Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rethinking my Character Sheets

So, my main computer's hard drive just stopped working.  After just getting gimp/inkscape/files set up to make more silhouettes-- after months of struggling to get data off of my last computer's dead hard drives.  In defiance of the fates that are hounding me I want to post a bit about character sheets.

Index cards or notebook paper are fine if you have a few experienced players.  If you're going to have new players, character sheets need a bit more to them to help players understand and navigate all their character's info.  You can see one solution I came up with here.  And, one I was very proud of, a character sheet that folded up to hold handouts here.

But, if you have different players rotating in and out and/or a lot of player deaths, you can end up with a lot of these.  And if you're a traveling DM like me, they can get lost in the shuffle.  Also, the player handouts I give like maps and such, are often too big to fit in that neat little character sheet 2.0 I designed.  So, last time I met with my group I mentioned I was thinking of going to full-sized character sheets so I wouldn't lose them.  And one of my players mentioned "yeah, and clipboards we can all write on." 

That gave me the idea to glue a character sheet onto a manilla envelope and slide something stiff inside that.

The idea being that these would be big enough to not lose, capable of storing whatever players want inside, and stiff enough to function as a clipboard they can write on when we play.

I had two stiff plastic three ring binders that I actually hate as three ring binders.  I chopped them up with a paper cutter and they were perfect as stiffeners for my envelopes.

I need to print character sheets and glue them on the front (and backside on the back) now.  I downloaded a few but they all have clutter I don't use in my game (like lots of space for the old saving throw categories or to-hit rolls because they use descending AC).  I can make my own, but that will take a bit of work (like finding my icon/symbol files from my old computer's data recovery).  But I thought the idea might work well for you if you have a similar play environment (no game table, dim lighting, and adult beverages in abundance).  Let me know if it works well for you.


  1. If PCs die with any regularity, glue may not be the best option. The rest of it is pretty inspired.

  2. Hey, thanks. Yeah I know from experience that paper clips don't work well in my messy game bag. Plus I've got a box of these envelopes left over from something else.

    Right now I'm trying to decide if there is a way to involve my players in making their own sheets, maybe downloading a bunch and cutting them up into parts and letting my players collage 'em.

  3. I like your collage idea. make each part of the sheet its own little box, print up a pile of them, and let the players figure out what format suits them best. If you like, you could even use the resulting sheets to drive thinking for your next variation...

  4. I like how it would allow people to keep all those gaming objects together and also be big enough to not get lost. I also have more than a few big envelopes and wouldn't mind so much if players burned through them.