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Sneak Peek: System Agnostic Universal Character Sheet

1585490684

Edited 1585490820
GiGs
Pro
Sheet Author
API Scripter
A year or so ago there was a discussion about making a System-agnostic sheet for people to have a better option when their system wasnt supported on roll20, or for people who didnt want all the bells and whistles of a full character sheet. That project fell through, but now seems a good time to revive it. I've started working on a sheet to give GMs the ability to quickly set up a rudimentary character sheet. It has a number of "modules" for different aspects of a character (things like stats, skills, powers, etc) and you can choose which ones are in play within a given game. The goal is simplicity, so you wont get something as powerful or pretty as sheets made by roll20 staff, but you'll get something quite a bit more flexible and powerful than using the Attributes and Abilities tab. Here's a view of the Equipment page, the one tab I've completed so far.  Notice there are two sections: at the left, are the tabs - click these to go to any section. Dont pay too much heed to their current labels. This is a proof of concept and they will change before I'm finished. On the left, the larger section is the equipment pane. It is a fairly simple place to put carried equipment, and you have different types of coinage, and subtotals of what is carried in different containers. But these seem hard-coded to a particular system - and we dont want those. So, lets go to the Settings tab. This looks pretty barren right now. That will change. But the important bit is the Show Design button. After clicking it, we get that section on the right. That will show configuration details for whichever pane is active. Since we are in Settings, it shows configuration for the whole sheet. We have a list of section names, and checkboxes. Here we can choose which tabs are in use in a game. To illustrate, I've unchecked the Powers, Conditions, and Resources tabs, and so they have vanished from the tablist at the left. They wont be accessible. Also, you can change the visible name of each tab. Though don't get too excited here: each tab still does a certain type of thing so you cant change a Stats tab to act like an Equipment tab. But in some games, Skills might be called Moves, or Powers might be Spells, Traits might be Stunts or Perks, and so on. So you can give the correct title for your game. But lets get back to the Equipment tab, with the Settings pane now visible at the right. Notice we have two repeating sections, one for Coin Name, and Container Types. In Coins we can set the names of the currency types, set how much they are worth, and how many coins you get per unit weight (typically a pound). The sheet automatically takes this into account when calculating total value and encumbrance. In Container types, you can create different types of container, and set whether things in that container count less towards your total encumbrance. (This is why the total weight isnt a simple sim of the weights in containers) The Purse Container is where the weight of your money is added. Lets add a Portable Hole to containers, and Platinum Pieces to the money.   Notice how they have been added to the central pane. You can also change their names, and they'll be updated automatically. So here we have an equipment list that will work for any system that uses equipment. Now, imagine using techniques like this to change details on other panes-  like what attributes or skills exist in a game. You wouldnt want to do that for every character. My vision with this sheet is that the GM would go through each pane, and set the sheet up how they need it for their game, then use that prepared sheet as a template. Copy it and assign to players whenever a new character sheet is needed. That way you only have to set up a sheet once, for a given game. I have ideas how to handle various things like stats, skills, special abilities, advantages, disadvantages, and so on in a system-agnostic way, but they do present challenges. The goal is not to replace existing sheets - it will be rudimentary by the standards of dedicated sheet. But it'll give GMs a simple framework they can customize to whatever their system needs. In some cases, it might just give a set of boxes for you to enter information, and to enter your own macros to roll things but that is still an improvement over the Attributes & Abilities tab.  Anyway, I thought I'd give a sneak peak at my next big project, and see if this is a thing people think would be worth doing. 
1585493861
keithcurtis
Forum Champion
Marketplace Creator
API Scripter
That's a really cool idea, GiGs and an ambitious project. I would imagine that the final configuration would even be shareable among players via the Character Vault?
1585496148
Scott C.
Forum Champion
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Cool idea GiGs. I had some thoughts on some ways to allow true custom attributes a while back. The sheetworkers can create attributes from whole cloth, and can get the value of any attribute (even ones not in the html) as long as it's told to listen to the attribute. Based on this, I had thought of a system where you'd have repeating sections for a given type of attribute (aka stats). You'd name these as needed (e.g. strength, dexterity, etc). The sheetworker would then create non repeating attributes with these names and store that they had been created in a global attribute. You'd then use a dynamic listener to listen for these created attributes to change to update the repeating version, and vice versa. This would allow you to have any number of stats,skills, etc. on a character sheet, but still let them be linked to token bars. Like I said though, I never got past the ruminating stage what with one thing and another. Interested to see how this project develops further!
1585502894
Gen Kitty
Forum Champion
Very interesting.  I look forward to seeing how this develops :)
1585526938

