D&D Next Character Sheet Contest

Are you known for your character sheet creation skills? OR maybe you just really want to make sure we have a D&D Next character sheet that is functional and easy to look at. Well, either way this contest is for you. Check out the Character Sheet Contest on our FB page for all the info!

Trevor Kidd Community Manager

Golly gee, unpaid labour masquerading as a contest! At last, the opportunity to do graphic design work and maybe if I do a really good job then I will have the deep satisfaction of watching a company actually use it without giving me compensation! Thank you Wizards of the Coast, for this wonderous contest.



So...I can't be absolutely sure, but from your tone I expect we'll see your submission tomorrow or the day after at the very latest, right? Wink
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
Golly gee, unpaid labour masquerading as a contest! At last, the opportunity to do graphic design work and maybe if I do a really good job then I will have the deep satisfaction of watching a company actually use it without giving me compensation! Thank you Wizards of the Coast, for this wonderous contest.



They're not paying us to playtest the game either, if you haven't noticed. Greedy bastards! We should all be making our country's minimum wage plus overtime.
It is nice they are asking for our input instead of just putting something together no one likes.
Golly gee, unpaid labour masquerading as a contest! At last, the opportunity to do graphic design work and maybe if I do a really good job then I will have the deep satisfaction of watching a company actually use it without giving me compensation! Thank you Wizards of the Coast, for this wonderous contest.



They're not paying us to playtest the game either, if you haven't noticed. Greedy bastards! We should all be making our country's minimum wage plus overtime.



Most people don't get paid to play D&D. It isn't a job. Playtesting D&D is simply an extension of that. And you're not required to submit feedback unless you want to do that.

Graphic Designers, on the other hand, make reasonably good money for their skills. Significantly more than minimum wage, no less. This is a spec contest for something that can't reasonably end up in your portfolio unless you're a complete idiot.
A link to why this contest is bad, exploitive, etc...

Here 


"12. Marketing Rights: By entering this Contest, Entrant specifically acknowledges and agrees that Wizards will have the right, without restriction, to use, reproduce, and publish Entries submitted without payment of any compensation or consideration to any Entrant or any other person or entity."

Gotta love the rabble-rousers who want to turn everything into some sort of protest march. It's really quite simple. Don't want to submit something and support the evil corporate machine of WotC? Don't do it. Some folks out there would love to see something they made end up in an official product. That would be compensation enough. For others, though, that feel their time is valuable (which is an odd stance to take when referencing a game that is played for fun), they can simply NOT enter the contest, thus not wasting that precious time that is, obviously, better spent complaining on chat forums about the evil corporate machine and how it wants to exploit us all.
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
Gotta love the rabble-rousers who want to turn everything into some sort of protest march. It's really quite simple. Don't want to submit something and support the evil corporate machine of WotC? Don't do it. Some folks out there would love to see something they made end up in an official product. That would be compensation enough. For others, though, that feel their time is valuable (which is an odd stance to take when referencing a game that is played for fun), they can simply NOT enter the contest, thus not wasting that precious time that is, obviously, better spent complaining on chat forums about the evil corporate machine and how it wants to exploit us all.



Not to mention, although the contest is open to professional Graphics Designers, the contest is really about getting the player base involved directly in the new system. This gives them a sense of being a part of 5e, and the contest itself acts as a form of positive advertising. Contests and Promotions are not exactly the same as SPEC work really. YES, many professionals in various fields want to claim that Contests are another type of SPEC work, because they feel that these contests take jobs away from them, the "Professionals" in their given industry, but true SPEC work is test-proofs used to evaluate skill levels for potential hirees that are somehow transferred as unrestricted ownership with or without the employment side of things coming into the picture. Contests, on the other hand, are a form of promotional advertisement, and such ownership clauses as stated are simply legal protection against a Professional entering said contest then trying to claim ownership of the work. Your compensation for this contest is the 'chance' to have your work featured in the new edition of the game you claim to love. You will get the acknowledgement of your peer players/DMs by seeing that you won the contest. Whether or not this will leed to future design work with WotC is not implied at all, which is what makes this NOT SPEC work...the carrot of employment and portfolio building is not being used. The carrot of being "featured in an upcoming publication" is what's offered, openly and above board with nothing else attached to it.
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Gotta love the rabble-rousers who want to turn everything into some sort of protest march. It's really quite simple. Don't want to submit something and support the evil corporate machine of WotC? Don't do it. Some folks out there would love to see something they made end up in an official product. That would be compensation enough. For others, though, that feel their time is valuable (which is an odd stance to take when referencing a game that is played for fun), they can simply NOT enter the contest, thus not wasting that precious time that is, obviously, better spent complaining on chat forums about the evil corporate machine and how it wants to exploit us all.



