Digital Mastermind
 member, 246 posts
 I've been here before...
Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 04:02
Re: Character sheets with forms
I wish we could get the Pre function to work with Bold better.  It's nessecary for most character sheets to have several perfectly aligned columns obviously, but can be just as nessecary for them not to be a jumble of the exact same text type everywhere, seperating and accentuating key sheet items makes referencing sheets amply more userfriendly.  Only alternative I can think of is using color coding instead of bold, or making tables and failing horrifically after hours of trial and error after error =P
 admin, 2111 posts
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Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 04:39
Re: Character sheets with forms
Bolds things fine for me.
Digital Mastermind
 member, 249 posts
 I've been here before...
Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 05:26
Re: Character sheets with forms
Hrmm, in pre format the bold comes out nearly imperceptable if perceptable at all.
 member, 861 posts
Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 05:39
Re: Character sheets with forms
Character sheets here aren't forced to plain text.  They're wrapped in <pre> by default, but that's simple enough to turn off when editing the sheet and you can use any formatting that's available when composing a message.

  Just a total aside, jase: but would it be possible to change those <pre> tags, to the less-prone-to-site-breakage <tt> tag?  <tt> will keep everythign lined up vertically, but, won't stretch the screen horizontally if someone has a single, long sentence without hard line breaks inserted ... such as when copy/paste-ing their history/background into a character sheet.
Digital Mastermind
 member, 252 posts
 I've been here before...
Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 05:45
Re: Character sheets with forms
That would be nice, some auto wrappage would do our nerves well.  I'm getting a bit tired of watch my scroll bar become several pages wide and having to do all sorts of whack editing that doesn't come out right in the end when submmitted.
 member, 3886 posts
 All is hardcore
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Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 11:12
Re: Character sheets with forms

I have had players submit sheets in HTML, but then the problem is wading through HTML code when I go to view. I will admit, I think the easiest solution here is to make it so when I click on 'sheet' under a player's name, it goes to VIEW sheet, not EDIT sheet. Right now I have to go through the longer method of 'view character sheets -> select character' just because when I simply click 'view sheet', it's too cluttered with code to be easily legible.

But indeed, a fixed-format character sheet would be nice (although understandbly difficult).
 moderator, 4904 posts
 ''Grenades cost extra.''
Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 13:27
Re: Character sheets with forms
Digital Mastermind:
I wish we could get the Pre function to work with Bold better.

What you're likely seeing is a result of browser-side rendering than anything RPoL does.  How bold and how pre are rendered are determined by how a browser interprets them.  They are fairly basic tags as far as HTML is concerned, and RPoL doesn't do anything special or unique with them, afaik.  Users can often affect them, however, by modifying the default fonts used by their browsers.

Part of the problem is likely that, often (depending on the font used), bold increases the per-chracter width of a font, making it heavier.  But pre says that shouldn't be done as the very purpose of pre is to ensure every character should be the same width when rendered at the same font-size and font-name.

They've been in conflict since I first started making web pages long, long ago.

I'd suggest experimenting with the tt tag rather than pre a bit and see if that serves your needs any better.  The main difference between tt and pre is that tt is a character-level formatting, while pre is paragraph-level formatting.  There are other subtle differences though in how whitespace and text changes (such as bold and italics) and such are treated between the two.
 admin, 2112 posts
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Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 15:16
Re: Character sheets with forms
You've got the flexibility to use tt if you want.  Turn off fixed width and wrap the whole thing in tt.  Done.

tt doesn't even pad out leading spaces (i.e. at the start of a line) in HTML, RPoL didn't used to either, so it wasn't appropriate for character sheets.  To suddenly change from pre to tt has the potential to mess up a whole lot of sheets.

I believe that every character sheet I've seen is primarly made up of tables, plain text ones, but little rows and columns.  Switching to tt suddenly means these columns can wrap wherever they feel like, and I don't think auto-wrapping is appropriate for tables (imagine your HTML table doing that).

Sure, you may get a surprise the first time you type in a paragraph and forget to put in manual enters (or turn on wrapping for that spot, one way or another1), but the other alternative is a nasty surprise when your nicely laid out character sheet is wrapping in all sorts of weird places.  I think in the case of character sheets is better to have a bit of side-to-side scrolling on smaller screens than weirded out table wrapping.

There's lots of flexibility already there guys, just because the default isn't the way you'd like it doesn't mean it warrants change.  When I think about how to implement something I try to think about how the majority of users would need it by default, how someone who doesn't know much (or anything) about html would need it to be without them changing settings or coding in extra stuff.  The fact that you're visiting this forum is probably a sign that you're more on the advanced side of the user-base, it's the (largely) unrepresented "average Joe" that we need to be very mindful of.

