How do your players run at the table?

I mostly DM for my group,  and with little exception each player at my gaming table runs their character in a completely different fashion from the next. I'm specifically talking about character management in terms of paperwork, etc.

For instance, some players run their character directly off of the character sheets generated by the character builder. One player uses her iPad to run her character. Another couple players print the character sheets from the builder directly, usually recycling the page with the item slots, etc. Other players use the builder and then either hand write, or type up a cheat sheet of the most relevant aspects to managing their character at the table. There are a lot of redundancies in the character sheets made by the builder, and several of us have figured out how to get these 5+ pages of information down to a 1-2 page cheat sheet. 

When I get to actually play a character, I don't have to have every feat I've taken written out like a laundry list. I've taken improved initiative, my init is +4 and the math is factored in...that's all I need to know. It's the same with any 'mathematical' feat.

If a feat does something else relevant for my character, I don't even write the name of the thing down; just a scribble of the mechanics and when it comes into play. As an example, my swordmage/artificer uses the white lotus enervation feat abusively with his at-wills. I have that one actually written down.
I mostly DM for my group,  and with little exception each player at my gaming table runs their character in a completely different fashion from the next. I'm specifically talking about character management in terms of paperwork, etc.

It varies widely. Some have a laptop and run things from there. A few write it out, but that is not by choice it is because they have something that can't be done in the character builder. Custom magic item, character builder bug or a weapon loadout that the character builder doesn't handle. Most print out their characters from the character builder and work from that somehow, but even there it varies. Some like to stick it in plastic covers and use grease pens to track things, others just use pen and reprint their character every couple of sessions.

The one thing they don't do is cut up the power cards and use them as cards. I have only found that helpful for new players who could take advantage of flipping through the powers one at at time and getting rid powers once they are used.

There are a lot of redundancies in the character sheets made by the builder, and several of us have figured out how to get these 5+ pages of information down to a 1-2 page cheat sheet.

The character builder needs to spell things out a bit more then would be optimal for just playing the character, because the sheet is also important for verfying that a character is legal. That means spelling out the little mechanical bonuses so you can see why the characters initiative is so high and lets you count how many feats they have. It would be nice if the character builder had a long form and short form option though.
Hello,

We are pretty uniformally paper, pencil, and dice.

We do have some characters stored one line because the players tend to lose their character sheets. For these players we just print their character sheet each time. There are are a few different styles of character sheets.

Sometime a player will use a dice app instead of rolling.

Another player has listed all their clerical spells out in a notebook so they don't have to look them up.

Post it notes are great for keeping track of HPs.
For the most part everyone that I game with uses a character sheet & pencil.
I suspect that we all have a similar way of noting feats/powers/etc - but I've never actually looked at the other sheets.
Myself?  I'll list my feats/powers/etc and note the lv. & p.#  If it's something I don't use all the time, then I'll also write down the details. 

One guy (when we played 4e) ran his character straight off of builder. 
But invariably either the program or his laptop would crash part way into the game.  I don't know where his problem was, I just know that it was damned funny.  Here we are continuing along quite nicely with our paper character sheets while he's always fighting with his tech.
It was also really funny when updates & erratta smacked his character around.  Week to week/Month to month his character would change.  That really frustrated him.  The rest of us?  We never even looked at the erratta.  Because if a problem arose?  Then we as a group decided upon an answer that fit our needs. 
We all use Sheets printed off of the Character Builder and use with pen, dice minis, erasable battlemat and Alea tokens

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

We have to play at a pretty small game table, so there isn't enough room for a laptop for anybody, much less everybody.  So, we have printed character sheets, dice, minis, battlemat ... and that's about all we got room for.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
We use minis,erasable battlemap,character builder character sheets, dice and Alea tokens.
Pencils, dice, "character sheet" (usually printed, some of our players just have a piece of blank paper with character info covering it in a giant mosh of information,  I tend to have about 2 pages of "spells abilities and other stuff" written up for my character).  Game mats apear at the table when a particularly complex battle occurs (terrain-wise).
I'm playing in three D&D groups at the moment, two running 4e and one running 3.5.  Handling character sheets, etc, is a mixed bag. 

