Saturday, August 28, 2010

4E Lore Extension

The last public release included the following note:

* NPCs: Lore parsed into non-formattedtext nodes for easy ruleset access

That's probably a little cryptic for those who aren't experienced with ruleset creation. Essentially, formattedtext is a great tool for displaying data, but you can't (without a lot of work) do anything else with it.

Enter one of the minor annoyances I have when running my own campaign. I have a vast amount of NPC lore available to me, but it's a hassle to deliver this information to my players. I have to open the various NPC sheets, check the player skills, then drag and drop the lore frames onto the correct characters. Usually while fielding questions about the map, placing tokens, and the usual pre-combat DM tasks.
From working with DrZeuss on traps, I knew the best way to fix this problem was to store the data in both the formattedtext nodes (so it could be displayed as always) and into other nodes (numbers, strings, etc) that could be easily accessed within the ruleset. Once that was done it's just a matter of entering a single command to push the lore to my players

And so the 4E Lore extension was born:
It's actually very simple to use, but it requires modules created with a parser version 103 or higher. No file changes are required so if you have the source files for older modules, you just need to run them through the parser again. This will populate the lore nodes the extension uses.


/lore = Displays lore data for all npcs in the tracker that are set as visible

/lore {name} = Displays lore for just the npc in the tracker who's name begins with {name}.
For example:
"/lore Goblin" would display lore for any npcs on tracker with names that begin with goblin (Goblin Hexer, Goblin Blackblade, Goblin Sharpshooter, etc)

Anyhow an example of it working:

Consider the following NPCs from MM1. You can see each one focuses on a different skill (Religion, Arcana and Nature).

The results as seen by my clients:
Tak has a high nature score +8 (and he has an effect that gives him another +4) So you can see he gets multiple pieces of data on the Sahuagin Priest (nature) but no data on the Bloodfire Harpy (Arcana) or the Angel of Valor (Religion).

Khem on the other hand has decent bonuses in all three skills. He gets some data on the Sahuagin Priest (but less than Tak), A fair amount of data on the Angel of Valor (Religion) and a little on the Bloodfire Harpy (Arcana).

Anyhow you can download a copy of it here:

Download the Extension


Joe said...

How on earth do you get the Monster Data to look like it does in the MM? Mine looks fairly basic after parsing. Any hints?

DNH said...

Question: In your usage notes, you mention that the unqualified "/lore" pushes lore entries for all NPCs in the tracker that are visible. Can I assume that the same is true for the qualified usage? So if I use "/lore Goblin" it would push the lore on the Goblin Hexer and the Goblin Blackblade, but not the Goblin Sharpshooter who I still have as hidden?

J said...

If you mean the formatting that's DrZeuss's personality extension.

If you mean the lore data, it's just a lot of typing into the fluff file

J said...

No, if you specify an NPC name or part there of, it ignores the visibility option.

DNH said...

Does this extension make skill checks or use passive?

J said...

Active checks follow different rules per the pub section on monster knowledge skills

edwolfe said...

I cannot get the extension to work for me. I have parsed with v. 103, and I'm using FG II v. 2.7.1. I have made the NPCs visible in the CT. I have verified that the lore text parsed correctly. And I've set the level of the test PC high enough so that the NPCs I'm doing lore checks on have a sufficient skill bonus to warrant revealing the information.

When I connect to my game through local host and type in "/lore" on the GM side, I only see "Delivering Lore" in both the GM and the PC chat window. Any thoughts one what I'm doing wrong?

J said...

Make sure the items on your combat tracker are linked to your module. The best way to do that is to explore the campaign's db.xml

Explore the modules you have created, make sure the NPCs in question have a lore structure in the XML. It should have multiple nodes, each of which should have a dc, text, and skills node. Within skills there should be the individual skills.

edwolfe said...

I checked the db.xml file, and it does contain the lore nodes for the NPCs for whom I'm trying to share the lore information. However, no data appears in either the GM or Player chat window when I type "/lore"

DNH said...

How does this work where a player is running more than one character?

DNH said...

Finally got around to trying this out. I get the same problem as edwolfe above. I just get the "Delivering lore" message but no lore entries. I have checked the db.xml of the module and it does include the full set of entries (a formattedtext element, individual entries including skills and DCs). Can't see what's wrong.

Olodrin said...


Will you be updating the parser to handle Essentials material?


Zap said...

Normally I wouldn't post on here, but I don't know where else to directly ask such questions other than maybe the FG2 forums.
So here is something I want to know. How are you going to handle the Essentials add-ons? I heard that the rules compendium book basically clarifies everything now as attack or utility (which might mean I guess that Warlock Pact Boon powers will be Warlock Pact Utility?)