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March 22, 2011

Understanding the anatomy of a character card

by Game designer

The character card is the Futurity RPG version of the traditional character sheet.It is a record of a player character in a role-playing game, including major game statistics, and background information a player would need during a play session. Where can you find the game information needed ? What benefits can you get with this card system ? I answer all these questions in this article.

 

The main objective of the character sheet is to allow the player to remember key information relevant to their character. The card format is best to easily find and read off any information at a glance whenever they need it.  Careful consideration has been given to put the most often used data on it.  You have  two special areas with game information, also known as statistics. Basically, this is the character’s traits and his skills. DNA data are of special importance in this role playing game, so you can also keep track of your sex, genotype and mutations.

Player Character Card - Part II

 

The layout is organized by grouping similar areas together logically to be be easily readable. Key information for good and fun role playing are available on the top on the card : name, personality and occupation. A second area, which is crucial to understand the social integration of the character, includes more information on his lifestyle like : which political party he belongs to, what is his favourite hobby and if he takes part in organisation like an association or a secret society. Please note, that the social class is indicated in the circle between the political party and organisation areas. Finally, you can see that I had put little decoration but I take care that it is not too distracting from the main character card.

Player Character Card - Part I

 

Often when I had new players, they regularly ask me where they supposed to track down their hit points and such. The game rules doesn’t require to note down something on their card if their character suffers an injury. We use another special system to track damages.

The following question will invariably be something like : “Ok ! And where is my inventory of items my character possessed ?” . This is not the purpose of this card. Instead of, we use special gear cards with associated rules.

The game master, who runs the game, must keep proper character cards for non-player characters to keep full information on the character at hand. The special non-player character cards used  for this purpose are quite similar as the player character’s card except it has got a white border instead of the grey one shown in the above examples.

 

Character’s card for the Futurity role playing game are available in a PDF file within the game’s download page, and of course, you have the permission to print and/or photocopy. Please note that the non-player character cards are on a separate PDF file.

 

A player may have an additional character sheet if he also have contact cards or followers; for example a human character with his personal penhuman assistant. This card format allows the player to hide sensitive information from other players, like belonging to a secret society. It also allow them, on the back on their cards, to personalize it with their own art work.

 

In other games, it is frequent for players to create custom character sheets, to their own design, rather than use “official” offering. Feel free to post here your ideas for improving the design and/or explain why the version you use fits better your needs.

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