Biblyon the Great

This zine is dedicated to articles about the fantasy role-playing game Gods & Monsters, and other random musings.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

Visually interesting hand-made character sheets

Jerry Stratton, November 28, 2005

As you might be able to tell from the fact that I put one on the cover of the main Gods & Monsters rulebook, I’m a big fan of completely hand-written character sheets. Whether hand-written on ruled paper (preferably yellow pad) or hand-drawn on blank paper, my favorite characters are all on character sheets filled with arcane notes in the margins and sprinkled through their histories.

But, I also enjoy playing around with layout, and have, like Peter, occasionally felt the lack at having a comparatively blank Gods & Monsters character sheet in the Gods & Monsters set compared to the character sheets in other games. While working up a full character description for a Druid non-player character that the players are likely to search out either in the next game session or later, I thought I’d look up Celtic knotwork on the web to see if I could find some free imagery, and design a more visually interesting character sheet for this character.

I ended up making these AppleWorks character sheets, and have made them available here in PDF and AppleWorks formats. I used AppleWorks to create these character sheets, because it has a page layout module built-in. You could probably do them in Word, but it would be more difficult. Any page layout software should be fine. One of these days I need to learn Inkscape. It looks like it would be perfect for making one- or two-page layouts such as for character sheets (as well as maps for adventures) using the open SVG format.

Celtic character sheet

Not only is there some free Celtic design on the web, there are also free fonts that make use of Celtic designs. Truetype and postscript fonts have a great advantage over GIF, JPEG, PNG, or other image formats because they are freely scalable: you can use them at any size without loss of quality.

The Celtic designs font is used normally across the top and bottom of each page, with a simpler knotwork design in a text block rotated ninety degrees for the sides.

The font for the title bars is Gaelic. It is a font I’ve had for quite a while, and I no longer have no idea where I got it from. If you do a search on Gaelic.ttf you will find similar fonts around the net.

Alchemical character sheet

The plethora of scalable symbol fonts on the net make it easy to use this same format to create a variety of character sheets, albeit ones with the same basic format. This alchemical character sheet is pretty much a duplicate of the previous one with alchemical and astrological fonts for the symbols.

The symbols that run across the top of the front and back of this sheet are some woodcuts of the zodiac, in order through the months. The font has a minor problem when displayed in large font sizes: the top of each woodcut image (at least for me) is cut off. I solved that by applying the subscript style to the text. You could probably also adjust the line height or some other typographical setting, depending on the software you’re using.

Rather than rotating the side bars ninety degrees, the alchemical symbols are kept upright, with a carriage return between each one to turn it into a vertical bar of symbols running down each side.

And on the bottom I’m using the Devils and Dragons font, with dragons on the front and devils on the back.

Finally, instead of Gaelic for the headline font, I’m using Papyrus, because I like that font. If you have it, it is the font that headlines this site.

I definitely like the Celtic sheet better. The design is easier to make and more appropriate for borders.

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