Charmongen 2! (character and monster generator 2)

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Charmongen 2! (character and monster generator 2)

Postby Maugh » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:04 pm

ALL RIGHT. SO.

While waiting for a better character generation program to be finished, (chris & caleb were both working on that,) I have come up with a stopgap solution. As usual, my programming skills leave much to be desired, (they're nonexistent), BUT I have developed a very effective working knowledge of excel and indesign, which has been invaluable in getting the project to this point.

To get to the point, I have developed a character generation sheet that will require minimum effort from the user and will allow us to compile a collective database of monsters and NPC's that I can use to spit into indesign templates. This means that the work that is done for monsters can get shifted over to 'cannon' and can be put into a useful form.

This works in five steps, only two of which anybody else has to do.

STEP ONE: You will need Charmongen 2.xls, which is conveniently below. Yes, I know the name sounds like a pokemon. It's also awesome. The two are not mutually exclusive. This file works very similarly to the character generator from before, but has included tweaks that will help players fit bonuses and other side-details into the information. It's easier to use and includes more of the janky rules than before, and has been updated to be current with all information.

CharMonGen 2.xls
(136 KiB) Downloaded 217 times


There are a couple of wierd rules associated with the use of this document.
First, ONLY CHANGE FIELDS THAT ARE GRAY. anything else is probably being used for formulas and references. Some of these are invisible, so just save yourself the headache of the file breaking and only use the gray fields.
Second, MONSTERS CAN ONLY HAVE 15 ABILITIES. Yes, I realize that this is a limiting number for some of the more zany monsters, but really, monsters should be relatively straightforward to run anyway, and there are good (buggy) reasons why having more than 15 for monsters breaks the whole process.

STEP TWO: Once a monster/character is entirely designed in this spreadsheet, then you can flip over to the secondary sheets labeled Character Database, or Monster Database. There will magically be a line that has listed all of the relevant information for your char or mon. What you need to do is SELECT THAT ENTIRE ROW, AND COPY. Then you can see a list of the previously stored entries. Find the first empty row below those and right click it. Select the PASTE SPECIAL command, and make sure that it's ONLY PASTING TEXT AND NUMBER VALUES. NOT FORMULAS. This will successfully insert your creation amongst the ranks of previous entries.

STEP THREE: When you've got a monster or five, (10?) Save the file. Send it to me. I will do the rest. The more entries you send me at a time, the more convenient it is for me to enter them.

STEP FOUR: I import the new entries into a central database,
STEP FIVE: I transfer the files over to indesign, print the new list of monsters, and do a bit of cleanup work.

Step five produces this:

Critter Compendium Demo.pdf
(470.35 KiB) Downloaded 218 times


This is an example from the two test monsters I developed. They are on the 'monster database,' sheet, if you notice.

You also might notice that they have different information from one another. The Indesign template is set up to take in all of the information that is listed on the charmongen 2. Then I go through and delete the pieces that a particular monster won't use. This is a very fast process.

You'll also notice that the format is useful, but relatively hideous. Aubrey will, in the future, be applying the prettified version to my template, but by keeping all of the information in a central database, I can always re-apply the data, and it will keep all our stuff up to date.

Rock on. Rock out.

ONE MORE NOTE:
The excel file has no mother. It will not correct you if you put in wonky values. I will have to fix these values manually. Please be careful in putting in values that are in the right ranges for the various fields, and that your monster follows the skill cap rules. That will all be calculated manually, but it won't tell you if there's something wrong.

For location, please do not use political locations, but environments. Valid entries are these: Cave, City, Deep Caverns, Deep Water, Desert, Forest, Glacier, Jungle, Lake/River, Mountains, Ocean, Plains, Ruins, Savannah, Sky, Swamp, Taiga, Volcano, Wasteland. This has to do with the organization of the CC book.

Some of these fields are not necessary for NPC's. Please ignore these fields when building NPC's.

When mimicking abilities, please use costs between 0 and 4. use 0 if it is an ability that is detrimental or neutral, and up to 4 or even 5 if the ability is so awesome as to be imbalancing. Please follow the text format that I have in the sheet now.

VERY WELL. This could be a great tool. Or it could be pretty crappy. Time will tell. I'll probably be going through and importing my own critter compendium to this format, and then will be adding James's monsters for good measure. Thanks for hearing my ramblings. Those of you who read this post all the way to the end get a "Listen to Rob Ramble" Skill.
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Re: Charmongen 2! (character and monster generator 2)

Postby Maugh » Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:00 pm

HATE.
Errors I have fixed since the above download:

1. Speed penalties now account for Athletics
2. Dodge/Autonomy/Grit bonuses don't need to be applied twice.
3. Thrown and Shot links are no longer broken. That was an unpleasant discovery.

The second and third errors have been fixed since I sent the last one to James this morning, (if he reads this.)

I've attached a fresh version. This includes in the database some of the monsters that I've been importing from my old monster manual. I'll be doing the Forest, Cave, Mountain, and Jungle, after which point I will probably be really sick of doing monsters and will be working on something else for awhile. After these four, I will print off a temporary critter compendium to test all of this out. (this temporary cc will probably include about 80 to 100 monsters, spread across all 15 skill caps, which is pretty cool.) This should take me about three more weeks, I think, depending on how manic I get while working on it.

