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One-Page Character Sheets

RPG Content Update: this article has been moved to http://strangedice.com/2011/10/22/one-page-character-sheets/

I love to hear how people run their game or their character at the table and recently read Dixon Trimline’s post, The One-Page Character Sheet, on Critical Hits. Last year I played a few games of D&D Encounters and quickly found that I really liked the half-page, two-sided character sheet (card) the pre-generated characters came on. As I am always looking for ways to tweak the bits in my game, I sat down to recreate the same look and feel in a full-page, custom character sheet for one of my players.

I set out to create a single-page sheet for a heroic tier character, but was ultimately unable to get the aesthetic I was going for and keep it all on one page so I settled on front & back. I’m sure this could be condensed to one page if I gave up some artwork… but what’s the fun in that? Obviously, continuous care and feeding would be required here as the character levels up and gains more powers and magic items.

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I used Microsoft PowerPoint because it provided a pretty good mix of control over the layout of components on the page and ease of update. It’s also installed on every PC I sit down in front of. 🙂

Clearly one’s character sheet is an intensely personal choice; some love cards cut out and slid into protectors, some play with the CB sheet as printed, and others spend time to create a custom view of their in-game alter ego. It would be really nice if there was a template-friendly character export from the CB that could be fed through a style sheet transformation to generate custom sheets.

Here’s what I propose: In addition to the full XML export the CB provides today, I’d love to see a simplified XML snapshot that just saves the attributes that define my character right now (abilities, feats, skills, powers, etc.). If such a thing was available, I have no doubt that we would see a wide variety of CSS templates, Excel files, and other custom sheet generators pop up on the Internet. I would think that it would also offload the WotC team from developing new character sheet options for the CM print dialog, while maintaining control over the actual character generation function.

Session 9c – Assassins!

Back in their room in Wrafton’s Inn after a day of celebration, the newly dubbed Heroes of Winterhaven settle in for a well-deserved rest. The innkeeper, Salvanna, moved the party of four to the two nicest rooms in the inn… second floor, facing the street and the city gates. Cam, Draper, and Abraxus quickly fall into a deep sleep and Naivara settles in to an Eladrin meditation, keenly aware of her surroundings as she is every night. Once again it seems that her diligence on watch has averted a disastrous end for the party as she hears the door to her room slide open.

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Session 9b – A Hero’s Welcome

Collecting themselves after a very difficult fight to close Kalarel’s portal to Orcus’ palace, the party finds themselves with a few new items and a few new scars. Naivara gently removes the Dragoneye that Kalarel was using to power his rift to the Shadowfell. Almost sphere-like, the dark blue, thousand-faceted artifact will be an ideal implement through which to channel her psionic abilities. Draper’s scimitar was touched by shadow as it landed the blow that bloodied Kalarel… wounds left by the now black blade of the weapon will not heal easily. Cam’s bow brought Kalarel to his knees just as he was about to unleash a magical barrage on the party… instead, all of that energy entered the bow, infusing it with electrical magic.

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Session 9a – Almost there…

Weeks after they first met on an escort job, Naivara, Cam, Abraxus, and Draper now stand over the dead body of the dark priest of Orcus, Kalarel. The menacing portal to Orcus’ palace within the Shadowfell is writhing with dark energy before them. The job is only half done… but this second half is the greater mystery. How exactly does one close a partially open rift between planes?

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Compendium for Windows Phone 7

compendium-marketplace-screenshot-main-categoriesRPG Content Update: this article has been moved to http://strangedice.com/2011/06/26/compendium-for-windows-phone-7/

I’ve just released my first app for Windows Phone 7. I’ve been a programmer for years, first as a student, then professionally and now as a hobbyist. This, however, is the first time I’ve seen a project through to official release (aside from a few things released as open source). Needless to say, I’m pretty psyched.

Compendium is a companion app for your D&D Insider subscription for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. With this app, you can use your Insider account to lookup game classes, races, powers, and rules right from your Windows Phone. Version 1.0 provides class, power, glossary, and race browsing and searching.

If you have a Windows Phone, you can check it out in the App Marketplace.

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Session 8 – Kalarel

Past the trapped entry hall, the party descends deeper beneath the ruins of the Keep on the Shadowfell. The ancient staircase ends in a large chamber configured like a temple… columns supporting the ceiling and an altar on the far wall. In front of the altar a priest in dark robes chants haltingly, conjuring a fountain of blood to pour forth from the basin before him. Streams of blood run across the stone floor, pooling at low points, eventually finding its way down a large hole cut into the floor in the center of the room.

Flanking the hole, two armored guards chant in unison with the priest… at least they were chanting until they saw the party.

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