Right...

Slimy companies do this kind of thing. And I've never called WotC anything of the sort before.

You don't ask people to spend time doing work for hire for free and then take away their rights to the work in any way shape or form afterwards if you don't actually use the work they did.

You don't ask people to spend time doing work for hire for free and then take away their rights to the work in any way shape or form afterwards if you don't actually use the work they did.



For those like yourself who are paranoid and put a big price-tag on your time, don't enter the contest. You're making a mountain out of less than a grain of sand. There's no duping going on. No one is shafting anyone else. No one is exploiting anyone. If you're a willing participant, then you know that your work becomes the property of WotC (just like anything that is put on these boards). If you enter it anyway, you're agreeing to it. Do you have any idea how many people would be thrilled to see their work show up in an official capacity? That would be more than enough "payment" for them. For all those professional character sheet developers out there, they should stick to submitting their work in official capacities and avoid contests. You're acting like WotC is running some sort of subversive, shady, crooked scam in order to get out of doing work themselves. I fear the paranoia might be a bit more than deserved in this instance. It's a character sheet. Nothing more. I'm all for "sticking it to the man" when it's deserved, but a contest for a character sheet? Come on......

"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
You all would have a point if this was presented as a job offer, but it is a contest, which US law does not require any sort of compensation for, and has no reason to, so Wizards is not in the wrong legally or ethically. Some of our ideas posted on the forums end up in the game, and we don't get compensated or even credited, so how is this any different? If you're that obsessed with your IP, delete your forum account and only give minimal feedback with no original ideas.

I for one think this is great. No matter who wins, we get a character sheet made by a player, chosen by the players. Modded character sheets are often better than the official sheet, so why not make the official sheet a mod to begin with? It's brilliant.

I should also point out that the winner's submission will not be the sheet that gets published, it will be modified by an actual WotC graphics designer to accomodate the changes that happen between the contest and the release. So they don't owe you a cent. They don't even have to give you any sort of prize, plenty would enter just because they like designing character sheets.
Whether or not this will leed to future design work with WotC is not implied at all, which is what makes this NOT SPEC work...the carrot of employment and portfolio building is not being used. The carrot of being "featured in an upcoming publication" is what's offered, openly and above board with nothing else attached to it.



Do you think that the character sheets in the previous playtests were done by someone other than a graphic designer? Do you think that they're going to pick a character sheet that is grossly inferior to what their in-house graphic designer is capable of doing? Who do you think would be working on this if they were not holding this contest and what do you think this person gets paid per hour to do exactly this? How many hours do you think the top 10 people for this contest are going to spend on average to do this even though only 1 of them is going to win it? Where do you think portfolio items come from?

i.e. they're assuming they're going to get some graphic design students to work on this and that said graphic design students will think they'll be able to use it in their portfolio because they'll have 'featured in an upcoming publication' aka published work. And maybe, if they use the character sheet in the playtest, maybe they'll be asked to help design the actual character sheet used in the real game? Students generally haven't worked in the real world very much and they're easy to take advantage of in this way.

If you're in the field, you see this kind of contest all the time with roughly the same way of phrasing it, too. It is a spec contest and a bad one. WotC should be better than that.
I should also point out that the winner's submission will not be the sheet that gets published, it will be modified by an actual WotC graphics designer to accomodate the changes that happen between the contest and the release. So they don't owe you a cent. They don't even have to give you any sort of prize, plenty would enter just because they like designing character sheets.



i.e. plenty of gamers without a design background who won't win will enter just because they like designing character sheets. 
I should also point out that the winner's submission will not be the sheet that gets published, it will be modified by an actual WotC graphics designer to accomodate the changes that happen between the contest and the release. So they don't owe you a cent. They don't even have to give you any sort of prize, plenty would enter just because they like designing character sheets.



i.e. plenty of gamers without a design background who won't win will enter just because they like designing character sheets. 



