Character Planner Tutorial
- 1 Preface
- 2 A Tour of the Interface
- 3 Creating a Character
- 4 Handling Creation Errors
- 5 Equipment
- 6 Calculators
- 7 Output
- 8 Afterword
The DDO Character Planner is, simply put, a program that allows you to plan out your characters. You can think of it as a sandbox, where you can try out your ideas without spending hours, days, or weeks in DDO creating a character and leveling them up only to discover a fatal flaw in your build when it’s too late to do anything about it. The planner is a place where you can see the effects of your decisions within minutes. It will also allow you to print out your characters once you are satisfied with them (with details on exactly what you selected at each level or rank), which is a big help when you are in game at the trainer, and the other five members of your party are standing impatiently at the dungeon entrance waiting for you to finish. Without the planner, such situations can easily lead to a disastrous snap decision that could permanently handicap your character. With the planner printout in front of you, leveling or ranking up at a trainer is a matter of moments, and you are risk free of making a bad snap judgment, since you’ve already made the important decisions out of game at your leisure.
Of course, as you play the game, you may find your build won’t work quite the way you thought because your play style is not quite suited to the build you planned, or an enhancement isn’t as effective as you thought it might be, or perhaps you found an amazing weapon that makes you reevaluate the feats you were planning on taking. If you want to make changes to what you originally set up, the Planner can handle this situation. While you obviously cannot change what you have already done in DDO (at least not without a dragonshard or two), you can at least make modifications to what you were planning on doing in future levels. Simply load your character plan back into the Planner and make the adjustments as needed.
When I created the DDO Character Planner, one of the goals was to make it easy to use. It was my feeling that if you knew how to level your character in DDO, you should have had no problem figuring out how to duplicate that process in the planner. For the most part, I think the Planner achieved that goal admirably. I got very few pleas for help on how to use the program, everyone seemed to pick it up quite well. For that reason, I didn’t initially feel any sort of tutorial was needed.
However, as the planner grew more and more complex, especially with the addition of the forum exporter, equipment listings, and calculators, the need for a tutorial of some sort became more evident. While I still think the Planner is very easy to figure out, it may not be completely obvious at first glance what exactly to do. There is a lot of information hitting you all at once when you start up the Planner, and it can be overwhelming. Thus, this document was born. I hope that you find it useful.
This User’s Guide was written for the DDO Character Planner version 2.00. There may be slight differences in procedure if you are not using that particular version. Equipment and Calculators did not appear in the Planner until version 2.00, so if you are using a version prior to that, we recommend you upgrade. The version number you are running appears in the title bar of the main window, as well as on the About page. As the Planner is updated, changes may be made to this user guide to reflect any procedural or informational differences between versions.
A Tour of the Interface
Before we get started with learning how to use the Character Planner, I want to briefly go over some terminology used with regards to the main screen, so that when I mention the "Advancement Box" you know exactly what I'm talking about.
The Character Planner interface is divided into four columns. The two columns on the left side are informational, you won't, in general, be doing anything in these columns directly (there is an exception to this rule, which involves equipment, but that will be explained in the Equipment section of this guide). The two columns on the right side is where you will be making your decisions about your character.
Name and Basic Stats Text
In the upper right corner, spanning two columns, are two lines of text. Initially the first line will be blank, but will fill in with your character name once it has been input. The second line shows your character level, alignment, race, sex, and a breakdown of class levels. Initially, this line will show "Level 1 Lawful Good Human Male (1 Fighter)", which is the default state of the planner.
Below the two lines of text, in the first column is the Abilities Box. This box displays your strength, intelligence, and so on, along with the associated ability bonus. All of these abilities start at 8, with bonuses at -1. As you spend ability points, these values will change accordingly.
Calculated Statistics Box
Underneath the Abilities Box are various calculated statistics, which are based on your character classes and abilities. Your hit points, spell points, saves, and base attack bonus (BAB) are shown here.
Initially blank, when you create a spell using character, your spells will appear here. If your character gets their spells automatically (Cleric, Ranger, etc.), the full list of spells will appear here without any further prompting from the user. If your class must select their spells (such as Wizards and Sorcerers), the spells will show up once you have selected them. You can get a description of the spells (in the description box) by clicking on their icon in this list. Spells are grouped by level (Level 1, Level 2, and so on) under headers (initially appearing as "(-) Level 1" for example). Spell lists may be collapsed (such that only the header shows) by clicking on the minus sign (-) next to the header, and reopened by clicking on the resulting header plus sign (+).
