Making Character Sheets online-friendly

What with this global matter enforcing a change in approach to our hobby, and instead of having to put up with functional but less aesthetically satisfying form and spreadsheet equivalents, I’ve put some thought into taking the character sheets that we like and making them usable online.

Here’s a tutorial on setting up a character sheet as a background image on Google Slides.

And now I’m starting to convert some of my favourite games’ character sheets for my own use and for anyone who wants a closer experience to pen-and-paper gameplay rather than having to worry about functions and macros.

Here’s a sheet for the Black Hack 2e.

And here are two character sheets for Knave.


This makes me think of the good and trusted Mythweavers, but, sadly, it doesn’t have many games (and basically no OSR games) and they haven’t uploaded new games in quite some time.

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What a coincidence, I was just using your artwork to put together a Google drawing for some Knave-related play testing I’m doing! I formatted the drawing a bit differently, added a Knave reference sheet done by Vandel Arden, and exported to an editable PDF. I’ll release my version shortly when I’ve finished it up!


Oh, I can’t lay any claim to the artwork, I’m afraid - the talent there belongs to Vitaliy Shershun.

My own efforts in that direction… need practice!

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But that is an excellent virtual handout to give to players. Very helpful and usable.

I set up some pregens in case players wanted a quick dive in, and copied images of the character class pages onto a second slide for quick reference, and there’s good scope for using extra slides for notetaking or even impromptu maps.

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I think the Astral tabletop has a similar function in being able to use PDFs as a background for a sheet. While I’m not overtly enthusiastic about relying upon the Big G, its ubiquity is handy for reducing the hurdles in making stuff available for players.

I agree with that but PDFs are often awful to view (not to mention edit) on mobile. Having an HTML page which could scale depending on your screen size would be more comfortable (and every phone has a browser).

Now, this requires more UI skills than I have, but I could see how it could be done.

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Ah! Thank you for clearing that up - and thank you for the tutorial!

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Agreed! Another reason why I started looking for alternatives to PDFs. I find Google Slides to be relatively handy on my (admittedly not tiny) phone, but it helps to have pretty brief character sheet, otherwise a computer is the best bet. Our homebrew system’s character sheet works pretty well with a portrait-held phone, where the virtual keyboard doesn’t get in the way of the sheet itself.

My main intent with Slides was to find a way to use all the pretty sheets that people have come up with for the different systems since they otherwise would be going to waste in these lockdown times.

I would be interested in a scaleable HTML page so that a player need only have Discord and browser to get gaming, but I fear that editing a sheet on a phone is almost always going to be a pain for those of us with sausage fingers…

As somebody with sausage fingers, I totally agree, but there are ways of making things less painful. Sadly, those ways are far out of my league as a UI developer, since I usually don’t develop UIs.

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If I were a player more often with a virtual character sheet and no need to have access to Roll20, I’d be using my bluetooth mouse-keyboard in an instant.

We have been using GoogleSheets to great effect (auto-calculating a bunch of stuff based on class, level, stats, and equipment). Granted, I prefer visually plain character sheets anyway.


I was very fortunate to have a search lead me to this tutorial several weeks ago. I was hoping to find some ideas that would allow me to approximate my version of Last Gasp Grimoire’s morbidly encumbered character sheet. This exceeded my expectations. The twenty-somethings have told me they will stick with the Slides sheets rather than return to a physical character sheet when we return to face to face play.

Visual elements lifted from Dyson Logos B/X character sheet with ideas and elements from the OSR blogosphere, but mainly the Ten Foot Polemic.

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Delighted to hear it’s worked out that well! Don’t think I could swear off using paper sheets - they’re far easier to doodle on - but as one who has had to rescue fellow players’ character sheets from scrap piles there’s something to be said for the organisation. We’re over 30 sessions into a Barrowmaze campaign and the only person to have lost their character sheet is the one who uses a form-fillable PDF rather than a Slide.

I used your guide to make two character sheets:
Into The Odd: Electric Bastionland
Maze Rats

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Not until you have had to remove a wandering bead of blue-tac from carpeting…

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I tremble at the thought of it - my employers let us use the office board room (since wheelchair-friendly dining rooms are hard to come by), and it has a very nice carpet.

Splendid stuff! We used Slides for some games of Electric Bastionland, and it works a treat with such simple character sheets.

I’ve put my own digitalisation of an Electric Bastionland character sheet up, designed by Simon Moon.

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