Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Character Sheets -- From Living Arcanis to Pathfinder Society OP

     First, I would like to apologize to those who have stumbled across this blog looking for a custom Pathfider character sheet that they can use.  I should disclose that the layout I use for my PFS characters is a slightly modified version of the one I employed for my Living Arcanis characters.  I have a version of the PFS sheet as a Word doc that can be filled – should anyone be interested – but I haven't taken the time to convert the base sheet to a fillable PDF.  But I also haven't put that doc version up anywhere where people can grab it and see if they can modify it to fit their needs, so bad on me.  If you have a place to put it, leave a comment and I'll get the file to you.
     Some examples of the sheets  and the evolution can be seen below.
Living Arcanis character sheet (pg 1) for Valencia Baiocchi, Cleric of Cadic and Veteran of the Legion of the Watchful Hunter.  Yes, that is a stolen picture of Katharine Isabelle in Ginger Snaps Back (2004).
Empty PFS character sheet as Word doc (or how it should look), pg 1
Empty PFS sheet, pg 2.
Kiara, a PFS Arcane Monk when she was 7th level, pg 1.  That's a lot of attack info for a Wizard, but since she should have an in combat AC of 28, it isn't unexpected for her to have to make a physical attack – they just don't hit very often.
Kiara's 7th level sheet pg 2, with stats for the kitten familiar.
Kiara's 7th level pg 3, most of which is on pg 2 of the blank sheet.  Note the Human Slave Girl under equipment.
     I have briefly – for me – written about why I prefer my own sheets to the regular ones: I prefer a sense of ownership of my characters.  I greatly miss having the extra space to include a character picture on the front page as I did with my Living Arcanis characters; then again, I didn't list all skills on those LA sheets, so I think the PFS sheets are an improvement.
     I think I played my primary LA character to 5th level before I decided to abandon the traditional character sheet.  I haven't used a regular one since.  Many of the people with whom I played also preferred their own layouts to what the game companies – be that WotC, PCI, or now Paizo – provided as the one size fits all.  The other alternative of course is to resort to a program like Hero Lab (see an example of their finished product here) to construct the character, but that seems both impersonal and an attempt to maximize all possible gains rather than just putting the character in a format.
     The various computer solutions are desirable in part because there is a known back-up to the character sheet.  I keep – or try to – an up to date sheet of each character in an online database.  This should protect me from the calamity of losing the printed character sheet and the computer on which it was made – say by house fire – but has seen more use to allow me to print up another sheet when I've stupidly forgotten the right one at home.  It also allows for a different kind of manipulation of the character in between sessions that feels more like worthwhile work; it isn't, because it is still just messing around with a character sheet.
     Now, for as much time as I spend mucking around with my PFS sheets, I simply do not have the same level of interest in the Paizo sponsored OP campaign as I did in Living Arcanis.  It wasn't just that Onara seemed more plausible (whatever that means when it comes to a fantasy setting) than Golarion.  There were gods in the Arcanis setting that spoke (read: greatly appealed) to me.  There was – for quite some time before the final series of mods – a compelling central story which the players felt they had an active part in shaping.  And Living Arcanis called for a more mature approach to the game.  In my next RPG related post, I hope to contrast just that between Living Arcanis and PFS play.

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