Over several months, I’ve used Masterplan off and on to help my D&D 4E game. I took a break for a few versions and went back to plain pen and paper; but now that I have a new, nicer little laptop with much more battery life, I went screaming back to the software to help organize my game flow. In the time since I used it, a bevy of features and new versions were added and something that I originally thought was just cool has now evolved into downright must have for any 4E DM.
The biggest and most awesome feature to me, personally, was the inclusion of downloading all of the Monsters and Traps available on your DNDInsider subscription. No more having to build your library of monsters! All of the stats, right there and presented for like a mini Monster Manual, on steroids. This made encounter building all so much sweeter, and running combat from the laptop has become infinitely much easier. Last gaming session, I didn’t even have to crack open a book for myself during the game play.
The only downfall of this amazing piece of free software is the fact that it’s only available for Windows. Personally, that’s not a major issue, but I know many Linux and Mac enthusiasts who have an issue when software is not cross-platform. Still, if you can run the Character Builder software from WoTC, this should run fine for you.
In the mean time, I’ve actually taken it upon myself to make a series of video overviews for Masterplan v. 7, and I recommend anyone who is interested in the features the software has to offer to check these vids out. Even if you used to use MasterPlan in its early stages, you may want to check these vids out and see if it would be worth coming back to. Also, there’s a lot of features that I think with some elbow grease or maybe some plug ins, could easily be modified to be used with other gaming systems (I think 3.x/Pathfinder could still get some play out of it, and everyone could benefit from the flowcharts and plot development notes.)
Edit 11/19/09: After a post on the MasterPlan facebook discussions, I was informed that add-in support was mostly intended to add functionality to the software, but not change the way it performs. Most of the features of this software is geared towards specifically D&D 4E. However, a lot of features are “rules free”. You could easily design an adventure for other games using the plot flow chart, user written notes, etc.
One final note: I wanna give props to NewbieDM, since his blog post about MasterPlan is what turned me on to it to begin with all those months ago.