1 You can do this lots of ways, simplest on a "fixed width" sheet is to go Irish.  Wrap the paragraph in </pre> and <pre>.  Yes, that's the wrong way around on purpose.

No need to wade through anything, katisara.  Click on "character details" and then chose from the drop-down list on the right.  Two clicks away from viewing (not editing) someone elses character sheet.
 member, 3892 posts
 All is hardcore
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Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 16:16
Re: Character sheets with forms

Seriously though, sometimes this method does seem slower. I don't even know why. On the flip side, I don't know why the default when clicking under the name is edit mode, not view mode. What's the rationale behind that?
Digital Mastermind
 member, 258 posts
 I've been here before...
Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 18:23
Re: Character sheets with forms
Using variable width, swapped Pre to TT,  nothing appeared to change at all =\
 admin, 2119 posts
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Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 18:52
Re: Character sheets with forms
In reply to katisara (msg #14):

I can change that to view, but then view is one click away and two clicks away.  Edit is three.

The way it currently is, edit is 1 click away, view is 2.  You're a GM; onus is on management, not on pretty.

In reply to Digital Mastermind (msg #15):

Change your page width.  Keep on making it smaller...
Digital Mastermind
 member, 262 posts
 I've been here before...
Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 19:00
Re: Character sheets with forms
I wasn't aware I could change the width?  There's no visible function indicating where or how to do that.
 member, 900 posts
 A Serious Waste of Time
 The largest game on RPOL
Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 19:34
Re: Character sheets with forms
I think he means just shrink your browser window.
Digital Mastermind
 member, 263 posts
 I've been here before...
Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 19:37
Re: Character sheets with forms
I don't think that's what he means =P
 member, 902 posts
 A Serious Waste of Time
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Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 19:47
Re: Character sheets with forms
Let me explain in more detail.

With <pre>, text that starts on one line will always stay on that line regardless of your browser window width; it will cause a horizontal scroll bar if necessary.

With <tt>, text that starts on one line will begin to wrap to another line when the browser window width shrinks far enough; you will never get a horizontal scroll bar.

So, I'm pretty sure what jase is saying is to go test the <tt> by shrinking the width of your browswer window until you either get line wrapping or a horizontal scroll bar.
Digital Mastermind
 member, 268 posts
 I've been here before...
Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 20:13
Re: Character sheets with forms
Ahh right, well I'm not having a problem with width right now, my character sheet is nice and narrow on the screen.  The problem I continue to have is that it's all one blob of the same text throughout despite me putting in signifigant amounts of bold codes.  Not sure if there's a way to overcome the issue, as previously mentioned, we all know bold makes letters bigger and uniform characters sheets are done by keeping all characters the same comparable size.
 member, 908 posts
 A Serious Waste of Time
 The largest game on RPOL
Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 20:34
Re: Character sheets with forms
You could use underline instead if bold doesn't work on your browser.
Digital Mastermind
 member, 269 posts
 I've been here before...
Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 20:53
Re: Character sheets with forms
I do use it, it's typicall not appropriate and excessive underlining has it's own issues. =\  Color coding would possibly work visually, but the code would be bloated in comparison.
 member, 1 post
Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 20:56
Re: Character sheets with forms
I generally agree with Digital Mastermind.  It would be fairly simple to define a single table which holds a recursive directory-like structure (LDAP-like but no need to be as complex), which is basically:

etc..  IMHO most character sheets can boil down to this and the tree can be relatively easy formatted out as a set of nested tables.   I am not a perl or PHP guy but I could post an example of what I mean in SQL + pseudocode if you want.

If you used AJAX for the updating they would be quite nifty for inputting a lot of fields as well.  But that's by no means a critical factor.

If you don't go with his idea, instead of HTML I might suggest allowing people to make use of existing offline tools such as Word, PDF or ODF.   The GM could upload a template file (or even a form with clear fields to fill in) and players fill it in and upload it.  Fairly easy to embed this in a popup viewer window (see Atlassian Confluence for fancy examples of what you can do).

You would have to put a size limit on uploaded files, but some of those formats compress quite well (.DOC especially, whereas .DOCX and .ODF are already compressed), so you can ZIP or GZIP them as you store them in DB and do the inverse as you pull them out.   I reckon that char sheets don't get that many views as compared to other kinds of resources but I may be wrong.

