E-Tools

Posted 8:00 am

A long time ago in a game system far, far away…

When WotC bought the rights to D&D and started rewriting the system, they promised to create character creation program which included a number of campaign management tools. While they went through a few developers in getting this done, they eventually ended up with a program called E-Tools. While not perfect, E-Tool did what was promised and was extremely useful for both players and GMs. What is great about it was that it allowed players to add in their own material, such as new monsters, spells, magic items, etc. Its one great flaw was there was no way to create or even significantly modify an existing class.

Years have gone by, and the developer of E-Tools no longer supports the program, and WotC has a new edition of D&D with a whole new program. I, however, still play D&D 3.5 and use E-Tools. I started a new campaign a few months back and one of my players wanted to play a sohei. The sohei class was originally released for Oriental Adventures for 3.0 and was never released as an expansion for E-Tools. When the transition to 3.5 occurred, WotC had already dropped all its plans for L5R which it used for the setting for Oriental Adventures, and so never re-released the book. While they did release many of the classes in a number of their Complete series, the sohei was not one of them.

I went over other classes which might allow the player to achieve his character’s concept but nothing really worked. Ultimately we just went with the original sohei class, modified based on an update article I found which brought the class current and balanced for 3.5. We just couldn’t use E-Tools to build and manage his character.

Until now.

All of the information in E-Tools is managed in an Access database and is user accessible. Granted, unless you know how to use Access this doesn’t really help. Fortunately I’ve had a little training in its use. This didn’t make the job of trying to edit the database easy though. Fortunately most of what needed to be changed was logically named and easy to find. I did have to go back and keep changing things, and adding things in different places but I got it done. Now I have a fully functioning sohei class I can use with E-Tools.

This thrills me. While this would have been no great task for a real programmer, I am extremely pleased I have learned how to do this. What it means to me is that I can continue to customize my campaign universe by adding in other classes I feel should be there (should I find or think of any), as well as make major modifications to existing classes, particularly prestige classes.

For example there are several prestige classes presented in Complete Divine which require the worship of a specific deity of the official D&D universe. I’m using my one unique pantheon of deities, however, so all of these classes are barred to me even if a few of my deities are extremely close in nature and outlook as the official ones. Well, now I can go in and adjust those requirements, even renaming the class to reflect the name of the deity or faith of my own universe it’s attached to.

The same goes for all of those organization prestige classes as well. I may not have those organizations in my campaign world, but I could have similar ones or ones with a different name. It’s an easy matter to simply rename them as appropriate.

So now it’s off to see what all I can customize!

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