Popular online roleplaying platform Roll20 is adding a character creation app called The Charactermancer to its suite online roleplaying services. Currently in testing, the tool can currently only build level 1 Dungeons & Dragons characters using data from D&D’s free rules compendium and Roll20’s own virtual compendium (opens in new tab). Roll20 is one of the most popular programs for playing tabletop roleplaying games online, probably one of the best ways to play them on your PC, and is used extensively on Twitch RPG shows that have remote players.
Like most of Roll20’s services The Charactermancer will be available for free to all users on launch. Perhaps the most interesting part of the announcement is that Roll20 will be allowing their Pro users to tweak the levers behind the scenes and mod the tool to share with others, meaning that a whole world of RPG character creators could well be coming soon, much as Roll20 users have created digital character sheets for near every system under the sun.
Eventually the tool will integrate with character creation for other “Roll20 offical licensing partners,” which definitely means D&D, but likely includes Dungeon World and the Pathfinder SRD. If the modules for sale on Roll20’s marketplace are anything to go by, other candidates could be Monte Cook Games’ Cypher System (Numenera). and Pelgrane Press’ 13th Age.
Creating characters has been a persistent bugbear (CR 1, five hit dice) for the latest generation of tabletop roleplayers. Lots of people who learn best in play have trouble parsing all the rules without friends at-hand creating a character with them, so software that makes it easier is a boon for online games—enough so that D&D has an official app, called D&D beyond, and other games like Numenera have invested in character creation apps for mobile devices. The Charactermancer is currently in testing with Roll20’s paid pro users, but will be launched to everyone else in “the near future.” (opens in new tab)