Sunday, May 6, 2012

Who owns the character sheet?

Back in the early days of my gaming. I had a portfolio folder that i kept all my character sheets in. Heck everyone i knew had a folder like that. or some people that played alot had 3 ring binders for their sheets.
As my horizens broadened I started separating character sheets by game. D&D had its own folder. Champions had a couple folders (like 6 I think..). I had a folder for all the games I played but had only had one character in. Like I said everyone kept their own sheets.

In the mid 90's frustrations due to forgoten character folders got GM's I knew to start campaign folders to keep all the characters of their players. I did this for every game. Some games I ran have character folders with PCs going all the way back to my campaigns beginings. Gamma World is one I always kept the PC sheets for. I have every character ever rolled under me as GM for that game. D&D was the only game I never kept sheets for.

When 3rd ED came out i initialy switched from my old 1st ED AD&D to it. That was when i started keeping sheets for D&D. I quickly realised how much i disliked 3rd ED and since I had sold my old books we switched to HackMaster. I had been buying the books for HM for about a year and half as they came out with no real intention to play it.

As i realised my distaste for 3E my gaming group pretty much fell apart. One moved to Arkansas, a couple just quit coming and a couple drifted away. So a few weeks after Scott had moved away, I found myself staring at only 2 players. We sat around the table discussing who we could bring in to fill the group out a bit more. The only person I knew we could get that night was a friend who would not play D&D for religious reasons. A quick phone call was made and he said he would a parody of D&D. So my first HackMaster campaign kicked off.

After about 6 months of playing we decided that HackMaster was cool and retired the test characters we had been playing. I then kicked off a new campaign. This campaign continues to this day. Over the 3 to 4 years we played HM the group waned and occasionaly waxed. At one point the group was 16 people strong. I think we had a couple of  game nights with all 16 in attendance.

Over the course of HackMaster: I moved from a house to an apartment and then bought a house. Shortly after buying the house myself and 5 of the group went to Gencon. That was the last time we played Hackmaster. The tourney for HM was so badly run and we got screwed so badly we dropped the game.
For awhile we played HM light. basicly stripping HackMaster down to AD&D 1st ed. (no skills talents quirks or flaws).  I bumped into Castles and Crusades and fell in love.

Castles and Crusades is rules light. (current players are not into rules crunch and like simple systems) it plays quick and easy. I can run things by the seat of my pants if I need with out stressing about monster stats. Over all the game feels alot like AD&D 1st ED but with some modern bits..assending AC and a few other minor bits. Its in print so players can find it at the local game store and i can easily port in any version of D&Ds stuff.

I converted my campaign lock stock and barrel to C&C. I still use spells, monsters and classes from HM. Spells from every edition of the game except 4th ED. Through this time I still keep everyones characters. HM brought about individual folders but they all stay at my house. When a player left the characters stayed.

A couple days ago a former player texted me asking for all their old characters if they hadn't been thrown away. I am kind of loath to give up those character sheets. I think i am going to photo copy them and let the player have the copies. Some might think i dont have the right to keep them from the player.
My reasoning is this...
1 They are in my world even if the player quit the caracter didnt just vanish.
2 I supply all the sheets either printing as needed or photocopies i paid for.
3 They are written in pencils I provided
4 No other GM is ever going to let these house ruled things into a game. Heck the person asking for the sheets didnt game before I taught them to play and probably never will game again.

Am I wrong about keeping the sheets?


  1. Traditionally I'd always let the players keep their character sheets. In recent years I've been keeping a hold of them only because everyone has busy lives and can't always attend every game. Otherwise I'd let them keep them.

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