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Durriken
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Name: Durriken
Class: Disestablishmentarian
Race: Green dragon

PostSubject: Character Sheets   Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:25 am

One of the things that's always bugged me about using the character builders is the 5+ pages per character. Having come in to 4E late, I'm really used to the online character builder format, but geez the powers take up a lot of space.
I've recently had a look at the offline character builder and its worse - adding in bull rush and grab and OA. It's worse yet on psionic classes adding extra blocks for each augmentation.
I'd really like something smaller, and preferable without doing too much data entry/transposing. I figure it should all be able to fit on 2-3 pages.
Have any of you got something that works well that you'd be willing to share?
Further, how much customization of the character sheet can the offline builder handle?

Thanks,
TjD
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Chris24601
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PostSubject: Re: Character Sheets   Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:28 am

Well, its NOT a builder, its just a layout I use for my games in Word that specifically mimics the 4E monster stat blocks.

Here's how I sort it out... It's time consuming the first time you do it, but its pretty quick to update after that since you're usually only adding one new power/feat/item at any given time.

-------

-Name in upper left and "Level X Race Class/Paragon Path/Epic Destiny" in the upper right of line 1.
-initiative, hit points and defenses in a three line left block
-senses, speed and languages in a three line right block
-abilities mods with scores in parenthesis on a single line beneath that
-trained skills (or otherwise improved beyond the base ability) and their bonuses on the line(s) beneath that.
-any special elements like critical dice, conditional skill bonuses and the like on the line(s) beneath that.
-powers (and power-like elements) sorted by action type (triggered, standard, free, minor, move) and written out like monster powers (with green, red or grey title bars to denote usage) on about two lines each. Check-boxes on the power's title bar are added if the power can be used more than once per encounter/day (ex. healing word, lay on hands, power strike, et cetera).
-a miscellanea section at the bottom with feat list (the effects of the feats are already built into the stats/powers so only a list is needed), gear list (item powers are listed in the powers lists above), rituals, unused powers in a spellbook, or anything else that doesn't fit elsewhere.

Powers are displayed as follows...
Line One is colored green, red or grey based on power usage for easy reference...

Power Name (trigger conditions if present) * keywords (item if its an item power)
Area/Range (any special targeting rules); +X vs. defense; hit effect.

-Add to this Miss, Effect, and/or Aftereffect if necessary.
-Power durations are shortened to SNT (start of next turn), ENT (end of next turn), SE (save ends), and EoE (end of encounter).

-------

The end result for nearly every character that's not a wizard who routinely swaps spells (requiring them all to be listed) should fit onto about one sheet of paper unless you're really heavy on item powers or possibly epic tier (the highest level character I've used the format with is a non-spell swapping human wizard of level 18 and its sitting right on the edge of going over to two pages if I get another power... so probably level 20 unless I lose an item power or two due to new gear).

That's what I use for all my games.
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skwyd42
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Name: Alain Smith IV
Class: Vampire
Race: Half-Elf

PostSubject: Re: Character Sheets   Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:58 am

Any chance you'd be willing to share a sample document? I've often tried to make Word or Excel documents to slim down character sheets but I've always been unhappy with how the information that is traditionally on the cover sheet looks. I'm great with content, but lousy with format.

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Chris24601
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PostSubject: Re: Character Sheets   Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:30 am

Okay, it took me a bit to reformat it so that Googledocs didn't wreck the format, but here's my sample sheet for a level 8 human artificer I'm running.

Rolan of the Toria Tribe (Human Artificer 8 )

Note that the character is using our house-rules for inherent bonuses and limited items so don't expect the math to work out exactly the same as it would under the default rules. Also note that, for ease of reference in play, the +2 item bonus to skills from the ioun's revelation boon was added into the ability score modifiers since those are what get used for any untrained skill checks (our group never uses pure ability checks for anything so there was no need to distinguish between untrained skill bonus and ability score bonus).
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skwyd42
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Name: Alain Smith IV
Class: Vampire
Race: Half-Elf

PostSubject: Re: Character Sheets   Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:20 am

This looks awesome! Thank you. I'm thinking that I might use a combination of the more traditional front sheet along with a power summary sheet formatted like this. It may help my newer players to be able to speed up their turns in combat.

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Durriken
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Name: Durriken
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PostSubject: Re: Character Sheets   Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:04 pm

Has some initial investment up front, but leveling up shouldn't take much time at all. The space saving is great. I decided to go big on the first shot with this - lvl 6 runepriest. Powers take up 4 lines because of rune states, lots to type... Won't fit on 1 page, but 1.5 for sure. Psionics will take some extra space.
I love that the actions are broken up by type. The page 1 stuff that doesn't get duplicated elsewhere really only takes up 6 lines. 1 page to 6 lines... awesome!
You can really see the monster block efficiency. If only WoTC had done a character sheet like this!

I'll never have a character over 2 pages like this, if I have the time to type them up. I can also put lots of text note about the character.

I don't care what anyone says, Chris24601 is a gentleman and a scholar!

TjD
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Chris24601
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PostSubject: Re: Character Sheets   Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:18 pm

Durriken wrote:
I don't care what anyone says, Chris24601 is a gentleman and a scholar!
If I had a nickel for every time I've had that said about me, I'd have... about 15 cents. Very Happy
Thanks for the high praise.

