I’ve done a bit of tinkering with the 5th Edition D&D character sheet, adding some basic calculations. The trick with Adobe files is that it’s not a database, and so there’s no (reasonable) way to include everything a full-fledged character builder would have, and it’s tough to produce a truly idiot-proof version that prevents all user mistakes. That’s quite a disadvantage considering that’s the entire point of adding calculations to it. Even where it’s possible to make a change, I might not be able because it would be unnecessarily restrictive (q.v.). On the other hand, it’s free 🙂 (unless you want to contribute voluntarily to my work by making a payment via PayPal).
So, here are my design notes. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for changes.
- Your ability score modifiers are calculated automatically. That was an easy one, though you may not like how I use the textboxes. I prefer that the ability score bonus be the bigger of the two numbers.
- Inspiration is now a checkbox (i.e., either on or off). Also easy.
- Unfortunately, you may select only two classes. In hindsight, I can fit a third in there, so I will on my next edit.
- I fixed the “tab order” for pages one and two. Maybe one day I’ll take the time to fix page three (which is a mess), but I doubt it. Tab order is a pain in the neck in Adobe, and any fixes I make are often undone by the program. I’m not inclined to spend all that time fixing the tab order on page three only to have it screwed up again through no fault of my own.
- Classes, backgrounds, races, and alignments are now “drop-down textboxes.” You can select an item that I’ve provided for you, but if an option you need is missing, you can instead type whatever you want.
- Skill bonuses are now calculated for you based on your level and relevant ability score. When I referred to things as “unnecessarily restrictive” above, this is a great example. There are a ton of exceptions to the general rules that could impact your score, and I can’t consider them all. Accordingly, I’ve added a drop-down textbox where you can select whether you’re not proficient, you add only 1/2 your proficiency (e.g., bards), you’re fully proficient, or you add twice your proficiency bonus (e.g., rogues). That sure beats a checkbox, but it doesn’t quite cover everything. Next to the proficiency drop-down textbox, I added a field where you can simply enter a number that gets added to your skill bonus. In most cases, this number is 0, so the character sheet is still saving you some brainpower. However, even where you have to enter a number, it serves as a reminder that you’ve got something going on there, perhaps reducing the possibility that you’ll forget a bonus you earned with a feat or class feature.
- I may not have fixed the tab order on page three, but at least now the spell save DC and spell attack bonus are calculated. I’m worried these might also be unnecessarily restrictive (e.g., there’s some feat that gives you a +2 to your spell attack bonus), so if I need to add something in order to account for exceptions to the general rules, please let me know. I know of no instance where a spell uses Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution to determine your DC or attack bonus, but you can do that in case either I’m wrong or the rules are changed one day.
Now, there’s some good news about page three. I think it sucks, so eventually I’ll replace it. It doesn’t allow for multiple spellcasting abilities, which, unless I’m wrong, is necessary for multiclass spellcasters. That is, I believe that a Wizard 3/Bard 2 would use Intelligence for Wizard spells but Charisma for Bard spells. (My PHB is in my car, and I’m too lazy to go get it right now.) At the very least, you need to provide spellcasting DCs and attack expressions for all relevant spellcasting. I also would like for you to be able to select durations, targets, etc. from drop-down textboxes. In other words, I’d really like to change page three, but don’t hold your breath waiting for me to do so, and when I do, don’t expect it to be artistic. I’ll probably look like a raw spreadsheet when I’m done.
In case you missed the link above, here it is again: Form-Fillable Character Sheet with Calculations.
10/23/2016: Calculating Character Sheet v1.1 (added builds to classes drop-down textboxes; deleted blank page 4)
As always, please provide any suggestions you have, and happy gaming!