Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Altered Tundra
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Yes, this comes from the status discussion started by @Rain and continued by several other members, so why not have a healthy medium to continue the discussion that isn't limited to 200 characters?

So, to summarize, we have some saying they are useful because it encourages creativity while others claiming the concept of character sheets are pointless. And then there's the middle ground of going the simplistic route (this was said by @Chai).

So, where do you stand when it comes to character sheets? Are you for them? Against them? Selectively for them when it's necessary? Or do you prefer to just use the simple approach of pic, name, age, gender, and personality traits?

Discuss!
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Jojo
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wut i think


Character sheets are an important medium of reference for authors writing for a personality that goes beyond just a self-insert. What you want to think is "what, based on my character's unique history and motivations, would THEY say or do here". Having a character sheet there for you to fall back on helps to follow that line of thinking and not have the character gradually become an idealized version of the writer behind them.

Also they help with consistency for all parties. Did this character have blonde or black hair? Is my character comparatively shorter or taller than them? I don't want to write that I'm gazing up at them after forgetting that my character is actually 6 inches taller! Where was that scar at? What was their siblings name again?

Writers can forget a lot of these things over the corse of dozens of posts, but we shouldn't make that mean that our character somehow "forgot" whether they met their best friend in 3rd grade or 4th grade. It just isn't realistic.

I should also mention my position on overly complicated character sheets. It is good to leave some of these things a secret to your group/partner so that there can still be a shocking reveal later in the narrative. And also we shouldn't forget that making character sheets is ultimately useless when we abandon the stories they were for and just move on to the next character.

Making a character sheet is fun, but the real fun is what comes next.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by MissCapnCrunch
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Characters sheets are only as useful as you make them out to be.

Depending on the plot of your roleplay, it makes sense to have a detailed character sheet made up. Like Jojo mentioned if your plot involves people that know one another previous to this situation it makes sense for you as a writer to tell US this information before the IC. Sure, some of the stuff is going to be made up a long the way as part of the fun of the IC thread; but some of it is so that you and your group know what is going on before you even get to that point. I've seen roleplays work with small detailed character sheets too- if you don't need to know extras, you still need to know basic details so that you know who and what you're talking to/interacting with.

I personally believe having a character sheet shows that you know what you are portraying as well as that you're going to put in the extra effort to display this character that you are playing. If you can't take a couple hours out of the day to make a well made character sheet, then you won't be taking time for my roleplay- which means, I don't have time for you either- ugly
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Karkinos
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Paraphrasing / expanding from status. This is a counterargument to sign-ups in-general being a waste of energy:
  • Sign-ups are a useful resource for the GM in order to plan IC events around a cast.
  • Sign-ups allow the GM and other players to gauge players' capability, whether a player can write a lot or prefers to write little; have an established writing style, etc.
  • It is healthy for other players to know the entire cast of a RP before/during the sign-up process so they can fill in niches and continue to make said cast more diverse.
  • Sign-ups introduce a framework so a character does not spontaneously, egregiously change in their development during the course of in-character roleplaying.
  • Specifics a GM may want to know before the IC may not reasonably come up within the IC. Best example would be an event prior to the RP that influenced the character in-question, like a streamlined history section.


I disagree with the notion that sign-ups have to be extensive and predict possibly everything about a character before they're even written. I think a lot of RPs spend too much time in the sign-up process. And I think what a sign-up should ask for depends on the roleplay in question; I think copy-pasting Appearance/Personality/Background is unhelpful as a player gauging what sets a roleplay apart. (Is that controversial?) I also think asking for arbitrary info like expanded inventories is actively harmful in maintaining player engagement. If a sign-up's a chore to fill out, people just won't fill it out, you know?

Personally, I like sign-ups as a player because I need a foundation. I also like having a 'prologue' before the IC; I don't want to spend too much time introducing my character. I want to jump straight into whatever can be done first.

The RP with the shortest sign-up I've seen was on a different site for a sci-fi 'Lasers and Feelings' playthrough. It was name; age; species; the stats; a one-sentence summary of the character. It think it worked, at least in concept, because 'Lasers and Feelings' is a super easy system and things develop on the fly.

