Everyone at my regular game manages his character differently. One is completely digital, a few use power cards (hand written and pre-printed), two of us, I think, use character sheets. To be honest, I’m not sure how my fellow players’ systems work.
For those unfamiliar with the Character Builder’s format, the first two pages it offers are the standard Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition character sheet. Your character’s stats, skills, feats and whatnot are on the first page; a list of your powers, equipment and personality notes are on page two. Beyond that, it compiles the statistics for each of your character’s powers, up to nine per page. It calculates the math based on your abilities and magic items. The powers pages are formatted so that you can cut them apart and use each piece as a card.
There are some key things about the power card system that I don’t like. The natural state for a group of cards is in a stack, and a stack of cards can only be viewed one at a time, with some shuffling required to find most information. While it is possible to lay them out to see everything all together, this feels chaotic. Besides, a card might be dropped, and the layout’s sequence is different every time unless you take pains to keep them in a specific arrangement.
I recognize that the ability to remove cards that are no longer available (an expended daily, for example) simplifies the sorting you have to do. However, you also lose the ability to make a quick comparison of resource availability versus expenditure. The fact that you have one remaining daily card doesn’t immediately tell you that you’ve already used two others and that your character’s adventuring day is, more or less, 2/3rds over.
Instead, I keep the sheets together after printing from the Builder. Each page offers generous information, without being overly complicated. I write a light ‘x’ on each expended power, and erase them when appropriate. When I’m short on space, I pile all six sheets together.
What I’d really like is to shift to an 11” x 17” sized paper character sheet. That would double the amount of easily available information, and a quick fold down the middle, would allow it to stack and store as easily as the standard 8 ½” x 11”. I wonder if the character builder supports large paper…
What system do you use? Are there advantages to power cards that I’m overlooking?