I’m writing this article in my hotel room at 6 am, with PAX Australia 2016 starting in about four hours. In five hours, we’ll start running the first our D&D Adventurers League games, and thus a very busy weekend will begin.
At big events like PAX, where many of the players have never played before, it’s important to have a character sheet that players can easily use and one they can find the information on quickly. To that purpose, I’ve designed two styles of character sheet for use at PAX.
The first is really, really simple. It contains ability bonuses, attacks, AC, HP, and only one or two special abilities. We get rid of skills, saving throws and all the special cases that can confuse a first-time player, and just go for the basics. Yes, the clerics and wizards do have spells, but simple ones: Bless and Cure Wounds for the cleric, for instance.
The second character sheet is more complete, although, unlike my last two designs, it doesn’t contain role-playing information. That was sacrificed on the altar of Level Advancement.
With this PAX, my hope is a few players will play through the series of games we offer and gain several levels; most likely to third level, possibly to fourth. The official Wizards pregenerated characters have a section showing level advancement, and it’s fantastic. So I’ve included such here. Why aren’t I using the Wizards sheets? It’s because I think they’re intimidating to new players. The design I’ve gone with concentrates all the most important information in the top-left quarter of the character sheet, with less relevant information falling in different parts of the sheet.
The selection of character types was also quite important. I deliberately limited myself to the Basic Rules as I wanted new players to be able to keep using the characters easily. (My next set of pregens, which won’t be for PAX, will be for more advanced players with Volo’s Guide on the table). I wanted two healers, so there are two clerics in the party. Two fighters provide the ranged and melee versions, and the rogue and the wizard complete the set.
One drawback I discovered with my last set of characters was that I didn’t include enough melee characters. Is three enough? Both clerics and the melee fighter stand in the front lines with good ACs, so let’s hope that is enough.
I’ve updated the iconography as well: there are now little icons for AC, Hit Points and Passive Perception. And, on the suggestion of one of my DMs, a box for recording current hit points.
The character sheets are now available on the DMs Guild, so if you’re interested you can get them there.