By Thilo Graf
This selection of char-sheets from Silver Crescent Publishing is 56 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover and 54 pages of char-sheets, so lets check them out!
If you happen to own the Realms of Twilight campaign setting, you know the basic layout of the char-sheets, if not, I’ll try to sum them up to the best of my ability: At the top, we have boxes for name, class, age, height, weight, hair and eye-colours etc. as well as a box for deity and alignment. On the right at the top, we have an already filled out box that contains the name of your class, a box for the level in it and below that, 3 boxes for archetypes.
Below these pieces of information, the physical attributes Strength, Constitution and Dexterity are lined up in roughly three not clearly separated columns. Below them are the skills corresponding to the attributes with a black box for class-skills and a white box for cross-class skills. The skill-sections feature the total value closest to the skill’s name and, separated by a grey margin, the rank and misc modifiers. Below Strength, we get the loads the character can carry as well as the general melee-attack. Below Constitution, we have the fortitude-save (in the same format as the skills, but separated from them by a margin), a heart-shaped box for the HP and a box for wounds. Below the Dexterity-score, we get the reflex-save-boxes, initiative and ranged attacks-boxes, which follow the format of the other saves/attacks in presentation. Below constitution, the Realms of Twilight-logo makes for the centre of the sheet. To the left of the logo, below Str is the information for the BAB and the speed of the character. Below the logo, from left to right, Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma follow the same format as their physical counterparts.
Below the Will-save, below the Wisdom-skills and score, the information on CMB and CMD is covered. Below that, we get a box with 5 rows for weapon proficiencies (including boxes for “all simple” and “all martial” above) and to the right of that, Armour Class, boxes of proficiency for armour categories as well as shields and boxes for spell failure chance, touch AC and flatfooted AC.
The lowest section of the sheet is devoted to 4 rows with 9 columns each for weapons, including a column for threat ranges, range, type, weight, ammo, etc. This is the first page of the sheets and it is mostly identical for all of the characters. I do have some gripes with it, but more on that later.
The second page contains the more class-specific pieces of information for the respective classes, but each sheet starts with 3-column: To the left, we have the gear-column. In the middle, there’s the magic items-column and to the right, we get either spells, formulae, special abilities or feats, which is somewhat of a strange decision – some classes feature the feat-table below the gear-column, some below the special ability column. On the back-side of the char-sheets, we, when applicable, can find the place to fill out our eidolon/familiar/etc. stats below the gear-section. Coins by type get their own box, as does jewellery/misc treasure and spellcasting/manifesting gets columns for the DC, which is odd when compared between the psionic and the magic classes – the psionic sheets all read “DC = 10 + Box + level”, whereas the sheets for casting characters read “DC = Box + level” – an inconsistency that can be confusing to new players.
The pdf does provide sheets for all the core-classes, the APG-classes, the Magus, the Ultimate Combat classes, the Combat Alchemist from the Realms of Twilight campaign setting and the psionic core classes from Psionics Unleashed (Psion, Psychic Warrior, Soulknife and Wilder), which makes for quite a lot of sheets.
This pdf is fully bookmarked and the sheets come with a greyish background. I would have enjoyed a printer-friendly version without the grey. Additionally, the sheets are not form-fillable on your computer, which is a major bummer. The ability to edit the sheets prior to printing them out would have been nice. I can see the reasoning behind putting the skills below the corresponding attributes, but I consider it a bad idea – what if you can use another attribute modifier for a skill due to some ability/feat? The sheets don’t cover that.
My very first impression of them was: Wow, these are cluttered and this impression never really left me. There is a reason why usually attributes are presented in the sequence Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha. – We’re used to it and while putting skills and everything attribute-related together sounds like a great idea, it’s really not: It just splits information you need across the sheet. DM calls for a skill-check? To quickly find the skill, you have to know which attribute it corresponds to and then look there, instead of just going to an unified skill-section. That is not an improvement in my book, nor is the fact that the traditional sequence of attributes has been broken up to cram them in the first page.
If one of your fellow players is ill and you have to manage his character as well, the non-unified second pages of the sheets make finding feats harder than it ought to be. Advanced Talents, major and grand hexes and similar higher-level abilities don’t get their own sections. And then there’s the internal inconsistency between the DC-information of psionic and magic classes. Finally, the sheets completely break down once you multiclass/enter a PrC – since the skills are aligned not in their own section, but below the attributes, confusion regarding class-skills is sure to ensue and the extra and class-specific abilities just don’t fit on the already cluttered sheets.
When all’s said and done, I’m not impressed by these sheets – to me, they are unpractical due to not being usable on the computer, eat more ink than necessary due to being grey, are cluttered and feature a layout that makes it hard to distinguish between different boxes/sections of the sheet – were there more space and perhaps a third page, a different layout – these might work. For me, though, they failed, are counter-intuitive and constitute the worst char-sheet I have seen for any derivative of d20 so far. One of my players has created better sheets in his spare time and they don’t cost 9 bucks. If you totally love the idea of the attributes in non-sequential order with corresponding skills and don’t want to multiclass, you can try them. The only other positive thing I can say about these is that they feature nice front and back-cover artworks. My final verdict will be 1 star.
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So what do you think?