This subject has been on my mind for a while, and I’ve been debating back and forth on when would be the right time to bring it up. While this week I am away at Gencon and not as easily able to see the feedback I’m going to ask for (I’ll probably be driving home around the time this post goes up, and will likely be dead tired the next day), given the recent release of Fort Alice and our new layout format with it, and given a few projects I’m wanting to get done in the near future, I think it’s about the best time to talk about it.
This is the current character sheet we have available for 1879:
I want to update it.
As you can see by the copyright, this sheet was crafted in 2014 (holy cow, has it actually been that long?), and while it still covers the basic functions, I feel the game has grown beyond that point. We’re already updating the books, which is one of the primary interfaces you have with the game line, it’s time to do the same with the character sheets.
Of course, in order to do this effectively, I’m going to need your help. I know how I play the game, and I can craft a character sheet that works best for me all I like, but the ones most important to make a sheet for is you. So I will definitely want your feedback on the points I raise here, and whether you agree or disagree, I want to know what you think.
I figure the best way to go about this is to start with the sheet we have and first figure out what I like about it, then make a wish list of what I want to improve upon. Once I’ve got that together, I can start categorizing that list into priorities, and use that to determine what needs placing in the best spots.
So first, what I like about the existing sheet:
- I like that it’s two pages, and that I can fit it onto a single sheet if I go doublesided for convention demos
- It puts the majority of the most needed stats directly available on the first page (with a few notable exceptions, but we’ll get to that)
- I do like that it has a section for tagging skills if you were to use this as a primary character sheet for a campaign (I do think that could use a change in aesthetic, but I like that it’s there)
- Personally, I like that it’s a full 8.5×11″ page rather than digest size, so that you can maximize your available area visible at once (will be interested to hear if there are dissenting opinions on this)
- I like that we include a step table for easy access
What I’d like to see improved:
- I’d prefer if we could get weapon damage and stats listed more visible with skills to make it easier for combat (I’d love it if we could get spells in there as well, but I think that’s just too much data to squeeze in)
- I’d love it if we could get the step table on the same page as all the skills for easier reference to change dice when there are bonuses/penalties
- I’d like to get a bonus column added for skills to make an easy reference when you have regular bonuses that affect your step
- I’d like to try and get in some margin or notes space for people to be able to write in notes for themselves
- For the PDF version of the sheet, I’d like to set it up so that it’s not only form fillable, but will automatically transfer data from relevant fields and fill in the dice based on the step.
- Concurrent with this update in format, I want to design character journals, similar to what Earthdawn has, where it’s a multi-page journal that spreads out your stats in greater detail and easier to read format, in the same style. Personally, I’d also prefer having that in 8.5×11″ size to maximize available space, but again, I want to hear other thoughts on that.
If you have other input you’d like to add, other things you’d like to see improved, or if you’ve already made a character sheet of your own that hits one or more of these points, I cannot stress enough on this one, PLEASE let me know. Talk about it in our 1879 channel on Discord, message me directly, email me, whatever works, but I definitely need your input on this. If you’ve got a design that covers things well enough, I may reach out to you to use all or part of it for the final product (in addition to the bragging rights that would give you, I’m also sure we can put together a nice thank you for the contribution – I make sure to take care of the people who help me out).
Given that this will come out at the end of Gencon, I hope everyone who was able to attend had a wonderful time, and that everyone who could not come themselves enjoyed the antics we posted online.