Tag Archives: D&D 5e

Old Family + New Friends + New Games = Great Vacation

Because my family is shotgunned all over the southeastern US, my parents rent a vacation home for a week every summer so we can all get together. This year was at Carolina Beach a couple of weeks ago. Overall it was great, and I especially enjoyed getting acquainted with the new boyfriend of one of my nieces, even more especially because he’s a gamer, too. He introduced us to an amazing Czech boardgame called Dungeon Petz.

Sadly, my wife Lura got sick on Tuesday (our “not-quite vegetarian” diet doesn’t work at all with my family’s standard American diet, which we inevitably end up eating on vacation) and didn’t recover until after we got home, so she didn’t get to play. Before that, however, we finally got to play Mr. Card Game with more than just the two of us for only the second time, so that was cool, even though my niece got bored and her boyfriend won, just like the last person we taught to play the game (who also happens to be the best board game player we’ve ever met). I am also happy to report that our FLGS can special order Dungeon Petz for us just as soon as Lura’s new job makes it possible – the first job she’s had in two years, I should add. We’re really praising God for that one!

It also would have been more fun if I hadn’t fallen up the stairs and twisted my foot the first morning, forcing me to miss out on the aquarium trip, but an Ace bandage got me up and moving again, so it wasn’t too bad.

One advantage of needing to keep my foot propped up while Lura was too sick to do anything and the rest of the family was at the beach is that I got a little bit of work done on my various game aids. I may even have finally finished my D&D character library spreadsheet, but I want to use it myself a bit longer to be sure since I keep finding things I need to add to it (most recently an XP box). I am nearly done with my GURPS character creator as well, but just learned that Steve Jackson has very strict rules about how they want to be cited in fan projects, so I’ve got to go back and change that section in my two GURPS spreadsheets, and figure out how to unobtrusively add it to my character sheet. I also need to find out if Wizards of the Coast has a similar policy.

Now that I’m back from vacation and mostly recovered from it I can get back to work writing and finishing up game aids. I decided to add boxes around the various sections of the top matter on my modular D&D character sheet, and am also experimenting with edge-to-edge printing of some of the pages in order to maximize how much space players have to work with, but so far my test prints have failed because our printer is behaving oddly.  I assume it’s due to needing a new color cartridge even though what I’m printing is black and white. I suspect it’s trying to use blue for the faint grey lines and text, and that’s why they aren’t showing up. Once I get that tackled I should have what I hope will be the final version of my character sheet unless Wizards releases another class with a unique mechanic that would benefit from having a custom sheet.

On a related note: would a sheet with a dedicated section for a pet/familiar be useful? On the front or back? If I don’t put it on the front I will have to either make multiple backs again, which I won’t since it defeats the purpose of my adaptable sheet, or simply make a back that includes the animal with the inventory. It would be easy enough to free up sufficient space above the right-hand column on the two-column inventory sheet (page 4).

Advertisements

D&D 5e Character Library Finished

I have uploaded to scribd what I hope will be the final version of my Character Library spreadsheet. All it is lacking is an XP box. As it will take quite a bit of work to squeeze that in, I will only be adding if there is demand for it. In the meantime just list the character’s XP in the “Character Background and Other Notes” box.

Life: The Greatest Adventure

If you follow me on facebook then you may know that an ongoing family crisis has just kicked into high gear, and that the floors of our house could collapse completely if we don’t get some help. Naturally, that has left me with little time for crafting character sheets, but I have still managed to finish most of the final touches on my D&D 5e sheets and Character Library spreadsheet.

Despite the near-total failure of our plumbing, impending death of our van, and my wife nearing the end of her second year with steady employment (she had one day of work in all of 2014), I still expect to get the D&D stuff done in the next couple of days. Being creative, especially when I get to exercise both sides of my brain at the same time (even though that idea is a fallacy; both sides of the brain do both), is simultaneously relaxing and invigorating, so any time I spend making game aids is a wonderful respite from the everyday stresses of the rest of my life.

Because of that I’m also hoping to finish my GURPS Character Creator spreadsheet as well as Character Libraries for GURPS and D&D in the near future. The GURPS CC is mechanically complete but the layout of some parts of it are making my artist side unhappy. That will hopefully not take more than a couple of hours to fix. I think the D&D Library may be finished – I just want to try it out with a few more different types of characters to make sure.

In the meantime, any small amount you can offer towards our house repairs will be greatly appreciated.