In the 4e games everyone is using the DDi character builder to make characters. Some players print the character sheets out, others export them to their laptops/touchpads. Personally I have my characters printed out for detailed reference and put all their stats into a pretty nice app called d20 Fight Club so I can one-click roll all my attacks and damages and manage hit points, etc. (Definitely one of the best 4e iPod apps I've seen so far.)

In the 3e game we're all just using handwritten character sheets and dice. Personally I'd use d20 Fight Club to roll my dice there too but one of the other players in the group has an unexplained hatred of dice roller apps and insisted I use physical dice. (I was tired of rolling dice off my folding table but whatever, it's not worth arguing over.)
Most of the group has laptops, some have em printed out, I convert the character sheet to a pdf, then convery that to a JPEG and just move it to my PSP. Have a notebook to kepe track of HP, surges, defenses, and Init. so I don't have to keep flipping through it.
I use a word doc I keep on a cloud storage system. Print a new sheet every session. Access the storage and tell it to print using the iPod. (Assumes everyone has a wireless printer. If not I can manually log onto storage via their PC and print via wired. If they don't have a PC, I can read the sheet directly off the storage system via iPad over wireless. If they don't have wireless I print ahead of time and grumble about being in the stone age)

During the session I use a pen, and write all over my character sheet. Between sessions, I make changes as needed to the word doc.   Digital books whenever possible on the iPad.

Each character has their own word doc typed up specifically for them to put everything I reference regulalrly on the same page. If it has a second page it will include rules text I regularly pull up. I use a dice rolling app. (Diceonomicon)

Oddly when I DM I go low tech. Physical books (MMs only), and post it notes for any custom built stat's for oppponents. Usually DM at my place, and the rest of the physical books are nearby for player reference. I use physical dice.

I always keep a legal pad for notes. Usually a fresh one per campaign. Include stuff like important NPC names, quest goals, and brief notes on the setting.   

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"

me and my pals use pencil, dice and paper. with the occasional computer for pdfs seeing as we play 3.5(exept when i run 4th edition games sometimes) and we dont have the income to go out and buy all the 3.5 books, occasionaly i do buy books that arent the core books though.
Those of us who have been gaming since the Reagan administration make characters by hand flipping through books, scrawling it out with a pencil, and roll out dice. 

Newer gamers in the group typically use character builder, but so far they have been printing out their sheets.  Nobody has yet asked to run their character off an ipad, but I suppose it would be fine.  Sometimes dice apps are used, but usually dice.

As DM, I mostly just use the Monster Manual, some scratch paper, and some dice.

We usually use minis, but vary between measuring distances with a ruler, wet erase Chessex map, preprinted maps, handmade maps, and dungeon tiles - whatever works for the situation.
Mostly netbooks (1), tablets (1), and smart phones(2). We have one guy who uses paper.
We all run on paper except the DM who has a laptop.
Are you interested in an online 4E game on Sunday? Contact me with a PM!
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
I DM one normal game and a pbp.  I'll throw in the pbp materials since thats kinda interesting.


Tabletop game: For DMing I use one or two sheets crammed with plot, and another for monster and treasure statblocks.  That's all I use.  Players have a mix of character builder sheets and a laptop or two but we try to avoid electronics at the table.  A few players cut out their power cards and put them into Magic card protectors to track powers.  For fights, we have a magnetic initiative board, a dry-erase grid, minis and Alea magnets for conditions.  Rarely the monster vault or rules compendium will come out, but usually the game is a book-free zone.

PBP game: Orokos.com for character sheets and dice roll tracking.  Maptools for battle map preparation, IRC for bouncing ideas around out-of-game, a game thread on a forum (with screenshots from Maptools for each round as we go), and an OOC thread on the forum.
I track my hitpoints on i4e on my iPhone. For some reason, I have a problem keeping up with surges and hit points on pen and paper. It's always a chaotic mess. I actually do the whole "cut out the cards" thing for my current PC. That's because he's a Runepriest, though, and I hand out effect cards to the other players to signify the riders on a given power. It was easy for me to make effect cards the same size as the "cards" from the character builder. I stack all the effect cards that I hand out to the other players underrneath the power card that gives the effects.  In the past, I've just run off the printouts from the CB, though.

