Tag Archives: D&D

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.

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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.

D&D 5e Character Library and Conditions Reference

I have uploaded several new aids for D&D 5e. The first two are different versions of a list of conditions: one to be shared by the whole table, and one for individual players. The table version has every condition, paraphrased and converted to second person to hopefully make them easier to understand. With one or two on the table there should be less need for players on both sides of the screen to stall the game while looking up rules. The player version has a condensed list so that four of them can fit on a page.That way each player can have a list of the most common conditions, and can reference the table version for the others.

The other aid is a D&D 5e character library in the form of an OpenOffice spreadsheet, which is a convenient place to keep any number of characters without using up a ton of disk space (important for Dropbox and thumbdrives). There is also a Google Docs version for players who like to keep everything in the cloud. I see the latter as also being used by GMs to keep all of their players’ characters in one place for easy reference.

My next character library will likely be for GURPS since it will be easy, and then I’ll make one for HackMaster 5e for the sake of my current campaign. I may even make one for OVA eventually since I do have about a dozen characters for it. My current focus is on revising my GURPS character creator and finishing the D&D one. That said, the D&D character library is a result of my drive to free up some space on my nearly-full Dropbox, so I may well make the other libraries as part of that process.

UPDATE 2015-04-16: Added space for saving throw values and proficiences. I truly don’t see how I overlooked that before, but it’s there now.

New D&D 5e Adventuring Gear

Despite its reputation, GURPS’ core is actually very minimalist and leaves the GM to make up a lot of stuff. One result is that after a decade of it being our go-to system, I have developed the habit of just making up any gear I or one of my players needs but the books don’t have. So it should be no surprise that in the course of making four characters for Adventurers’ League I created quite a few things for D&D 5e. After the list are specifics on how I came up with some of the items so you can see the logic behind the numbers. I’m happy to accept feedback on any of these, especially where you see question marks.

  • Backpack, wood-framed (4.8 gp, 8.75 lbs). Capacity 60 lbs or ?? cu ft.
  • Small, blank book (10 gp, 2 lbs)
  • Ball of twine (0 lbs, 1 cp). Possibly 2 cp?
  • Pocket mirror (.1 lbs, 1 gp; based on “Mirror, steel”: .5 lbs, 5 gp)
  • Camp hatchet (2 lb, 2 gp; useless as weapon due to balance)
  • Towel (1 lb, 2 sp; based on blanket: 3 lb, 5 sp)

Backpack, wood-framed: In the real world the oldest known wood-framed backpack is from more than 5 millennia ago, and are still in use today in many parts of the world, so they seem a reasonable addition to D&D. A properly trained porter can comfortably carry hundreds of pounds in one, but 60 lbs seems to be more common, so I went with that for the capacity, but I’m not sure what an appropriate volume would be.

For a starting place for cost and weight I looked at HackMaster 5e, because it already has two different backpacks: one holding 30 lbs, the other 50. Complicating things is that HM5e is intended to be as realistic as is possible in a sword and sorcery world and thus uses a silver-based economy and prices many things in copper, and its weights are drastically different from D&D’s, therefore a direct conversion isn’t possible. So it seems to me that the best idea is to simply apply the same ratios to D&D. The smaller HM5e pack weighs 2 lbs and costs 7 cp and 5 trade coins, while the larger one weighs 3.5 and costs 18 cp, so the ratios between them are 2.4 for cost, and 1.75 for weight. Thus the larger backpack ends up costing 2*2.4 gp and weighing 5*1.75 lbs.

Blank Book: Two of my AL characters are merchants by trade and need easily-portable ledgers, but the 25 gp, 5 lb book on the gear table is pre-filled (“poetry, historical accounts, information pertaining to a particular field of lore, diagrams and notes on gnomish contraptions, or just about anything else that can be represented using text or pictures”) and pretty big and heavy to be useful as a journal of any kind. This is our best guest at a smaller, lighter, blank book.

Pocket Mirror: The mirror in the book weighs half a pound so we assume it’s relatively large for traveling purposes (it weighs significantly more than my 5″x7″ glass camp mirror). In a typical D&D setting they are more likely to be thin highly-polished metal rather than the relatively thick glass we use today, so I assume they’d be even lighter than their modern counterparts. For this particular item I was thinking of something more along the lines of a makeup compact or signal mirror – something in the 2-3″ range. It’s useful to any adventurer as a signal mirror, but especially to Charisma-based characters for checking hair and such before manipulating someone. Creative players could come probably come up with any number of possible uses.

