4e Character Sheet

Right then. The contents of this post will be familiar to those playing in my new weekly campaign as it’s pretty much the same as the email I sent out last Monday. However, I’m a great believer in recycling old work at every opportunity – that’s largely how I got through my undergraduate degree after all.

You will all be pleased/startled/indifferent to learn that I have completed my new fourth edition character sheet. This is the sheet I intend to inflict on my players when the new campaign kicks off on the 30th. Many thanks to Marc who managed to convert the thing into PDF without jumbling up all the text boxes or crashing the computer in the process (that’s what happened when I tried it). Assuming I successfully figure out how to upload a file to WordPress, the full character sheet can be found at the bottom of the post.

Obviously the sheet incorporates a number of the house rules that I’ve been dwelling on over the last few months. There is also some Iourn-centric material on it. There wouldn’t have been much point in my creating this sheet if I didn’t include those things. What that probably means is that the sheet isn’t very useful outside my gaming group unless you’re prepared to use exactly the same house rules as me. If you like the design, but want to change the content, then let me know in the comments and I can email you a Word version that you can tinker with to your heart’s content.

I find myself quite ridiculously proud of this character sheet – in the same way as I might be of my son if he grows up to be an Olympic gold medallist. My main bone of contention with it is that the type seems a bit small. However, no-one in the group seemed too bothered about the size when I presented them with a printed version, so I’m happy to let that stand. All the boxes are the same size as the official sheet – I know, I measured them all with a ruler.

Here’s the guided tour:

The Front

As always with these things, there’s far more to be found on the front than the back. What you won’t find is the information for Racial Traits, Class/Path/Destiny powers and Feats; they have been removed to the back of the character sheet (which is where they were in third edition).

The information at the head of the sheet has been tweaked. I have removed a line to record alignment (did I ever mention how much I hate alignment?), as it isn’t required at all in fourth edition. Also removed is the entry for the Deity and Adventuring Company, to be replaced by Faith and Nationality respectively; I find these terms more appealing.  There is also now a line to record your Multiclass separately from your Class, which I think will prove useful. The Age line now gives you sufficient room to record your character’s age in seasons and years (that’s important on Iourn).

The record of Initiative, Movement, Senses, Defences and Attributes are largely unchanged. I have inserted a couple of extra boxes into the line where you record the modifiers for your defences, as the official character sheet was lacking a degree of clarity. The Movement box now makes it clear that we are recording movement in feet and not in squares.

Turning to the left hand column below the attributes, you will see that Action Points and Hit Points have swapped places. Below action points are a couple of new additions to the sheet.

“Base Attack Rolls” lets you record you base chance of hitting when you make an attack roll. For example, you might be called upon to make a Strength versus Fortitude attack when you try and grab someone. Well, now that figure is recorded on the sheet. Yes, I know that it’s the same as your attribute modifier + half your level, which is recorded elsewhere, but there’s something to be said for underlining this mechanic. Plus, there’s a chance you might have something operating that improves basic attack rolls. I’m not sure what that something might be, but if it does crop up we have a box for it.

Below “Base Attack Rolls” is the section on Basic Attacks. This replaces the largely incomprehensible Attack Workspace, Damage Workspace and Basic Attacks sections of the official sheet. There is space here to record the statistics of four basic attacks, with all the various modifiers for attack and damage rolls exploded out so you can see how they are derived.

Basic attacks are exactly what the name suggests. This is your chance of hitting and your damage potential when you are not using any of your powers. Sometimes you might get the chance to make an additional attack in a round, this is almost always a basic attack. Powers are never basic attacks with the exception of the warlock’s eldrtich blast and the wizard’s magic missile. They are special cases.

These is no space on the character sheet to record your chance of hitting and the damage of your powers. This is deliberate. Powers have too many variables to be properly condensed onto a character sheet, and you know too many powers to condense them all onto two pages and still have room for everything else. You can note your powers on the rear of the sheet and then refer to the rulebook to see what they actually do. My suggestion would be copy all your powers out onto a separate sheet and just keep that with your character as an appendix. That’s the sort of thing that speeds up play.

Middle column. This is the section on hit points. It is largely unchanged except the eagle-eyed among you will notice a box that says “Current Max” and another place to record “Critical Wounds”. This is part of a house rule for inflicting significant and lingering wounds on characters. I’m not using it just yet, as I haven’t worked it out, but I wanted there to be space on the sheet for it when it is introduced. I’ll chat about this potential house rule in due course.

Beneath that is space to record up to fourteen languages and scripts, as well as little boxes so you can record if you know the language as a Trained (T) or Secondary (S) skill. Beneath that is space for any extra skills or specialisation that are not included in the master skill list.

Finally, the third column is largely taken up with the most significant change to the character sheet: the introduction of the new skill list we decided upon a few weeks ago. There shouldn’t be anything surprising here. I have exploded Ability Modifier and Half Level into their own separate columns, but aside from that the information is recorded in the same way as on the official sheet.

The Back

Some significant changes (and omissions) between the official sheet and my version. Gone is the space to record your personality traits, mannerisms and appearance, character background, companions and allies, the session and campaign notes and the little box where you can draw your character. All of this was just a pointless waste of space. All of those things should be recorded on separate sheets of paper, not on the character sheet itself. I’m used to getting three pages of character background from my players, not three lines of it.

I have also removed a space to list Rituals. As I’m going to limit rituals to just spell casters the need to have it on the generic character sheet was lessened. Plus, rituals are things that you don’t need to refer to during combat. I think it’s better to have a list on a separate sheet. They’re just clutter here.

So what is left? Well, there’s a space to record all your powers, race features, class/path/destiny features and feats (slightly more space for each as it happens). I have truncated the space for magic items and you will see no reference to “Daily Item Powers per Day” as I’m going to discreetly ignore those rules. I don’t post everything on the blog you know!

There’s far more space for coins, other wealth and equipment as I think that’s the sort of thing that could well be expanded as the game grows. The sheet ends with a little box for “Notes” (largely because I didn’t have anything else to put there) and a place to record how much you can lift and carry. How could such a thing as that have been omitted from the official character sheet? That’s essential intel for the players and the GM.

The Sheet

Iourn Character Sheet (4e)

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