My Take on Roleplaying Game Tools

There are a number of tools out there for roleplaying games from mapping, random names, virtual tabletops, and more.  Some are online only tools, some are combinations, and some are desktop or even smartphone/tablet tools.

I use a number of them:

Character Creation and Management

There are three primary character creation tools I use besides manually with pen and paper.

I have not found a shareware/opensource/freeware application that suits my needs, although PCGen deserves some mention if you play d20 based games, aka Pathfinder.

I end up using three different ones depending on the game system I'm playing or GMing.   Granted, Hero Lab does support Savage Worlds, but there are times Wild Card Creator's lighter interface is nice for a quick character.

Wild Card Creator could use a better output sheet built in, and development is somewhat sporodic, but it's a well designed piece of software.

These are all one time fee applications, although Hero Lab will require purchase of game system add ons if you use more than a single system (first one's free).

Virtual Table Top

I own Fantasy Grounds and ScreenMonkey (now free) as far as desktop applications.   I really don't use either anymore, as Roll20 is the most intuitive and easy to use for me.   I pay for Roll20 as it's nearly required for me to play these days due to inability to find in person games.

ScreenMonkey has limited development going on, however, it's lightweight and is fairly straightforward for you to use.

Fantasy Grounds has a lot of features, some greate add ons, is a bit heavier investment in time and resources.

Campaign Management

The heavy weight in this area is Realmworks, by Lone Wolf Development.   I do own this package and I like it quite a bit.   Its polished interface, amount of support, as well as the pending content market makes it an awesome tool to use.  Some of the features will require an yearly subscription fee beyond the initial purchase.   That and the lack of ability to easily extract the data you enter into Realmworks have me considering other solutions.   They promise a way to extract the data is on the radar, but as it seems to be low priority for majority of users and thus lower on their to do list.   I probably don't utilize as much of the features either...

Obsidian portal is a web based solution and it also has a yearly cost (totally understandable, they need to pay for servers and development.)   It's not a bad service, but they apparently had some sort of upheaval and it doesn't seem as active as it once was as far as development.   The plus is that it's easy to share data with other users the downside for me is that it's not great enough for me to want to pay for it yearly and the free service is a little too limiting to what I want out of it as well...

NBOS Software makes some great tools, and one of them is The Keep 2.0.    I don't own this product, however, from the description, it sounds like it hits on all the features I use in Realmworks (maybe not as robustly) and it only has a one time cost.   It also promises a way to more easilty get data out of it, and it's integrated with their other useful tools (Inspiration P ad, Fractal Mapper, etc.)   The downside is it's a tiny operation and if something happens to the developer, there probably isn't a map forward for continued support.

There are some free solutions that many recommend, such as OneNote, EverNote, and of course personal wikis.   None of them excite me like Realmworks did.

I'm leaning towards buyng The Keep 2.0 for a number of reasons...I just have to get over abandoning Realmworks...


I own both Campaign Cartographer from Profantasy, and Fractal Mapper from NBOS Software.   The former is the more popular and fairly costly  solution, however the latter is a easier to use.   In the end, I'm not really very good using either to produce nice looking maps, but they are great products.

If I'm going to make a map, I head on over to Inkwell Ideas and buy their Hexograpaher for overland maps.   I also own Dungeonographer and am considering buying CityOgrapher.   Overall, I'm fairly pleased with the results, and some of their other tools look like they could be really useful.

If you're good with PhotoShop or other drawing software and artistic, you can create some great maps, but that is not me.    

I have not found any decent free software that I liked, although I'm sure there are, as well as some of the just generic art software such 


For me, besides the character creation software,  it looks like I'll probably use The Keep 2.0, Roll20, and Hexographer for my needs as far as non-free solutions.   I'll also end up using some of the free options from NBOS software as well.   Now if they all would work well in Linux...checking Crossover now...


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