2017-07-17 14:08:31 UTC
I miss the good old game store. There's a handful of them around here
still - including one that's survived since the 70s - but none of them
are that close; gone are the days when I could go to the next town (or
even the local bookstore or comic-book shoppe, both also gone) and
thumb through the lastest releases. More importantly, the game-store
was also a great place to meet other gamers.
All this is just an aside though, and I only mention it because I
recently did go to a game-shoppe and I did meet another gamer where we
briefly discussed - of all things - character sheets. Not specifically
the sheets themselves, but who holds them.
See, his argument was that the DM should keep the character sheets at
all time; it's a far more important reference tool for the DM than for
the players. The players might be allowed a copy or abridged "cheat
sheet" with some of the more important details - basic stats,
inventory - to help them make in-game decisions but the originals -
the official records, as it were - must remain in the hands of the DM.
And God forbid you allow the players to take the character sheets back
home with them after the session was over.
While this DM's attitude was more extreme than most, it's not the
first time I have encountered it. And as a DM, I can somewhat
understand it; often I need to refer to the character sheets even more
than the players. I often make secret attribute or skill rolls for the
players to see if they notice some small fact or resist some secret
attack, and this would be all the more difficult if I had to
constantly ask the players for the relevant scores. Not knowing the
exact status of your player character - exactly how many hitpoints are
remaining, or just how much that Shadow drained from your STR
attribute - can greatly enhance role-playing too. It's also easier for
me, as DM, to better tailor encounters if I know exactly the stats of
the player characters. Some DMs also worry inordinately about players
Myself, I've never been that concerned. As DM, I'm the one who has the
"cheat-sheet" of basic player stats to help me guide them through the
adventure, but I let the players keep their original character
records. Honestly I don't want all the extra paperwork cluttering up
my work-area or have to worry about keeping all the sheets up to date.
It helps that our games tend to be a bit looser when it comes to
numbers and stats anyway so having the exact numbers aren't as big a
concern (I figure it all evens out in the end). I'm also lucky enough
to have players mature enough that they no longer feel the need to
cheat their way to victory.
Plus, there's something very satisfying as a player to have your own
character record sheet. The few times I've played with DMs who
insisted on holding the sheet between sessions, I felt almost
violated; the sheet was the physical incarnation of my character and
surrendering him to the DM felt wrong.
(On a related note, I know a number of gamers use electronic versions
of character sheets but I love the physicallity of the forms.
Electronic character sheets are too cold and digital; having a worn,
torn and often stained character sheet that is as beaten as the
character represents just makes that character seem all the more alive
So as DM I allow my players to keep the sheets in their possession
during gameplay, and to take them home if they so desire.
Where do you guys fall on this subject?