Squire Character Manager
As I have stated before, I don’t like to plug products unless I believe in them with all my heart and soul. With that in mind, I want to state this article is not something I am being paid for. In fact, quite the opposite. I actually paid to use the Squire Character Manager app for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and found it so handy that I could not help myself but to reach out to it’s creator on the hopes that more gamers could enjoy the fruits of their impassioned labors.
Now in the light of the recent release of D&D Beyond you may ask what is the point of having an alternate app to such a juggernaut? Well let me tell you that this app is updated almost as often and as fast as problems or new ideas are introduced. Not just by the creators when they update the app, but by players using the app. Squire allows you to customize the game. Not just in little ways, but in easy to follow steps to create your own classes, races, archetypes, items, spells, and any other detail you wish. Once you create it, it’s stored and cataloged locally to allow for easy reproduction. In fact, I took the time to pull features from all the Unearthed Arcana and books, no small feat I might add, and now can create a vampire Oath of Conquest paladin with but a few taps on my phone.
It is one thing to have all the resources and knowledge in the world, and another entirely to not be able to use it. This app allows you to organize everything, even custom content as stated above. Like a refrigerator so full of food that the stuff in the back is rotting because you forgot it was there, many players forget little features of their characters, what a status effect does, or how to perform an action. This app keeps it all fresh, organized, and at your beck and call. My favorite part is that Squire has a tab for quick reference rules.
Now how does this work out for a Dungeon Master? Well you can use the app to manage every single one of your NPCs. In fact players or Dungeon Masters could use this feature. Squire can handle as many characters as you can throw at it. It takes but three taps upon your phone to switch between characters. Every NPC or PC, all their features, and their entire life stories, notes, and everything else that makes your game dynamic, engaging, and entertaining is all put on display with Squire. I like apps that have potential and this one has nearly infinite potential, because it is what you make of it. With it being copy and paste friendly, it is easy to do too.
Well now I need to state that there is a free version, and a pro version. Links to each provided here. The pro version allows you to control initiative, create monsters, control monsters, create magical items, and enter into a GM mode. Everything else? Well that comes included in the free version. For the record, the pro version is $2.99 and is well worth it.
So now the part I really have to state is the bit that sets this apart from everything else out there. When I reached out to them, I got a response. Not just a response down the line but before the end of the day. That same speed was used to reproduce and fix a problem I pointed out. That’s right, they fixed a problem mid-interview. I have never had customer service that efficient. Not from any company, and certainly not from one I spent a measly three bucks on. Hell, I spend about that on a black coffee.
My wife and I like to play D&D together and I noticed that we spent a lot of time recalculating stats every few minutes. Because of this I wanted to build an app that would calculate the stats for you as you changed your equipment and made leveling up really easy. The original app consisted of only races, classes, items, spells, and features. I wasn’t expecting much in terms of success of the app but in the first month it exploded with thousands of downloads. Ever since it has been released, I’ve been reading and replying to every single review. Most of the ideas that I have for upgrades come from these reviews or emails that I receive from users. Without the help of the community, the app wouldn’t have expanded as far as it has.
I’ve played in several different groups, usually as a DM. In the few times that I’ve played campaigns as a player, the DM usually had custom content. Because of this I knew that there would be a need for Squire to accept custom content. Then when I found the Open Gaming License and saw that I wouldn’t be able to provide all of the core content, users would need a way to add that back in for themselves. Beyond D&D I haven’t done a whole lot of gaming. I play the occasional game on Xbox or the computer, but nothing too serious.