There's my dump. Feel free to respond to any of my points! I'm curious what people have to say about sign-ups as a vying GM myself so I'll keep an eye on this thread now and then.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Chai
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I have a love-hate relationship with character sheets. On one hand, they can be incredibly useful in letting a group of roleplyers get a feel for each other’s characters, as well as document features that could be easily forgotten. There’s no way I’m going to remember your character’s special birthmark on their neck, but usually that kind of identifying information is in the CS.

On the other hand, I feel like some GM’s use them to assess writing ability or to just have a pile of lengthy info regardless of whether or not it’s necessary. This is where, I think, we get into the territory of a CS being “useless” and a waste of creative energy, especially for meaty parts of a CS that may take a while to formulate. How relevant is that background or complete life story to the start of the roleplay? Will it get mentioned at all? What purpose does it serve in starting the roleplay? If it serves no purpose, I would argue that it doesn’t need to be there in the first place.

Characters sheets are supposed to tell others: 1) who your character is and 2) the general way they might act based on personality traits the player has given them. It allows GM’s to choose the best fit to cast in a roleplays, and it also serves as a handy reference if the writer begins straying from the original given personality. I don’t think every detail needs to be given in a CS, nor do I think every detail SHOULD be given in a CS.

For me, one of those details is the background. I would much rather find out about a fellow writer’s character in a more organic fashion, through dialogue and monologue and perhaps flashbacks in the IC if it fits the narrative. Hiding some of that information can be beneficial. If it were up to me, I would rather spend my creative energy shaping my character in the IC through his or her actions and reactions, and writing in bits of background info as I see necessary. But then if you have a roleplay with 4+ players, mentally keeping track of all that information can be a difficult task, which is where the love-hate relationship comes in again.

That’s why, over the years, I’ve come to prefer 1x1 roleplays, where I’m often not asked to write a CS. We just figure out the general idea of the characters we want to play and then start writing. That absolutely doesn’t mean we don’t know who we are playing or are just “too lazy” to spell it out. It simply means that information is easier to keep track of when it’s just two players as opposed to 4, 5, 6 or 7 players.

I don’t mind CS’s, but I also find they can sometimes drain my motivation and drive for a roleplay if the GM is asking for a pile of information for the sake of having a bunch of potentially useless information.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by PrinceAlexus
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Charceter sheets should be seen as what they are. The starting point.

They allow you to make sense of things, list your information and details, and also to allow you a refrence detail so everyone can see who is who, what and so without countless questions.

Now, are they your plan, future or Role play, no.

The charceter should go with the flow of things, and within reason that's going to change, and the CS is merely the starting line. It can show a idea where it going to go but we all seen RP where the idea takw a path of its own.

Important for many reasons, this just a sample.
But... They should not be all, end all for that charecter.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Lord Wraith
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I really feel as though this thread from two months ago already covered this topic in its fullest. Anything here is going to retread that ground.

But for the sake of adding my own thoughts, a GM shouldn't feel like they need to conform one way or the other. If you as the GM don't care about character sheets, then, by all means, run your roleplay without them, but if you do like them for any number of reasons then yes require one. If you as a player don't like filling out sheets, then don't join RPs which require them and if you like filling them out, then good news because even if an RP doesn't require one, it doesn't mean you can't make a personal one.

To summarize, do what makes you happy and what keeps you engaged and interested in your roleplays.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by BrokenPromise
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I was about to link that thread too, @Lord Wraith. Haha!

I have nothing new to add, so look in that thread if you want to see my opinion. Character sheets are great if you know what information you need to run your RP. No one's really presented an acceptable workaround for group RPs, so I continue to use them.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by PaulHaynek
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Now I'm inspired to create an RP with a character sheet that only has 'Appearance'.

No 'Name', no 'Gender', no nothin'!
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Delta44
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If it has already been covered in the previous thread then I apologise, but I thought I'd voice my thoughts.

Character sheets are the most fun part, as a player, to work on. A good GM will provide you everything you need to let you be creative within the confines of the RP, while still keeping things in line with their intended vision. An attentive GM will work with you on your concept, provide important information where applicable, and help guide the player so both parties are satisfied. And an experienced GM can give you all of the basic info in a list no longer than a couple of dot points.

Overtly complex character sheets can be fun, but really, they should be for the player's enjoyment rather than the GM's requirements. If the players like making their sheets complex, nice! But I know a lot of people prefer the shorter, more simplistic route. And yet, too simplistic can be problematic. I mean sure, minimalism is nice to look at, but ultimately it's as empty as the overly complex sheets. They just hide it better behind a thick layer of extra, largely pointless info. A GM should ALWAYS understand the most important aspects of what you want for your character, because they literally cannot design the RP with you in mind otherwise. Too extra or too shallow, it means something is being overlooked, and it'll only cause problems in the end.