D&D 5e Character Sheet Updates

There are drawbacks to being a long-time devotee to a piece of software. Because Opera has been my default browser since version 5, someone had to point out to me the custom search function that every other browser has since copied and which I can no longer live without. I run into the same issue from time to time with Open Office. I first started using OO about 15 years ago with StarOffice 5 (now you know why OO’s executable is soffice.exe instead of openoffice.exe). At that time it was a single application that opened all of your documents into a single tabbed instance like MS Works did and browsers do now.

Since then hundreds of changes have taken place, so it’s no surprise that I missed a few. In this particular case it’s the PDF export function. Up until now I’ve been exporting my character sheets from OO using various free PDF printers (I especially recommend Cute and Primo). Naturally, that method has its limitations; for one thing, you can’t export links that way.

For my new 10 page long D&D 5e supersheet I decided to finally try out OpenOffice’s PDF export function – the resulting file was one quarter the size of the PrimoPDF version. The drawback is that for some reason the various lines came out much thinner when exported than when printed, forcing me to re-do most of the first page. While I was at it I figured I may as well take another stab at the AC shield, which I had made in Gimp but with which I was never wholly satisfied.

The first thing I did was load up the old XCF and switch it to a sans-serif font, but when I started changing the thicknesses of all of the lines in OO Writer it got tiring having to constantly change and re-import the image. For several years now I’ve been meaning to learn my way around OO Draw, so I took that as my cue to finally do it. In the end I only actually made the curved bottom half of the shield in Draw and the rest in Writer itself, but it was a good learning experience and only took about an hour.

The only other major change I made was eliminating most of my use of Times New Roman. As it was most of the sheet was in sans-serif Verdana, but the skills and several other things used TNR instead. Now the skills use TNR because serif fonts are easier to read  in sentences , but everything else is in Verdana because sans-serif fonts are generally easier to read in titles.

There’s also one change that end users won’t see but that other character sheet designers might find useful: I put all of the front page’s various frames into one giant one. When I first made the supersheet I had to manually copy over each of those frames into the new document, and that was as tedious as it was painful. Since I was rebuilding it anyway, it made sense to put it all into one frame to make it more portable. Now I can put into a new document with a single copy-paste.

A few hours ago I finally finished several days’ work making all the requisite changes to the front of the character sheet and made a test print. My task for later today is incorporating those changes into original documents since I rebuilt it in a new document. Fortunately, since I’m in the habit of using paragraph and character styles rather than in-line formatting whenever possible, I should be able to modify all of the spell, inventory, and beast form sheets in less than an hour.

Naturally, my chronic pain issues limit how much of that kind of intensive computer work I can do at a time, but I hope to have the new sheets uploaded in less than a day, keep your eyes peeled here for the announcement.

Cribbage, Quest Cards, and D&D, Oh My

Cribbage Dice

For some strange reason, Cribbage Dice remains the most popular page here, even though I posted it more than three years ago. Because of that I went back and gave it a much-needed update. There were a couple of typos I had overlooked previously, and I was unhappy with the way I phrased some things. That was before I knew about Creative Commons, so I changed the license from traditional copyright to CC-BY-SA, freeing people to take the game and make it their own. I also added an example of play, complete with pictures.

Quest Cards

If you spend a lot of time GameMastering, then you may be interested in Johnn Four’s free Roleplaying Tips Weekly, a weekly newsletter full of great tips, guest articles, and contests. I have been getting it via email for years, and just recently found it was available via RSS, which is cool because a lot of sites have cut their RSS feeds. This week’s included an article by Chris Sniezak about quest cards, which are designed to help groups that meet infrequently (i.e. at least two weeks between sessions) keep track of what’s going on, but any sandbox could also be helped by them.

Briefly, the idea is to have a stack of cards or Post-Its (or Lino, the virtual corkboard my wife and I will most likely use), each holding a separate quest in a nutshell. That way both the GM and players can very quickly find out who gave which quest, the exact task or reward, and any other pertinent info. Johnn closed the article with a request for printable templates, so I took an hour and whipped one up. I also made it an A4 version, but have no way to test it to make sure it prints correctly, but I’m pretty sure it will.

D&D 5e Character Sheet Update

Since I am playing in D&D Adventurers’ League this season rather than GMing, I have made quite a few changes to my character sheets, and as well as several completely new variations. If I uploaded everything separately it would be at least half a dozen different documents, so I have combined them into three three. The first is my original sheet, with the skills on the back page, leaving a handy Character Notes space on the front.

