D&D 5E What Do You Think Is Essential in a Bare-Bones Character Sheet?

What elements of a character sheet are essential to playing the game?

  • Name

    Votes: 28 80.0%
  • Class

    Votes: 28 80.0%
  • Subclass

    Votes: 24 68.6%
  • Level

    Votes: 29 82.9%
  • XP

    Votes: 17 48.6%
  • Proficiency Bonus

    Votes: 19 54.3%
  • Abilities - Scores

    Votes: 24 68.6%
  • Abilities - Modifier

    Votes: 23 65.7%
  • Race

    Votes: 28 80.0%
  • Alignment

    Votes: 11 31.4%
  • Vitals - Age

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Vitals - Sex

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Vitals - Size

    Votes: 3 8.6%
  • Vitals - Height

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Vitals - Weight

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Vitals - Skin Color

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Vitals - Eye Color

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Vitals - Hair Color

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Senses

    Votes: 19 54.3%
  • Speed

    Votes: 25 71.4%
  • Racial Traits

    Votes: 21 60.0%
  • Background

    Votes: 17 48.6%
  • Background Feature

    Votes: 15 42.9%
  • Personality Trait

    Votes: 3 8.6%
  • Ideal

    Votes: 3 8.6%
  • Bond

    Votes: 3 8.6%
  • Flaw

    Votes: 3 8.6%
  • Inspiration

    Votes: 5 14.3%
  • Armor Class

    Votes: 29 82.9%
  • Protections

    Votes: 14 40.0%
  • Saving Throws

    Votes: 29 82.9%
  • Advantages

    Votes: 13 37.1%
  • Resistances

    Votes: 21 60.0%
  • Immunities

    Votes: 21 60.0%
  • Maximum HP

    Votes: 27 77.1%
  • Current HP

    Votes: 21 60.0%
  • Temporary HP

    Votes: 13 37.1%
  • Hit Dice

    Votes: 25 71.4%
  • Spent Hit Dice

    Votes: 13 37.1%
  • Exhaustion Level

    Votes: 8 22.9%
  • Death Saves

    Votes: 10 28.6%
  • Combat Features

    Votes: 16 45.7%
  • Weapons - Attack

    Votes: 23 65.7%
  • Weapons - Damage

    Votes: 23 65.7%
  • Weapons - Range

    Votes: 19 54.3%
  • Weapons - Weight

    Votes: 7 20.0%
  • Weapons - Notes

    Votes: 8 22.9%
  • Proficiencies - Armor

    Votes: 12 34.3%
  • Proficiencies - Weapons

    Votes: 12 34.3%
  • Proficiencies - Languages

    Votes: 19 54.3%
  • Proficiencies - Skills

    Votes: 26 74.3%
  • Proficiencies - Tools

    Votes: 24 68.6%
  • Passive Scores

    Votes: 8 22.9%
  • Class Features

    Votes: 25 71.4%
  • Feats

    Votes: 25 71.4%
  • Spellcasting Ability

    Votes: 19 54.3%
  • Spell Attack

    Votes: 22 62.9%
  • Spell Save DC

    Votes: 23 65.7%
  • Spell Slots (or Points)

    Votes: 23 65.7%
  • Cantrips

    Votes: 24 68.6%
  • Known/ Prepared Spells

    Votes: 24 68.6%
  • Equipment

    Votes: 21 60.0%
  • Encumbrance

    Votes: 5 14.3%
  • Treasure (and Magic Items)

    Votes: 17 48.6%
  • Other. Please explain in your response.

    Votes: 5 14.3%

DND_Reborn

Legend
I'm designing a new character sheet for 5E and I got to thinking about what elements are really essential to playing. I thought it might be fun to also design a bare-bones character sheet.

So, what do you think? Choose any or all that you feel are essential to playing.

Note: Some items are pretty commonsense, but I am including them in the list just to be complete.
 

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DND_Reborn

Legend
I want the character sheet to have the monster statblock organization, listing the three or so "favorite" actions.
I have one of those (sort of) that I designed already. If you want it, p.m. me and I'll upload it for you.

Bare bones? Half those options wouldnt fit on a single sheet!
LOL actually, I have designs I made will everything on that list -- only one sheet (back and front, of course).
 
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DND_Reborn

Legend
The problem with Monster Stat block style is you need variable amounts of space for features and then for actions.

Here is an example of the Stat block "inspired" character sheet.

1642037540803.png
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I think it’s important to distinguish if we want to use the character sheet as a record of overall choices, or as a recorder of temporary changeable information.

Like I know using the character sheet to record current hit points and such is the norm, but damage is ultimately temporary, like any other condition, and can be recorded on a separate sheet.

