At the moment I’m short on inspiration and long on things to review, so I’m abandoning the regular schedule for a little while in favour of clearing the review backlog. First up: MetaCreator, by Alter Ego Software, the tool I use for character creation and management in my Savage Worlds campaigns.
MetaCreator is the core engine, bought with support for one rule set, but other rule sets can be bought to add on – the ubiquitous d20, Ars Magica, and others. In my case, I got SW support, as that’s what I play most. Arguably SW is simple enough not to need computer support, but I find it convenient, largely because it can provide output in a number of different formats, but also as a way of checking whether players’ character builds are legal or not – this is something we still get wrong as a group even after a few years and dozens of characters.
- Support for characters, monsters, NPCs and races, both official and homebrew.
- Support for magic items (although it took me a while to figure that out).
- Support for both Explorer’s Edition and previous edition damage types.
- Ability to print to several different types of character sheets, combat summaries, RTF text files, HTML. Ability to define your own sheet types (although I have never felt the need to do this). Ability to group characters/creatures together and print them in any of those modes as a group.
- Checks whether the character is legal, and warns you if it isn’t; but if you want to, you can go ahead anyway.
- Allows you to satisfy all prerequisites for an Edge with a single mouse click. I find this useful as I tend to pick the Edges first, then build the rest of the character around them.
- Keeps track of which character took which advance in what sequence (useful for checking if the character can take more Power Points again yet, for example).
- Built-in dice rollers, card draw, random names for various cultures.
- Fast, friendly support from the author.
- Doesn’t work as a portable app – has to be installed on the PC, meaning I can’t carry it with me to different computers. That’s a niggle rather than a full-blown complaint.
- Includes support for some, but not all, SW settings. This doesn’t bother me, as I have a deliberate policy of straying from the core rules as little as possible.
I use this all the time, and have done since I started playing Savage Worlds a few years ago; I recommend it.
The only alternative product I’m aware of is HeroLab. There is a free trial version; I’ll download that and let you know how I get on.