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What offline IRL resouces and techniques do players recommend in managing their character sheets?


First Post
So I'm interseted in any pro-tips for managing character sheets and gameplay during campaigns. I'm getting tired of constantly printing out character sheets, seeing them deteriate and crease up, having to carry around papers and files, etc.

At present, I'm trying out using beads for HP, skills and XP. I was also thinking of lamenating blank A5 character sheets and writing with whiteboard markers, updating records on computer after each game and so forth.

Be interested in any other ideas anyone has.

Rules are no online resources or software.

aaaand go....

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Gavin O.

First Post
I've had good success with dice. If you play DnD at a local game store, you'll likely be able to buy a "spindown", which is a special d20 in which every number on the face is adjacent to the previous number. It's used in Magic: The Gathering for keeping track of life totals, and if you have 20 or less HP (or 20 or less of whatever else you want to track) it works pretty well. You could track up to 40 HP using 2 of these, but I wouldn't go far beyond that.

If you have a few more dollars to spend, you could get yourself a spinning life tracker, which can count to 99. It looks like this https://www.ccghouse.com/catalog/ga...mmander_anthologyarchenemy_nicol_bolas/315653 and will run you about 10 bucks.

Joshua Randall

There are two characters sheets: the one you use for building, and the one you use at the table. The one you use for building stays in your binder (unless you build at the table I guess?). The one you use for playing goes in front of you while you play.

Put the most important information in the upper-left or upper-right of the character sheet. Upper-left: natural scanning order for left-to-right languages. Upper-right: you can make notes near it without obscuring the rest of the sheet, for right-handed players.

The most important information is usually:
AC and other defenses
and possibly things like movement speed, and certain passive skills (Insight / Perception in 4e)

The most important information is definitely not:
Your name
Your character's name (it's your sheet, surely you remember this?)
race (ditto)
class (ditto)
level (typically irrelevant during a game)
ability scores (typically irrelevant, only their derived bonuses matter)
All this stuff goes at the bottom or on the back, if at all.

The next most important information is typically:
skill modifiers
basic attacks / most commonly used powers

In 4e you typically have separate "power cards" for your powers. These should be organized by action type (standard, move, minor, immediate) at minimum. I actually have a whole article pitch about making a grid with action types on one axis and frequency (Daily, Encounter, At-Will) on the other. Pitched to Dragon magazine during the 4e days but never picked up. :(
Anyway, this is still how I organize my 4e powers.

Hit Points
At low levels I've had good success tracking this with poker chips, white and red, combined total = total HP and red = bloodied HP (half of max). So I, and others, can see at a glance how my PC is doing.
Blue = temp HP.
It starts to break down when the stack of chips gets too tall.

Table Tents
If you have stuff your PC gives to others, like auras or situational buffs, put it on a table tent so others can see it. Put it on both sides of the tent so no matter where someone sit they can see it, including directly beside you.
On the tent is where you'd put something like "Dakkon Blackblade, male human fighter, 13th level" and then a character portrait or (better IMO) screengrab of the mini you're using.
Under the character name put info like, "+2 AC when adjacent to Dakkon (Made Up Shield Feat)" that affects the other players' characters.

I've probably got more tricks I don't even realize I'm doing, but that'll get you started.
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Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Several players enjoy the phone/tablet app: Fifth Edition Character Sheet (with green D20 icon). I haven't tried it. For me I like paper, and I bought a B&W laser printer so i don't mind printing out a new double-sided sheet each time I level.

Mind you, thinks like spell descriptions and such I print out once. And I make a basic customer character sheet for each character that is very information dense. So front page is everything I need to usual play, back is everything else that. Anything with limited uses (HD, spells, bardic inspiration, etc.) has checkboxes so it's easy for me to note.

So I'm kinda the opposite - I don't mind printing for each level, and there being pencil marks on it between sessions.


41st lv DM
Last year at GenCon I picked up several more of The Worlds Greatest Screen in a variety of colors from Hammerdog Games.
Technically it's a 4 panel (8 if you count front & back ) folding DM screen that you make your own inserts for.
I prefer the full size portrait version myself.

I don't use screens as a DM....

But they make fantastic character folders. And with several colors I have them color-coded to either my characters or the different games I'm in.
I just slot the character sheet, equipment sheet, spell chart/list, Familiar stat page etc into the various panels & use a standard wet erase marker on them. The only time I pull them out is when I need to actually lv up/make some permanent change.
Right now in our PF game I have 2 characters sharing 1 screen. PC1 takes up the 1st four sections, PC2 takes up the next three. The 8th would be the back cover & is blank so far.

The only drawback is that the plastic spine between each panel eventually cracks. So about every three years I replace a couple of screens.


I compile my character sheets electronically and print them in PDF format and will actually re-print after each session because I like to transpose all of my notes to the electronic version. So I start with a clean and up-to-date printed character sheet for each game session.