At the top of the second column you will see a list of known feats. Feats that you receive automatically will appear here, as well as feats that you select during creation. Again, you can see a description of the feat by simply clicking on the icon. Certain feats are grouped into categories (such as Simple Weapon Proficiency). These will have headers and be slightly indented under their heading. Feats under headers may be collapsed (such that only the header shows) by clicking on the minus sign (-) next to the header, and reopened by clicking on the resulting header plus sign (+).
Below the Known Feat box are the known enhancements. The name and icon for the enhancement is shown, and you can get a description of what an enhancement does (in the Description Box) by clicking on the icon.
Below the first two columns is a list of all the skills in DDO. Certain skills will not be shown (Disable Device, Open Lock, and Perform) unless you the class that unlocks these skills (Rogue for the first two, Bard for the last one). In addition, Tumble and Use Magic Device will have "n/a" across their number values, as these skills cannot be used at all unless you spend at least one point in the skill. Skills are listed alphabetically, with class skills listed first and cross-class skills listed second (cross-class skills are shown with an asterisk (*) after their name). A description of what each skill does can be retrieved by clicking on the skill icon. Also shown is the Key Ability for the skill, it's Total Modifier, Ability Modifier (as determined from the Key Ability), and any Miscellaneous modifiers (from Feats or Enhancements) that are applied to the skill.
At the top of the third column is the Instruction Box. This is the first box where you actually begin to make decisions about your character. This box gives a one line instruction for each step of the character building process. The instructions are class dependent (for example, the instructions for a level 1 fighter will be different from the instructions for a level 4 wizard). It is recommended that, for the most part, you follow the instructions from top to bottom, unless you have a reason to do otherwise. You can move up and down the list by clicking on each line of the instruction, or by using the up/down arrow keys.
Below the Instruction Box is the Advancement Box. This is a dynamic box, and what appears here is dependent on the current instruction selected. In its initial state, where the Instruction Box has "Select a Race and Sex" highlighted, the Advancement Box contains a list of races and sexes for the user to chose from. If "Select Feats" was highlighted in the Instruction Box, a list of all legal feats for that character would appear. This box is where you will do the majority of your character building.
At the top of the fourth column are the level bars, going from Level 1 to Level 12. You can select a bar by clicking on it, which highlights the bar in green. Your current character level is always shown in green, while the remaining bars are shown in blue. Selecting a level bar will affect the Instruction Box list, giving you the appropriate instructions for that level of the character. If any bars begin flashing in red, it means there is an illegal character choice that needs to be fixed. This will be explained in more detail later.
Below the level bars is the button cluster. Most of these should be self-explanatory except for "Forum Export", "Equip.", and "Calc.", which will be explained in their own sections.
The final box, spanning the two right columns, is the description box. When you click on virtually any icon on the screen (whether it be a race, class, spell, feat, enhancement, or skill), you will get a description of what that item does or what abilities it has in this box.
Creating a Character
I firmly believe in learning by doing, so let’s dive right in. I’m going to walk you through a partial character build that demonstrates the basics of how to create a character, and help you get around some of the common pitfalls people experience when using the planner. Note this isn’t a build I would recommend playing by any means, I’m making it to demonstrate several key points, not as a viable playing option. As you follow the instructions, make sure to examine the effect each choice has on the character’s stats, skills, feats, and so on. So let’s do this thing.
- Hit the “Clear” button. This resets the planner to its default state, erasing anything you may already have input.
- In the instruction panel is a list of things to do at the current level you set at (currently level 1, which you can tell by the green level bar on the right). The first level has, by far, the most tasks to complete. You will notice the first instruction, “Select a Race and Sex” is highlighted in gold. In the advancement panel are a series of pictures representing all the possible races and sexes available. Let's make a male dwarf, so go ahead and select that icon with the mouse now.
- Go to the next item on the instruction list, which is “Select an Initial Class”. You can do this either by clicking on the text with the mouse, or use the up/down arrow keys.