Not to disrespect professional graphic designers, who are amazingly talented people, but how difficult of a task are we talking about here? It's a bunch of words, lines and boxes arranged on a page, there isn't all that big of a distinction between what an amateur and a pro can make of this with current software.
I can make extremely effective, easy-to-read, well laid-out character sheets, and have done so for every edition of this game to date. What I don't know how to do is make them pretty. I don't have enough skill with Excel (or whatever is being used these days) to make them visually appealing. They end up looking like form-letters. Effective, usable, sensible...but not attractive. Black font, black lines, black boxes, white paper...that's it. No logos, no nice borders, no real eye-appeal. This is the one and only reason I'm not entering the contest. No matter how efficient the sheet is, if it doesn't look appealing, it has little chance of being selected. If I did, though, and it was chosen to be the winner, I'd be thrilled for it to show up in an official capacity.
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
I've done the occasional Graphic Design freelance work before, mostly in Website layout. I've also created custom Character Sheets for every game I've ever played...although I do like the Builder Sheet for 4e so didn't really mess with that much.

I entered, and it took me all of maybe 30 mins to create the sheet I did, took me longer to move it from OpenOffice to Paint to save it as a JPEG (My scanner isn't connected right now) to get it to fit the page right the way I wanted it. This is a nothing task for a Graphic Artist, practice for your skills and the ability to show off, and 'street cred' to say something you did was published by WotC, free or otherwise. No big deal.

WotC is down to a skeleton crew working on 5e right now, so their big Graphic Artists are mainly focused on Magic I'm guessing. Their Art Department is focusing on laying  out the new Rulesbooks. If not for the contest, I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't just keep using the same sheet they've been using since the character creation packet came out. It works for the job.

We're not stealing work away from anyone in-house, if anything, we're maybe alleiviating some of the side work load so they can focus on things more pressing.

I call getting published in anything WotC as more than ample payment for such a small project. Am I the best? Hardly, but if other 'Professional Graphic Designers' of a higher caliber than me refuse to enter, as you say, I may have a better chance to win, and as the carrot in this case is all I want out of the whole endeavor, I'm all for you standing on your laurels and letting me win, so thank you in advance if it happens. 
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I can make extremely effective, easy-to-read, well laid-out character sheets, and have done so for every edition of this game to date. What I don't know how to do is make them pretty. I don't have enough skill with Excel (or whatever is being used these days) to make them visually appealing. They end up looking like form-letters. Effective, usable, sensible...but not attractive. Black font, black lines, black boxes, white paper...that's it. No logos, no nice borders, no real eye-appeal. This is the one and only reason I'm not entering the contest. No matter how efficient the sheet is, if it doesn't look appealing, it has little chance of being selected. If I did, though, and it was chosen to be the winner, I'd be thrilled for it to show up in an official capacity.



Exactly.

A lot of people can make something pretty and a lot of people can make ugly efficient sheets, but it takes professional skill to make a beautifully laid out, efficient sheet that actually makes people rethink how they play their character without even realizing that they're doing it. And speeds up play because when you need to find something, your eye is guided right to it(and at which point, ugly efficient gets in the way, because there's very little visual differentation)

And because you're not in the field and have no chance of winning, of course you'd be thrilled. I'd probably be thrilled if I stepped into your job, worked for free, and impressed your boss. How would you feel about that, though?
Most people don't get paid to play D&D. It isn't a job.


Most people write up their own character sheets without compensation either.

Graphic Designers, on the other hand, make reasonably good money for their skills. Significantly more than minimum wage, no less. This is a spec contest for something that can't reasonably end up in your portfolio unless you're a complete idiot.


It can still end up in your portfolio.  Wizards gets a licence to anything you submit but they can't stop you from using it.  You still own it.

And the provision cited in the rules is the same provision that's in every contest and in fact in the rules for these forums.  Yes, people get paid to be professional writers and here we are writing words that Wizards gets to use for absolutely free.