Edited 1585529581
GiGs
Pro
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Scott C. said: Cool idea GiGs. I had some thoughts on some ways to allow true custom attributes a while back. The sheetworkers can create attributes from whole cloth, and can get the value of any attribute (even ones not in the html) as long as it's told to listen to the attribute. Based on this, I had thought of a system where you'd have repeating sections for a given type of attribute (aka stats). You'd name these as needed (e.g. strength, dexterity, etc). The sheetworker would then create non repeating attributes with these names and store that they had been created in a global attribute. You'd then use a dynamic listener to listen for these created attributes to change to update the repeating version, and vice versa. This would allow you to have any number of stats,skills, etc. on a character sheet, but still let them be linked to token bars. Like I said though, I never got past the ruminating stage what with one thing and another. Interested to see how this project develops further! That's exactly what I'm doing :) Having the attribte definitions off in a usually hidden sidebar should help players avoid accidentally renaming their stats and help ensure that everyone in the campaign is using the same names. Using repeating sections as the basis also makes it easier to set up button macros that GMs or players can create, since repeating sections use the same attribute names. So you can set up a macro targeting @{stat_value} (or whatever) and you only have to write it once and it will work for all stats defined in that section.  So the sheet can have working buttons built in, while players can use the non-repeating names created by the sheet workers to set up their own macros.
1585527870
vÍnce
Pro
Sheet Author
This would be a GREAT addition to roll20.  Have a look at the # of requests for sheets and you quickly realize it's impossible to make them all...  Having something like a generic sheet would go along way in helping those game systems that just don't get the attention of the mainstream gamers.
1585529381
GiGs
Pro
Sheet Author
API Scripter
keithcurtis said: That's a really cool idea, GiGs and an ambitious project. I would imagine that the final configuration would even be shareable among players via the Character Vault? Yes, it's just a character sheet like any other, so it can be shared with its settings intact. The character vault does have sharing limitations though.
1585732146
Andreas J.
Forum Champion
Sheet Author
Translator
Are you considering adding options for roll buttons, with a field to edit the given output?
1585733533
GiGs
Pro
Sheet Author
API Scripter
As it happens, I am. And having a section to edit general rolls, which get copied to all rows of the repeating section, so that you only need to enter the code once for, say, stat rolls, and all of them will use it. Here's a screenshot of a work-in-progress (dont worry about the styling, or the specific columns displayed, I just wanted to get the basic functionality working): The basic idea: in the settings pane, you enter the stats name, and the basics of the roll method used.  In the stats section, Score is your current score; Roll is the stat bonus, or whatever the game system uses to apply tp rolls, and modifier is for persistent modifiers over and above you stat score (e.g. buffs) I might change the table to have two Scores - a Max (your healthy score) and Temporary (damaged, or buffed) score. Or I may leave that sort of thing for the Conditions Tab, where health-related stuff goes. This sheet isnt meant to automate everything; users will have to do some things manually. On to the settings tab: The Stat Roll Effect is used to calculate what proportion of the stat score applies to rolls you make. i figure entering a Multiple and a Modifier will cover the vast majority of systems (and for some, entering x1 and 0, is good for ones where the roll effect is equal to the stat score). You'll have a drop down to selected fairly common combinations (which might not be implemented on first version), and if you leave it at custom, the Roll column on stats will be manual entry. Then you have a roll method - where you enter the roll mechanic. Again, there will (eventually) be a drop down that lets you pick common roll mechanics. But you can also manually enter them here. Anything entered here is automatically propagated to the repeating section, and used by the roll button. The supplemental qualities [art is just for recording stat-related effects that aren't related to direct rolls, and is a manual entry. Things like carrying capacity, move rate (for those systems where its based on a stat), XP Bonus, or whatever. This sheet cant hope to account for everything that every game system does, but it can provide you forms to record things so you can handle them manually.
This is such a great idea! It'd also be extremely useful for games that use a different sheet layout for each player class/archetype.
1585746530
GiGs
Pro
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Persephone said: This is such a great idea! It'd also be extremely useful for games that use a different sheet layout for each player class/archetype. That's true - it would be pretty easy to have, for example, people playing World of Drakness Vampires, Werewolves, Mages, and so on in the same game. Or for that matter, one person playing a D&D character and another playing a Call of Cthulhu character, if you really wanted to get wacky.
1585755920
vÍnce
Pro
Sheet Author
Can't wait to see how this ends up.
1585991110
Andreas J.
Forum Champion
Sheet Author
Translator
At what point did you intend to share the code with the community? I'm updating a few things on the wiki and was slightly bummed that you only shared a visual sneak-peek for the sheet so far, and not the code itself.
1585994493
GiGs
Pro
Sheet Author
API Scripter
I'm flattered by your eagerness :) I'll share the code when it's ready for use, it's a bit off. I'm not getting much work done at the moment. Don't add it to the wiki yet, I'll make a custom page for it like I did with the tog eternity sheet.
1585998073
Andreas J.
Forum Champion
Sheet Author
Translator
GiGs said: Don't add it to the wiki yet, I'll make a custom page for it like I did with the tog eternity sheet. Sure.