Here at Adventure’s Codex we love playing Dungeons and Dragons, and as developers we wanted to try our hand at reimagining, and improving how players all over the world experience the game. Starting out almost a year ago, a core team of developers based in San Diego, set out to create a tool that could change how D&D is played.
Today we’re pleased to announce the first version of Adventurer’s Codex: A free tool designed to help D&D 5e players keep their ducks in a row. We’re excited about it, and we hope you are too.
From the start we’ve wanted to enhance D&D without removing any of the classic elements. We love rolling dice, sitting together around a table with friends, and playing with figures on a board. But we also think that the experience of D&D can be improved by removing a lot of the more tedious elements of the game (managing bonuses, calculating total weights, and the rest of the mathy stuff).
Adventurer’s Codex is free to all users, and is designed to remain so for as long as possible. We’ve designed the architecture to utilize as many modern and free hosting and testing tools as possible. We don’t need to charge our users, because thanks to the great tools on the internet, we can bring it to you for free. We’ve also designed Adventurer’s Codex to last far into the future by choosing to host it in a way that we, and others believe will be around for a long time.
Our goal is to allow you to focus more on playing, rather than managing the game. We’re excited to see what you do with Adventurer’s Codex.
What We Do
From the beginning, the goals of Adventurer’s Codex have been simple:
- Enhance the core experience of playing D&D with friends without removing the classic elements (rolling dice, the battle mat, etc).
- Remove the tedium of D&D (math, bonus management, etc)
- Devise new and interesting features that allow players to accomplish goals, and the DM to tell stories that were impossible, or cumbersome before.
- Be adaptive to house rules. Allow players and DMs to add custom information, and override our calculations in case they want to customize their game.
- Embrace the technologies of the modern, open web to build a tool that lasts as long as there are users who want to use it.
These principles guide what features make it into Adventurer’s Codex, and what we’ve decided to leave to other tools.
Features of Adventurer’s Codex
Version 1.0 of Adventurer’s Codex is heavily focused on providing players with a simple, intuitive tool to manage their characters. If you’re a DM then you’ll be excited to hear that we have lots of features for you coming in the near future.
There are too many features to list them all outright, but we’ve come up with a (not so short) list of some of our favorites.
- Automatic Skills, Saving Throws, and Ability Score modifier calculations. This means that you can spend less time finding all your attack bonuses and more time attacking.
- Multiple character support. You can use Adventurer’s Codex with as many characters as you can fit in your browser’s storage.
- Keep track of your spell slots, daily features, and hit dice. Then, when you take a rest, we’ll automatically restore your hit dice, and any abilities that refresh.
- Manage your spells, weapons, armor, and items (magical and otherwise) in a simple and powerful way.
- Keep track of your coins and treasure. We’ll even do the math and tell you how much it all adds up to.
- Power user features like keyboard shortcuts to help you more easily navigate and find the information you need.
- Gravatar Integration. Use your existing Gravatar profile picture for your character.
- Dropbox Integration means you can store your character in Dropbox and import them easily. Take your character with you independent of any device.
What We Will Be Doing
Although we’ve been working on Adventurer’s Codex for almost a year, the project still has a long way to go to accomplish the goals we set. We don’t have a timeline for these features, but we’re super excited to bring them to you soon.
- Dropbox and Google Drive Sync. Keep your data with you regardless of whatever device you’re playing on. As well as automatic backups and image storage.
- Campaign, Encounter, and Combat management tools to help the DM keep track of their campaign in greater detail.
- NPC creation and management tools. DMs spend a lot of time having to keep track of their NPCs, we think we can help.
- Group and 1-on-1 chat. Players and DMs alike love to keep secrets, and its amazing that in 2016, we still mostly pass notes and text each other.
- Terrain visualization. Sometimes it helps if the DM can just show you what he/she is trying to describe.
- A DM party dashboard with real-time information about players. This helps the DM avoid lots of leading questions (i.e. “How much health do you have left?”).
- Player to player gifting. Give an item to another player, or make a custom one for your players.
- Time of day and travel time widgets to help you keep track of how long your journey is and how far you’ve already gone.
What We Won’t Be Doing
As we said, our goal is never to replace the classic parts of D&D, and to remain focused on in-person play. We know that there are lots of great tools for remote gaming, which often do a lot more than Adventurer’s Codex does, and probably ever will do. Our goal is to bring the benefits of technology back to the game we love. We want to allow players and DMs to experience and tell stories they’ve never been able to before, and to do it in a way that embraces the power of the modern, and open web.
What Powers Us
Adventurer’s Codex is powered by a lot of different tools, and you can see a full list here. At the highest level we’re:
- Powered entirely by GitHub Pages.
- All of your data is stored on your own computer and never sends any data to our servers (we don’t actually have servers for the production version).
- Our custom persistence engine is backed by the HTML5 local storage API.
Since we don’t have to run servers, or pay for hosting the costs of maintaining the project is extremely low. We do maintain private servers for testing and development, but if we were to stop development today the project could continue for as long as GitHub exists!
Built for the Community, By the Community
From the beginning Adventurer’s Codex has been developed in the open on GitHub. The core team has worked hard to ensure that issues are filed in the open, and that processes, and feature requests are documented so that anyone can contribute. We’re open to feature suggestions, bug reports, and any other feedback you might have. If you want to contribute, you can contact us on GitHub, or pick through the issues for something you’re interested in.
If there’s anything we can do to facilitate your desires to contribute, let us know. We have a Gitter chat open to the public where you can discuss your idea, bug, feature with us in real time.
Legal and Licensing
Adventurer’s Codex is free to all, and the source code is available under the GPLv3 license. This means that anyone can and should feel free to download, and modify the source code, as long as their modifications are also publicly available under the same license. This license ensures that the tabletop gaming community can only benefit from our’s and other’s modifications and enhancements to Adventurer’s Codex.
We strive to provide a powerful tool to the community, and we’ve made every effort to ensure that Adventurer’s Codex doesn’t infringe on proprietary material by including content and functionality consistent with the Open Gaming License and other permissive licences. If you feel that Adventurer’s Codex has infringed on your content, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.