Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The GM's Character Sheet: Dungeons and Dragons Next centric

Every player's character has a sheet defining who the character is, what they can do, what they have and what they cannot do.

This big "news" of D&D 5th edition  (D&D Next) focusses on trying to make it modular and fit every edition of D&D.

 I remember the second edition "Optional rule" listings.  The concept of "option rule" (or modular add-on) was nice,  but there was quite a bit.  Still workable for a DM to say what he was using and what he wasn't.  The problems come in when you want 4 previous editions,  some of which feature dozens of splat books,  not to mention retro-clones and different style "Campaign source books" with dozens of extra races and classes, some of which plain don't fit in some settings, but are key to others.

If the goal is to unite everyone to using one system, well, penny arcade says it quite succinctly:

So having a GM character sheet also allows the players to know what to expect.  This shouldn't be a long document listed every rule,  but rather every rule, race, class, magic item, etc, should be tagged with descriptors.

Does your game have firearms?  Firearms might be tagged with "Renaissance Era" while the GM has set "Hellenistic Era" on his sheet.  "Tieflings" might be out as the GM has set "Human Centric" as a tag.   Wondering if you can buy magic items or not?  Check the GM character sheet to see if it is set to "High Magic" or "Low Magic",   then you can know if your wizard will be in Harry Potters world or Middle Earth in terms of getting magical items.

Having a GM Character sheet would solve a lot of problems for having thousands of optional rules, and still being able to know as a player, which ones are in.


  1. Replies
    1. I am testing the new threaded comments. That is all.

  2. Yup that's in the works for my homebrew RPG.

  3. Fantasy Hero (at least the ICE version; that's the only one I know) had a campaign sheet that worked like that. Lots of boxed to check.