The second is a new combined supersheet that takes the front page of my mage/single-page sheet, which moves the skills into the Character Notes space, and pairs it with seven options for the back page: blank except for guide lines, three different ways of listing inventory, and then three grimoires, one for most classes, then warlocks, and finally, characters using the optional Spell Points rules from the DMG (p 287).

Update 2015-05-20: It now includes a page where druids can detail up to five beast forms.

The grimoires and inventory sheets were actually derived from stand-alone versions I made months ago. The key difference is that since the stand-alones will not be on the back of character sheets, they each have a line for the player’s, character’s, and GM/campaign’s names. That way it’s no big deal if they get mixed in with another character. It has the has the same sheets in the same order as the supersheet, but with the added identification line on each sheet.

New and Revised D&D 5e Character Sheets

In about half an hour I will playtesting two new variations of my D&D 5e character sheet. For one I modified the back page of the mage sheet to make it suitable for a warlock. Specifically that means I removed the numbers of spell slots by level and replaced them with for space for the total number of slots and their level, since warlocks only start with 1 slot and max out at 4, and all of their slots are the highest level they can currently cast.

The other is for Farga, my dwarf fighter who is a not-entirely-honest merchant in his downtime. I have replaced his back page with an inventory sheet, sorted into Backpack, Belt Pouch(es), and everything else. I have a more detailed inventory sheet on a separate piece of paper; it holds only his lifestyle-related inventory, so it rarely comes into play during a session, but still needs to be tracked since it does change how much cash he has on hand when adventuring.

After printing out the warlock sheet a few minutes ago, I decided to adapt the grimoire yet again to make it suitable for the optional Spell Points system in the DMG (p 288). It will have spaces for Max and Current SP, and the list of how many SP each level of spell costs.

I have also decided to do something that will hopefully make people’s lives a bit easier. As it stands I have a standard character sheet, with skills on the back and a handy Character Notes space on the front, and a mage/single-page sheet with the skills replacing the Character Notes space, a stand-alone grimoire, and several variations of stand-alone inventory sheets. I am going to attempt to get that into no more than three separate documents: one for the default sheet with the Character Notes space, one for grimoire and inventories that will not be printed on the back of their character’s sheet (so they have a line for player/GM/campaign name), and one that has the mage sheet’s front and lots of options for page two (the three different grimoires and at least one inventory sheet).

Since those are all currently scattered across about a half dozen OpenOffice documents, it may take me a few days, but as always I’ll post here as soon as I get them uploaded.

On a related note, I think I may have finally finished my D&D 5e Character Library spreadsheet. I tore it apart and completely rebuilt it, so hopefully it will now accommodate any character. One major addition is a “Mod” column on skills, which gives you a place to put your bonus for the rogue’s expertise or similar abilities.

Updated D&D 5e Character Sheets

In playing my Fiend Warlock at D&D Encounters I made an exciting discovery: in D&D 5e temporary HP work exactly like they do in 4e, except that they last all day or until consumed, rather than evaporating after 5 minutes. That means that Shyui could feasibly start subsequent fights already shielded by THP. The problem is that my character sheet had no clear way to track any leftover THP from session to session. To remedy the situation I added a small THP section to the wounds box on each of them.

D&D 5e Character Sheet
D&D 5e Caster or Single-page Sheet
D&D 5e Half-page Sheet for Pre-gens

Those links, as well as links to all of my game aids, are always available on my Downloads page above, which also tells you about the most recent changes to them.

As I added more characters to my Character Library spreadsheet I found several shortcomings, not the least of which is the lack of space for saving throw bonuses. I have extensively rebuilt it multiple times in the past week and think I may finally have it perfect. To make certain of that my wife and I are both putting lots of characters into them, so I should be uploading a final version within the next couple of days.

Since two of my Encounters characters are traveling merchants, I made several versions of full-page inventory logs. I think they may be complete, but I’d like to play a couple of sessions using them to be sure of that before uploading them.

After that I’ll be putting the final touches on my GURPS Character Creator. I don’t foresee that taking more than an afternoon, but will want to make a bunch of characters to test it before uploading it.

The D&D 5e version is proving to be far more complicated than I expected even though I am being careful to not infringe upon Wizards’ copyright (so I don’t need to factor in the Tough feat, for example, other than including a box where players can specify any extra HP mods). As an added bonus it means that it won’t have to be updated every time a new book releases, other than adding any new races or classes to the data tables, which is trivial. Adding the races introduced for the Princes of the Apocalypse season of D&D Adventurers’ League was a bit messy since I hadn’t thought to future-proof my formulas, but have done so since, so adding new ones in the future will be easy.