Camp axe: This one is mainly for the sake of sentimentality because I have fond memories of using my old boy scout hatchet when my family went camping every summer. The weight is a rough average of the weights of various camp axes available online, including the very one I still have in storage somewhere. I also based it on the Hammer (3 lb, 1 gp) on the adventuring gear table rather than any weapon, so I made it useless as a weapon since it costs less than half as much as a throwing axe. It’s really only necessary because realistically you would quickly ruin any sort of battle axe using it to chop wood or do other routine camping tasks. Then again, this is D&D so reality can take a flying leap.

Towel: Why is a towel so important, you may ask? Simple: no adventurer should ever be without one.

“Pain is Temporary… Quitting Lasts Forever”

(Post title is a paraphrase of the following quote:
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” –  Lance Armstrong in It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life.)

Those of you who follow me on facebook or know me personally may already be aware of this, but for the past couple of months my chronic pain levels reached the point where I was almost totally incapacitated. The most I could type at one time was a paragraph about as long as this one will be when I finish.

As a result, I haven’t been blogging or working on any of my books or short stories because I haven’t been able to. That doesn’t mean, however, that I have been totally unproductive. To make my life GMing D&D Encounters easier, I copy-pasted the relevant monsters from my epub to the spreadsheet that I normally only use to calculate how much XP to give each player. In doing so I discovered that I could do work like that for much longer than serious typing, so I got some other things done instead.

Made D&D 5e Character Sheet More Multi-class Friendly

In making my first multi-classed character, I discovered that my sheet was only slightly better for that purpose than Wizard’s. I rearranged the top matter a bit to make room for listing multiple classes and their levels, leaving the original “Level” space for the character’s total level. The largest difference is that in place of the checkboxes for keeping track of spent hit dice, there are now two boxes for tracking two types of hit dice – there wasn’t room for a third one, or I would have included it.

It has replaced the old version on Scribd.

Added Features to the D&D 5e Grimoire

In putting a caster on a character sheet for the first time, I realized the grimoire could use some additions. Across the top there are now spaces for your spell attack bonus, saving throw DC, the maximum number of spells you can prepare each day (generally caster level + spellcasting ability modifier), and your spell slots.

For the sake of the mage character sheet, I also lightened the color of the headers so the bar wouldn’t bleed through the page as much.

Both have replaced their old versions, linked above.

Mostly Finished GURPS Character Creator Spreadsheets and Half Done With One for D&D 5e

In the course of creating a new GURPS character several months ago I accidentally half-built a GURPS character creator spreadsheet. Over the past couple of months I’ve been slowly revising it. Now all it needs is a little spit and polish.

Inspired by that project, I decided to make one for the current editions of D&D and HackMaster as well. I haven’t yet started the HackMaster one, but the D&D one is at least half done. I have yet to start on the “Race and Class Features” tab, but the mechanics of everything else are mostly, if not completely, done.

The only major things I have left to figure out are how to handle armor and weapon proficiencies, and race-based skills (dwarves, for instance, don’t actually grant proficiency in History, but for all things stonework, they are considered proficient and double their proficiency bonuses).

The gear proficiencies are the big puzzlers. I have only been using lookup tables and other advanced spreadsheet features since a fellow D&D Encounters GM helped me start my GURPS character creator, so I’m mostly learning by doing. Because of that I have no idea how to limit the player’s equipment choices based on the proficiencies granted by the character’s race/class combination. My temporary fix is to simply list them and leave it up to the player to only choose proficient gear. Likewise with limiting the player’s choice of skill proficiencies.

Other than that, all that is need is more spit and polish, and to have local players do their best to break my code and give me their feedback on the user interface (UI). After that I’ll upload a basic version to Scribd as usual, then continue working on actually integrating proficiencies into the various places they are needed.

These are currently my top priority and should be finished fairly soon.

Worked on HackMaster 5e Campaign Manager and Started D&D Version

If you were active on the Kenzer & Company forums when HackMaster Basic first released, you may have seen my original encounter builder spreadsheet. Since then I have incorporated much of my HM4e campaign manager into it, and applied some of my new-found advanced spreadsheet coding skills, as well as the session experience tracker I originally made for D&D Encounters. It is probably only about half done, but is a lower priority than the other projects since it does everything I need it to for my current campaign (it works, but the UI is ugly and a bit clunky), and both D&D and GURPS have larger user bases.