My long-term goals for Squire is to add the ability to have a “synced session.” A GM will be able to host a session, which players can join. The GM will be able to see the character stats from his/her device and will be able to attack the players directly. The damage would be sent to the player’s device and the player will be able to accept or modify the damage as needed and then apply it to the character. The players will be able to see a list of monsters that they can attack directly. This will help make the job easier for the GM because he/she won’t have to be bouncing between monsters and characters as much. Also with the synced sessions, the GM will be able to send loot and messages to the players. Players will also be able to send messages to each other so that they can plot without the GM knowing their plan. Also when the GM sends a message, the message can be sent in a specific language such as Goblin. If the character doesn’t know the language, the message will come across as gibberish.I also intend to convert the Android app to a web app. This will help people with data entry as well as seeing more information at once. I’m hoping that the web app will still be able to communicate with the Android devices for the synced sessions.Beyond this, I will continue to polish the existing features to cover all the missing edge cases as well as make the workflow smoother for the users. You can see the full list of my currently planned features on my website which you can find here: http://squire-character-mangement.azurewebsites.net/Home/UpcomingFeatures
Dungeons & Dragons is the game that I’m most familiar with. Because of this I was able to get a good base that I could build off of. I’m always looking for more projects, but I’d have to learn more about the other games before I could do anything for them. Maybe in the future, I could create a system that was completely modular where the user could input their own rules. I would likely include some preset rules to help with their initial game.
I read my emails daily and will usually respond immediately. If I’m currently working on a small feature, I will usually try to put the fix in with that feature. I then go through a beta testing release which usually lasts for about a week. If the bug is really big and needs to be fixed immediately, then I’ll stop on the feature and get the fix out asap. If I just finished a feature and haven’t started on the next one yet, then I’ll release as soon as the fix is made and tested. I usually do bug fix releases in batches to reduce the number of times users have to update.
I would love to add more content, but Wizards of the Coast has an Open Gaming License which restricts me to only providing content from the SRD5. I have provided everything from the SRD5 that I can, which means I won’t be able to add anything else. Unearthed Arcana as well as any of the other works outside of the core books are also under this license. The only way I will be able to add more content is if more content is added to the SRD5 or if Wizards of the Coast will give me an exception to the license. I’ve approached Wizards of the Coast about this and the denied me my request.However I do allow users to add any content that they want to through the many configuration screens. All the user has to do is open their copy of the book and type up the details that they deem important. Because of this, they aren’t restricted to only using the SRD5 content in the app.
I really like playing as a wizard because they are useful in so many scenarios. You might reach an un-scaleable wall and the wizard can surpass the obstacle by casting fly on the group. They are also great at taking care of large groups of monsters with their area of effect spells. I’ve played as other classes before such as monk and ranger, but they aren’t as exciting to me because it feels like I’m always doing the same thing each round. With the wizard, you have so many choices that no round is ever the same. As for race and background, I usually like things that play well with the wizard such as an elf and sage.
The number one request that I get is to add more content. Sadly I won’t be able to do this because of licensing issues.
D&D Beyond has a leg up on me in the fact that they aren’t restricted by licensing since D&D Beyond is owned by Wizards of the Coast. [EDITOR’S NOTE: D&D Beyond service is developed and maintained by Curse LLC in partnership with Wizards of the Coast.] However I feel like Squire does a lot more than D&D Beyond does. For example, D&D Beyond doesn’t have GM Tools with an initiative tracker and it doesn’t have any rolling functionality. This is something that they can easily add, especially since they have a lot more resources at their disposal than I do. If D&D Beyond does surpass Squire, I will continue to support Squire as well as add new features to it. D&D is my hobby and this is something that I can do to keep me active in it even when I’m not playing.I would love to be able to make Squire compatible with D&D Beyond, but due to licensing issues I probably won’t be able to. I think it is more likely that I will be able to make Squire compatible with other tools such as Roll20.
I actually already have a planned release that will include support for Adventurers League. This will be a separate page for the character where they will be able to keep track of all of notes that they need for their league.
The Squire Character Manager is my favorite app to use, and I believe you will enjoy it as well. I hope you will enjoy it. What apps do you use? So lately I have been toying with the idea of bringing video game characters to tabletop roleplaying games. What do you think? What game characters would you like to see?
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