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In a game I play in, almost all of the players routinely forget to use and apply their class features that do not appear as powers. The players forget their class features and little-used powers due to the once-a-month nature of the game and the high player death rate.

What do I need to add, in what format, to the character sheets (as I'm responsible for producing the group character sheets from character builder) such that they can remember class features more effectively?

Are there any pre-formatted resources that can be included as an attachment?

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Playing only once a month and having a high player death rate hints to more problems than just remembering powers. Are you trying to treat the symptom and not the illness? – Adriano Varoli Piazza Nov 14 '10 at 14:32
Yes, but that's outside the scope of this question. Once a month is not a problem, high death rates are because of some poor role choices as well as unfamiliarity. I am addressing that problem here. – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Nov 15 '10 at 0:00
Oh, I didn't mean that playing once a month was a problem of itself, sure. – Adriano Varoli Piazza Nov 15 '10 at 11:35
up vote 3 down vote accepted

From Bryant's answer to this question, you could check out Weem's 4e D&D Combat Sheet for some ideas. It's got places next to your defenses where you can write down any abilities/items/powers that might trigger off a hit or a miss against you, a place next to your attack bonus for putting down abilities that trigger on yourself hitting or missing a target, etc, all on a single page.

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I play a half orc, and for the life of me could never remember to get the temp HP that a half orc is supposed to the first time I was bloodied.

What I did to try to help was to add a custom power to my character that would get printed along with my other powers for the temp HP race which I then saw much, much more, as I spend much more time in combat looking at the power cards page of my character sheet than any other.

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If you have the time and effort and you and your group are into card games, here is an idea: Make a DND player deck, Magic:tG style.(From Ben's RPG Pile, not my idea) If I had the time and patience I would do it, it seems like a good idea. Instead of reams of pages, players can lay their cards out in front of them and they are less likely to forget what they have.

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What ways would you recommend automating the process? – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Nov 14 '10 at 23:59
There is a fake magic card generator available on the web, used to generate things like this or there is apparently software he mentions available from the Wizards website. Either should do the trick.Just a cursory google yielded: this, this or this Go through the powers in the books for your players and just insert them into the cards. – thefemmedm Nov 15 '10 at 6:53
This was generally the consensus for the question How to keep track of abilities for D&D 4e? – LeguRi Nov 15 '10 at 14:53
I printed "gray" power cards that had the feats/features/etc. that my players were forgetting, so they would see them when sorting through looking for stuff to do each turn. Eventually, they take those out of their deck as they learn the ability. Another thing is ammending appropriate cards (such as Second Wind with any special feats, like Disciple of Stone) which trigger on using that action. – F. Randall Farmer Jun 3 '11 at 23:20

Building on @thefemmedm's excellent comment about using character decks: I like to add feats and feature effects into either the cards they apply to or onto a summary card:

Features and Feats Cards

These are for a 4th level Dwarf Cavalier. Notice that Second Wind now also carries the racial feature name Dwarven Resistance (now a Minor action) as well as his Disciple of Stone benefit and hit Paladin feature Spirit of Sacrifice. All right there on the card the player uses to heal himself...

Also, I like to summarize important feats/features on a card of its own - in this case Dwarven Defenses (a name I made up.)

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I'd say that simplifying the character sheets as done for the H1 - Keep on the ShadowFell freely available module could be useful, at least for low-level characters. You can download the charsheets here. Daily, encounter and at-will powers take front and center.

The obvious problem with this setup is that they're "set". As soon as you run out of space, you either start having the same problem or have to redesign them to cover new powers.

You could also try Shado's character sheets, or some of the ones suggested here.

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Are the character sheets you're using the same basic layout for all the characters?

I produced some character sheets for 3.5 and Pathfinder (here), and one of the things I made sure of is that each class looks different. The core pages for combat are the same, but each class has a page to itself. Features unique to the class - things like Turn Undead, Bardic Knowledge or Smite Evil - get sections of their own. That makes it easier for players to see what their options are.

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I find that writing my character sheet out by hand helps me remember what the characters' abilities are. When I use the character builder I tend to forget things at the table and sometimes not even realize what the builder gave me in the first place.

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I've found it useful to keep a sheet, separate from the character sheet, containing all unusual things a character can do. Players check this sheet and the list of powers rather than the character sheet, which is then only used for doing the math. The more you add to this sheet, the less you need your character sheet and power cards.

The way my players use it is that there's a section for attacks, one for defenses and damage reduction, one for healing related things.

Here, the bonuses and special actions are laid out as pre-calculated options.
(E.g. charge: move 10 squares towards target, use this or that power, add 1d6 from helm, choose if you want to add another 1d6 from weapon daily, shift 1, end your turn unless you use action point).

It is useful to lay this document out at the PC, in order to go through your character sheet and add every single feature to each affected option.

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