I know the context seems to be longevity of play for an established group, but I've actually found the layout/design of many printed character sheets to be a bit of an issue – more so for newer players, but not exclusively. One of the challenges with paper sheets is information accessibility where the "tax form" nature ends up "burying the lead" so players don't get what they need at-a-glance-or-two. Digital sheets solve this with a hovering cursor opening info boxes. However, getting players to write "short form notes" of what their spells/features do (the paper equivalent of "cursor info boxes") can be an uphill or fruitless battle, depending on the players.What are your best tips to help players use paper-based character sheets? What tricks have you personally found helpful when using paper character sheets?
I’ll offer a couple:
- Write page numbers next to spells, powers, class features, and anything else you might want to look up at the table.
- Track hit point and other expendables on index cards so you don’t wear out your sheet.
- For DMs: write down or print out magic items with descriptions in small sheets or index cards so you can hand them to your players so they can hang onto them with their character.
- Track damage done instead of subtracting damage from hit points. Adding up is easier than subtracting down.
What are some of your top tips for using paper character sheets?
The other oooold hack I used was taping a piece of packaging tape (cut to size) over the hit point box, effectively creating a laminate layer, and using (fine or extra fine tip) wet or dry erase markers to track hp. Sorta a variant of the slipcase mentioned earlier, but specific to the area that gets most wear-and-tear.