- You are now presented with a list of all 9 possible character classes. Barbarians are fun, so go ahead and select the Barbarian icon.
- The next item on the list is to select a name and an alignment. You have two boxes for the character’s first name and surname. Enter “Durken” in the first box and “Stonecleaver” in the second. Under the boxes you’ll see a choice of alignments. But wait, there are only four choices! Is this a bug? No. Barbarians are limited to non-Lawful alignments. The Planner knows this, and it has removed those alignments for you, since they’re illegal. There are all sorts of places the Planner will help you out in this manner. It is, in fact, entirely impossible to create an illegal character build with the Planner, unless you go out of order (and I’ll talk about that in the next section under Handling Creation Errors). For now, select Chaotic Good.
- Next we have ability increases. You’ll notice in the instruction window that the planner will inform you that you have 28 points left to spend. This is also shown in the advancement box. You will also notice in the advancement box there is a checkbox for 32 point builds (these require at least 1750 favor earned in DDO). You can turn on the checkbox to see what happens, but lets assume you’ll be sticking with a 28-point build for now, and make sure it’s off before you start spending points. Use the arrow buttons in the advancement box to set your strength to 16, your dexterity to 14, your constitution to 16, your intelligence to 10, and your charisma to 8 (leave wisdom at 8). Something interesting happens now. You have 2 points left to spend, and you will notice the strength increase arrow has darkened out. This is because you no longer have enough points to raise strength (which requires at least 3 points). Spend your last two points by raising your dexterity one more point to 15.
- Now we come to skill points. You should have 16 to spend. You will notice your list of class skills is listed first, followed by your cross-class skills (all of which are followed by an asterisk after their names). Spend 4 points on Intimidate and Jump. You will notice they max out at 4 points. Now scroll down and put another 4 points into Balance. You notice that while you can still spend 4 points, each spend only gives you a half a point of skill raise, and they max out at 2 rather than 4. This is the effect of taking cross class skills. Now scroll all the way to the bottom, where you will see the Use Magic Device skill. Oddly, it has an N/A listed where the numbers ought to be. That’s because certain skills cannot be used at all in DDO unless you spend at least one skill point in them. Drop your last 4 points into Use Magic Device (raising it to 2 points spent), and you’ll see the numbers come back as soon as you enter the first point.
- Now we have feats. As a Dwarf Barbarian, you get a single feat at level 1. You should see that a fair number of the feats are grayed out. You cannot take these feats yet for some reason (click on one of them, Cleave, for instance, and the description box will often tell you why the feat is unavailable (Cleave requires you have the Power Attack Feat as a prerequisite)). Scroll down the list and find the “Two Weapon Fighting” feat. In order to take this feat, simply grab the icon (move the mouse over it and press-and-hold the left mouse button) and drag it down to the open feat slot. Notice you cannot even pick up a grayed out feat.
- Almost done with level 1! Now go to the last instruction, which is selecting your enhancements. This operates similarly to selecting feats, only now you have 4 open slots to fill rather than just one. Go ahead and take Dwarven Tactics I, Extend Rage I, Goblinoid Hatred I, and Skill Interaction I.
- We’ve finished building our character through level 1. Now lets move on to level 2 (hit the Level 2 bar on the far right). There are far fewer instructions for this level, and you’re first presented with another class selection. Notice the Planner is defaulting to the class you selected on the previous level (Barbarian in our case), but you can change this to something else if you’d like to multiclass. You will notice, however, one of the classes is missing! In fact, Paladin has been removed from the list. This is because Paladins require a Lawful Good alignment, which we did not select at level 1. It has therefore been removed by the Planner so you don’t do anything illegal. Now we could continue on with our Barbarian build, but let’s make it more interesting. Change your class to Bard. You will notice the instruction list updates to give you a new option. We’ll get to that in just a minute.
