Friday, June 13, 2008

4th Edition interactive PDF character sheet

Here's a link to a 4th Edition PDF interactive character sheet that does some of the basic math for you. It's not super great, but it's nice to be able to save character sheets in this format for later editing. You'll need a separate PDF form filler app like CutePDF if you want to be able to save (there's an evaluation version there that's free).

I participated in the World Wide Game Day on June 7th. I ended up DMing, because one of the DM's didn't show up. I like the system, especially the things they've done to make DMing easier, but there are things I miss about 3.5, too. I'm still playing 3.5 in both my Berkeley campaign and my old transcontinental realms campaign. I'll have more to say as I get more experience.

Things I like about 4th edition:
  • Minions! They have 1 hp! They inflict constant amounts of damage, so you don't have to roll another die! They are super simple to run! Now you can throw 20 goblins at the party and things are still manageable!
  • Everyone gets cool powers! Cool powers are my favorite things, and every class gets 'em.
  • Skills are broader: Instead of Swim, Climb, and Jump, you have Athletics. Instead of Search, Spot, and Listen, you have perception. This is nice. Also, you don't have to spend a lot of time spending ranks: either you're trained in it, or not. If you want to be super good, spend a feat (you've got a lot more).
  • Super convenient encounter format: Everything you need to run an encounter on a 2-page spread in the module! Yay! Encounter statistics, setup, map, features, treasure, tactics... it's all in one place without flipping around to a zillion different pages and books! Hooray!
  • No dead levels! Every level, you get a feat or a power!
  • Strong start: One hit from a regular orc is not going to drop your 1st level wizard anymore. A first level character isn't so wimpy compared to the amount of damage that low level monsters throw around.
  • Your race matters: Races give cool powers. Did I tell you I like cool powers? They also allow you to access race-restricted feats.
Things I would miss about 3.5:
  • Poring over lists of zillions of spells, looking for just the right one!
  • Familiars, summoned monsters, and animal companions: OK, as a player I might miss these, as a DM I welcome the simplification their absence enables
  • Finding cool, brokenly powerful combos of things: I'm sure I'll be able to do so in 4th Edition once I know it better.
  • The rich panoply of resource material available: D&D 3.5 is probably the most supported RPG system ever, and I have a big library of 3.5 stuff. But I'm sure Wizards of the Coast and 3rd party publishers will soon supply a parade of supplements to part me from my gaming dollars.
  • I haven't yet figured out a way to capture the essence of my favorite character (Rynthal Cormaeril, an Invoker/Priest of Thoth) in 4th Edition. Conversion is much harder, as things have a different feel.
Some 4th Edition optimizations I have seen or figured out:
  • Wizards can take a feat to become proficient in leather armor, and thus get a +2 AC bonus for one feat. No more arcane spell failure chance. Not bad for 1 feat. Of course, Wizards should be avoiding melee combat anyway, so maybe that's not so optimal.
  • The multiclass feats are often a good deal: they give you training in a skill (which would normally take a feat in its own right, though your choice of skills with the multiclass feat is often more limited), and allow you limited access to a feature of the other class. They also open up feats that let you swap your power for the power of another class. Spending a feat to do so is costly, but I bet you could really expand the role of your character if you wanted to.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

another great interactive pdf 4th edition character sheet can be found at

6:25 AM, August 27, 2008  

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