This naturally isn't a problem in small group RPs in PMs, where you can be a lot more free with your creative direction, but on a forum it cannot be understated how much a well-crafted CS will benefit your RP.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by The Harbinger of Ferocity
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I will summarize on what I had said before, as many others have noted the topic was discussed prior, but it bears repeating.

The needlessly detailed, overly complicated, excessively specified character sheets are not so much creative as they are busywork; boxes with checks to be filled. The information contained in such things are less applicable, generally speaking, with each section added beyond those absolutely essential to the game's being. Unless the information may be relevant, why include it as a requirement? Just for the sake of people better defining their characters? Why not simply ask them to specify and elaborate, creating more of an overview? Moreover, why not simply emphasize that in game? So on and on it goes, it becomes another hoop to leap through, one that may even be blazing if these are hard requirements; miss the mark, likely be unable to play in the game at all.

In contrast, the concept of no character sheet is spectacularly trusting of a thread's owner, and more or less denies players too, the ability to get an idea of who a character is. It eliminates fact checking and functions solely on trust. Conceptually, one should ask themselves this, would they allow any number of randomly chosen players on the forum to just participate? It has its function in say, topics where the players know one another or have reputations that precede them, but otherwise? There is no vetting, no review, no reassurance. It no less affords an issue of trust that might be naively optimistic. It might be sincerely more organic and natural but that is not always a positive force. So too might such an absence create voids in continuity or details that are unclear, both of which can be rectified, but acquiring players who all have a similar understanding of what is desired? Even more difficult than it regularly is, which is to say, more than it already need be.

Ultimately, the best stance on a character sheet is one that is purposeful. It has only what is required, removes any superfluous additions, and keeps some amount of mystery to the character. No small amount gripe about "personality" sections of a profile and how it might "spoil" the character because someone should only learn it in game, but it should be information that is generally observable or typical to the character. Why? Set aside a moment for one's own thoughts and think how to summarize another actual person's personality in a paragraph. A set of generalities, is it not? Does it include those finer details? No, but it almost assuredly hits the key notes without spoiling any of the finessed attributes. Even that has a defined purpose in most cases. Thus, as noted before, only what matters should be present, as in if the game is about subtleties and intrigue, it might be wiser to exclude it. For most, in contrast? Almost assuredly better to have it.

As a further addendum, I stand by the notion that a character sheet is a list of information to be reviewed by the master of the topic, a contract of sorts if you would, and what a character and player will be held to. A character, or even a player if as much happens to be the case, should be excluded if they do not meet those standards. A throw of the metaphorical dice on hoping they will abide by nebulous expectations known only by the creator is more often than not a death sentence. Affording a template and concept of the angle deflects some of that threat.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Hero
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I will summarize on what I had said before, as many others have noted the topic was discussed prior, but it bears repeating.

The needlessly detailed, overly complicated, excessively specified character sheets are not so much creative as they are busywork; boxes with checks to be filled. The information contained in such things are less applicable, generally speaking, with each section added beyond those absolutely essential to the game's being. Unless the information may be relevant, why include it as a requirement? Just for the sake of people better defining their characters? Why not simply ask them to specify and elaborate, creating more of an overview? Moreover, why not simply emphasize that in game? So on and on it goes, it becomes another hoop to leap through, one that may even be blazing if these are hard requirements; miss the mark, likely be unable to play in the game at all.

In contrast, the concept of no character sheet is spectacularly trusting of a thread's owner, and more or less denies players too, the ability to get an idea of who a character is. It eliminates fact checking and functions solely on trust. Conceptually, one should ask themselves this, would they allow any number of randomly chosen players on the forum to just participate? It has its function in say, topics where the players know one another or have reputations that precede them, but otherwise? There is no vetting, no review, no reassurance. It no less affords an issue of trust that might be naively optimistic. It might be sincerely more organic and natural but that is not always a positive force. So too might such an absence create voids in continuity or details that are unclear, both of which can be rectified, but acquiring players who are all have a similar understanding of what is desired? Even more difficult than it regularly is, which is to say, more than it already need be.