Anyway, for the moment I am having to organize character details offline for the game I GM, keeping it neat online is a pain and no use as a reference unless I want to have 20 browser tabs open.
Digital Mastermind
 member, 270 posts
 I've been here before...
Tue 31 Mar 2009
at 21:09
Re: Character sheets with forms
That line you wrote just gave me an idea for a GM menu option where a GM can store character details in shortform.  Like they have a list of all the characters, one of the categories is race, another class, another level, etc etc.  We could make a few sets of tables for the most popular games and/or have the table's headers be customizable so the GM could label the columns they're trying to make a quick reference spreadsheet for.  The customizable option seems best, you wouldn't have to go through the redundant labor of making tables for different systems, just let GMs fill in their stuff.  When adding a column, you choose small, medium, or large.  Small is about 3-10 characters, simply for things like hitpoints, etc.  Medium is 10-20 characters, for things like class and races.  Large would be about 30-100 characters?  Long enough for the GM to make a note or description.

Perhaps I'll go make a thread for this and ramble on it a bit more. =)
 member, 4 posts
Wed 1 Apr 2009
at 08:58
Re: Character sheets with forms
The point of my post is exactly what muriwo describes: a templating system allowing to edit data for character sheets separately from the presentation.

Right now, if using the not-<pre> option for character sheets (or using the [space]</pre> trick to deactivate it), we can manage to live with the formating getting in the way while editing, or we can use an external application to generate the code: for example, for the rare Ars Magica games out there, I generated a RPOL template in Metacreator, allowing easy editing with cut-and-paste.

Still, I feel it should be really easy to just add an optional, very simple templating system so that the player or DM can just press the edit button and have the data part of the sheet transformed into textboxes. I am ok with the idea of groups of fields, but don't think it is really necessary from a technical point of view. Actually, we only need a series of text variables, and some formating information for each field : how many characters long should be each textbox, whether it would be multiline (and then how many lines), and optionnaly some italic/bold/undeline/color/size/pre option.

For example, if we add the <CharSheetVar> tag:
<CharSheetVar1 align=[left|right|center] color=[number] width=[number(min 2)]
height=[0=monoline,+=multiline] [small] [b] [i] [whatever]>

... and we store separately the list of variables.

When displaying text, while parsing we just put the data as is, with the formatting tags.
When editing text, while parsing we replace the tags with an appropriate textbox, and add a form submit button that will update the list of vars.

If someone wants to modify the looks of the sheet (like make a variable display as italics instead of underline), he must change the template file. The GM has the option of allowing the player to change/choose his template or enforcing the use of a said template.

One important point is that the data is just a list of strings. RPOL doesn't need to know whether var1 is race and var2 is class: it is the template's role to define this relation. RPOL just stores a template file and a list of text variables.

This message was last edited by the user at 09:10, Wed 01 Apr 2009.

 member, 5 posts
Tue 22 Dec 2009
at 23:30
Re: Character sheets with forms
Hi all. I got back to think about character sheets in rpol. The focus of my thoughts was: how is it possible to improve the user experience without having to worry about the specific layout of character sheets ? How can we use the already nice looking tables instead of preformated plain text ?

At the bottom of this post, you will see what a character sheet using tables. Right now, I don't know anyone using tables like this because it is unreadable when you modify it.

The solution I am envisioning is a template system, working like this:
- a player/GM creates a template (basically, the character sheet at the bottom of this post, with a few more tags)
- the GM pastes the template for each player in the location of his charsheet
- the player (if allowed) is able to view the sheet, or switch to "edit mode" to modify it
... and the "edit mode" is simply the character sheet with all the "values" changed to input textboxes.

I have made a search in about regexp and I have come up with a few simple lines of code that can do the trick. A quick, dirty and ugly example is viewable here: (not nice-looking as I didn't bother to add the same formating as what is available in rpol; also, only the first few fields are editable in this template)

By default, the sheet is in view mode. When clicking on the "modify" link, you enter into "edit mode" and you are able to change part of the sheet (click "apply changes" to .. apply changes; click view after that to look at the modified sheet)
The "view source" link shows the php code behind it.

The tag I use in the charsheet is an "input" tag looking like this:
<input type=text name='nom' value='Samuel Petipas' size='15'>

When in "view mode", this tag is search/replaced by the contents of the value field.
When in "edit mode", this tag is used as html in a form.

So, I think with just a little bit of code, character sheets could become a lot nicer.

Here is the sample sheet:

SizeSmallHeight3 ft 4 InWeight60 lbs

Current HPMax HPTemp HPBloodied ValueSurge Value
Surges usedSurges per dayUsed Second WindsAction PointsCurrent conditions and Effects

AbilityBaseRacial BonusMiscTotalModifierMod + 1/2 level
+1 Ability Increases gained through levels are added to Base number.

