder Content” package, which will include content for the setting that appears throughout their products. This free download will include spells, classes, deities, and other content for players and GMs alike.
Frog God Games is a team of gamers with the sole mission of making new adventures with an “old school” feel. That philosophy drives their desire to make content available to everyone, which is why they’ve been working so hard to put together packages for Hero Lab. Currently, Frog God has a handful of electronic products available for use with Hero Lab, including “Rappan Athuk”, “Tome of Horrors Complete” and “Razor Coast”, and adding “Stoneheart Valley”, “Dead Man’s Chest” and “Tome of Horrors 4” over the rest of this year. Finally, Realm Works will also support the popular “Razor Coast” adventure path, as announced in the Realm Works kickstarter.
Please note that as these data files are not developed by Lone Wolf, errors associated with Frog God Games data files should be reported here, and additional information can be found in this forum thread. Remember to provide as much information as possible in the error report to help Frog God to be able to re-create the error and fix it. If you receive an error in Hero Lab, you can right-click the error message, then copy it and paste it into your ticket, which will often help diagnose your issue.
We’re looking forward to adding more Frog God content to Hero Lab, and we’re sure you’re looking forward to seeing it!
This month we’ve had the opportunity to welcome two new staff members to the Lone Wolf family. Please welcome Liz Winters, our new Community Development Manager, and Jon Leitheusser, who fills the Business Administration position that we advertised in May. Liz and Jon will be leading our marketing, consumer relations, and business initiatives, allowing us to respond quicker to our community’s needs and to reach out to our audience in different and unique ways.
A big “thank you” to everyone who has shown interest in joining Lone Wolf Development. We’re still a tiny company, but these new additions will help us take some of the pressure off our developers, so that they can focus on continuing to create the ground-breaking products we are known for.