- Move to skill points. You should have six to spend. Now, before we move on I want to tangent a little bit and talk about the types of skills in DDO. We’ve already encountered two of them, class skills (which go up by 1 point for every point that you spend) and cross-class skills (which go up by 0.5 points for every point that you spend). You will notice that Bards have quite a lot of class skills. Scroll down and raise Jump to 5 points spent. This is a class skill. As such, the maximum number you can spend on them is defined by (Level + 3). So at level 2, you can raise them to 5. Now remove the point in Jump again so you have all six points to spend (we do this so that I can demonstrate a point). Go down to the repair skill and raise it as far as you can. You will notice it maxes out at 2.5 points spent (even though your still have a spend point available). As a cross class skill, the maximum number of points you can raise a skill by is defined as (Level + 3)/2. Okay, take those points back off again and you’re your six points back. There is one final category I want to show you. Go to the Intimidate skill. It has the asterisk, so it seems like a cross class skill, and it is for bards. But notice you can raise it all the way to 5, in half point increments! What gives? While it is a cross class skill for your bard level (and thus raises by half a point at a time), it was a class skill for your Barbarian. It therefore gets to use the first equation (Level + 3) for it’s maximum buyout. This is true of all skills. For the purposes of determining the maximum buyout, any skill that is a class skill for ANY of your character’s classes raises to (Level + 3), however the rate at which they rise (1 point or half a point at a time) is strictly determined by your CURRENT class. Whew, that was a long explanation, but it’s an important point that a lot of people miss. You don’t really have to memorize all that stuff if you don’t want to, the Planner will handle monitoring the maximums for you and let you know when a skill is maxed out (via a darkened raise button), but it can be handy to know what is going on behind the scenes sometimes. In any event, raise your Perform skill by five points and Jump by one point (we’ll keep these this time).
- Now we come to a new thing, and the main reason I had you switch to Bard, Spell Selection. As a level 1 bard, you get a single level 1 spell. These are selected in a manner just like feats and enhancements. Go ahead and take Cure Light Wounds.
- And then we come to enhancements again. Only now we have no open enhancement slots! In order to take a new enhancement, we have to replace one that we already have. Let’s replace Goblinoid Hatred I with Skill Magic I. To do this, grab the Skill Magic Icon and drop it on top of Goblinoid Hatred I. That’s all there is to it! We’re done with Level 2, so go on to Level 3.
- At this point you should start to have the hang of things, and I won’t go through each and every item on the instruction list. But for the first part of Level 3 I want you to switch your class again to Fighter. Then skip spending your skill points and go directly to Feat Selection (you wouldn’t, of course, do this when actually creating a build, but there’s nothing left I want to talk about with skills now, and I don’t want this document to get TOO big with a lot of unnecessary steps that don’t explain anything new).
- The reason I have come here is to talk about your Class Feat. You will notice in the advancement window you have two feat selections (you get a normal feat selection for character level 3, but you also get a fighter bonus feat for fighter level 1). You will notice the Class Feat (which is your fighter bonus feat) is in yellow. Scroll down and pick up Stunning Blow and try to put it into the Class Feat. Notice how it won’t go in! That’s because the fighter bonus feat is limited to specific feats, and those feast are shown in yellow in the selection list. Take Stunning Blow and put it into your Feat box, and select Two Weapon Defense (which is shown in yellow) and drop that into your Class Feat box. These limited selections happen with several classes (Rangers, Wizards), so if you see a Feat Selection box in yellow, you know you have to put a feat that is shown in yellow into that box.
- Now switch to level 4. Notice that you now only have three options for classes! That’s because you have maxed out the number of multi-classes you can take (3). You cannot take a fourth class in DDO, and the Planner knows this, so it presents you with only the three classes you already have. Let’s stick with Fighter.
- Here’s a new thing, an Ability Increase. At levels 4, 8, and 12, you can raise one of your abilities by a single point. Raise dexterity to 16.
- We’ll skip over a couple of instructions (you get another fighter bonus feat at this level, but you already know how to deal with those so I won’t go over it). Go to the last instruction, selecting an enhancement.
- Scroll the selection list down to Dwarven Tactics II. Now you already have the first version of Dwarven Tactics, so it makes sense to replace it with the second version. But don’t do that quite yet, I want to demonstrate one last feature of the Planner first. Take Dwarven Tactics II and try to drop it on top of Skill Interaction I to replace that instead. Notice what happens! The Planner left Skill Interaction there and replaced Dwarven Tactics I instead! The Planner knows you cannot have both versions I and II of the same enhancement and overrode your choice to give you a legal character (this happens in DDO as well, try it some time).
That essentially covers the basics of character creation. There are a couple of wrinkles left to talk about, which I’ll go over in the next sections.
