What do you guys use for character sheets? I used graphing paper for a while. My biggest problem is the whole erasing things after a while the paper gets... lets say well used...
Anyway to make the sheet last a little longer?
I've seen a lot of people just drop them in protective sheets and dry-erase in their HP etc. Also, using scratch paper for the more dynamic aspects like HP can help.
I've used several solutions.
For one-shots, I just use standard 20# bond.
For typical campaigns, 80# to 110# card
If there is a box with potential for LOTS of write and erase (like Hit Points), I'll put scotch tape over it, or a small spot of con*tac clear non-glare laminate. This can be penciled upon, and vinyl erasers (standard on Bic pencils these days) work quite well on it.
Nautical Chart Shops also have laminate designed for writing on; it's expensive, and stiff, but provides a much firmer surface than the Con-Tac brand, tho' I find it not worth the extra expense save for oversized things.
I've had players who put the character sheet in page protectors, and used either china markers aka grease pencils, or overhead pens upon the page protector.
I had one GM who gave us all non-glare laminated character sheets for Space Master. We needed them. He used Con-Tac paper.
I used transparency film for one campaign; I printed one , then printed the others on the backside (using a photocopier). If one laser prints on the smooth side of an inkjet transparency, one should be able to pencil on the non-smooth side... but I've not tried that. One could also print backwards on the inkjet side with an inkjet, and then write on the smooth one with overhead pens; I've done this for classroom use, but not for gaming.
Paper. I print them onto thick, quality paper such as 90gsm+ and the sheets last for a long time. As a player, I like a worn character sheet, it represents the many hours of play it has gone through, a physical depiction of the imaginary world.
I quite enjoy the process of filling out a new sheet. I find that the natural life of a paper character sheet is five to eight levels, and that's about the time at which enough has changed to make it worth rejigging your inventory and checking sure all the bonuses are correct.
Our DM uses plastic for stuff that gets erased more often.
I get a new sheet every now and then. If I level every handful of sessions, I'll end up with a character sheet for every level.
For 4e, I use my iPad and iPlay4e.com. Just too convenient for words, although it totally loses that sensory feel and sense of history. On the other hand, 4e character sheets need so much revamping when you level that I never kept paper ones for very long anyhow.
For anything simple enough, I use a thin notebook, like these. I love having a notebook full of character sheets for various games; it's like having all my memories in one place. I also leave a bunch of pages after every sheet for notes, campaign logs, and so on.
I use paper and a dulled pencil. It lasts me long enough, and if I ever need another, I can simply copy it out.
Over the years, i've writen a few computer programs to do manager my characters. At the moment for one of my games I use a character stored in Google Docs, which is shared with the ref, which just get's updated as needed, for another I reprint the character each level, and stored in a plastic folder, and use a dry marker to make quick changes etc, which then get updated on the electronic copy at the end of the session.
I tend to just use Excel (Or OpenOffice Calc). Does that count as plastic? ;)
Seriously, though, I've found that having a good eraser on your pencil makes enough of a difference that plain printer paper has lasted for years, in my experience. I still have character sheets from 8 years ago that are still completely legible. It helps to use a slightly dull pencil, though, as @pseudoephedrine pointed out.
While I use HeroLab and a laptop these days, there was a time when I found some write-on plastic sheeting. It was a self-stick plastic lamination sheet and you stuck it to the character sheet. You could write with pencil on the other side, and erase easily, too. It was slightly textured to the touch I wish I had a name of a product to give you and I'm not finding anything like that on Amazon. Barring that, I'd suggest using an old-fashioned grease pencil over the dry-erase. It both comes off better when you want it to, and is less likely to accidentally be wiped. Or just use a regular paper sheet that you print from your computer and update that regularly and reprint.