But here's the thing: Wizards has paid me (and many others) to write articles for them as a freelancer.  And do you know how they noticed my (and many others') writing abilities?  Through the blogs and posts I write right here in the Community. The ones whose content I have been gving an unlimited irrevocable license to Wizards to use.

Here's another historical example.  Remember that campaign settign contest they ran in 2002?  It also had the same provision in it.  Wizards gets an irrevocable license to everything submitted.  you know who won that contest?  A guy named Keith Baker who was a professional computer game designer when he came up with Eberron and wrote up a ten-page proposal and just up and gave it to Wizards... and for no immediate compensation.  I guess Baker was a complete idiot for giving up his professional work.  And then when he made it into the final three, he wrote up another 100-page submission for no compensation just hoping that he'd win the prize.  Heck, Rich Burlew (of Order of the Stick fame) also submitted his professional work to Wizards and we'll probably never know what his campaign setting was. He got nothing... except that Wizards then hired him for other paying gigs, like the other four splatbooks he worked on for Wizards.  Rich Burlew, apparently was a complete idiot.

In comparison, what is Wizards asking for in this contest?  A one or two-page D&D character sheet.  Is that something you'd actually get paid for from anybody but Wizards?  No.  And if not for this contest, would you ever have the chance to show Wizards your graphic design skills so directly?  Again, no.  So it's not like you're giving up anything of value (except for the time it takes to design it) in exchange for possibly getting noticed by a potential employer.

But, yeah.  You go ahead and not enter the contest because you'd be giving something to Wizards for free.  I absolutely would not want you acting like a compelte idiot. 

The question of whether or not it is ethical for a company to host a "competition" in order to achieve a product of work that would normally be acquired through skilled paid labour is a thorny one, but I don't that that's even the real issue here. The main problem I have with this contest is that the only winner is WotC. The designer of the selected character sheet receives nothing except the privilege of having a company use one of their designs. If you don't see that as a scam, I'm sorry I don't know what else to tell you.

The main thrust of many of the counter arguments seems to be that people make custom character sheets anyway, so why should people receive compensation for submitting them? The idea that someone should not be paid to do a task simply because an amateur is willing to try and tackle the same job for little to no compensation is extremely dangerous. First, professionals do professionals work and deserve to receive compensation for their work and training. When they do not, it simply makes it worse for everyone else in the field.

I'd like to address your comments specifically Wrecan. I take issue with the idea that it's all right to do a bunch of work for free, in the hopes that maybe someday someone up high will recognize what an industrious beaver you are and bestow paid work upon you. It's all right if you're doing recreational blogging about something you enjoy, or posting avidly on the forums about topics that interest you, and the organization you're talking about asks you to write some paid articles for them. That's not really what we're talking about here though. This is the deliberate outsourcing of an unpaid professional task under the thin guise of a contest in which the winner gets … the satisfaction of watching someone else publish their work?

As far as the campaign setting contest in 2002 goes, again, that's a pretty different animal. I just checked my Eberron campaign book, and it says "created by Keith Baker" on it in pretty big letters.  That was a contest that actually promised a quite substantial payoff if you won: to be the creator of the next D&D campaign setting, something that was almost sure to parley into very real opportunities even if there wasn't immediately anything more forthcoming from Wizards. Even still, I feel another discussion could be had about the exact ethics of that particular promotion, but this is hardly the time or place.

Also the person you were responding to was not saying people were idiots for entering, he was saying that a graphic designer who put a character sheet published by a roleplaying game that didn't compensate him into his professional portfolio was an idiot. Please don't miscontrue our argument into criticising the people entering, no matter how elegantly it lets you conclude your paragraphs. 


The question of whether or not it is ethical for a company to host a "competition" in order to achieve a product of work that would normally be acquired through skilled paid labour is a thorny one, but I don't that that's even the real issue here. The main problem I have with this contest is that the only winner is WotC. The designer of the selected character sheet receives nothing except the privilege of having a company use one of their designs. If you don't see that as a scam, I'm sorry I don't know what else to tell you.

The main thrust of many of the counter arguments seems to be that people make custom character sheets anyway, so why should people receive compensation for submitting them? The idea that someone should not be paid to do a task simply because an amateur is willing to try and tackle the same job for little to no compensation is extremely dangerous. First, professionals do professionals work and deserve to receive compensation for their work and training. When they do not, it simply makes it worse for everyone else in the field.

