PCGen in our games…

Since D&D 3rd edition came out, I’ve been using a program called PCGen. ‘Player Character Generator’

This is one of the few programs that ever got me interested in coding. I could alter some easy to read code, and see an immediate effect!

Well, as a GM, it wasn’t long before I was customizing my own stuff, tinkering, and going to town – handling all the character maintenance in my groups. Before long, I was helping the project out. Now, years later I’m well embedded with the PCGen community, and making sets and characters like a champion. Although I need to finish off my character Sheet changes – Test Vision on the back page is getting old, but hey, it works!

I’ve linked a few of the actual characters in play under GM Mike’s game – Harry Potter D&D. Now, if you see some odd items, don’t be alarmed, these characters are built under the D&D 3.5 rule set, but are also CLASSLESS using the System put out by Author Paul Melroy of Distant Horizons Games, Eclipse d20 point buy (Codex Persona).

Let me tell ya, making a Classless Data Set wasn’t easy for a program used to straight classes. But I’ve managed to hack something workable together. Sure, you could write it out in a template doc, add a snappy background and make it a PDF, but I like the auto calculations of PCGen.

I enjoy the PDFs I can produce, and if I’m feeling the need, I can export a party sheet to give me the information I need about each character, for general play.

Mind you, PCGen has been evolving slowly since I joined the free project. It’s now got a new User Interface, and has become a lot faster and sleeker. I’m impressed by the code improvements to catch errors, as well as the standardization to make it easy to code. There is still room for improvement, but that requires volunteers, JAVA to be precise. I’ve enjoyed the program, and as I use it, I continue to give back, coding up various books, and fixing bugs that are within my ability to fix.

Over all, PCGen remains a tool for my gaming needs, and I’ll continue to use it as long as my players play d20 system games.

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