I’ve talked about Hero Lab from Lone Wolf Studios before, specifically, when I wrote a review of their dataset for Ultimate Magic. I liked the Ultimate Magic dataset, and without spoiling the rest of this review, I like the Ultimate Combat dataset. The data seems to be (mostly) there, and alternate rules seem to have been implemented well.
To test out the dataset properly, I made a quick character using all of the alternate rules from Ultimate Combat; piecemeal armor, armor as DR, wound/vitality points, and called shots (meaning the inclusion of called shot feats). To see how those thing have been implemented, take a look at Testy McTesterson, my 6th-level half-orc fighter:
As you can see, all of the extra functionality seems to be well-represented. Testy is carrying a lot of extra armor because I wanted to check and see if the piecemeal armor bit was working properly. It is, and it even calculates the total bonus correctly if you’re wearing a full set, but at least one armor piece, the Agile Plate Torso, was missing. No, the point of piecemeal armor is so you can mix-n-match from different armor sets, but for those that want to be able to build full armor sets this way, missing a torso piece is a big deal.
The longer I use Hero Lab, the more I like it, though I am finding myself building my character in the program, then transferring all the data to a regular pencil-n-paper character sheet. It might just be me, but checking a box, or choosing something from a drop-down menu doesn’t cement in my mind what an ability actually does. Writing it down helps me learn it. Still, Hero Lab continues to be a great resource for Pathfinder. I’m not sure my current character (Lv 19 Rog/Assassin) would be quite so easy to manage without Hero Lab.
The Ultimate Combat dataset is a nice addition to Hero Lab, if you like to content of the book. There are rough spots (I really wish there was a way to see a breakdown of where all bonuses come from for saves and armor, for example), and as always, the dataset doesn’t replace owning the book, or checking out the full descriptions in the SRD, but for character building, there’s nothing better. If you are interested in analyzing stats like this, online education classes may be of interest to you.
Full Disclosure: The Ultimate Combat dataset was provided to me for review purposes by Lone Wolf Development. I purchased my own copy of Hero Lab, however.