I'd like to address your comments specifically Wrecan. I take issue with the idea that it's all right to do a bunch of work for free, in the hopes that maybe someday someone up high will recognize what an industrious beaver you are and bestow paid work upon you. It's all right if you're doing recreational blogging about something you enjoy, or posting avidly on the forums about topics that interest you, and the organization you're talking about asks you to write some paid articles for them. That's not really what we're talking about here though. This is the deliberate outsourcing of an unpaid professional task under the thin guise of a contest in which the winner gets … the satisfaction of watching someone else publish their work?

As far as the campaign setting contest in 2002 goes, again, that's a pretty different animal. I just checked my Eberron campaign book, and it says "created by Keith Baker" on it in pretty big letters.  That was a contest that actually promised a quite substantial payoff if you won: to be the creator of the next D&D campaign setting, something that was almost sure to parley into very real opportunities even if there wasn't immediately anything more forthcoming from Wizards. Even still, I feel another discussion could be had about the exact ethics of that particular promotion, but this is hardly the time or place.

Also the person you were responding to was not saying people were idiots for entering, he was saying that a graphic designer who put a character sheet published by a roleplaying game that didn't compensate him into his professional portfolio was an idiot. Please don't miscontrue our argument into criticising the people entering, no matter how elegantly it lets you conclude your paragraphs. 




Nothing in the contest says that the designer won't get "Credited" for their work, in fact, it specifically asks how you want said Credit to appear. THUS, even from a contest standpoint, said character sheet if published is an excellent addition to someone's Portfolio. Its acknowledged as an amateur effort that was unpaid and solicited on a purely contest basis (so, the entrant has to contend with a bunch of other enthusiasts) and was the one that ended up winning out in the end. As someone who has hired freelance Graphic Artists before, such an addition to their portfolios would have impressed me possibly more than other commissioned work. You often find the mettle of someone is better expressed by what they do as a hobby than what they do under contract. As D&D is a game many people love, the effort to make the best Character Sheet you can, to share with fellow enthusiasts of the game, will oftentimes convey that Love of the game more than a paycheck will.

Keith Baker gets paid for Eberron, and gets Credit for his work...the rest of the entrants in that contest don't, and yet, their ideas are still fully WotC's to do with as they please, as entrants in a contest, if they wanted to. The only difference between the Campaign contest and the Character sheet contest, is the overall scope and future potential of the products themselves. A campaign setting requires continual support and refinement, where a Character sheet can be one-offed, and then others can make extrapolations of it to their hearts content without really taking anything away from the designer.

Ultimately, everything in the world is a matter of supply and demand. If your willing to work for what they are offering, than its fair trade. I am willing to create a Character sheet for their use, for the proferred offer of possibly getting it published. (Truthfully, I'm willing to do the work anyway, and often post such things on my personal websites as freeware for any who wants them) you, on the other hand, value your own work to a different degree or standard. The whole idea of under-bidding a contract for commission is a tried and true method, that goes back to before the medieval times that D&D emulates. To this day, contracters bid on jobs, and get those jobs based on several factors: 1. Who will do the job the cheapest, 2. Who will do the job the Fastest, 3. Who has the best concept for the job, and 4. Who has the best reputation for fulfilling their contracts (most reliable), and that's how free market enterprise works. This is why there are still a lot of 1099 jobs (Commission only, private contractor/freelancer) out there that aren't affected by the State/Federal Minimum Wage stipulations...sometimes, its not just a matter of paying the minimum to get the job done, its a matter of you get what you pay for...

Like I said previously, I'll thank you in advance for not entering the contest, if your Mr. Professional Graphic Designer, as that heightens my own chances of getting my sheet published, but regardless, I already posted my sheet on this thread, so anyone who wanted to could use it anyway. Not just WotC. (Who, by the way, always gives permission to reproduce their Character sheets for private use anyway, when they don't have to and could charge people to buy them if they wanted) 
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Having myself been hired as a full-time employee to do something I did for free as a hobby -- moderating a forum -- I have no problems doing neat stuff for free, because those who know how the internet works will look for people who do things for free. I had lots of stuff on the resume, but one of the things I put down outside of my work history was what caught his eye. The hiring manager can evaluate a person's fitness for a paying gig to do exactly he's already doing. I've seen someone who mainatined a personal blog be hired as a marketing director. It happens, folks.

