Wednesday, February 29, 2012

HackMaster PC Sheet

Face made a new HackMaster PC sheet. You can download it from his blog, Not-so-random Musings. It looks great in both black and white and color. And...it folds into a booklet--which I don't know why, but I find booklets so much more entertaining than just a sheet of paper. :)

Since I'm writing about characters lately, let's talk about PC sheets. Do you know what bothers me about PC sheets? I typically play fighters. Most PC sheets have a large section dedicated to keeping track of spells. Fighters don't use spells. That leaves me with a big empty space filled with lines that is useless for anything else.

I understand why Face chose to make one PC sheet instead of several. Less work. The thing is, when I play a spell caster--cleric or magic user--I keep a separate spell list anyway because there is never enough room in the space given on the PC sheet for all of the notes a spell caster needs.

Instead of big pieces of space reserved for spells, I've always wished for more room to track things like contacts made, adventures completed, and treasure discovered, plus a space set aside for a detailed PC background. While it is normal to write up a background on a separate sheet, it is something the player has to want to do. Is it possible that some characters lack a background--or even a name--because character sheets focus on the numbers rather than the whole person?

The character sheets I have used ask only for hair and eye color as far as personal details go. Today I asked Face to think about including a place to note the character's homeland. (He included it in the revision.) There is already a space to list a patron god's name...but not every character is going to pick one. The Kingdoms of Kalamar setting is quite polytheistic--people pray to the god they need at the time. Only clerics have to commit to a single deity. But every character has a home. From my knowledge of the setting, that is important information in some places on Tellene.

If the character sheet asked a few more questions beyond hair and eye color, I wonder if it would subconsciously inspire players to think about who this guy is and where he came from. Why is this human cleric of the Caregiver on the road with four dwarf fighters? Why does my prince wear a mask? Why did my character become a professional soldier if she hates war so much?

And bring back that little box captioned "character sketch" because that was just fun... ;)