As such, for an “essential” sheet, I only marked down items that are driven by deliberate decisions about the character and are normally permanent. I also avoided numbers that are easily derivable, like weapon attacks. Name, race, class and subclass, scores (not mods, you can derive the score from the mod but not vice-versa), feats and skills.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
At bare minimum? Name, ability modifiers, AC, hit points, hit dice, proficiency bonus, blank or lined field for proficiencies, blank or lined field for features and traits, blank or lined field for equipment. Maybe a blank or lined field for spells known/prepared and a simple chart for spell slots if you’re a caster, or for “miscellaneous resources” for Ki and the like.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I think it’s important to distinguish if we want to use the character sheet as a record of overall choices, or as a recorder of temporary changeable information.
I suppose whatever is considered "essential" to you?

Personally, I might use scrap paper for temporary things, but otherwise my character sheet is my only "record" for my character.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I think it’s important to distinguish if we want to use the character sheet as a record of overall choices, or as a recorder of temporary changeable information.

Like I know using the character sheet to record current hit points and such is the norm, but damage is ultimately temporary, like any other condition, and can be recorded on a separate sheet.

As such, for an “essential” sheet, I only marked down items that are driven by deliberate decisions about the character and are normally permanent. I also avoided numbers that are easily derivable, like weapon attacks. Name, race, class and subclass, scores (not mods, you can derive the score from the mod but not vice-versa), feats and skills.
Funny, I kinda feel the opposite. Between the tight range of ability modifiers, universal proficiency progression, and generally small number of character build decision points, I feel like I could get away with just a piece of scratch paper to record those ephemeral values like current HP, XP, HD, spell slots, etc. and maybe a set of spellbook cards and keep the rest in my head no problem. My players are always impressed by the fact that I can guess their modifier to a roll so reliably while they have to check their sheets, but like… If I know what class you’re playing I can probably guess what ability scores you prioritize, and if I know what level you are I know what your proficiency bonus is and how many ASI levels you hit, so the only thing I have to guess at is if you have an applicable proficiency or not. And if the party picked you to do a thing, it’s probably because you are. So, yeah, I don’t feel like it’s that impressive to know offhand that your 5th level rogue has +7 to hit with their rapier, or that your 8th level cleric’s spell save DC is 16.
 




DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
As a DM who has players who forget all the time much of the features and abilities they have, as well as spending inordinate amounts of time flipping through their Player's Handbook to find the spell descriptions of the spells they are thinking perhaps they want to cast... an essential character sheet to me actually has everything mechanical of all that stuff written down front and center. Including even more esoteric things like magic weapon functions.

A character sheet that has only enough space to write down the phrase 'Second Wind' in a 'Features and Traits'' section but doesn't actually tell you what Second Wind does is pretty much pointless in my opinion. Because a player's eyes will just gloss over that phrase if they don't already have it memorized as a thing they should be doing. They usually will need to also see words like 'hit points' and 'heal' and 'bonus action' underneath the name to catch their eye fast enough to read the ability and then they will realize that this 'Second Wind' thing is actually something useful they have and that they should be using. And hopefully this all happens on other people's turns so they are ready to go when their spot comes up. :)
 


I answered for a paper sheet. An electronic sheet requires more "slots".
(I can just write stuff like how many death saves I've failed on a paper sheet, and that isn't needed most of the time, but an electronic sheet has to have that.)
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Funny, I kinda feel the opposite. Between the tight range of ability modifiers, universal proficiency progression, and generally small number of character build decision points, I feel like I could get away with just a piece of scratch paper to record those ephemeral values like current HP, XP, HD, spell slots, etc. and maybe a set of spellbook cards and keep the rest in my head no problem. My players are always impressed by the fact that I can guess their modifier to a roll so reliably while they have to check their sheets, but like… If I know what class you’re playing I can probably guess what ability scores you prioritize, and if I know what level you are I know what your proficiency bonus is and how many ASI levels you hit, so the only thing I have to guess at is if you have an applicable proficiency or not. And if the party picked you to do a thing, it’s probably because you are. So, yeah, I don’t feel like it’s that impressive to know offhand that your 5th level rogue has +7 to hit with their rapier, or that your 8th level cleric’s spell save DC is 16.
To clarify, you're arguing for a sheet to purely track down session ephemera (like hit points lost, spells used, etc), and keeping the rest of your build in the head? I can definitely see that; I can generally play my character without a reference sheet (with the exception of tracking spells for high level casters) for exactly the reasons you mention.

I suppose you could just tell/email the DM your level-up choices if the DM is uncomfortable with you playing something they can't see.
 



steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
I mean - and I voted for several more criteria than this, but - honestly, for any dice-based conflict resolution game, all you need is HP and AC. Or, that is, what number does the opponent need to "hit" you and how many times can you be hit.

Everything else is window dressing. You can be HP/Health/Hits: 10. AC/Defense/Overpower: 15. Boom there's a game. You can SAY you're an elf with a bow or a human knight or a wizard throwing fire or an orcish brute or whatever.

Get hit 10 times? You dead. Hit the other guy 10 times? They dead.

Winner takes the treasure/rescues the innocent/saves the day.

Dress it up with dungeons and castles or space stations and ray guns or pirate ships and muskets...it's all the same.
 

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