Speaking of the experience calculator, while working on the HM campaign tracker, I slowly added new features to it, gradually turning it into a D&D campaign manager. I am also adapting it into a  generic campaign manager that should be easily user-adaptable to handle just about any level-based fantasy trpg. It will likely become my top priority after I finish the character creators.

As an indicator of how much better I’m doing now, I wrote this entire post in one sitting. I need to rest for a while now because my upper back is starting to flare up pretty intensely, but I was able to ignore it long enough to finish this, so I have high hopes for the near future (although, as always, I’ll sleep and then proofread it tomorrow before actually posting it). On the advice of a doctor, I started taking magnesium supplements a week and a half ago, and it seems like it may be doing the trick. If you suffer from chronic pain, it might be worth a try (but always talk to your doctor before taking any supplement).

So that’s my last couple of months in a nutshell. Keep watching here for updates on my character creators and campaign managers.

D&D (or Any Other Level-based game) Session Experience Calculator

Had a great family vacation, and got a 93 in my online Java class, but now I’m back to focusing on writing and game design. For example:

To compensate for my memory issues and to save a lot of work for non-mathophile GMs, I created a spreadsheet that will calculate how much experience I need to award each player at the end of each session of D&D Encounters.

Using it couldn’t be easier. Type the number of players into the appropriate box at the top of the sheet. Below that you will a list of all of the non-unique monsters that appear in the Tyranny of Dragons season of D&D Encounters. Each row below that is a separate encounter. Simply type in the number of each monster you used in the encounter, and the spreadsheet will do the rest.

It looks up the appropriate amount of experience points (XP) for that monster using the table on the “Data” tab (you can easily add your own, as long as the list doesn’t exceed 50 in all), then uses that to add up the total experience for the encounter. The XP totals for each encounter are added together, then divided by the number of players.

Since quest XP rewards are specified per player rather than as an amount to be subdivided, I have provided a space especially for those. Next to the blue box that tells you how much XP to give each player you’ll see a long red box. Put each quest reward in its own cell within that box, and the spreadsheet will add their sum to the amount in the blue box.

If you understand lookup tables, it is trivially easy to use more than 50 entries in the data table, but I was required to set a limit. I tried to allow more than 15 monsters on the table, but i kept getting an error telling me my formula was longer than OpenOffice could handle. If you know a way around the problem, I’d be happy to hear it.

Naturally, this can be used for any level-based game (as I will for for my HackMaster 5e campaign); it’s just pre-filled out with the monsters for DnD Encounters: Tyranny of Dragons.

D&D 5e Character Sheets Aplenty

In the course of making several characters and actually getting to play a session, I modified my original character sheet and made a couple of adaptations for specific purposes. As always, these can all be downloaded from my Scribd library, from the links below or on my Downloads page.

For the original I adjusted the placement and spacing of the top matter. My writing is fairly small, yet I still had trouble squeezing a few things into the space available. I also put the associated attributes and a space for the total modifier beside each skill. We use the first public playtest’s idea of disconnecting attributes and skills, but since most people play by RAW (Rules As Written), it occurred to me that I should include those.

DnD5.CharSheet

The first adaptation I made is customized for spellcasters. I moved the skill list to the former Character Notes section of the front page. Then I replaced the now-empty back page with my grimoire. That way the various spellcasting classes don’t need two sheets of paper until relatively high levels. You could also print page 1 on both sides of a sheet of paper, and thus get two characters per page; useful if, like us, you tend to make multiple characters for D&D Encounters.

DnD5.CharSheet (mage)

Speaking of the grimoire, I made two fairly minor changes to it. After realizing that not every spell needs the full space I provided, I halved the row height and then lightened the lines between ever other row. The result is that spells that need the full space still have it, but if some of your spells don’t need that much space you can fit more of them to a page.

DnD5.Grimoire.web

The final version is specifically designed for pre-generated characters. For it I simply copied the top section of the first page of the mage sheet halfway down the page, then filled the back page with just the guidelines. I did that so we could fit a character onto half a sheet of paper, partly to save paper and ink, but mostly because that’s all the space a pre-gen really needs.

DnD5.CharSheet (half-sheet)