And yes, there is a bit of front-end work involved, though once you've got your first character done even that drops quite a bit since you can reuse most of the top section and just change the numbers/skills around. Likewise, once you have a power template built you can cut and paste the bulk of it since probably 95% of your attacks are going to have the same attack and damage bonuses so you just need to change out the range, defense, damage dice and riders for most powers.

I just wish Google Docs could handle the fonts I used for my actual sheets because they look even sharper when you've got the text in Mentor Sans (the font used for stat blocks in the actual 4E books), the symbols in front of the powers are the actual 4E symbols (the close burst symbol instead of a C for example) and shaded boxes in place of the two capital O's to check off uses of curative infusion.

Still, I'm glad you like it and hopefully you'll be able to get some use out of it.

Oh, and just for the record, we also often use the open space in the middle of the two columns up top for an optional third column of conditional defensive things like "Resist 10 fire, 5 cold" or "Saving Throws +2" or "(+4 to AC vs. OA's)" that tend to crop up on certain characters but are not universal to all characters.

Some of my players also have me put check boxes in front of each encounter/daily power because they don't mind pencil marks all over their papers, but I'm a bit of neat freak with my sheets and prefer to check off those things on a separate piece of paper, along with tracking my hit points, conditions and combat initiative (since that seems to always be my job even when I'm not DMing).
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skwyd42
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Name: Alain Smith IV
Class: Vampire
Race: Half-Elf

PostSubject: Re: Character Sheets   Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:11 pm

I definitely like this and since I have 10 days until my next game session I'll be putting these together for every player. We use the online CB right now and it is very convenient, but in some cases the text in the powers is too small for some of the players to read (we're "aging" gamers). So I'm going to use a format like this for just the powers (including powers from items) and print it in a good sized font. This will (hopefully) help to speed up the combat powers because right now one player has about 10 sheets of paper to search for powers and the other is using a PDF on the smartphone so he can zoom in on the powers. The paper search time and the PDF load time is starting to take up extra time that could be moving combat forward. So an investment of my time for this will likely pay off in the long run when we can actually get through a combat encounter with some game session time to spare!

Thanks again!

Oh, and I would likely owe money if I had a nickel for every time I was called a gentleman and a scholar. But I would have at least 3 bucks if it was for being called a gentleman and a monster!

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Garthanos
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Class: Arcadian Knight
Race: Auld Worlder

PostSubject: Re: Character Sheets   Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:41 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
Okay, it took me a bit to reformat it so that Googledocs didn't wreck the format, but here's my sample sheet for a level 8 human artificer I'm running.

Rolan of the Toria Tribe (Human Artificer 8 )

Note that the character is using our house-rules for inherent bonuses and limited items so don't expect the math to work out exactly the same as it would under the default rules. Also note that, for ease of reference in play, the +2 item bonus to skills from the ioun's revelation boon was added into the ability score modifiers since those are what get used for any untrained skill checks (our group never uses pure ability checks for anything so there was no need to distinguish between untrained skill bonus and ability score bonus).
Would be nice if the Character Builder had customizable character sheet formatting that is pretty sweet.

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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skwyd42
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Character sheet
Name: Alain Smith IV
Class: Vampire
Race: Half-Elf

PostSubject: Re: Character Sheets   Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:17 pm

Yeah. I wish I was knowledgeable enough to code something that could read the XML code in the .dnd4e file that was spit out by the character builder. I'm thinking just about any character sheet format could be created from that.

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Garthanos
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PostSubject: Re: Character Sheets   Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:09 pm

it would be a starting point I believe there is another xml file created by CBLoader that would have the remainder of the information needed....hmmmm.

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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Chris24601
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PostSubject: Re: Character Sheets   Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:01 am

Having looking into the guts of the xml code, it just needs to reference, I believe, the combined.dnd40 file (I'm away from the computers that have the builder, but I believe that's the main datafile that contains everything, including all the rules on how characters level up, etc.). A character sheet program should only need to read a saved character file and then read through the main xml file for the rules element numbers referenced in that to get all the information you'd need.

The biggest pain would be that the powers in the builder often have a LOT of wasted text when it comes to making sheets like mine. I don't need text saying "if you're using an axe the target takes extra damage equal to your Constitution modifier (+3)." I just add the +3 right into the damage if my normal weapon is an axe.
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PostSubject: Re: Character Sheets   Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:12 am

Durriken wrote:
Psionics will take some extra space.
That's usually compensated by the fact that Psionic characters don't have encounter powers, so they have less powers overall. They just need bigger statblocks for the powers they do have.
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Garthanos
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PostSubject: Re: Character Sheets   Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:26 am

Chris24601 wrote:
Having looking into the guts of the xml code, it just needs to reference, I believe, the combined.dnd40 file (I'm away from the computers that have the builder, but I believe that's the main datafile that contains everything, including all the rules on how characters level up, etc.). A character sheet program should only need to read a saved character file and then read through the main xml file for the rules element numbers referenced in that to get all the information you'd need.

The biggest pain would be that the powers in the builder often have a LOT of wasted text when it comes to making sheets like mine. I don't need text saying "if you're using an axe the target takes extra damage equal to your Constitution modifier (+3)." I just add the +3 right into the damage if my normal weapon is an axe.
The Xml I believe has the rules in there as well as the text strings.... but if the text strings incorporate the above that is problematic (as intelligently removing or simplifying it seems tough pro grammatically) I would say perhaps the program might apply the rules then allow user editing of the strings and store those edits in its own association database. (then use those in future cases so that overtime you build up your own simplified string sets)

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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