Ultimately, the best stance on a character sheet is one that is purposeful. It has only what is required, removes any superfluous additions, and keeps some amount of mystery to the character. No small amount gripe about "personality" sections of a profile and how it might "spoil" the character because someone should only learn it in game, but it should be information that is generally observable or typical to the character. Why? Set aside a moment for one's own thoughts and think how to summarize another actual person's personality in a paragraph. A set of generalities, is it not? Does it include those finer details? No, but it almost assuredly hits the key notes without spoiling any of the finessed attributes. Even that has a defined purpose in most cases. Thus, as noted before, only what matters should be present, as in if the game is about subtleties and intrigue, it might be wiser to exclude it. For most, in contrast? Almost assuredly better to have it.

As a further addendum, I stand by the notion that a character sheet is a list of information to be reviewed by the master of the topic, a contract of sorts if you would, and what a character and player will be held to. A character, or even a player if as much happens to be the case, should be excluded if they do not meet those standards. A throw of the metaphorical dice on hoping they will abide by nebulous expectations known only by the creator is more often than not a death sentence. Affording a template and concept of the angle deflects some of that threat.


You call that a summary?!

Also going simple and leaving it to the player to make the CS/Character interesting as opposed to vice versa is ideal.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by rebornfan320
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Well I have a neutral standpoint with Character sheets but I'll give my opinion on it.

I do like the creativity of them and to be able to be used but I also do like to wing it without them sometimes, I do know in groups some GM's would likely prefer to use them and my concern with them would them restricting people who use them to just that when it is not the end all.
But the idea of CS's being a starting line is not too bad about it but when people try to restrict you to them is where I have a problem with that so that's my stance almost to a like-hate kind of feel to them.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by The Harbinger of Ferocity
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You call that a summary?!

Also going simple and leaving it to the player to make the CS/Character interesting as opposed to vice versa is ideal.

It is difficult to take several small essays of explanation down any further on that. If memory serves, this would be the fourth time I have contributed to such a discussion between the forum and the Discord. It is a matter that comes up time and again for reasons I cannot understand, but I digress. Yes, that is the condensed version of what I have said before.

On a related note, I have never, not once in all of my years of roleplaying - aside from completely free form as it was on old chat services - known any roleplay that did not have some sort of character sheet system involved. Even then, some of those had them, or there was at the very least an expectation and unwritten rule that once things were done, they were done; set in stone. Not everything need be changed, so I do agree that simple is better, as complexity can often be needless when without explicit purpose.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Innue
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A lot of it depends on the thread.

I think no character sheet can work in very specific settings.
I think detailed character sheets can work in very specific settings.

However, I think a lot of people go overboard with the requirements for some thread that I end up just wasting creative energy. Ticking all of the boxes on some expansive character sheets, then to have the thread die within a couple of weeks has been rather annoying.

Ultimately, what I have been doing so far is doing conditional biographies or even very short ones for my threads. For Natrelmon, you can easily pump out a bio with only 3 paragraphs and I'll accept it. It is because there is a quick list of very specific choices and a lot of the development comes from the journey. On some of my worlds that require more details (combat oriented ones with player designed moves/attacks) I will often do conditional bio acceptance where someone can just churn out the bare bones of a character and then add to it as needed, so they can jump in easier (usually they just cannot participate in combat until they finish those sections). It has worked pretty well for me.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Ruler Inc
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My stance is that all sheets need to have ninety categories or your character sucks ass.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Fabricant451
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The only good character sheet is no character sheet.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by BrokenPromise
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My stance is that all sheets need to have ninety categories or your character sucks ass.


The only good character sheet is no character sheet.


T H E R E C A N O N L Y B E O N E


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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Ruler Inc
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<Snipped quote by Ruler Inc>

<Snipped quote by Fabricant451>

T H E R E C A N O N L Y B E O N E




Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Fabricant451
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<Snipped quote by BrokenPromise>



Fuck this 24 point character sheet of likes and dislikes bullshit! Fuck personality lists! Fuck the appearance! FUCK ALL OF IT! Roleplaying is diseased. Rotten to the core. There's no saving it - we need to pull it out by the roots. Wipe the slate clean. BURN IT DOWN! And from the ashes, a new Roleplayer Guild will be born. Evolved, but untamed! The sheets will be purged and the characters will thrive - free to live as they see fit, they'll make Roleplayer Guild great again!
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