Handling Creation Errors
I’ve mentioned several times how smart the Planner is and how it prevents you from creating illegal characters by removing options that would make such characters before you ever see them. For the most part this is true, but there is one thing that can cause an illegal character to happen.
In DDO, you cannot (in general) go backward with your character leveling, but in the Planner, it is entirely possible to do so. We’ve already set up a character through most of Level 4 now, but what happens if we go backward and change something we’ve already done? This can have unintended consequences on things we’ve already set up. Let’s take a look at what might happen.
- If you don’t already have him in the Planner, load up (or create) our Durken Stonecleaver character.
- Switch back to Level 1 (using the Level bars on the right) if you are not already there, and select the “Select Feats” instruction on the Instruction Panel.
- Remove the selected feat (Two Weapon Fighting). To do this, simply grab the icon from the Feat box and drop it back into the selection list (or anywhere that isn’t the Feat box). The feat box should now be empty.
- Notice that on the Level bars, Level 3 starts flashing red. What is that about? Click on the Level 3 bar and let’s find out.
- In the Instruction box, notice you have red text that says “Illegal Feat: Prereq Error”. This is letting you know there is something wrong with your feat selection at this level. Go ahead and press the “Select Feats” instruction to examine your feats.
- We have two feats here. If you click on them (be careful not to remove them from their boxes) you can examine their text in the description box. Click on the first one (Stunning Blow). Nothing seems out of order there, so check the second one (Two Weapon Defense). Aha! Notice it has two prerequisites. The first is a dexterity of 15, which we have, but the second is the Two Weapon Fighting feat. Originally we had this when we built the character, but we removed it from level 1. This means that in game, we would no longer have access to this feat. The Planner is letting you know this. Swap the offending feat for a new one (perhaps “Weapon Focus: Slashing Weapons” would be useful), and the red error warnings disappear.
So to recap, the Planner will not allow you to do anything illegal in setting up your character, but it will not change anything that might become illegal during the course of any modifications you may make. Instead it will simply flag them for you and let you make the decisions on what to do about it. Let’s take a look at a slightly more complex case.
- Go to Level 2, and let’s change out Bard for Rogue. Wow, things look ugly now, don’t they?
- You are getting an “Illegal Enhancement: Prereq error” at Level 2 through Level 12 now. These are somewhat harder, since the descriptions for Enhancements don’t give you any prerequisite information. However, if you take a look at your enhancements, you should be able to figure it out. Skill Magic is a bard enhancement, and you no longer have a bard character. Make sure you are on Level 2, and replace that enhancement with something else, perhaps Dwarven Search I.
- That’s a lot better, almost all of the errors are gone now. Only the Level 2 bar is flashing. The Instruction Panel says we have an illegal spell selection. Indeed, if you look at your spell panel, you notice you still have Cure Light Wounds, but none of your classes should have this spell.
- Getting rid of this is a bit harder, because there is no “Spell Selection” instruction for Rogues. In order to remove it, we need access to the spell selection interface. Switch back over to the “Select a Class” instruction, and select Bard again.
- Hit the “Select Spells” instruction, and remove the Cure Light Wounds spell from its slot (in the same way you removed a feat, just grab it out of its box and drop it anywhere else).
- Go back to the “Select a Class” instruction, and return it to Rogue. You now have a perfectly legal character build.
Equipment was introduced with version 2.00 of the Planner. You may add any number of pieces of equipment for any given equipment slot, and select the active piece of equipment for purposes of calculations. By adding in your important equipment, you can quickly select between them and observe the effects on your character build.
Because equipment listings are a brand new function of the Planner, they are not completely functional. As of version 2.00, the only equipment category available is armor. More categories will be added to the planner with future updates. In addition, equipment effects on your abilities (such as Strength) or skills (such as Balance) are not shown by the Planner. Again, these are slated to be added with subsequent versions.
There is no requirement that you add every piece of equipment your character owns to your build, but you should add the ones that matter in terms of effects on your abilities, skills, saves, or other calculations you may be interested in.
So let’s learn how to add equipment to our characters. If you don’t have him already loaded, pull up Durken Stonecleaver again. When last we left our intrepid Dwarf, he was a Level 4 Fighter/Barbarian/Rogue (2/1/1).
