With the advent of 5e, DnD has expanded more into the online space. With One DnD around the corner and all of its plans to fully integrate virtual tabletops, expect this trend to continue.
In many ways, this was inevitable: DnD is a tricky game to work out the statistics of, and any computerized assistance is welcome to help with that.
A part of me feels sad about this change, though. To me, scribbling, erasing, and re-scrawling notes are as central to this game as dice rolls and miniatures. The prospect of having all three of those things completely digitalized sucks a lot of fun out of the game for someone as old-school as myself.
Reading out a dice result on a screen will never be as nerve-wracking as watching an actual roll, never as elating as watching a 20 roll around on a die for all the table to see, neither more tragic than watching it stop on a 1.
None of this means you shouldn’t incorporate virtual stuff, of course. I regularly check spell descriptions and subclass features on my phone during sessions. I’ve got an entire app dedicated to keeping track of my Druid’s Wild Shape forms. I’ll be damned if I can remember everything about this game!
No, I’m simply saying that it’s easy to overlook the humble beginnings of this game, which is a terrible shame because its physical aspects are part of getting the best experience out of it.
The true spirit of this game wouldn’t be complete with its tactile elements. After all, it’s not called a “pen and paper” game for nothing!
With that in mind, here is a list of what I consider to be the best DnD 5e character builder sheets out there!
Interesting Read: Comprehensive Guide to DnD Merchandise.
Bottom Line, Up Front
Here are all the upcoming character sheets, organized into sections for fast reference:
- Simple but functional: WotC Official / Hippie Nerd Seawitch / Legendary Pants Labs
- Stylish and flamboyant: Gothic Domain / Azure & Copper / RadiantLightxx / Ink & Claw
- Beginner-friendly: Inuyasharul & Axelle123 / Sage Advice
What to Look for in a Character Sheet
So, what makes a particular character sheet stand out from the crowd? In making this list, I was looking for what I like to call “The Three Ss”: sections, space and style.
Every character sheet needs a complete compendium of sections. It’s of the utmost importance that everything you need to look up in a game is available on your character sheet. The most important sections are as follows, but anything more is always welcome:
- Armor Class
- Hit Points
- Ability Scores & Modifiers
- Proficiencies & Proficiency Bonus
How much space you have to write in a character sheet can make all the difference in still making it legible after a long session of scribbling. Keep an eye on how much each section gives you to write in; the more, the better. Big open empty boxes are fantastic.
These sheets are chosen not only because of the large amount of space they give you but also in how they’ve allocated that space between sections.
Every section needs its accompanying amount of space, but that doesn’t mean all areas are equivalent. For example, your language box rarely needs much room to fit all you need in, but your spells should take up an entire page of their own.
Nobody wants a dull-looking character sheet! Style should be the lowest in importance on the criteria, but if I’m candid, I’m more than happy to bring spare paper along if it means I can have a snazzy-looking sheet at the expense of sections and space.
With this criterion in mind, let’s move on to our list of the best DnD 5e character builder sheets!
Wizards of the Coast Official DnD 5e Character Sheet
Let’s start with the classic: the official character sheet from Wizards of the Coast. This is the character sheet that most people have in mind when they think of DnD 5e.
It’s simple, has everything you need, is easy to get hold of, and every DnD player on the planet will recognise it as the quintessential character sheet.
It also happens to be the sheet I use the most often, mainly because I tend to play spellcasters, and this sheet has a fantastic spells page, which makes keeping track of prepared spells and available slots incredibly easy.
That said, it lacks space in many of its sections, specifically its inventory and features. Whilst this isn’t a big deal at low levels, the more you play, the more you start to feel cramped in what you can write. As always, keep an extra blank sheet for scrawling any notes down.
Better still, get a dedicated notebook for even more space, which you can utilize for campaign notes and NPC names, making for a very grateful DM.
Some sections could be designed a little better. The standard character sheet doesn’t split its skills in separate brackets with their relative ability modifiers, instead choosing to list them as they appear in the Player’s Handbook.
This can make them a little harder to find on the fly, reading through the list and finding the ability score written in the brackets next to that skill. One of the alternative designs (available from the .zip collection) rectifies this problem, but at the expense of completely losing the currency section.
These are minor complaints, though. Overall, this is a simple, no-nonsense character sheet with which you can’t go wrong. It’s a safe, albeit slightly dull, option.
- Price: Free
- File Type: .zip/pdf
- Find it here: https://dnd.wizards.com/resources/character-sheets
- Classic, clean, and instantly recognizable design.
- Excellent spells page.
- Completely free.
- Slightly obtuse layout.
- Lacks writing space in some areas.
- Plain and uninteresting appearance.
