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%

When it comes to a character sheet, I really really REALLY dig the ones that have all the associated skills next to their appropriate ability modifiers that they are keyed to. That way you're not searching all over the skill list and gloss over them. *Of course, having the Skills alphabetized is the second-best method I prefer, but still prefer organizing it by ability modifier. *

Everything is pretty much standard window dressing.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

HammerMan

Legend
an index card with race/class/name on top the stats (maybe just first letter but I am partial to 3 letters) with mod next to it trained skills under that
under or next to that saves that are more then stat (so only ones with bonuses)
AC HD/HP next to that with spots for spending/losing
common attacks as weapon/cantrip name bonus to hit/save damage
then a list of features (spells, class features feats)
it should work for all martial characters and warlocks... at low level other casters work but will need more space soon.

I can make a Fighter 6/Rogue 3 eladrin with just the front of the index card
I can make a fighter (eldritch knight) 3 Wizard (bladesinger) 6 with front and back even including spell book...

I know becuse I did for a pregen game at a store that unfortunately closed duringcovid.

edit: I think the fighter 6 was a battle master and the rogue 3 was a mastermind but not 100% sure I am remembering that right... I just remember sneak attack, action surge second wind and cunning action work REALLY well togather on a short sword fighter.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
an index card with race/class/name on top the stats (maybe just first letter but I am partial to 3 letters) with mod next to it trained skills under that
under or next to that saves that are more then stat (so only ones with bonuses)
AC HD/HP next to that with spots for spending/losing
common attacks as weapon/cantrip name bonus to hit/save damage
then a list of features (spells, class features feats)
it should work for all martial characters and warlocks... at low level other casters work but will need more space soon.

I can make a Fighter 6/Rogue 3 eladrin with just the front of the index card
I can make a fighter (eldritch knight) 3 Wizard (bladesinger) 6 with front and back even including spell book...

I know becuse I did for a pregen game at a store that unfortunately closed duringcovid.

edit: I think the fighter 6 was a battle master and the rogue 3 was a mastermind but not 100% sure I am remembering that right... I just remember sneak attack, action surge second wind and cunning action work REALLY well togather on a short sword fighter.
In a nutshell something along those lines is what I am working on for one of my players. He has a hard time finding stuff on a character sheet and is prepping a bunch of cards for features and spells, and I thought a more bare-bones index card-style sheet would make it easier for him to find and organize his characters. We are meeting Saturday so I plan to take some time to discuss it with him then and wanted to use this thread to get a leg up on it.

If you have those PCs handy, I'd appreciate an upload so I can see what you did/ how you had it laid out--even if hand written. Thanks.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
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.
Collapse that to all conflict resolution is an opposed roll. Now you only need one thing, hits.
 

Your poll does not differenciate between listing all skills and just noting what you have. Same for saving throws.

For my minimal sheet I use when playing with new players, I usuall just write down skills and so on and explain that you roll an ability check with added prof bonus. And if it is not on the list you can still do it, but it is a straight ability check.
Not unlike the monster stat block in current from.
 



HammerMan

Legend
In a nutshell something along those lines is what I am working on for one of my players. He has a hard time finding stuff on a character sheet and is prepping a bunch of cards for features and spells, and I thought a more bare-bones index card-style sheet would make it easier for him to find and organize his characters. We are meeting Saturday so I plan to take some time to discuss it with him then and wanted to use this thread to get a leg up on it.

If you have those PCs handy, I'd appreciate an upload so I can see what you did/ how you had it laid out--even if hand written. Thanks.
it was over a year ago but I think I could recreate it... but it will be tomorrow
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
My character sheet strives for elegance (efficiency). It is working well. While not minimalist, it might offer some ideas.

Note, Perception and Athletics are full-on abilities. So, the Athletics skill splits into "Mobility" skill (jumping, climbing, balancing, falling, etc.) and "Brute" strength skill (break doors, bend bars, heave weight, etc.).

Character Sheet (Yaarel 2021).png
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
My character sheet strives for elegance (efficiency). It is working well. While not minimalist, it might offer some ideas.

Note, Perception and Athletics are full-on abilities. So, the Athletics skill splits into "Mobility" skill (jumping, climbing, balancing, falling, etc.) and "Brute" strength skill (break doors, bend bars, heave weight, etc.).

View attachment 149873
Thanks for sharing!
 

Rune

Once A Fool
This poll leaves off the most important part of any character sheet: a place to draw the character portrait (or just doodle instead of stacking dice).
 



If your goal is to make it as simple as possible for the player, I think you can make things a lot easier by using class-specific sheets. Most clutter is space for stuff you don't use with this character: nonproficient skills, spells for non-casters, feats for featless games, etc.

A champion fighter needs a fairly small sheet if you're making the sheet with them in mind. A tome warlock needs a way to quickly reference all of their spells, rituals, and invocations - it's going to be a longer sheet because it's a more complex character.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
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.
Sort of. I’m less advocating for actually playing that way, and more arguing that it would be reasonably possible, whereas the inverse of playing with a character sheet that only recorded your build decisions and keeping session ephemera in your head would not be; therefore, I think session ephemera is the more important thing for a character sheet to provide space for.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Here's a draft for a stat-block style sheet. As you can see, the biggest issue if you want to include all or most of the features PCs get, that ends up being almost the entire sheet:

1642109371825.png


And I am sure I still missed things... (like I didn't include her tool proficiencies the PC has).
 

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.
If you are looking for bare bones, get some lined paper and run a scenario with five characters. You'll find out what is necessary and what's optional quickly. Rewrite it with a level up to let connected information reposition next to each other on the sheet.

And to be clear, I say this with no snark whatsoever. If you have a sheet that takes effort to create you will find the least energetic / simplest sheet you can have.
 


vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Here's a draft for a stat-block style sheet. As you can see, the biggest issue if you want to include all or most of the features PCs get, that ends up being almost the entire sheet:

View attachment 149882

And I am sure I still missed things... (like I didn't include her tool proficiencies the PC has).
Yep, this is exactly how I do it for my players. I usually list their proficiencies with tools in the skill list and put their armor/weapon prof in their trait section.

Its not too big. Should you print it now (I usually use the large template instead of the 2 columns one), it would be probably the size of 1/2 a sheet of paper, maybe less. Maybe Warlocks and Artificers would be bigger because of their Invocations/Infusions?

EDIT: that also depends on your eyesight. The one you posted is overly large for my needs, but some of my players would indeed require a larger print size.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top