Sheet Verification

All posts, RSS Feed

Over the past few weeks, we have been hard at work expanding the Pathfinder sheet in preparation for a new group joining the RPGpad community. One of the feature’s we’ve added is sheet verification, an automated check to make sure everything was entered correctly, and I wanted to go a little deeper into it, and what we have planned for the future.

First off though, let me explain some of our goals with the verification. We believe that you (and your storyteller) are ultimately the best people to decide whether a sheet is valid or not. As such, sheet verification is designed to be informative, rather than prescriptive. That means RPGpad tells you, for example, that you still have skill points left to spend, but it doesn’t declare the character sheet invalid as a result. That is ultimately up to the storyteller.

Even so, many storytellers want to make sure there are no errors on a character sheet, and take some time to check the sheets. This isn’t just a matter of checking up on players: if you didn’t spend all the skill points you are entitled to, for example, your character may be weaker than intended, and the storyteller needs to know this when setting challenges. Likewise, players benefit from having an automatic way to see if their character sheet matches the game rules, to see if they made any accidental errors.

We check many small details based on the game system configuration, but overall we classify deviations from the rules in two ways: warnings and notices.

A notice is simply an observation we make about the sheet being sub-optimal. Notices are listed at the bottom of the verification and aren’t highlighted. They include such things as having more skill points to spend, having enough experience to level up, listing the same trait twice, etc. These aren’t usually in breach of the games rules, but they often indicate something was forgotten or skipped.

A warning is an observation that what is listed on the sheet appears to be in breach of the games rules. For example, your character has more skill points in a skill than your character level allows you to have, they are wearing two suits of armour at the same time or they have too many bonus levels assigned to one of their caster classes. Warnings are listed at the top of the sheet check and are highlighted to make sure you see them.

We refer to these as warnings though and not as errors — the reason is that while these break the rules as written, that is not to say they are necessarily wrong. In some cases, the storyteller may have decided to allow a deviation from the regular rules to compensate for some sort of weakness, or the additional power may have been a reward for a particularly difficult quest, after all!

What we want to make sure is not that your sheet follows the Pathfinder rulebook to the letter, but rather that the storyteller and you are aware of the status. That way you can decide if this was an accidental oversight or an intentional deviation. In the end, after all, it is all up to you!

To see what other changes we have made this week, be sure to check out our changelog. More updates are coming soon, so keep an eye out, and if you believe we can improve further, be sure to let us know in the forums!