Anyway, here is the excel sheet I've got now. If someone has already used the flawed one, you can fix errors directly in the database page without re-doing the monsters, (it's not that hard, really, especially since thrown and shot are skills that don't see much use in monsters.) Alternatively, you could just attach your monsters to the list and email it to me, and I'd be happy to double-check and fix errors for anybody.

CharMonGen 2.xls
(168 KiB) Downloaded 218 times


Oh yeah, and I also added an 'extra points' field in the vital information, for saved points, as well as a 'next rank,' and 'cost to next,' field, for spending skill points. This is because of the bear. The Bear kind of sucks, really. They don't really need a lot of skills or abilities, but they do need a skill cap, so I they just have 41 extra points, just kicking around. Bears are full of wasted potential.
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Re: Charmongen 2! (character and monster generator 2)

Postby Maugh » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:08 pm

Round 3: Found an error in the way the sheet handles Intuition. A link that was pointing to the wrong place.

CharMonGen 2.xls
(193.5 KiB) Downloaded 236 times


If anybody has already imported monsters with this tool, don't worry about it. The fields are the same and I can fix any errors that are there very easily. Again, easiest to do is copy-paste finished monsters into the new sheet.

And if you have a monster done, and have already copied it from the reference line of the database into the next step below, you can make edits there, with no problems. Just keep in mind that it won't do all the automatic stuff down there, so edits will have to be figured manually then applied.
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Re: Charmongen 2! (character and monster generator 2)

Postby James » Sat Apr 03, 2010 6:24 pm

So, Maugh, do you want us to still post stand alone monsters here? Should I just wait until I have a bunch of them that I can send all at once as an attachment? I used to assume that others could use posted monsters for their own adventures, but I think it is mostly just you and me that are Storytelling right now.
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Re: Charmongen 2! (character and monster generator 2)

Postby Maugh » Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:01 am

Whatever's most convenient. Stockpile as many of them as you feel you want to, and then send them along. If you want to post them here, I enjoy reading them, but like I said, whatever is most convenient or whichever you want to. I'll put them into the database as soon as you get them done. I'm REALLY close to finishing the second environment, so if you want me to include them, send them across. If you're close, I can wait for them to spit out the next run.

:lol: <--- Aubrey told me to put that smiley in. She likes it.

:twisted: <---- That one's in honor of your new post in the worldbuilding section, which you did a great job on, by the way. Thanks for posting that.
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Re: Charmongen 2! (character and monster generator 2)

Postby James » Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:54 pm

Well, I think most of my creations I am going to focus on underground (making listings for many types of Kirst'Ahnul) and the twisted creatures of the demonlands which could conceivable be encountered anywhere. The ones I have already posted I hope to see in the big lists (at least the better of the creatures). I like posting here, but I doubt it gets ready much other than by a couple of us, so I will just post batches of them here for you to convert.
Are there any environments/skill level/types that you are thin on and would like help with? I am just doing background fleshing out of the demon lands aside from adventure-crafting. I think I will be sending one of the parties I Storytell there soon to see how it plays and what I could do better/more of.
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Re: Charmongen 2! (character and monster generator 2)

Postby Maugh » Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:33 pm

I am shooting for one for each skill level, for each environment, all the way from 1 to 20 for skill levels for each of the 20 environments. (Each environment should have a few minor creatures that don't even count for combat, but that might be useful for training, and maybe swarms.) I have quite a few extras for the forest environment, enough that I am considering moving some of them elsewhere to avoid redundancy. I have 21 for the mountain, but some of those are flexible as well. I have brainstorming lists for jungle and cave, and have done tremendously little elsewhere.

In short, there is a lot of flexibility. I have made a total of about 10% of the progress for the monster manual. Put things wherever you want them, and I can fill gaps around them and shuffle around extras until it makes sense and fits well. Whatever you submit, for whatever environment, will work just fine. Every bit of help will make things easier on me. Being able to jump from skill cap 14 to 16 once in awhile because somebody did a level 15 monster seems like a minor help, but after I do that two or three times, it really helps make the work go faster, and I sincerely appreciate it.

Of course, what would be MOST useful would be to pick an environment, and design it in its entirety. Second to that would be picking an environment and doing half of it, every other step or so, would also be a ridiculously awesome amount of help. That's a lot of work, though, and I can't demand that of anybody. Honestly, I'm just grateful for whatever people are willing to do.

As for the demonic kingdom monsters, I think that a lot of that might fit nicely into 'wasteland,' as it was designed not just as a desert, but a 'blasted lands,' kind of environment, pretty much tailored for your demonic realms. (Except that the islands you wrote seem more urban, so they'd fit best for the 'ruins,' environment or the actual urban environment which will exist. (sewers and alleys and shadows...) For the Kirst'Anhul, they would work really well in the cave, deep cave, or ruin environment. Personally I would put them in ruins, but that also has a lot to do with the mental image that i developed when we met them with the Harem. *shrug* They fit where you say they fit best. I can make adjustments with the rest to make room.

I can import the ones you have posted on the site very quickly, if you'd like, or I can let you do it so that their skills work out the way you want them to and pass them to me on the database. I've been fairly relaxed with the skill cap stuff so the skill cap information doesn't need to be perfect, so long as the total skill cap is not lower than the highest skill they have, and the combat skill level refers to their basic offensive and defensive skills.

So will you be posting text, or the database format?
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