No tool, no matter how complete, can ever be perfectly tailored for every LARP. Grapevine attempts to compensate for that fact by giving you ways to customize its environment. Editing the Grapevine Menus allows you to make available custom Disciplines, Abilities, clans, Merits, Flaws — just about anything — for the character sheets you maintain. Editing the Grapevine Template files allows you to customize the program output, providing your players with character sheets and rosters suited specifically for your game.
Editing the Grapevine Menus
Choose “Grapevine Menus” under the “Game” menu to display the window in which you can customize the menus from which you build characters in Grapevine. You’ll see the name of the menu file above three tabs: “File Information,” “Menu Items,” and “Menu Tools.”
On all tabs, you will see a listing on the left of the menus in Grapevine. Beneath it is a dropdown box describing the subset of menus to include in the list: “General Menus” lists the menus common to most characters, twelve racial categories list menus specific to each character type, and “All Menus” lists every menu in the program. Double-clicking any menu name enters the menu, listing its contents. Inside the menus, double-clicking “(back)” takes you back to the top level, while clicking any other menu entry displays its details on the right.
Click the File Information tab to see information about the current menu file. This is a special Grapevine Menu (.gvm) file, separate from your game file, that stores the menu structures you use to build characters. The default menu file is “Grapevine Menus.gvm,” which contains all the Traits and powers used by most MET books, favoring games using revised rules.
On the tab you will see the full path to the file and its description. The description is editable in case you want to save your own version of the file. On this tab are also four buttons:
- Load File… This button prompts you to browse for the Grapevine Menu file that this game will use for its menus.
- Merge/Update Menus… This button prompts you to select another Grapevine Menu file or a Grapevine Menu Update (.gvu) file. Grapevine merges the content of the selected file with your current menus, bringing your menus in line with those of a friend. A dialog box appears asking you to press “Yes” for an aggressive merge and “No” for a conservative merge. The difference between the two styles is how they resolve differences between your menus and the incoming file: aggressive resolves the differences in favor of the newcomer, while conservative fully preserves all your existing menus. After the merge, you may view the file MergeLog.txt to see the changes described.
- Save Menus. This button saves any changes you’ve made to the current menu file.
- Save Menus As… This saves the current menus to a new filename you provide.
The second tab, Menu Items, is where you can make changes to the structure of the menu itself. Five buttons are at the bottom of this tab:
- Delete. Delete the selected menu or menu item. You will be prompted for confirmation. If you delete a menu, you will delete all the items in it.
- New Menu. Add a new menu.
- New Menu Item. Add a new menu item to the current menu.
- New Submenu Link. Add a new submenu link to the current menu. Submenu links are explained below.
- Include Menu. Include the contents of another menu in the current menu. Menu inclusions are explained below.
Clicking an item from the display at left selects that item. When a new item is created, it is automatically selected. A different set of editable fields appears for each type of item:
- Menu. Menus have seven fields:
- Name. The name of the menu. This must be unique.
- Category. The category in which to classify the menu.
- Alphabetized. Whether or not this menu is alphabetized. If it is alphabetized and you uncheck this property, a dialog box will appear to confirm your decision to alphabetize the menu.
- Negative. Whether or not costs in this menu are negative, such as with Negative Traits and Flaws.
- Add Note with Item. Whether to include an item’s note with the item when it’s added to a character.
- Required by Grapevine. If this is checked, it means that Grapevine directly accesses this menu from a character sheet. The menu is protected against being deleted or having its name changed.
- Display. Choose the way items in the menu should be displayed.
- Menu Item. Menu items have three fields:
- Name. The name of the item, such as “Brawny” or “Investigation.”
- Cost. The cost of the item. This may be a single number or a range such as “1 to 3” or “2 or 4”.
- Note. The note with the item. Traits tend to have notes indicating their category (such as strength, charisma, etc.) while powers tend to have notes indicating their level (basic, intermediate, etc.).
- Submenu Link. This creates a submenu of the menu in which it appears. The contents of the submenu are the contents of the linked menu.
- Name. The name of this submenu. It will appear in the menu with a colon following it.
- Linked Menu. The menu to which this submenu is linked. When you choose this submenu from a character window, it will load the menu that is linked here.
- Go To. Click this button to jump to the linked menu.
- Menu Inclusion. When a menu includes another menu, the contents of the second menu are mixed in with the first. All properties of the first menu, such as alphabetization, are retained; properties of the included menu are ignored.
- Name. The name of this menu inclusion. It will appear in the menu with a plus sign following it.
- Included Menu. The menu whose contents are to be included in this menu.
- Go To. Click this button to jump to the included menu.
If you have selected a member of a menu that is not alphabetized, up and down arrows appear for adjusting the positioning of an item within the menu.
The last tab, Menu Tools, makes the following functions available:
- Find. Enter the text you’d like to search for in the text field, then use the option buttons to determine if you’d like an exact or partial match. Then click “Find” to jump to the next match for that item in the menu.
- Copy Menu. Select a menu and click this to create a duplicate of the menu under a new name.
- Create Five-Power Menu. Click this button to automatically create a new ordered menu with two basic powers, two intermediate powers, and one advanced power. All costs and notes are prepared; you need only to supply the name of the menu and its menu items.
- Confirm Deletions. Uncheck this box to disable the pop-up dialog that confirms you want to delete items.