- Under the level bars, in the button section, find and press the “Equip.” button to take us to the equipment screen. You’ll find the Feats list and the Enhancement list are replaced by fairly blank looking panels. The top one is the Equipment Build area, and the bottom one (where the enhancements were) is the Equipment List area. Additionally, the Advancement window now contains an equipment panel.
- On the Equipment Panel, select the “Armor” slot. It is in the second column, second slot down. You will know you have the correct one when the Equipment Build area displays a list of base armor types to select from.
- Notice you have two sets of radio buttons now. The first set allows you to select either a standard armor or a named armor. The second set gives you a lot of options related to standard armors (bonus type, prefix, and so on). This second set is not applicable to named armors. Make sure you have the buttons set to Standard and Base Type (these are the defaults).
- We’ll start off with an easy one. Let’s add some simple scale mail armor to our character. Simply scroll down the list in the Equipment Build area (above the radio buttons) until you come to Scale Mail. Select it (so it appears in gold) and hit the Add button, just under the radio buttons. You will see the armor appear in your Equipment List area. Congratulations, you have your first piece of equipment.
- Now let’s do something a bit more complex. Let’s create and add a set of ”+3 Acid Guard Mithral Half Plate of Grease (3/rest)”. Sounds complex, doesn’t it? But it’s really not so bad. You should still be on Base Type, so scroll down the types until you come to Half Plate and select that.
- Switch to Bonus and select +3. Notice that you can see the armor you are “building” listed in the Description Panel in the lower right corner. At the moment it shows “+3 Half Plate” along with the full description.
- Now go to the Material radio button, and select Mithral.
- Similarly, go to the Prefix radio button, and select Acid Guard.
- Now we come to the Suffix. We want to add “Grease”, but you won’t find it on the Suffix list. Grease is a spell (when applied to a piece of equipment, this is often referred to as a “Clickie”). What you need to find to add a spell to a piece of equipment is the suffix “Spell”. Select that now.
- You will notice the next two radio buttons activated once you selected the Spell suffix. Go to the Spell radio button and change your spell selection (which is currently set to Acid Fog) to Grease.
- Almost there. All that is left is to change the number of charges on the spell. Go to the last radio button, and select 3/rest.
- Check over the Description Panel and make sure you have the armor built the way you want it. Once you are satisfied it is correct, hit the Add button again to add the armor to your character.
- Let’s change over to a named armor. Fortunately, these are very simple to add. Just change the radio button from Standard to Named. You will notice all the radio buttons in the second set deactivate. This is because none of those options apply to named armors.
- Add “Nightforge Mesh” to your character. Simply scroll down the list of named armors and select that armor, then hit the Add button. Simple!
The second piece of armor you added is about as complex as it gets. If you understood how to build and add that one, you should have no problems with other types.
The Calculator can be accessed by hitting the "Calc." button in the Button Cluster area. This brings up a new screen. As of version 2.00 of the planner, only Armor Class is available for calculation. Other types of calculations will be added with subsequent versions.
The calculator can be set to use abilities, feats, and enhancements given to your character at a specific level by using the dropdown list at the top right. The list defaults to level 12, but if you wanted to see what your armor class would look like at level 4, simply set this dropdown to 4, and the appropriate abilities will be available.
Calculations are highly dependent on equipment. In order to select your active equipment, an equipment panel is presented. Simply click on the slot you wish to modify (as of version 2.00, only the Armor slot works). A list of equipment that fits into that slot will be shown below the panel (this is the equipment you added to your character via the "Equip." interface, see the "Equipment" section of this document). You can modify the currently active equipment by selecting from the list, and your calculation will be updated to reflect the new equipment piece. The default active equipment is the same as the equipment selection you made on the "Equip." screen. Note that changing the active equipment on the Calculator screen does not affect your active equipment anywhere else, so you may feel free to experiment with various equipment permutations without worrying how it affects your character build. If you wish to permanently change the active equipment of your character, you should do it via the "Equip." interface.