Initiative=Dex+1/2 lvl+Misc


DefensesTotal=10+1/2 lvl+Armor + Ability+Class+Feat+Enh+Misc+Misc
AC Defense10=10+1+0+0+0+0+0+0
Fort. Defense10=10+1+0+0+0+0+0+0
Ref. Defense10=10+1+0+0+0+0+0+0
Will Defense10=10+1+0+0+0+0+0+0
Special+5 vs Illusion (Gnome)

Passive Insight=10+Skill Bonus      Passive Perception=10+Skill Bonus
10=10+0 10=10+0

Basic Attacks
Attackvs.DefenseType (Melee or Ranged)Weapon or PowerDamage
STRvs.ACMelee 1d4

Race Features
Low-light vision
Fey Origin: Your ancestors were native to the Feywild, so you are considered a fey creature for the purpose of effects that relate to creature origin.

Master Trickster: Once per encounter, you can use the wizard cantrip ghost sound (Player’s Handbook, page 158) as a minor action.

Reactive Stealth: If you have any cover or conceal-ment when you make an initiative check, you can make a Stealth check.

Trickster’s Cunning: You have a +5 racial bonus to saving throws against illusions.

Fade Away (Gnome Racial Power)
    You turn invisible in response to harm.

        Encounter ✦ Illusion
    Immediate Reaction         Personal
        Trigger: You take damage
    Effect: You are invisible until you attack or until the end of your next turn.

Class / Path / Destiny Features
Warlock's curse

        Once per turn as a minor action, you can place a Warlock’s Curse on the enemy nearest to you that you can see. A cursed enemy is more vulnerable to your attacks. If you damage a cursed enemy, you deal extra damage(+1d6). You decide whether to apply the extra damage after making the damage roll. You can deal this extra damage once per round. A Warlock’s Curse remains in effect until the end of the encounter or until the cursed enemy drops to 0 hit points or fewer. You can place a Warlock’s Curse on multiple targets over the course of an encounter; each curse requires the use of a minor action. You can’t place a Warlock’s Curse on a creature that is already affected by your or another character’s Warlock’s Curse.

Misty Step:
    You have the Misty Step pact boon. You instantly transform into silver mist that streams a short distance and reforms, allowing you to flee or maneuver to set up a deadly attack. When an enemy under your Warlock’s Curse is reduced to 0 hit points or fewer, you can immediately teleport 3 squares as a free action.

    Prime Shot
        If none of your allies are nearer to your target than you are, you receive a +1 bonus to ranged attack rolls against that target.

Shadow walk
    On your turn, if you move at least 3 squares away from where you started your turn, you gain concealment until the end of your next turn.

Shadow Skulk
        Whenever you miss with a ranged or area attack while hidden, you remain hidden.

Fey Trickster
    You gain the wizard cantrips mage hand and prestidigitation (Player’s Handbook, pages 158 159) as encounter powers.

Languages Known
Common, Elven

SkillsTotal=1/2 Lvl+Ability Mod+Training-Armor Penalty+Misc
Acrobatics (Dex)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Arcana (Int)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Athletics (Str)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Bluff (Cha)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Diplomacy (Cha)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Dungeoneering (Wis)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Endurance (Con)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Heal (Wis)+3=1+0+0-0+0
History (Int)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Insight (Wis)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Intimidate (Cha)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Nature (Wis)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Perception (Wis)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Religion (Int)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Stealth (Dex)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Streetwise (Cha)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Thievery (Dex)+3=1+0+0-0+0
Eldritch BlastYou fire a bolt of dark, crackling eldritch energy at your foe.
At-WillArcane,ImplementStandard Action
Ranged 10Target: One CreatureAttack: Charisma or Constitution vs. Reflex

Hit: 1d10 + Charisma modifier damage.
          This power counts as a ranged basic attack. When a power allows you to make a ranged basic attack, you can use this power.


  Eyebite                         Warlock (Fey) Attack 1
      You glare at your enemy, and your eyes briefly gleam with bril-
          liant colors. Your foe reels under your mental assault, and you
      vanish from his sight.

          At-Will ✦ Arcane, Charm, Implement, Psychic
      Standard Action              Ranged 10
          Target: One creature
      Attack: Charisma vs. Will
          Hit: 1d6 + Charisma modifier psychic damage, and you are
          invisible to the target until the start of your next turn.

