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Old 05-17-2013, 04:10 PM   #1
Jason
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Boston, MA
Default In Nomine custom character sheets

I'm hoping to find (or design) a replacement for the character sheets my In Nomine group has been using, so I thought I would come here to ask for recommendations -- either for sheets that already exist, or for what you think ought to go on character sheets.

I'm familiar with Tafka J.'s character sheets and others on the IN resources page, but I abandoned these awhile back. My players found it really hard to find target numbers, and since people tended to just write the names of powers without descriptions of what they do, we'd spend a long time looking stuff up in books. I'm the only one in the group with an encyclopedic knowledge of what every Song and Attunement does, but even I need to check sometimes for whether it's the Song Level or the Check Digit that determines the duration of a certain Song. (Or worse, players wouldn't bother using certain powers at all because they forgot what their "Such-and-such of the Word" attunement did and didn't feel like asking.)

To replace these, I created an Excel spreadsheet that felt like a triumph of consistent bookkeeping, with target numbers and check digit modifiers auto-calculated all down the left, and space for descriptions of what every power in the game does. Unfortunately, advanced characters tend to have a LOT of stuff, which led to information overload with really tiny type. Now players can find target numbers, but they can't really keep track of individual powers themselves with so many different things on their sheets. (This might be a problem with how we've built characters as much as an information design problem, but it is what it is.)

I wonder now if I can find a middle-of-the-road approach: Something as easy to quickly scan as Tafka J.'s sheets, but which doesn't require you to dig through books to get anything done. I'm considering doing something like a "summary" sheet on the outside of a folded character sheet, with detailed explanations of what everything does on the inside. It's also been suggested to me (since my players are so familiar with D&D 4e) to break individual abilities onto a card-like grid so players can quickly scan for "what can I do in this situation?" Those solutions would be a lot of work for me to convert to and maintain (without setting up an In Nomine database ... gulp), but I'm potentially willing to put in some of that time if it means that we don't get gunked up in social/RP scenes by people staring at character sheets, boggling over what they can do.

Any suggestions or already designed solutions? And what do you use for your group's sheets?
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:01 PM   #2
Archangel Beth
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Default Re: In Nomine custom character sheets

Not for IN, but for some of the pre-gen characters in convention games...

I typed in the character's powers/spells from the books, formatted 'em pretty, printed 'em out, stapled the pages together, and we handed them to the player and collected them after the game. (So none of them made it into the wild to be a copyright violation.)

This is, by the way, how Rev. P. Kitty got every single GURPS 3rd Edition psionic power (including the stuff from Callahan's, etc.) in Microsoft Word format. Not to mention our house rules at the same time! O;>

If the players happen to own copies of the relevant books, then so long as the pages don't escape their control, I believe this is fair use. If only the GM owns all the books, then fair use would have those sheets left at the GM's house.

(One can hole-punch and put in a 3-ring binder (or 3-metal-tabby-thing folder), or comb-bind, or use staples...)
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:21 PM   #3
Jason
 
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Default Re: In Nomine custom character sheets

Only a few of my players own copies of the books, and the wording in the books can often be rephrased to be more compact, so I'm going to avoid a straight up cut-and-paste job onto character sheets.

I'm currently playing around with making something like Apocalypse World style playbooks -- brief descriptions of what each thing does, without all the details, kind of in paragraph format, but with names and target numbers called out through bolding and text sizing. I'm hoping that'll be easy enough to read for actual information while still being easily skimmed. We'll see how it goes.

Still curious what other groups use!
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Old 05-22-2013, 12:03 PM   #4
Jason
 
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Default Re: In Nomine custom character sheets

I am still fiddling with it, but in case anybody was curious of the direction I was headed in with the "Apocalypse World style playbooks," I figured I might as well share the first draft (heavily inspired by this hack's style, but more tailored to individual characters).

http://doombot.com/gaming/IN-sheet-test-eleph.pdf
http://doombot.com/gaming/IN-sheet-test-erastus.pdf

Page 1 is supposed to be the interior of a folded-in-half 8.5x11 sheet; page 2 is supposed to be back/front cover. It's not very elegant at handling multiple vessels, but none of my players has ever tried to juggle that in the last four years. A bigger concern is how I'm going to fit more stuff on it as we update it, but we're now moving our campaign into a direction that will probably see them gaining new powers more slowly (as they work on becoming Word candidates thanks to their role in preventing the end of the world). The back cover also has some general rules reminders for stuff my players forget all the time (yes, including what Choirs turn into when they fall and become Bands ... four years later and some still struggle with those terms).

The main things I want to accomplish:
  1. Is it less ugly to look at than Excel spreadsheets?
  2. Can you quickly glance and see what powers are available to you in a scene?
  3. If I tell you to roll for a common skill or stat, can you quickly figure out your target number?

If anybody has feedback, I'd appreciate it. It's just a first draft, and I've got a thick skin, so brutal criticism is welcome.
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:40 PM   #5
alexondria
 
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Default Re: In Nomine custom character sheets

I think they look pretty cool, but it would take too much effort for me to make up one for each unique character.
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:43 AM   #6
Jason
 
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Default Re: In Nomine custom character sheets

Thanks, and you are right that they definitely take way too much effort to make for each individual character. Also, since I made them in InDesign, the one player who actually likes updating his own sheet would be unable to do so, which would stink for him. I am weighing this against "maybe my players will stop being confused by my hyper-complex spreadsheets," but at the end of the day, I also have to face the fact that probably nobody I know cares about character sheet design as much as I do. :-/
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Old 05-24-2013, 08:12 AM   #7
alexondria
 
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Default Re: In Nomine custom character sheets

this was gurps not In Nomine, but I'm sure you could do the same thing. Basically what I did was take the rules that they seemed to get tripped up the most on and made them into flash cards that they each had in their folder.
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:42 AM   #8
Jason
 
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Default Re: In Nomine custom character sheets

I thought about using flash cards for just that purpose, in fact! I might still give it a try, but part of what makes this tricky is that my players are pretty evenly split between those using paper character sheets and those using character sheets on iPads. Trying to figure out a solution that looks good for both.
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: In Nomine custom character sheets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason View Post
I thought about using flash cards for just that purpose, in fact! I might still give it a try, but part of what makes this tricky is that my players are pretty evenly split between those using paper character sheets and those using character sheets on iPads. Trying to figure out a solution that looks good for both.
Flash cards on PDF, perhaps? (I'm assuming the iPod has a PDF reader, the way the PlayBook does.)
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:10 AM   #10
Jason
 
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Default Re: In Nomine custom character sheets

Yeah, we use Goodreader to mark up PDF character sheets. It's just easier to have multiple pieces of paper out in front of you simultaneously when you're using actual paper.
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