Digital Character Sheet for Tabletop RPGs
A multi-platform solution for character and party management
Digichar.io allows players to maintain large amounts of character information, inlcuding Class, Level, Resource meters, Stats, Proficiencies, Traits, Equipment, Spells and the like. Because this character-specific information is important to the players themselves and the game masters, it is necessary that this data is available to anyone the player is connected with for each respective character. It also offers tools for game masters to keep track of campaign information, data that should be kept secret from players, and real-time modification of character health, experience, skill checks and more.
This is a case study of my work in progress application, which I plan to release for free in the coming months, deployed with Meteor.
While at the core of any tabletop RPG is social play, much of the time used in a game session can be taken up by scouring character sheets for stats, searching through rulebook appendices for details on spells and feats, organizing encounter data, and many more roadblocks. By allowing for digital skill checks, die rolls, maps, spell cards, image and equipment sharing, and resource management with an easy-to-use interface and user experience design, players can spend more time actually playing. This application is meant to be a companion for the tabletop, not a replacement.
As users will create accounts on which their characters and campaigns will be saved and updated in real-time, players will be able to create, join and leave “parties”, lead by DMs which will have a set amount of access to certain character attributes if the players so desire. This way, things like health, experience, and items can be updated by either the DM or the player. DMs will also be able to share secret notes, dice rolls, and world information such as maps, enemy stats, and store prices with selected players via the app.
Players will also have the option to interact with other players by viewing their public character sheets, campaign information, and more.
If you’ve ever played a tabletop RPG, you have probably been a bit intimidated by the amount of reading, learning, memorization, and math that comes along with most of them. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many first-time players drawn away from the hobby because of these things, when their first session didn’t go as smoothly as they thought it would.
I plan to use my skills as a UI/UX designer, and as a player/DM, to help streamline the process of character creation and play as much as possible for many popular RPGs. I will have built-in character generators for these titles, as well as randomizers for DMs to create unique NPCs with. A screenshot of this work-in-progress feature is shown in the “Screenshots” section below. This will not be required for character creation, as some experienced players may find a regular form quicker or easier. I also plan on implementing tools for gameplay, to help automate many equations for spells, health and armor gain/loss, experience gain, leveling up, and currency fluctuation.
Simplification and Accessibility
My plan with this project is to showcase my skills as a designer to make it as intuitive as possible, so that it works well as a companion rather than a hindrance. I plan to run many tests and try out many different architectures so that users have an easy time selecting characters, joining parties, running campaigns, and interacting with each other. As of right now, each user will have a character select screen where their generated characters can be seen as cards and selected from, deleted, and sorted by game, level, name, etc. More details will be available on the same page by selecting the respective character, and from there they can be edited as well. Users will also have access to their campaigns in the same way, either as a player or a DM, with different permissions based on what the campaign creator gives them.
All of these tools including the character and campaign generators and browsers will be available from a single-page dashboard that is updated in real-time, easily from any device. However, if the user has access to a keyboard, all features will be accessible from strictly use of that, if desired. All standard accessibility features will be implemented and tested as well.
Since this application is meant to be used with many different RPGs, the theme is very important. One may not want to view a fantasy-styled character sheet while playing a Star Wars RPG, or a classic fantasy-styled sheet while playing Shadowrun. Because of this, users will be able to choose new color palettes and fonts for each specific campaign and character sheet using tools from the Paletton and Google Fonts APIs. These can either be set globally for the party by the DM, or individually by the player. Of course, some users might prefer the default “Material” theme as shown in the screenshots, so this will always be an option as well.
Along with visual customization will come content customization. I will be implementing default sheets for some popular RPGs, but as tabletop gaming has become more popular in recent years, many new RPGs and homebrew tabletop experiences have been created, and are still being released. Because of this, I want users to be able to create custom character sheets using fields they might choose, or by creating their own forms and selections, that can be released publicly for use by other members. I also plan to give users access to adding, removing, and editing fields of existing characters, so that they may be converted to other RPGs easily.
Registered User Prototype – Character Select Screen
Registered User Prototype – Character Generator Ability Score Screen
HTML/CSS/JQuery Prototype – Character Info Screen
Registered User Prototype – Campaign Select Screen