11 March 2012

Advanced Reading & Writing, 1st Edition

When you play Dungeon & Dragons, a lot of your time is spent making characters. There's a lot of dice rolling, picking out skills and equipment from various charts, and then cramming all this information onto a character sheet. Here's what a D&D 4th Edition character sheet looks like. Tell me that's not more complicated than your high school homework. But the thing is, all the relevant facts and figures you need to successfully get your Dungeons & Dragons on are right there. Organized, accessible, neat.

The character sheet is one of the greatest contributions Dungeon & Dragons has made to our society -- among many. Where do you think profile pages came from? Facebook totally stole the whole distilling an entire complex person down to just one page thing from D&D! (The Zuck was obviously a tallish half-gnome wizard in his gaming days.) Of course, a genius idea like this needs to be extended to more things. For example, wouldn't it be handy if authors had character sheets?

Now for the few of you who have never played D&D before, the first step is to take three six-sided dice and use them to calculate your ability scores. Dungeon & Dragons uses a few key attributes to determine how good your character is at various tasks: strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma. Of course these wouldn't work for our author character sheets so instead I'll be substituting in key authorly abilities such as (writing) skill, plotting, originality, revision, endurance, and charm. We could probably find a few better ones but that'll have to do for now.

Tack on slots for genre, class, experience points, skills, those all important magic items and here we are, an Advanced Reading & Writing, 1st Edition author character sheet. Take a look at these prototypes for John Green, Stephenie Meyer, and well, me.

See how convenient a character sheet is? And fun? Feel free to make some for your own favorite authors. Next up, collectible author trading cards! Oh right, or you could just buy an author's books and collect the covers. That'll work too.