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Any special tools for "classic" char-sheets?


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I'm working on a FrankenBRP campaign, and I want a customized character sheet.

I've always done these with standard word-processors; but i always think "man, this isn't really the right tool for the job!"
It's like, boxes within boxes, highly-graphical, lots of positional relevance, where similar-purpose or similar-use sections should be adjacent, etc.  Actually "processing" the the "words" isn't really the main thing for building a good sheet (now that I put it like this, I wonder if an artistic / graphic-design program wouldn't be much better ... ).

Does anyone use -- can anyone recommend -- any better tools than the plain old MS-Word, OpenOffice, GoogleDoc, etc (or MS-Paint, etc, on the "art" side of things)...?

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I've used Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Indesign in the past. I no longer have them anymore so am giving Scribus a go. It's an open source desktop publishing program and I'm hoping it'll work for my new character sheets. For graphical stuff you can try Inkscape, it's also open source so they're free, and if you don't like them it's only cost you time.

In the past I've used Pages, back when I had a Mac, but it's pretty basic.

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7 hours ago, g33k said:

Actually "processing" the the "words" isn't really the main thing for building a good sheet (now that I put it like this, I wonder if an artistic / graphic-design program wouldn't be much better ... ).

Used to use Page Maker 5 (InDesign’s predecessor from Aldus) to do the job back when I started modding CSs in the 80s. Loved the control of pixels! These days I just scab something over what I want changed. 

8 hours ago, g33k said:

It's like, boxes within boxes, highly-graphical,

This, and a great layout I just saw (Can not recall if it was here or Discord) make me think that a spread sheet might be what ya want.

5 hours ago, Greville said:

In the past I've used Pages, back when I had a Mac, but it's pretty basic.

Rudimentary, but it works... for free.

 

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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My initial thoughts would be to drop the word-processor and do the layout in a spreadsheet. Between changing column widths, row heights, and merging adjacent cells you can get some usable layouts.

After that... some desktop publisher package (my version of M$ Office includes Publisher, though I really miss the programs from my 1990 on my Amiga). Publisher tended to be treated as an adopted mongrel by M$ -- sometimes not included in any Office distribution, sometimes sold as a stand-alone addition, etc. and has very little documentation.

The third option, which may be viable (I've not done such for decades and don't recall if one can print them) is to use the FORM creation features of the Office applications (again, Excel is the natural, but Word also supports Forms). Granted, it will want you to define VBA snippets to handle the "input" fields on the form, but if you can get the layout set up and be able to print the form with no data in input forms, that may be the fanciest layout support.

 

Edited by Baron Wulfraed
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11 hours ago, g33k said:

Does anyone use -- can anyone recommend -- any better tools than the plain old MS-Word, OpenOffice, GoogleDoc, etc (or MS-Paint, etc, on the "art" side of things)...?

Affinity Publisher. Seriously capable, and iirc what @Loz uses for Mithras layout.

In fact, looks like they are running a sale now! Their other apps (Photo, Designer) along with Publisher make a decent replacement for the core Adobe apps.

SDLeary

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I use Excel, or Google Sheets. What I normally do is resize all the columns to 1 character, then arrange the Character Sheets into boxes of skills, spells and so on.

It produces functional but nor pretty character sheets, so a lot of people would hate them.

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1 minute ago, soltakss said:

I use Excel, or Google Sheets. What I normally do is resize all the columns to 1 character, then arrange the Character Sheets into boxes of skills, spells and so on.

It produces functional but nor pretty character sheets, so a lot of people would hate them.

Offer them the character sheet in the RQ2 book for comparison 😱

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 I use Pages because I tend to work on a mac. I have the adobe suite for video editing purposes though and I plan on taking a look at InDesign and Illustrator.

Edited by Chaot

70/420

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For my past character sheets I used Inkscape, which is a free vector graphics app. I dig it, but it's for vector graphics, not laying out documents, thus it only works with single pages - for multiple pages you will need a separate tool to merge them into a single document. Nowadays I tinker with Affinity Publisher, which is a full blown publishing application. It's pretty damn good, dirt cheap compared to Adobe InDesign, and currently on sale. I started learning it for my own d100 hack, but I had to put that project on hold thanks to work and our baby. I did revamp the character sheet I intended for our table for OpenQuest, which I will share after I add some finishing touches.

Neither of them can create form fillable sheets though - you will have to use another application for that. I had some luck with the automated form generators of Foxit and NitroPDF, though they aren't perfect.

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