Another player at our table runs using i4e on his iPad. 

Most of the rest just run with their printouts from the CB, but a couple reformat theirs, stick them in folders with clear plastic sleeves, and use dry erase markers to mark through powers and track hit points.
I've cut down the stat sheets to mini size - 8.5x5.5, and we use cards for powers.  

I have a pool of little red beads (large ones for 5, small for 1) that people can use to track damage, green beads for THP, and blue beads for surges. 

oddly it sounds like it would make it more of a board game, but when people stop having all this reading and sheet management to do they focus on playing better.
In my 1st Ed group, we all have character sheets we've made to suit our playing style. We make notes on them and reprint when needed (not all that often).

In my 3.x [Pathfinder] group, we use a fairly standardised Excel sheet, and then ditto above.

In my 4e group, we make character sheets from the CB and print before the game. The game store where that group plays doesn't have a wireless connection, so no electronic versions will work there. Using a sheet with "cards" or cutting them out to use as cards is up to the individual.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

We play 3.5 with Hero Lab tracking character sheets useing a house rules module in the software.
All my players use the Character Builder to generate their sheets. One has been known to export it to a PDF format and run it off his phone when he forgets to print his sheet. Another just avoids the printing all together and runs from his laptop. The others are printed characters, although laptops from them are still on the table for rules reference (and distractions which aren't always a bad thing). As DM, I run almost exclusively from laptop and the Adventure Tools (aka, fast monster lookup tool) with an excel sheet for damage tracking in combat and initiative tracking, and word up for note taking which then gets moved to my cloud account for lookup during the week whereever I am.

When I play, I've got a printed sheet, and some note paper and pencil. I'll later convert my notes to a word doc so I don't deal with my chicken scratch forever.
All my players use the Character Builder to generate their sheets. One has been known to export it to a PDF format and run it off his phone when he forgets to print his sheet. Another just avoids the printing all together and runs from his laptop. The others are printed characters, although laptops from them are still on the table for rules reference (and distractions which aren't always a bad thing). As DM, I run almost exclusively from laptop and the Adventure Tools (aka, fast monster lookup tool) with an excel sheet for damage tracking in combat and initiative tracking, and word up for note taking which then gets moved to my cloud account for lookup during the week whereever I am.

When I play, I've got a printed sheet, and some note paper and pencil. I'll later convert my notes to a word doc so I don't deal with my chicken scratch forever.




hey don't forget at least one of your player's (read as: me) plays from his desktop in the adjoining room from time to time.  However recently I have pretty much just needed my sheet around for a quick reference because I have all my powers basically memorized.  Also we use a battle mat and all the RNG is done with Dice.  Sometimes when I am the DM I will use dungeon tiles because we have a bunch of them, but the battle mat is usually best.
Everyone in my group uses pen and paper for everything. We use an erasable battlemat, and shuffle through books the old fashioned way to create/level up characters.
In-house compiled character management software linked to my home SQL server. (We are mostly software engineers), Excel spreadsheets, Laptops and tablets.
We have a 12x4 table and lots of space.
Strangely enough, I am a slacker at coding my own GM tools and pretty much just pre-print everything I need on paper.
I do keep notes in notepad as we play so I can publish html campaign history on my website for the players to reference back to.
Erasable battlemats, sometimes terrain. (I prefer to use free-form inches over printed squares).


Depends on who is DMing.  Notwithstanding that we have been playing since the 70s, two of us DM using a Virtual Tabletop with a pile of macros to track powers, power use, hit points and conditions.  A third DMs using pencil and paper (and then asks me to scan his maps into the VT and apply a battlegrid) and all of the tracking is manual.  I like the VT, it lets us play in the living room instead of the kitchen.

Nearly everyone uses a laptop for something.  Players tend to use CB sheets and pencils for reference (and for tracking hits and power use when DM#3 is running), and Dicetools for all the rolling.  Note-taking is split between paper and laptop.  I use the old non-online CB even though it doesn't have all the shiny new options because it lets me customize to add our houserules, and I can also customize the character sheets to make sure anything the DM is likely to ask for is on the top sheet.