How to make/design a character sheet?

question

#1

Hey all you Lumpy Heads…Hope 2020 is treating you well.

I’m currently inspired to make a character sheet…I have access to acrobat pro, and have the affinity suite. Not that I really know how to use any of them with proficiency. But best way to learn is have a project with a goal.

As to my goal, it’s a character sheet for a setting I’m trying to make. Fantasy, high magic/steampunk, and that the character sheet guides the player in its character creation.

What suggestions or resources do you all recommend?

@Sweenie_McGuffin @Kindred @Khan @Shadymutha
@DMChef @Alex @Axiomaric and many more have all made great character sheets, and I have my ideas…but what tools and or videos, or websites should I check out as I start to focus on making these?


#2

I can only speak for myself here. I mainly use Adobe Illustrator. You could use that but it has a very steep learning curve. Perhaps drawing it by hand and then cleaning it up and tracing your work in a Photoshop like program might get you what you want. For sure get your concepts down first, drawing it the way you like it. Make a few copies and then bring it home and cut it into pieces with scissors and lay it out on a clean 8.5x11 piece of paper. You might find a better way to lay out the parts. Then scan that, clean it up in whichever program you like.


#3

It’s not real fancy but I made a sheet for my fantasy game using plain ol’ Word. I use Word for all my sheets.
Here’s a sample of one:


#4

I don’t know much for resources or videos to watch but I’d use any program you can that lets you make different stay blocks and lines for equipment, get it all laid out, everything you want included, and then start rearranging and cutting out the least important items so that the sheet stays clean and easy to read.

For character creation, it makes sense to make the stat blocks easy to understand, especially the adding and subtracting of bonuses as they switch loot. Maybe try to include little subtle areas where they can keep track of things like supply count or ammo. A ranger may get more into it when they see a good spot to keep track of their arrows, etc. Consider labeling some lines “starter loot” so they’ll always remember what they chose to begin with and why.

Overall, I think focus on clean layout, emphasize the items they’ll look at a lot like stat bonuses, and give plenty of room for loot and equipment!


#5

@Paxx
I suggest Affinity Publisher + Designer. They are both easy to learn and easy to use and they have all the features you will ever need. Affinity has Affinity Designer Youtube channel where they explain a lot of features. I found them enough to start working. There are Publisher tutorials that are made by other people as well. Publisher is way simpler to learn if you do it after Designer. Learning these two is simple enough that I did it while writing the text of https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/289220/Khans-Spells--Feats-for-ICRPG

You don’t need to bother with learning Affinity Photo at this stage.

As for the act of designing itself, I suggest using a plain old pen and paper first to come up with the sketch of a design. When the design elements are where you want them, translating them into the software is a simple technical work. I personally don’t do this because I am comfortable with software to do what I want.

If you want to learn anything specific, feel free to ask away.


#6

I use illustrator, but there’s probably an affinity product like it.

My advice:

  1. Decide on the main design element. How do you want it to look? Where do you want it to be? This gives you something to base your design around. Example: for my last campaign, I wanted a big shield front and center. So I began by drawing it (on paper), to decide size, shape and placement.

  2. Open the program, create a canvas of appropriate size. Example: I like landscape a4, so that’s what I choose.

  3. Activate grids, and make lines snap to them (this makes things align).

  4. Recreate your main design element, starting from the basic shapes (unless you can draw freehand, I can’t) and using direct selection tool to adjust.

  5. Select the thing you have created and GROUP IT!

  6. Move it into place.

  7. Continue creating blocks of stuff, group them, and move them into position.

  8. Resize, and reposition as needed.

  9. Zoom out. Does your design still look good?

  10. Print and try it. Realize you’ve missed something crucial, like STR…


#7

For a Character sheet that guides a player through chargen look at Mothership. Nicely done.


#8

Thank you everyone!!!

That’s been enlightening, trying to get some design chops going…it’s been a while, and excel was really my last character sheet system. So trying to rekindle skills from 20 years ago, with new software.


For creators concerns, it’s an interesting writeup.

I’m way further behind where I think I am :blush:


#9

I have recently started designing Character Sheets in Google Documents and insert one or more Google Drawings within in it.You can get some great character sheets. it also allows you to easily share character sheets with your players.