Gamers and DMs are constantly looking for ways to make running and facilitating their games easier. As a DM, I love focusing more on plot than mechanics, so tools that can cut down on time spent building characters or looking up rules can be invaluable.
I’ve been using Hero Lab by Lonewolf Development for a couple months. I’ve bought the licenses for both Mutants and Masterminds 3rd edition (the game I’m currently playing most) and Pathfinder (the game I want to be playing most), and both versions work with very little trouble (that I’ve seen so far.)
If you’ve ever built a character in a video game RPG like Skyrim, Neverwinter Nights, or Dragon Age, you’re basically ready to build characters in Hero Lab.
It’s really simple, and Hero Lab automatically figures out the feats and skills you can or can’t have, and descriptions for every skill, feat, power, spell, or piece of equipment are included. The interface is easy to understand, too.
I’ve always enjoyed building characters, and now I can build characters (even ones with house rules!!) in minutes rather than hours.
Obviously that’s great for players, but Hero Lab has some features that make a DMs job easier as well.
Need a random encounter? You can easily load monsters, minions, and other baddies and modify them as needed.
Having a hard time keeping track of combat? Hero Lab includes a “tactical console” in which you can import all the heroes in the game and all the monsters, roll initiative, and keep track of status effects, spells left, and damage. It’s made my life so much easier as a DM… combat tends to get bogged down quite a bit, so anything that can speed things up is great.
Price-wise, as a gamer on a budget, I think Hero Lab is a bit pricey. It’s $30 for the initial program (this includes a license for the supported game of your choice, I chose Mutants and Masterminds). You can buy licenses for other games, but be warned, they can get expensive. I’m trying to build up my Hero Lab Pathfinder collection, and the money spent can really start to add up quickly.
That said, I can’t imaging playing RPGs without it. You can grab Hero Lab here.