I don't understand what the fuss is. Wizards isn't going to take down the contest, those of us who want to enter will enter, and those who don't want to enter won't. What are the nay-sayers trying to accomplish by posting?

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

The main problem I have with this contest is that the only winner is WotC. The designer of the selected character sheet receives nothing except the privilege of having a company use one of their designs.


Which is a fine feather in the cap of someone trying to make a living at graphic design.  That is known, in the common parlance, as "win-win".  There are benefits other than money.

I'd like to address your comments specifically Wrecan. I take issue with the idea that it's all right to do a bunch of work for free, in the hopes that maybe someday someone up high will recognize what an industrious beaver you are and bestow paid work upon you. It's all right if you're doing recreational blogging about something you enjoy, or posting avidly on the forums about topics that interest you, and the organization you're talking about asks you to write some paid articles for them. That's not really what we're talking about here though.


Yes, it's exactly what we're talking about.  They have graphic designers on staff, for salary.  They have an entire art department.  Nobody is going to get laid off because Wizards isn't using one of their graphic designers to make a two-page character sheet.  Heck, some staff graphic artist is probably going to spend more man-hours reviewing all the entries to pick ten finalists than he would have had he just designed the sheet himself.

This is the deliberate outsourcing of an unpaid professional task under the thin guise of a contest in which the winner gets … the satisfaction of watching someone else publish their work?


It is a fanciful and farcical notion that Wizards is "outsourcing" work.  This contest clearly takes more man-hours than the actual creation of a character sheet.  

As far as the campaign setting contest in 2002 goes, again, that's a pretty different animal.


Yes, it's a heckuva lot more work to design a campaign setting than to design a character sheet.

That was a contest that actually promised a quite substantial payoff if you won: to be the creator of the next D&D campaign setting


It was a payoff commensurate with the work involved.  Writing a hundred-page campaign bible will take a lot more work than designing a two-page character sheet.

Also the person you were responding to was not saying people were idiots for entering, he was saying that a graphic designer who put a character sheet published by a roleplaying game that didn't compensate him into his professional portfolio was an idiot.


And "the person" is wrong.  If you win the contest, putting the prize-winning entry in your portfolio is absolutely not an idiotic thing to do.  In fact, "the person" is actively sabotaging someone's career by giving them bad career advice.

Please don't miscontrue our argument into criticising the people entering, no matter how elegantly it lets you conclude your paragraphs.


Oh, but you're clearly criticizing the people entering and you're doing so on an absolutely misguided basis.  If you are trying to break into a creative business, the worst possible advice you can follow is to withhold displaying your creative talents because you aren't getting paid for them in the moment.  Recognition and accolades are keys to opening doors.

Sure, an established graphic designer may not need this level of recognition.  But those people don't need amateurish advice on being a professional graphic designer anyway, since they're already an established graphic designer.  All your naysaying could possibly accomplish is convince someone who could actually use the publicity not to do so.  That's mean-spirited and wrongheaded.  

(And, if I was more of a cynic, I'd think it a particularly amateruish way to prevent competition...)
Point in support of wrecan's post:

In modelling and acting, one of the things they advise aspiring Models/Actors to do is to do as many free shoots as come their way. Anything and everything to build their portfolio at little to no cost to them.

When it comes to Comedians, the same thing, go to as many unpaid improv clubs you can possible get into.

When it comes to cover bands, the same thing, do as many unpaid concerts as you can to get your name around. Send demo taps/cds/mixes to any radio station that will take them, post them on YouTube and for free download at Google and iTunes.

When it comes to marketing creative talent, especially for an unknown, the Free market is your friend, not your enemy. Do volunteer work that gets you exposed through charities, write unpaid blogs for fan sites to get your work out there, enter contests, the more public/wide-spread, the better.

There are even some professionals who try to do 1 or 2 free things a year, just to keep their 'art' in the minds of the public. The  more your name comes up in the right circles (and in Graphic Design, its hard to think of a better circle than Fan-Driven RPG gaming) the more likely you are going to get a few freelance gigs overall.