In addition, there are checkboxes for relevant spells and relevant Actions/Feats/Enhancements. For example, if you want to see what your Armor Class would look like if a Ranger cast Barkskin (4) on you, simply check the appropriate box. Note that most bonuses of a particular type do not stack. For example, Mage Armor gives you an Armor bonus, which is the same bonus given by your armor equipment. If you have both the Mage Armor spell active and are wearing armor, you will get only the higher of the two bonuses, not both combined. Similarly, if you have the Shield of Faith spell (3 points of Deflection Bonus) and Protection From Chaos (2 points of Deflection Bonus), your total Deflection bonus would be 3 points, not 5. The exception to this rule are Dodge Bonuses and Misc Bonuses, all of which stack with each other.
In addition, static bonuses (those which cannot be turned off, most often given by feats you have selected) are shown below the list of relevant spells. All items that can affect the current calculation are shown with the category of bonus they affect (Natural Armor, Dodge, Misc, and so on) so it is easy to see where the effect changes the calculations, and where modifiers stack or don't stack with each other.
This screen can be closed with the "Close" button on the top right, or by simply hitting the Escape key.
Along with the standard screen display, the planner has three additional forms of output.
A save file is created, naturally, when you hit the Save button. The default name of the save file will be the characters name, followed by a .txt extension. For example, for our tutorial character, the default file name would be "Durken Stonecleaver.txt". You are, however, free to change this default file name to whatever you like.
The save file is located, by default, in a subdirectory called "SaveFiles", which can be found in the main directory of the planner (which is wherever the executable file "DDOCharGen.exe" is located). Once again, there is nothing preventing you from changing the location of the save directory of a particular file. Directory browsing and file name modifications are done through standard Windows interfaces.
Internally, the character data is saved as a text file which allows for human readability, and you are free to open and examine these files in any standard text editor. However, the text output was designed to be read by the program parser rather than by the users directly. It is not recommended that users make changes directly to this file. Rather, changes should be made by loading the file into the planner and making modifications through the program. You should rarely, if ever, need to adjust anything in the save file directly.
Pressing the Print button will print a hardcopy of your character. This printout is designed for easy reference when you are using a trainer to level your character or add a new enhancement. Each step of your character design is broken down by level, which makes visits to a trainer a quick and painless process that can be completed even while the rest of your party is waiting impatiently at the next dungeon entrance. It is recommended that when you have a design you are happy with, that you print out the character to put on your desk for use as a reference for visits to the trainer.
By far the most complex of the planner's output types, the forum export is used to display a build to peers for gathering feedback on the design, or for showing how to build a particular design. Currently the forum export is designed to export to the official DDO forums, which means the color schemes that are output work best on a black background, although for the most part the output colors and codes will generally also work on other forums. Future versions of the planner may allow for customizing the color schemes for other types of forum backgrounds.
Pressing the "Forum Export" button will take you to the forum export screen, which will give you further options. At the top, you can select the level you wish to show the build through (e.g. from level 1 to 8). The default value is whichever level you have your character set to when you hit the Forum Export button, but it can be changed using the drop-down interface.
Along the left side are a series of checkboxes that allow you to customize the exact information you wish to export. By using these checkboxes, you can turn on or off specific information that you may or may not need for your particular purposes. Two "presets" are also included (Build Feedback and Build Reproduction) which set these checkboxes for you based on typical usage. To the right of these checkboxes is an example output, which will allow you to see exactly what your export output will look like when it goes to the forum.
Once you are satisfied with the information you are sending to the forum, press the "Copy Data to Clipboard" button to transfer the information to your system clipboard. You will then typically begin a new post on the forum where you would like to paste the information, and simply hit Control-V to paste the build. A lot of code will appear in your post, which will resolve to readable text once the post is finalized.
The code pasted to the forum input box is surrounded by [code] tags. Usually you will want to post additional information about your character (how you plan to use it, what the concept is, and so on). It is recommended you place any additional text outside the [code] tags, unless you are comfortable editing vB code. It is safe to place any text you like either before or after the two bracketing tags.
This is the end of this document, and not coincidentally, also the end of this tutorial. If you have any further questions, bug reports, comments, or concerns, I (the developer of the Planner) can be reached in a variety of ways. Check the "About" box in the Planner for specific instructions for contacting me. I am always looking for feedback on the planner, so please don't hesitate to let me know what you think, especially if you have ideas on improving the planner.
Thank you for reading the tutorial. Good luck, and I'll see you in game!