Friday, June 27 2008

4th Edition D&D: character sheet and combat card

[Update: character sheet updated after playtesting; also added extended powers page for wizards and high-level characters]

I’m still tinkering with these, and I haven’t even started on the creation/leveling worksheet, but I think they’re a solid version 1.

The official character sheet has a lot of problems: first, it’s cluttered with ugly header boxes; second, a lot of the space is devoted to calculating values; third, a lot of information that you need during play is either on page 2 or just plain missing.

My goal was simple: put everything you need during combat on the top half of the first page. That leaves half a page for recording all other useful information, and frees up the second page to be a coherent worksheet for character creation and leveling.

The half-page rule also gives you a clean design for a combat-tracking card that can be used for monsters as well as players. This is always useful, and critical for large con events (we run 20-30 players, and the finale is always a massive player-versus-player battle). I actually started with the 4x6 combat card, and then expanded the design into an 7.5x10 layout that can be printed on both US Letter and A4 paper.

Here are the PDFs: character sheet, combat card.

Sometime this weekend, I’ll adapt my character-creation document into a proper worksheet that can be used to maintain the other two.

[side note: I’m working in Adobe Illustrator CS2, and the best way to get a small PDF file is to “save a copy” as EPS, then open it in Mac OS X’s Preview app and save. The only semi-downside is that it clips the bounding box to the objects rather than generating a full-sized page.]