Hey there D&D friends! Attached below are my home-brewed AD&D Character Sheets and an AD&D Weapon List. I made these in InDesign and have played a solid campaign since 2013 with them (more late-night sessions to come). Hopefully they are as useful to your campaign as they have been to mine. This article includes some background on my AD&D up-brining as well as some of the thought process that went into making these character sheets.
So, I've played a lot of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition, starting way back around 1996. I was in sixth grade and at a very impressionable age. A few of my buddies had gotten turned onto role playing by some older high school kids and after my first up till five AM, dungeon diving, dragon slaying, role playing extravaganza, I was totally hooked! If I remember correctly, my first character was a dual long sword wielding Elf Ranger with eighteen dexterity. I remember kicking some serious Ogre butt and rolling some seriously awesome treasure during that long and eventful night.
When I started DM-img my most recent campaign, with a group of some of my closets friends (all of whom had never played D&D before), I no longer had the awesome character sheets that I had used back in the day. So I did a thorough web search for some good AD&D character sheets. Unfortunately I wasn't totally satisfied with my findings. So I popped open InDesign and set my mind to creating the perfect AD&D character sheets. I wanted them to fit my playing style and leave my D&D virgin friends totally satisfied with their new fantasy characters. Now I know that a good character sheet isn't want makes a good D&D character (that comes totally from the heart), but a good sheet can make all the difference between a sloppy un-organized character and a well-notated, fully defined, flushed out character. What follows are some of my thoughts that went into these character sheets. I hope you enjoy them. Leave a comment if these are as helpful to you as they are for me.
Sheet 1: Player Character Sheet
First off, I think it's important to have the player's name in addition to the character name on the first sheet. This makes it really easy for the Dungeon Master to quickly differentiate each character sheet. Now a good DM will remember all of their player's character's names but putting the player's real name on the first sheet makes it instantly recognizable, and adds an element of ownership to the sheet. Then you got your basic data such as character name, race, class, level, etc... Next I like to include physical attributes. Recording this forces the player to create at least a minimal visual image of their character. Is your character tall, short, or fat? Is it a guy or chick? Do they have bright florescent yellow eyes or awesome purple hair? Also at the top is your basic experience and ability score boxes (with tiny fields for each of the Players Handbook stat bonuses, penalties, and ability checks).
I like to play with the optional proficiency rules. I think that especially the nonweapon proficiency choices give the game and the characters more flavor. So naturally I have included an entire section for character proficiencies. I also play with the optional rule that players can exchange extra language slots for additional proficiencies (which can be noted in the "Lang Adj Used" box). The slots fields are great for tracking "slots used" and "slots total" for each proficiency as many proficiencies use 2 or more slots. With this optional rule a player can dedicate additional slots to a nonweapon proficiency to improve their chances with that ability. I encourage players to try to squeeze both the stat and check adjustment into the Check column for quick reference when it comes up later.
I added big areas for Armor Class, Hit Points, and THAC0. For Armor Class I just give players a big empty box to work with because there are so many combinations of armor, adjustments, magical items, etc... that can potentially effect a player's AC. My thinking is to not over engineer the matter and just leave it free form. For Hit Points I like to use the big heart box as the character's maximum HP. Some players like to record their remaining HP while others like to record how much damage they have taken. Thus the "Current HP / Damage" field. This area is flexible to allow each player to manage there character's HP as they see fit. Keep an eye on them and make sure they don't pull a fast one on you DMs and flip flop damage taken for remaining HP! If you have played AD&D then you know the ridiculousness surrounding THACO. Just roll with it (pun intended). For all it's inadequacies I think the THACO system works great in the end. I've included a free form THACO box to note the base value and any adjustments.
Following AC, HP, and THAC0 you get a nice big weapons list. The thing I hate the most about many of the character sheets I find is that they have a tiny little weapons list where you only have room to add two or three weapons! We're in this for the long haul! No level fifteen character is going to have just two or three weapons! They are going to have a dozen or more weapons of all different types, purposes, and magical enhancements. So don't limit them! The second column in the weapons list is for number of attacks, which I find very useful, especially for fighters that specialize or dual wield and characters that use bows or thrown weapons that grant two or more attacks each round. In the last column we again have the "used / total" to track weapon proficiency slots. Just like the nonweapon proficiency slots, I let characters exchange bonus languages for additional weapon proficiencies (within their allowed class of course).
Finally I have added some nice big free form fields for Spells & Abilities. Do what you want here but I typically use the second column to add a check mark when a spell is charged or memorized. I don't play with the optional spell components rules (except where required like with Find Familiar), but you may be able to squeeze this in here and put a check for charged outside of the box if you do. I play with some fun house rules, one of which is Character Perks (see my house rules PDF). This makes leveling up just a tad more fun (as if it wasn't the best thing in the world already), so I've added a section for bonus perks. Feel free to use this area for racial abilities or magical item bonuses. Lastly I give players a nice place to track their spell slots. This is great for Wizards that get bonus spells for specialization and especially for Clerics that get bonus spells for a high Wisdom stat.
Sheet 2: Saving Throws & Equipment
Sheet 2 is much simpler. Record your saving throws here so you don't have to dig them up out of the Player's Handbook in that moment of eminent disaster! The rest of Sheet 2 all fun and games. I added a ton of space for your Inventory! I hate character sheets that don't have enough room for inventory! How many times have I had to grab a piece of lined college ruled binder paper to record my overflowing gear! Too many! Record your stash of stuff all in one place: general items, potions, carried weapons (separate from weapons proficiencies and combat stats on Sheet 1), magic items, miscellaneous treasure (oh goodie!), gems, cash, and of course clothing. I like to have my characters purchase and record clothing. Like the physical attributes mentioned above, this forces players to think about what their character looks like and how much they can afford on appearance. Specific attire helps create a unique persona surrounding each character.
Sheet 3: Character Background & Adventure Notes
Make sure your players create a character background (or if they don't want to, make up an awesome or silly background for them). I find that most the time players really like it when the DM makes up a background story for them. It gives them a starting point to base their character on and a chance for the DM to add to the overarching story. Character backgrounds should be fun to think up and helps players get past the notion that their character is more than just a pile of numbers. Finally I have huge section for notes. This is simply a place to keep track of stuff: dungeon clues, places visited, landmarks, non-player character names, DM mistakes, you name it!
I hope you enjoy these Advanced Dungeons & Dragons player character sheets for years to come. If you are playing with them drop me a comment below and let me know what you like and/or dislike about them.