Unless you’ve been living inside a portable hole you’ve already heard of Wizard of the Coast’s recent release of Adventure Tools. I am the current DM for Wimwick and Ameron and I have to say that the Monster Builder – even in beta form – is a godsend. Sure the beta has its bugs and missing features but it has already saved me hours of prep time. But that isn’t the point of this article. If you want to hear more about the Monster Builder then search the RPGBlogger community for the many informative Monster Builder reviews out there. What I’d like to do here is take a guess (make a wish?) as to what the other lenses of the Adventure Tool main screen will lead us to.
To me this is a no-brainer. The current DDI Bonus Tool known as the Encounter Builder is very limited in its practical uses. What we need is a way to build an appropriate level encounter by simply selecting the monsters and produce a sheet or electronic page containing all the data required to run the encounter. Currently I do this myself by copying JPEGs of each creature’s stat block into Microsoft Word and then print the sheet out for the game night. It works but it is time consuming.
If they really wanted to impress us they’d add functionality for tracking the monsters HP and power usage as the encounter unfolds. Save the trees and the ink man!
Item/Treasure Parcel Builder
Take the Monster Builder and tweak it so we can edit or create new items and then add them to a nicely formatted list of treasure parcels for the current level of your game. Add a way to filter random treasure based on the current party makeup and you’d have a real winner.
Skill Challenge Builder
Not much of a database to choose from on this one. However I’d put this on my wish list simply to have a way to develop and nicely format a skill challenge for the appropriate level. I envision a way of choosing the difficulty of the skill challenge, the primary and secondary skills you wish to use and then simply type in the appropriate descriptions for each. I know Ameron and Wimwick seem to whip up Skill Challenges on the fly but for me personally they remain the bane of my DMing life. Anything that would help in their development gets two thumbs up in my book.
When DDI was first announced the one thing that had me hooked was the Game Table. Gaming in 3D? Bring it on! Of course I’ve all but given up on that hope so that brings me back to this little wish: give us a way to electronic create maps based on any of the Dungeon Tiles available. Allow us to add token locations and notes about the map. Then when it is done let us produce a list of tiles required or export the electronic image. (I highly doubt that last part will happen but it’s a wish list so what the heck.)
Other lenses I’d like to add
Yes, you read that correctly. I’d like an NPC Builder. And I don’t just mean rehashing the info in the DMG. I want a way of keeping track of their motivations and interactions within the gaming world.
Initiative and Condition Tracker
I’d love to see a tie in to the encounter builder that allowed the DM to quickly track initiative and conditions. Load up the particulars from your party’s character builder files and add that encounter you built with the encounter builder and you’ve just taken a crap load of tracking overhead out of the game. I know there are lots of user created methods out there for this (including our own Condition Tracker) but I like all my tools in one toolbox so to speak.
A solid application that would let a DM put all the other tools together to keep track of the campaign. From overall campaign arcs to the minutia of NPC interaction and treasure locations. A sort of Wiki allowing links to maps, encounters and – gasp! – PC character builder files.
Aside from the seemingly crazy development time it has taken to get us the Character Builder and the Monster Builder beta I have to say that I am pretty happy with the direction they are going and the quality they are producing. I’m looking forward to what they come up with next. What sort of apps would you like to see?