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Designing Character Sheets


cjbowser

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So, I want to design a custom character sheet for the setting I'm working on, but need some advice on what app to use.

I started with excel, and that resulted in nothing less than total, abject failure.

It doesn't need to be editable in electronic format. I'd be perfectly happy with something that people can print out, write on, and enjoy (that doesn't look like total crap -- see reference to excel above :rolleyes: )

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So, I want to design a custom character sheet for the setting I'm working on, but need some advice on what app to use.

You could try a page layout program such as Scribus (which runs under Windows, Linux and Mac):

http://www.scribus.net/

Another option is the NBOS Character Sheet Designer:

NBOS Character Sheet Designer v1.0

I have also had success with OpenOffice.org Writer (Word).

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If you have access to it, InDesign is very very nice; especially if you also have photoshop and illustrator. If not, then you might want to try Scribus. I've never used it, but heard good things about it.

You CAN use something like Word, but I've always had trouble with the way it handles frames.

SDLeary

P.S. The Character sheets I posted in the downloads section were all done in InDesign

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So, I want to design a custom character sheet for the setting I'm working on, but need some advice on what app to use.

I started with excel, and that resulted in nothing less than total, abject failure.

It doesn't need to be editable in electronic format. I'd be perfectly happy with something that people can print out, write on, and enjoy (that doesn't look like total crap -- see reference to excel above :rolleyes: )

When I was using PC I used various generations of MS Publisher and printed the sheets to PDF, on the Mac I use Pages and do the same. Open Office (or NeoOffice on the Mac, the Aqua port of OO) are free Office packages and can export direct to PDF, but the advantage of a simple page layout set up like Pages or MS Publishers is that they are tailored to handling such tasks. Word can handle remarkably complex page layouts, if you are prepared to put the effort in, but I've always found it remarkably fiddly and irritating, where as even MS Publisher was much more straightforward for what i wanted to do.

Cheers,

Nick

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For simple character sheets I use Word.

For complex ones I use Excel. Usually, I set all the columns to 1.1 character wide, or thereabouts, then I merge cells to obtain the effect that I want. It makes things very easy to set up. It also means that I can insert formulae into the cells to work out Hit Points, Skill Bonuses etc. When it is finished, I sometimes print to a PDF, but not often. Excel isn't perfect - it doesn't allow mixing of fonts in a single cell, so if you want Runes or other Symbols you have to put them in the cell next door, which is a pain. But, most of my character sheets are very simple, series of boxes laid out to be readable, skills in columns, magic items and equipment on columns etc, so Excel is perfect for that.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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If there's something fairly similar to the look you want, I'd suggest scanning it in and tweaking it with Photoshop and/or Paint.

Personally, I have written a Java applet that draws everything, and fills in the details with data read from a .txt file for each character (working out critical/special/fumble chances and encumbrance/move rate automatically). But that's probably a bit over-the-top for what you want... :)

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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For simple character sheets I use Word.

For complex ones I use Excel. Usually, I set all the columns to 1.1 character wide, or thereabouts, then I merge cells to obtain the effect that I want. It makes things very easy to set up. It also means that I can insert formulae into the cells to work out Hit Points, Skill Bonuses etc. When it is finished, I sometimes print to a PDF, but not often. Excel isn't perfect - it doesn't allow mixing of fonts in a single cell, so if you want Runes or other Symbols you have to put them in the cell next door, which is a pain. But, most of my character sheets are very simple, series of boxes laid out to be readable, skills in columns, magic items and equipment on columns etc, so Excel is perfect for that.

I use Excel for all the character sheets I design. Here is an older version of the one i'm using for Sword & Spell. It was done just as soltakss suggested and I think it came out nicely.

Character Sheet ver 2.7.pdf

Join my Mythras/RuneQuest 6: Classic Fantasy Yahoo Group at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/RQCF/info

"D100 - Exactly 5 times better than D20"

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I used Word in the past but started using Microsoft Publisher 2007 so that I can move the tables, typing and images around on the screen.

Cheers, :thumb:

Fergo113

You can do this in Word too by using Text Boxes and entering your information in those. Then you can move the Text Boxes around the screen at will. It works fairly well. If I had access to publishing software, I'd use it over Word though, so this is just for those of us with only access to Word.

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Chad, if you want my Excel template to monkey with/edit, LMK.

I wrote all this junk and accept full credit or blame:

Mortal Coils:

http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=1216

Out of the Vault: http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=395

The Primal State:

http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/sample.html?id=7056

Ashes, to Ashes (& soon, Dust to Dust):

http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/14/14290.phtml

Lost in the Lights (coming soon):

http://yog-sothoth.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=17334

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Excel isn't perfect - it doesn't allow mixing of fonts in a single cell, so if you want Runes or other Symbols you have to put them in the cell next door, which is a pain.

Actually it does allow you; I discovered it by accident. Basically you need to be editing in the formula bar, select the text you want to change and then change font and, hey presto, it's done.

I've used Excel quite a lot for character sheets but never thought of using the tiny cells trick. May give that a try though I'm always tinkering and de-merging cells is always an absolute pain.

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You could try a page layout program such as Scribus (which runs under Windows, Linux and Mac):

http://www.scribus.net/

.

:thumb::thumb:

I'll second the idea of Scirbus. It gives you a lot more control than a word processing program and isn't much harder to learn. Also, if you decide to convert your sheet to PDF format, stuff will stay where you put it. I've had a few things move on me when I've converted DOC files to PDF.

Plus, it free.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Actually it does allow you; I discovered it by accident. Basically you need to be editing in the formula bar, select the text you want to change and then change font and, hey presto, it's done.

Well, I never! That's worth a pint if we ever meet at a convention. Thanks.

I've used Excel quite a lot for character sheets but never thought of using the tiny cells trick. May give that a try though I'm always tinkering and de-merging cells is always an absolute pain.

It makes it so easy to line things up and draw boxes around cells. Merging and demerging cells is a pain, but it isn't that bad - I got used to it very quickly.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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One of the forumites asked me to upload my excel character sheet template. Done, and done (under "other"). Use it, hack it, play with it in good health.

I wrote all this junk and accept full credit or blame:

Mortal Coils:

http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=1216

Out of the Vault: http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=395

The Primal State:

http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/sample.html?id=7056

Ashes, to Ashes (& soon, Dust to Dust):

http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/14/14290.phtml

Lost in the Lights (coming soon):

http://yog-sothoth.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=17334

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...pull the data into a database, so character sheets could be reprinted when needed (every session someone seems to have forgotten their sheet)...

That's why I use the Java/txt-file method I mentioned - so the 'master' versions can be published on-line, and printed/referred to as-and-when. (e.g. Dranlen the Bard)

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Would think that someone with an Excel Black Belt could take the individual spreadsheets and pull the data into a database, so character sheets could be reprinted when needed (every session someone seems to have forgotten their sheet)

You could do the reverse and use form objects in either MS Office or OpenOffice to display information from a database.

OpenOffice Base (database) can be used as the database to manage data for either Writer (word processor) or Calc (spreadsheet).

You could use ODBC to link Open Office to another database (eg: MySQL) which in turn could be used for presenting character data on a web site.

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Would think that someone with an Excel Black Belt could take the individual spreadsheets and pull the data into a database, so character sheets could be reprinted when needed (every session someone seems to have forgotten their sheet)

Even better, our character sheets are stored on-line as Excel Spreadsheets, so they can be printed out if required. They are never entirely up to date but are close enough that we can use the PC of someone who is absent or reprint a forgotten character sheet.

I was going to upload a sample Excel Character Sheet, but the Attachments button does not allow Excel Extensions.:(

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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