  Witchfire                                 Warlock (Fey) Attack 1
      From the mystic energy of the Feywild, you draw a brilliant
          white flame and set it in your enemy’s mind and body. Rivulets
      of argent fire stream up into the air from his eyes, mouth, and
          hands; agony disrupts his very thoughts.

      Encounter ✦ Arcane, Fire, Implement
          Standard Action            Ranged 10
      Target: One creature
          Attack: Charisma vs. Reflex
      Hit: 2d6 + Charisma modifier fire damage, and the target
          takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls until the end of your next
          Fey Pact: The penalty to attack rolls is equal to 2 + your
      Intelligence modifier.

      Curse of the Dark Dream
          You inflict a waking nightmare upon your enemy so that he
      can no longer tell what is real and what exists only in his mind.
          Under its influence he staggers about, trying to avoid falling
      from imaginary heights or stepping on unreal serpents.

          Daily ✦ Arcane, Charm, Implement, Psychic
      Standard Action          Ranged 10
          Target: One creature
      Attack: Charisma vs. Will
          Hit: 3d8 + Charisma modifier psychic damage, and you
        slide the target 3 squares.
    Sustain Minor: You slide the target 1 square, whether you hit
          or miss (save ends).

  Beguiling Tongue
      You channel the grace and glibness of your fey patrons for a time.
          Your voice gains great power and eloquence.

      Encounter ✦ Arcane
          Minor Action              Personal
      Effect: You gain a +5 power bonus to your next Bluff, Diplo-
            macy, or Intimidate check during this encounter.

Magic Item index

    Daily Item Powers Per Day (Mark with an asterisk when used.)

    Heroic (1-10):   ___     Milestone: ___ ___ ___ ___
    Paragon (11-20): ___     Milestone: ___ ___ ___ ___
    Epic (21-30):    ___     Milestone: ___ ___ ___ ___

    Weapon: Vicious Dagger +1 (lvl 2) - critical +1d12
    Weapon: Rod of Corruption +1 (lvl3) Whenever your pact boon is triggered,
            instead of taking its normal benefit you can transfer your Warlock’s
            Curse to each enemy within 5 squares of the original target.
    Armor: Tunic (cloth) +1 (lvl1)

Other Equipment

    Standard adventurer's kit



Coins and other wealth

    340 gp

Personnality traits

    Curious, clever, loves to make pranks. Not courageous, but when friends are in
    danger, will struggle at first and then put himself in danger to help. Courage
    comes more easily with the help of the power he has been granted, but dangerous
    situations, he does not seek.

Physical description

    1 meter tall, clothed with white and yellow simple tunic and trousers. Wears a brown travel cloak. He is always looking around, his curious black eyes examining details of whatever is around him. Prompt to get out of trouble by hiding or turning invisible, when he is cornered he fights with a tactic of "now you see me now you don't". When the action gets at its climax, he finds himself laughing, surprised to find so much pleasure in an activity so dangerous.

Character background

    Samuel lived in the feywild, where he was enslaved by fomorians until he met Lady Winterwind, a powerful fey entity. He talked her into helping him free himself and his bethren. She gave her power, but never told him what was the price. With this power, and the resolution he could manage to assemble, he defeated his slaver and could free numerous of his friends. He has now been cast into the mortal world, for a task he as not been told yet. He travels everywhere, amazed by this strange place. He doesn't know if he will get back home one day. He is happy to be alive, and he just hopes he will just be forgotten...

Compagnons and allies


 moderator, 10965 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Wed 23 Dec 2009
at 06:17
Re: Character sheets with forms
In reply to Jarod- (msg #27):

Yes, which is why an easier way to produce tables was discussed in this thread: link to a message in this forum
 member, 6 posts
Wed 23 Dec 2009
at 21:24
Re: Character sheets with forms
I saw this thread, yes. Smart tables is exactly what is found on some wikis. I think it would be great to have this (not only for charsheets, but for posts), but in the context of character sheets it doesn't replace the user-friendlyness of having textboxes: the GM can choose which fields of the sheet are editable by the player, for example.
I am surprised there is so little interest in this feature, or the general idea of offering  a template system for auto-calculating character sheets.
 moderator, 10967 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Wed 23 Dec 2009
at 21:32
Re: Character sheets with forms
Unfortunately there are so many different requirements for character sheets for various games, and different preferences for sheets for the same game, that any system for auto-calculating them would be hopelessly complex and cumbersome.

The same goes for text fields - How should they be laid out?  Which fields are needed for any specific GM's version of the game?  At the end of the day, it's better to let a GM use his own preferred sheet.