A product that feels like a visitor from the past in this digital world are the D&D Character Sheets. This folder of loose-leaf sheets contains the following:
- 4 Character Sheets with skills listed with ability scores
- 4 Character Sheets with Personality Traits listed on the front page
- 4 Character Sheets with no Personalty Trait boxes
- 8 Introductory Character Sheets (single-sided)
- 4 Spellcasting Sheets
Most of these sheets are available on the Wizards webpage, the only two which are not are the ones without Personality Traits (which are otherwise identical to the regular character sheet) and the Introductory character sheets. The paper they’re printed on is of medium weight, and not quite as sturdy as I might wish, but should hold up well to most usual wear and tear.
The introductory character sheet is particularly interesting, as it possesses very prominent boxes for recording ability score bonuses and combat statistics, and smaller boxes for recording saving throws and skills. Unlike the standard sheets, every skill is not listed; only skills the character is proficient in are displayed, and the names of the skills must be recorded. Two boxes marked “Things you should do” and “Things you shouldn’t do” provide interesting areas to record tips for play; I’ve been experimenting with similar ideas on my own pregenerated character sheets for PAX Australia.
The sheet also is only single-sided. All other character sheets are double-sided, with spaces given for various notes, portraits, and other details.
The cardboard folder they come in have pockets (flaps?) so the sheets don’t slide out, and the pockets are adorned with helpful notes a list of Actions in Combat, Things you can do on Your Turn, and a very helpful list of Interacting With Objects – the interaction that can be done for “free” each turn, but people forget about. I found the folder sufficiently sturdy, although I prefer the UltraPro Character Folio for superior storage.
So, what do I think of the sheets? I think they’re fine, if not particularly exciting. The introductory sheet is the most interesting to me, but all the sheets are useable and fairly clean in design. My own preference remains to design my own sheets – perhaps less pretty graphically (although these aren’t great masterpieces of graphic design), but more tailored to my needs.
The target market is interesting. Players without easy access to a photocopier, printer or the internet would be the most likely candidates, but players pressed for time or just wanting to have the utility of having a sheet without going through the hassle of searching online for one are also potential customers. (People like me, who just have to own every official D&D product, are likely a small part of the market). If you’re happy to download a character sheet from online and print it, you’re not the market for these sheets, but the ability of a store to have these in stock just in case is a pretty useful one.
The sheets are fine. It’s not the most exciting product, although I’m happy to see the introductory sheet, but there are people who will find it useful.