As Wrecan said, this is totally a Win-Win for any amatuer out there, and, if these unpaid qualifications happen to exclude the really high end professionals from the race, it only increases the chances that a relatively unknown could benefit from it...AND who do you think is going to be judging the submissions before they go to public vote? The in-house Graphic Design staff, and like Wrecan said, they will spend more man-hours judging the initial entries, than they would have throwing something together themselves, plus the company gets the added benefit of a new set of eyes developing for them.

I'm starting to think more along the cynical lines wrecan hinted at when it comes to trying to discourage your competition, just remember, the more you discourage others, the more those who stay in the contest will stand out...and the ones most passionate about the game, not the payout are going to hold out the longest (or like Me, have already made a sheet, and sent it in, so its too late to discourage me anyway)
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its a contest, not a job ap.

iv designed a simple character sheet. i want to compete, so i will. if they realy want you on the team, they will state it.
 

Troll king

Y'know, I AM a professional designer by trade and I do take issue with spec work masquerades, but a contest for a character sheet isn't something I can take issue with.

As a kid I would generate my own character sheets using a 386, Lotus and a dot matrix printer.  Three pages these things came to, with horse and cart details, castle outline, etc, etc.

I'm willing to bet money that nearly any serious player of any RPG has designed their own character sheet at some point; and while it's true that designing stuff professionally is a job (yay!), WotC has scads of designers ON STAFF.  They don't NEED to outsource this!

Be pleased that that they would source something as mundane but as super crucial as the character sheet from their community.

Like seriously, throw in or cram it, cause really there's no reason to bring the haterade on something this benign.

It's not like they're asking us to design their next book layout.

I'm steadily working on my new character sheet design, and I'm looking for any input anybody has regarding what's necessary for their class.
I've obviously implemented the spell slots system noted in page ...2?

I'm trying to address old issues in new and creative ways so let's have fun with the ideas!
tantoedge : Take a look at my take on it - community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

No, I'm not a US/Canadian resident, so I cba entering the competition, but feel free to grab ideas
Every company in the U.S. tries to get unpaid or low wage labor. This is why the economy has failed. But having said that, you and I give Wizards unpaid comments and advice on the construction of their game. In other words, we willingly work for Wizards for free. It's not Wizard's fault. It is ours. If you submit your character sheet, you do it for free and willingly. So don't complain.
tantoedge : Take a look at my take on it - community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... No, I'm not a US/Canadian resident, so I cba entering the competition, but feel free to grab ideas



Not bad, has a lot of the feel of the current 5e Character sheet, but with obvious improvements.
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Ashardis, thanks for the link!
I've printed it out and using a lot of your ideas.

Can someone explain how the spell tracker works? 
I came here to see character sheets, not a debate about legal issues. :/
Shazam!



I am open to all critique.

Try it, love it, hate it, but talk about it so that I may improve it.

imgur.com/hOl0e23


N
oticed that I missed the Size, Skin Colour, and Age...
Quick anecdotal observation... I put together a new gaming group about 4 months ago that are a mix of gaming vets and total newbies. We started with PF and started doing D&DN sessions intermittently. 

I provided very complex, very detailed 5-page PF character sheets, and I provided the D&DN sheets from the playtest releases.

Every single one of them preferred the PF sheets. While they're tougher to navigate at first, having all the calculations spelled out for them on the sheet is a huge benefit that, once they got over the initial misgivings of the huge sheets, were much easier to use.

So, my experience is people would prefer as much detail as possible rather than over simplification where they have no way to reference how a number was come too after the fact. 
My experience is that people like having the calculations done on a separate sheet to reference for leveling up or if something happens (like you lose a weapon), but at the table, they prefer a short sheet with just the information you need.
My experience is that people like having the calculations done on a separate sheet to reference for leveling up or if something happens (like you lose a weapon), but at the table, they prefer a short sheet with just the information you need.



Indeed, a quick reference "front page" with further pages for detailed calculations seems like it'd be the best option.

Ashardis, thanks for the link!
I've printed it out and using a lot of your ideas.

Can someone explain how the spell tracker works? 