Inuyasharul & Axelle123’s Character Sheet For Dyslexic People
Though this sheet is specifically designed for dyslexic people, it’s useful for anyone with reading difficulties.
If, like me, your eyes are permanent consolation prizes, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy to read this sheet is, with its large and friendly font.
Comic Sans may have been memed to the ends of the earth for being the worst font, but here it serves as an incredibly easy-to-read alternative to the single-pixel-sized writing I usually find myself squinting at in a darkened room.
It’s perfect for beginners, too, helped along by its coordinated color system designed to tie skills to their representative ability easily. There are also blank spaces left in various places, which is excellent for homebrew additions, notes, and reminders.
Style-wise, it may not be much to look at, but its excellent functionality and accessibility earn it a place in this list.
- Price: Free
- File Type: pdf/png/psd
- Find it here: Inuyasharul and Axelle123’s Google Drive
- Easy to read.
- Colour coded.
- Alternative language options.
- Wisdom and Constitution sections have a very similar color.
- Electrum portion of currency section is missing.
- Quite boring design: essentially the same as the WotC official sheet.
Hippie Nerd Seawitch’s D&D 5e Character Sheet but Everything is Cats
My partner wouldn’t let me finish this list without putting this sheet in it. As you may have gathered, she is somewhat obsessed with all things feline. Honestly, who can blame her?
Cats are wonderfully cuddly and adorable creatures that only occasionally cough up hairballs into your slippers.
This sheet is essentially a slightly altered version of the WotC Official sheet. At first glance, most won’t notice the difference, which leads to some entertaining “Wait a second… your character sheet is full of cats!” moments.
Its generously rounded boxes feel a little more spacious to write in, though, making your scribbles look a little less cat-astrophic. Even at the end of a long session, this sheet will look as good as mew!
Perfect for Tabaxi players, this sheet provides all the cat-itude you need to make anything paws-ible (cat puns are the best, all kitten aside)!
- Price: $4.80
- File Type: pdf
- Find it here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/1280811330/dd-5e-character-sheet-but-everything-is
- Clean and empty format makes reading and writing easy.
- Subtle but cute design.
- Purr-fect for cat lovers.
- Quite expensive for simple details.
- Design doesn’t differ that much from the WotC official sheet.
- You might be a dog person.
Legendary Pants Labs’ Future Themed D&D Character Sheet
With the recent release of Spelljammer: Adventures in Space, character sheets with a more futuristic layout have skyrocketed in popularity.
Of the available choices, I find this one to have the best structure. It also happens to predate Spelljammer by quite some way, popping into existence in late 2017.
Its geometric design isn’t just for show, though. It’s fantastic for splitting up sections into bite-sized chunks and creating almost an absurd amount of space.
The attacks and go-to spells sections give you six instances each, and its spell sheet sees fit to provide you with a whopping eleven cantrip slots, which is more than any character could feasibly need.
Some sections aren’t so generous, however. The racial features, in particular, give you so little space that I hardly see much point in using it at all. Furthermore, its hex-based design can make it look relatively uniform, making it hard to differentiate individual sections at a glance.
Minor gripes aside, this is a great character sheet with much utility. Though designed for DnD 5e, its cyber-punk design also makes it perfect for more science fiction-based tabletop games, such as Alien: The RPG.
- Price: Free
- File Type: pdf
- Find it here: https://www.legendarypants.net/lp-labs-future-themed-dd-character-sheets
- Unique futuristic look.
- Tidy, clean and easy to read.
- The attack and go-to spells sections are super-convenient.
- Racial features section is laughably tiny.
- Not to everyone’s taste, especially those that prefer traditional fantasy aesthetics.
- Sections are tricky to tell apart quickly.
Sage Advice’s Kid-Friendly D&D Character Sheet
Whilst this character sheet was created with children in mind, it’s an excellent introduction for anyone new to learning DnD. It includes the essential features but simplifies and organizes them based on what players can do in particular situations.
It comes with handy explanations for various game mechanics, though the small type font can make them hard to read. The exhausted section is a particular highlight for me, as I can never remember the effects of each level.
The illustrated dice diagrams are a thoughtful addition, as they can easily confuse players new to the game. This is a feature that I wish was present in more sheets; even pro players can find themselves picking up a d8 instead of a d10 from time to time.
There are some downsides, of course. With all the explanatory text taking up space, you lose out on several valuable sections, so it becomes even more critical to have some blank pages spare to write on.
Some sections are also oddly placed: I’ll never get used to ability scores being on the bottom of the page. Whilst this is an excellent sheet for beginners, you’ll probably move on to other options once you get the hang of things.
- Price: Free
- File Type: pdf
- Find it here: https://www.sageadvice.eu/a-kid-friendly-dd-character-sheet
- Specifically organised to be easy to understand.
- Brief explanations of easy to forget mechanics.
