D&D character creation apps are something I want to use, but have never found one that I’ve liked. I’ve tried other D&D apps in the past, but there is always something missing that hurts the whole experience. The apps I have tried would drain my battery, have complicated layouts, and felt less like a character sheet and more like an excel spreadsheet. A D&D companion tool app could be very useful, but none have achieved everything I’ve wanted. Recently, I learned about a new Kickstarter called Crossroads. Crossroads is an application being designed by SpearFrog Software with the goal of making a beautiful and easy to use app that streamlines the character creation process
Now, I’m a pen and paper kind of guy by heart, but I decided try out other character sheet apps again and see what advantages Crossroads could offer that weren’t available in other apps. To start, I tried out the official application D&D Beyond and went through the process of creating a character. The first thing I noticed when testing this app out was how it sent me to an external website rather than allowing character creation to happen inside the app. If I were to come up with a character idea but didn’t have access to internet, there is nothing I can do in the meantime.
I was curious to see what would happen so I turned off my internet and tried to open the app, and it wouldn’t even let me look at my character sheet. Clicking on various buttons such as Sorcery Points would take a second to load as it tried to communicate with the website. This delay was small, but it impacted how the app felt and made it seem really sluggish as a result. D&D Beyond is a pretty app, but no offline capabilities really limited it’s usefulness for me. Not being able to create a character while on a camping trip would be a huge disappointment.
5e Character Sheet
The next app I tried was Fifth Edition Character Sheet by Walter Kammerer. This was an offline option, something that is important to me which was a good improvement over D&D Beyond. This is an app that a few of my players use so I wanted to try it out. Building a character with this app was very easy as it had a step by step process, and it was very quick and responsive. However, the app as a whole felt very plain, with a black background on every screen and very little is done to make it visually interesting. Different screens would have different colors, sometimes to the point that it was jarring, and successfully navigating this app requires memorization as there is no visual guide.
5e Fight Club
The final app I tested was 5e Fight Club, which proved to be the most promising out of the options I’ve tried so far. It had offline capabilities, and a consistent aesthetic that was a huge improvement over the previous app. However, while consistency in aesthetics is more than you can ask for from other apps in the genre, the UI isn’t inspiring. The end result is something that feels very digital, and part of the fun of D&D for me is escaping from the digital world. Overall as a whole I did like Fight Club the best, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
When I heard about Crossroads, I was sure that there was already an app that did everything that Crossroads was advertising. After testing out multiple different apps, I’m surprised to say that none met my expectations. Most of the apps I tried felt like spreadsheets and did not put very much effort towards a visually appealing experience. If they did have a pleasant looking app, I’d run into other issues such as requiring internet connection to function, even though the game can be played with just pen and paper. Character creation apps can be very useful tools, but none of them could do everything that I needed them to do.
Crossroads is aiming to solve these problems by bundling everything together into a clean and simple app. With a beautiful user interface and in-app character creation, Crossroads will also offer support for D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder all in the same app! All of this will happen if the app simply gets published, which the Kickstarter is already half-way towards completion. The application will be launching on both IOS and Android, so you can pick it up no matter what phone you use. If certain stretch goals are reached, other features will be added such as animated buttons, additional textures, and even DM tools.
With an experienced developer team who have over 20 years in the industry, SpearFrog Software can create an app that is not only incredibly useful, but also visually appealing. They are a very friendly team of people and I admire them for wanting to create an app that will stand far above the rest. Start your adventure right, and go check out their Kickstarter page to learn more information and back their project. I’d like to thank SpearFrog Software for sponsoring this post, and wish them the best of luck with Crossroads!