The way I intend for the Spell Tracker to be used is like this : You write the number of spellslots for that lvl inside the large box. This will be a number from 1->4. Then as you use them, you tick off the small boxes. Once you get a long rest you erase all the spent slots, leaving the number behind, free to use again.
That is awesome, thank you Ashardis.
I agree that players do appreciate having the calculations on the sheet, but there are no complicated calculations in D&D Next.
I included notations with some stats to expedite character creation, and boxes for additional bits as necessary.

I forgot a space for the deadly negative number tho.

If anybody has any critiques, I'd love to here them. 
And here is version 2.0
imgur.com/mdBDCmT

I've added carry, jump, speed, initiative, hit dice tick boxes, money, loot, reworked the weapons to include sneak attack, separate ammunition for weapons and special ammunitions; adjusted the spells, section removed the magical ability tracker in lieu of the Manuevers tracker, which I've renamed Specialty and to which I added an expertise dice tracker.

I've also included skin, age and gender, removed the CMY from the field backgrounds and deepened the watermark.


The whole concept of organization is simple:

Stuff that matters, is always being referenced and changing on the left (people read left to right).

Stuff that makes up the background of the character and doesn't need to be referenced that often is in the top right.

The rest is self explanatory.


Again, open to all critique and input...
Any one else feel pissed that you have to have a Facecrap acount to enter the contest.
Again, open to all critique and input...



You're off to a great start. Here's some suggestions:

The size of the page seems a bit odd. It doesn't look like it really fits on a single piece of paper, either length or width-wise. I could be wrong, it just looks that way to me.

There needs to be alot more room for items, even if it means making it a 2 page sheet. Also, "Phat lewtz" may sound cool, but it's probably inappropriate for an official character sheet.     
 
I suggest putting the ability scores above the other statistics, and making them bigger than the other stuff, since they're the very most important stats your character has. I'd also put the boxes after the names of the stats, rather than before.

I suggest having a place to write down the armor and/or shield you're using, rather than just having a small box for the number bonus they grant. I'd put a box for AC near the top, but have an armor and shield thing by the weapons. People need to be able to record what type of armor or shield they're using, and any special properties they might have (like speed reduction, disadvantage on stealth, or magical properties).

There needs to be alot more room for spells, since characters can have up to 21 (or even up to 30, for some traditions) prepared at a time. You might want to make a separate sheet just for spells. Also, you don't need 4 checkboxes under each spell level, as some of the spells (like the 6th-9th level, only ever get 1 slot).

Instead of putting "modifier" on the weapons, I'd put "attack bonus." 

The number of checkboxes seems excessive. This is just my personal preference, as I dislike keeping track of such things on my character sheet, so feel free to disregard that if you like it better that way.

It might be a good idea to put the name of the dice under or inside of the skill dice (i.e. d6, d8, etc). Also, the "modifier" entry for skills is not needed. I can't think of any case in which skills have a number bonus, correct me if I'm wrong.

If there's room, it might be a good idea to have separate sections for feats, racial traits and class abilities.
Leave enough room for multi-classed characters in the class box, and I think you need 8 weapon slots.  Most people have a main weapon, a missile weapon and then several secondary weapons which can typically be thrown, some of which (but not all) might be magical.  There should be a bigger space to monitor reduced hit points but this can be on a separate page if you want.  You want to avoid rubbing out the same spot too often.
And here is version 2.0
imgur.com/mdBDCmT

I've added carry, jump, speed, initiative, hit dice tick boxes, money, loot, reworked the weapons to include sneak attack, separate ammunition for weapons and special ammunitions; adjusted the spells, section removed the magical ability tracker in lieu of the Manuevers tracker, which I've renamed Specialty and to which I added an expertise dice tracker.

I've also included skin, age and gender, removed the CMY from the field backgrounds and deepened the watermark.


The whole concept of organization is simple:

Stuff that matters, is always being referenced and changing on the left (people read left to right).

Stuff that makes up the background of the character and doesn't need to be referenced that often is in the top right.

The rest is self explanatory.


Again, open to all critique and input...


Where is the page divide?

This sheet seems large enough to be a two-page char sheet, but there's too much overlap of sections. There's no one spot where a divide could be made. Maybe v3.0 could be designed to fit on two 8.5 x 11 inch pages?