Planning and creating a character in Pathfinder can be… Let’s say ‘complicated’. There’s a lot of maths and cross-referencing of skills, attributes, bonuses etc. Get one element wrong and that could have a knock-on effect to a load of other aspects as well.
To help get it right, there are various programs that you can use, and, in my opinion, the best of them is Hero Labs. Once installed and you’ve chosen the relevant rule sets that your campaign will be needing (by simply ticking boxes), it’s ready for you to start clicking away at the options to help create your character without having to worry about those potential mathematical pitfalls.
So if you’ve decided to buy Hero Labs, I’ll run you through how to set it up for the campaign that you’ll be playing:
1 – Once you’ve downloaded and installed it, start Hero Labs – that will take you to this page:
2 – As you can see, there are a tonne of RPG systems that Hero Labs can be used for, but the only one you need to be concerned with at the moment is the one that says, ‘Pathfinder Roleplaying Game’; not ‘Pathfinder Beginner Box’.
First thing’s first though, check the bottom of the screen, to make sure that Hero Labs has all the latest updates in place – it probably won’t be as the file you have downloaded gets added to very frequently. Make sure that you get the ‘Hero Lab is up to date’ message before you do anything else.
Once you have that, you click on the ‘Pathfinder Roleplaying Game’ panel and click ‘Load’, at the top right of the screen.
Note that there may be Pathfinder files that you need to install too, but it will give you a box that lists a lot of files, only pick the ones that have Pathfinder on them, then download and install them.
3 – Once loaded you should be looking at a screen like this:
On the right hand side of that smaller box in the middle, you’ll see a heading called, ‘Click to change your Hero settings’. This is the section where you tell Hero Labs which Pathfinder information/rules to use to make your character.
Note that a lot of them will be greyed out or ‘unchangeable’ – that is because you haven’t bought those guides/books in Hero Labs so you can’t use them; my screenshot above shows the Advanced Class Guide and Players Guide and Race Guide as available, that is because I have bought those. Don’t worry about that.
4 – Please make sure that you tick the following and only the following (they are in the order that they should appear as you scroll down the list:
- Bestiary Familiars
- Bestiary Free Content
- Inner Sea World Guide
- Character Traits Web Enhancement
- Core Rulebook Deities
- GamesMastery Guide
- Paizo Blog
- Medium Advancement
- No Guns
- Don’t show statblock summary window
- Bonus 0-level spells
- Spell Mastery for all spellbook users
- No Coin Weight
- No Encumbrance
- Hide Advanced Firearms
- Hide Firearms & Related
- Hide High-Tech Items
- Hide Simple Firearms
- Always Print 2-Weapon Attacks – do NOT tick this unless you’re planning on fighting with a weapon in each hand – which I don’t believe any of you are.
- Show Feat / Ability Descriptions
- Show Hero Portrait
- Show Unarmed (in weapons)
- With Each Thing and At the End.
Once you’ve selected all those items, click the box that says, ‘Set Defaults’.
A box will pop up saying that the settings will become the default settings applied to all new characters, click ‘Yes’.
Then click ‘Ok’.
You’ll be taken back to the page that you first saw when you loaded the Pathfinder Rules. Leave all the other settings on the screen as they are shown above and click, ‘Ok’.
The rest is pretty simple and just playing around with it will be the best way to learn how it works.
A Couple Of Other Pointers To Make Life A Little Easier For You
A lot of the boxes that will open for you to select things (spells, equipment, skills etc) will have a box at the top like this:
To make life a little easier, always click the black arrow next to ‘Everything’ and change the setting to ‘Only Valid Items’ – there’s no point in you being able to see all the things that you can’t have!
Along the very bottom of the screen, the footer, Hero Labs will tell you the next things that you need to be doing:
You can also tell that by looking at the top button bars, the ones that are red, need input:
You can check for any errors by clicking on the exclamation mark inside a diamond shape at the top right of the screen:
The only other thing that I’ll make you aware of is to do with Buying Equipment.
Do look at the Strategy Guide for Suggested Starting Gear, that should be a big help but when you’re in the Weapons, Armour and Gear tabs, be very careful if you choose something and then decide you don’t want it.
Eg. If you’re buying a weapon, this screen will pop up (Note: some items may be ‘greyed out’ depending on which class you chose):
So let’s say that you want to buy a Longspear, pay attention to the red circled area – that enables you to buy multiple items, and shows you the cost and how much gold you have left. So, you buy the Longspear, and 5gp (gold pieces) gets subtracted from your starting money…
Then, you think, ‘Hmmm, not sure I want the Longspear, maybe I’ll chose a sharp pointy stick. So, you want to sell the Longspear…
So you shut the buying window by clicking ‘Close’, and in the top left of your screen you can see the Longspear is shown…
To sell you click the ‘X’. Now this is the point where you need to be careful.
This screen will pop up…
Note that it says, “Are you sure you want to DELETE this item?” Look at the bottom of the box, it says ‘Total to Sell For: 0 GP’. It is asking if you want to DELETE it. It is NOT asking if you want to return your pristine Longspear and get all your money back.
If you simply click ‘Ok’, you will delete the Longspear AND NOT GET YOUR CASH BACK.
So instead of doing that, and wondering where your money has gone and how to get it back, do this…
Click the button at the top right that says 100%.
Note now that the ‘Total to Sell For’ amount is now 5 GP, which is what you bought it for.
Further Note – if you want to return anything else that you’ve bought, realise that the 0% sale price is the DEFAULT, so you will need to select 100% every time.