Frequently Asked Questions

I hadn't actually thought about a FAQ, but several different people have asked the same questions, so I figured I'd better put the answers here (plus a few more tha nobody has asked yet, but probably will)

Q: Is this the original Wintertree Software? A: Yep. Same person. Really, who else would be crazy enough to do this twice?

Q: Where do you go for 16 years? A: I gafiated. I was really burned out, I got away from it all, and I didn't come back. I hadn't really planned on disappearing from the industry for 16 years, but it ended up that way.

Q: What is TableMaster, anyway? A: There is a basic explanation on the Wintertree Redux blog, and a more detailed one here. The really short version is "It rolls up things on tables. Any tables."

Q: So this is only useful if I'm running a game with lots of random tables? A: Quite the contrary; if anything, it's more useful for a game taht does not provide any way to create the hundred-and-one little details that bring a world to life. TableMaster does that for you.

Q: Did you just update the old code? A: No. I re-used a bit of it, but not much. The change from 2 programs to 1, the features available in Delphi (I wrote most of the original in TurboPascal!), and the fact that a lot of my original code has, um, flaws, mean it made more sense to rewrite most of it.

Q: Will there be new table packs? A: Certainly. The Zombie Table Pack is all-new, and the Fantasy Table Packs collectively have been expanded by rougly 50% in the transition from two packs to three. Also, I've completely overhauled and updated the old ones (Fantasy I & II, SF, and Apocalypse). Plus, of course, there are the 50-some tables that come with TableMaster initially; a fair percentage of them are new and many of the old ones have been expanded.

Q: What are the new packs going to be? A: The big news is the Zombie pack, with tables for all sorts of things for a zombie-themed campaign. The second is the Fantasy Table Pack 3. There's another pack planned for later this year, too.

Q: What's that one going to be? A: That would be telling!

Q: How are the Fantasy Table Packs organized? A: I've reorganized the tables in the existing packs. Fantasy Pack 1 has all the wilderness, urban, and other above-ground tables. Fantasy Pack 2 has all the dungeon, underground, and treasure tables. Fantasy Pack 3 has all the character tables, such as backgrounds, descriptions, names, etc., and a few other tables that, while technically belonging in one of the other two packs, are so closely tied to the FTP3 tables that they went in there instead.

Q: That's a lot of Fantasy Table Packs! A: Well, yes. There will also be a Fantasy Table Pack Deluxe, which will combine all three into a single package.

Q: Will the old packs I bought in 1995 still work with TableMaster? A: Generally yes, though they'll need a search/replace in your favorite text editor to change a few variable names. After careful consideration, I decided that the benefits of changing the naming format of user-accessible variables like "more_rolls" outweighed the inconvenience that would result, so I made the change. The short version is I've added a $ to the names to distinguish them so variables created by the program and in tables don't conflict.

Q: What about the fonts? A: Those are a bit further down in the list, obviously, but I'll be redoing most of the old fonts. The Tolkein-related ones are legally problematic, and a couple of the others are just plain bad (I'm sorry about Dark Elf, really!) but I'll be overhauling the rest, and adding in updated versions of InstaGraph, InstaHex, and Dark City, too. By the way, you can get the old version (rebuilt for modern computers) of InstaHex as a free download on this website -- it's here.

Q: Are you planning any licensed products? A: Not at the moment, but if anyone reading this happens to be affiliated with a game publisher who would like a TableMaster table pack for their games, please get in touch!

Q: How is TableMaster delivered and packaged? A: As both downloads and physical CDs by snail mail, whichever the customer wants. I'll certainly have the physical version available at the conventions I attend. TableMaster itself will be packaged in a DVD case containing the CD, the manual, etc., much like you'd get with a video game, and the Table Packs on individual CDs. I'm also planning an "Ultimate TableMaster" package -- TableMaster and all the Table Packs all packed on a thumb drive.

Q: Thumb drive? Is TableMaster portable? A: Indeed. I considered using the Windows Registry to store configuration data (most recent folder, etc.) and decided to go with an .ini file instead for just that reason.

Q: Can I get TableMaster products in my local game store? A: That depends on your local game store, but please, before you buy from Wintertree directly, ask them about it. We want to support brick & mortar retailers as much as possible; game companies make games, but game stores make gamers. If they have any questions, tell them to get in touch and inquire about our wholesale discounts, product displays, in-store demos, and other retailer support.

Q: What about other platforms? A: The Macintosh version is in development. There are no plans for a native Linux version, but TableMaster may run will under Wine; this needs to be tested

Q: What about mobile? A: That's a bit further in the future, but there is definitely a mobile TableMaster on the horizon. The tablet version will be the first, because it is in many ways similar to the desktop version. A smartphone version will take longer, as there are some major constraints imposed by the form: there's only so much you can see at one time on a 4" screen. That is, however, also planned.

Q: Is there a forum where we can share the tables we've created? A: Unfortunately, that would leave Wintertree in a rather difficult situation as regards liability. While TableMaster is not intended to infringe on any company's copyrights or trademarks — a photocopier can do that better anyway! — there are people who would use it for that, and a few highly litigious companies that would go after me instead of them. It comes down to what I need to spend my time doing — policing forums or writing code — and I think most will agree that it should be the latter.

Q: What about those copyrights? A: Yes, it's possible to use TableMaster to infringe on other people's copyrights, just like a photocopier or a word processor. I'll say again what I've been saying for 20+ years: don't. Aside from the legal issues, it's simply wrong. Besides, TableMaster is capable of so much more, it would be a waste to limit it to something so simple.

Q: Are you going to any conventions? A: Definitely. We'll announce on the website and on Twitter which ones we'll be at, and when.

Q: Do you have any social media presence I can follow? A: Yep, Wintertree is now on Twitter. You can find it here.

Q: What about Legends & Loot? A: Unfortunately, the company that made the little dice-shaking boxes does not appear to exist anymore, so that's not really possible. So yeah, you two people who got your L&L rules autographed have a real collector's item there! That plus a couple of bucks can probably buy you a cup of lousy convention-center coffee.

Q: What about the miniatures bases and stuff? A: No. Just no. That was a bad idea. And don't ever mention can koozies around me.

Q: Why did you name the company Wintertree? A: Because I can't think of good names. That's why TableMaster exists -- because I really suck at coming up with names, so I wrote a program to do it. NameGen was the direct ancestor of TableMaster. So when I needed a name, the best thing I thought of was one of my favorite songs: The Winter Tree, by Renaissance.

Q: If you suck at names, how did you come up with the name TableMaster? A: I didn't. A smart guy named Mike Hilsher did. Mike, if you're googling yourself, hi! (and thanks again)

Q: Will there be cookies? A: Of course.