First Edition Tools #DnD #ADnD #RPG #TTRPG

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Okay, time to show off!

I continue to make huge strides on my 1st Edition Dungeons & Dragons (“1e“) application. I’ve collected some screenshots below. Keep in mind that my current focus is on data entry and functionality, so the user interface isn’t great. Moreover, it’s an Access database, so the user interface will probably never be great. If I don’t design a better interface in a real programming language, I’ll eventually upload the database to GitHub so that someone else can do so.

First up, adventure entry. In order to keep my adventure forms from getting too complex, they’re broken up into two forms. First, enter the adventure and the “chapters” within.

You enter the adventure itself, then add chapters within the adventure. For example, for the adventure shown, there are three chapters: Areas of the Keep, Adventures Outside the Keep, and the Caves of Chaos. Next, you add encounters within each of the chapters. These are from adventures outside the keep. The first one is an encounter I modified to mix things up a bit. Not only do I do that to avoid metagaming from players that have played these adventures many times before, but I also like to use Fiend Folio and Monster Manual II creatures that weren’t available when these adventures were written.

You can see that each encounter can have NPCs (leveled characters), actual monsters, both mundane and magical items, and coins. As you’ll see, items used (or at least held) by characters are handled on the character builder pages. The items you see here are ones stored in the encounter location (e.g., in the closet, in a chest, lying on the ground). The reason for the difference is that PCs shouldn’t have access to magic items possessed by a creature that escapes. Next up, is an encounter with NPCs.

These are humanoids (humans in this case) with class levels, so they’re handled differently than “monsters.” How are they handled? Well, here’s the character builder for PCs.

This is for PCs. The NPC form is identical. You can see that these characters can hold (and use) mundane items, armor, shields, magic items, and coins. Again, I track unattended coin and items separately because if an NPC escapes, those coins escape with the NPC. Only the unattended coin and items and those held by NPCs that are captured or killed are available to plunder. You can also see that there are buttons to call up prepared spells and the character sheet itself. Click on the links to see them in PDF format.

So, what about monsters? I refer to them as species. Here’s their data entry form.

There’s a typo above. In the Special Attacks field, it refers to a “divine attack.” That should be a “dive attack.” That’s another problem with Access. It doesn’t have spellcheck. This error has been fixed, but there are probably others.

After you’ve created the species, you then need to create a specific instance of a monster. I didn’t take a screenshot of that form, but it’s rather simple. Pick the species, calculate or designate it’s hit dice (if the species has a range of hit dice), and designate its hit points. You can also give the monster a name (e.g., Sappho, the gynosphinx from White Plume Mountain). Then your monster will be available to add to an encounter as shown above.

Spells deserve some discussion. There are several spells that are used by several classes, but the classes use them differently. An obvious example is Detect Magic. Clerics, druids, and magic users all use the spell, but their material components differ. The cleric uses a holy symbol, the druid a sprig of mistletoe, and the magic-user doesn’t need one. So, the way I have to handle it as follows. First, create the spell with a few characteristics that are constants across all classes.

Next, create what a software engineer would call an intersection entity to resolve the many-to-many relationship between spells and classes, entering the information that differs from class to class (e.g., material components).

In rare instances, the differences between the spells are so great that I’ve had to create different spells in the first form for different classes. In such a situation, I call the spells “[Spell Name] (arcane),” “[Spell Name] (divine),” “[Spell Name] (primal),” or “[Spell Name] (phantasm)” depending on what’s needed.

I’ve entered every spell appearing in the Player’s Handbook and Unearthed Arcana, every class appearing in those same two sources, every species from the Monster Manual, and am about halfway through the Fiend Folio. I intend to finish the Monster Manual II before releasing this software, so most of the work will be done. However, I won’t be doing everything from every adventure, and I’m not certain I’ll enter anything from Oriental Adventures. So I understand that, in the long run, the more user-friendly it is, the better.

Whether anyone ever finds this useful, I will. I’ve been using it for my game, and with the adventure-related features I’ve added over the past two weeks, my pre- and post-session tasks will be much easier.

After all, it’s all about me.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to, nor endorsed, the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)