- Dice diagrams are fantastic.
- No inventory section and no spells page.
- Incredibly unorthodox arrangement makes it hard to adjust to other character sheets.
- Small type font is hard to read in places.
Gothic Domain’s Gothic Vibes Character Sheet
My go-to sheet for Curse of Strahd or any vampire-themed campaign. This beautifully detailed sheet is brilliant for a charming gentleman thief, a mysterious soothsayer or an undying warlock.
The design is extraordinarily detailed, which looks fantastic but can make some areas challenging to read. Overall though, the style rarely comes at the expense of writing space, and it even provides some rarely seen sections that are super useful.
It’s almost certainly the most pretty sheet on this list that doesn’t require color, which makes it one of my absolute favorites.
- Price: $4.26
- File Type: pdf
- Find it here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/964756579/gothic-vibes-character-sheet-dd-5e
- Attuned Items and Components sections are great inclusions.
- Huge equipment section.
- Gorgeously gothic.
- Stylised handwriting font is tricky to read.
- Design looks cluttered in places.
- Very specific look doesn’t suit all characters and campaigns.
Azure & Copper’s Watercolour Character Sheets
If you’re looking for a colorfully unconventional character sheet, Azure and Copper have you covered.
These sheets are beautiful, though they can sometimes be challenging to understand. With some of the designs, it can be tricky to know where you’re supposed to write, and some sections could do with a tad more space.
If you have terrible handwriting (like me), this is made all the worse, as you don’t want to spoil the fantastic look of these things.
Some sections, like spells and notes, have vast amounts of space to write in, which is always welcome, and though some sections aren’t where you’d expect them to be initially, they become pretty intuitive once you get used to them.
There are a lot of designs to choose from, which makes theming your character and your dice alongside your character sheet an absolute joy. My warlock is currently written down on the Otherworldly theme, and with some purple dice, it helps sell the vibe of that character.
Frankly, the only reason I don’t use these sheets more often is because of how much color ink they demand from my printer. That said, you could always print them in black and white and color them yourself if you’re inclined.
- Price: $5.06
- File Type: pdf
- Find it here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AzureAndCopper
- A huge amount of design options.
- Generous writing space.
- Eye-catching, beautiful and stylish.
- Unconventional layout can be hard to understand.
- Some sections are smaller than they should be.
- Printing requires a lot of color ink.
RadiantLightxx PDF Character Sheets
Staying on the theme of snazzy-looking sheets, RadiantLightxx brings a colourful selection.
They’re superbly functional, usually leaving the suitable space each section needs. Using these sheets, I never find myself wanting extra room or a missing section.
I particularly love the entire page it dedicates to just the Features and Traits and Equipment sections, both of which I frequently find myself writing far too much.
Some sections are a bit of an enigma in design, however. Though I love its appearance, the swashbuckler one has its intelligence box squeezed by a space-invading snake, giving you less room than any other ability score.
I’m also not quite sure where to write my proficiency bonus. I assume it goes between the flintlock pistols, but there’s always a niggling doubt whenever I put it there.
The spell page is also a little lackluster. There are no markers for tracking prepared spells or available slots. Instead, you get nine inconsistently spaced, unmarked boxes: functionally fine but could have been so much more with just a few design adjustments.
Small grips aside, these are a great selection of fancy yet functional character sheets that come highly recommended.
- Price: $5.99
- File Type: pdf
- Find it here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/RadiantLightxx
- Lots of space dedicated to Features and Traits and Equipment sections.
- Unique designs with lovely colours.
- Format is functional and easy to read.
- Inconsistent section sizes.
- Where you’re supposed to write takes guesswork at times.
- Drain on color ink supplies.
Ink & Claw’s DnD Artistry
Finishing off our trifecta of creatively colorful character sheets, Ink and Claw step up and might take the top prize on style.
My lord, these look good! The symbol centerpiece specific to each sheet makes it pop out and grab your attention, and the blended background colors are a joy to behold.
The layout of these sheets changes quite a lot between the designs, and all of them are pretty good. Nevertheless, Ink and Claw offer custom changes, so you can alter any part of the layout that doesn’t suit you.
I particularly love the standard choice to split the skills up and put them into separate sections with their respective abilities.
The price of style is a lack of space, sadly. The motifs are impressive to look at but take up all the page’s real estate, which gets particularly noticeable when your inventory gets full.
This isn’t a deal breaker, as an extra sheet can solve this problem fairly quickly, but it’s something to keep in mind for those that prefer utility over artistic flair.
- Price: $5.50 – $6.64
- File Type: pdf
- Find it here: https://www.inkandclaw.ca
- Gorgeous designs, each with their own standout motifs.
- Plentiful options to choose from.
- Custom layouts are available.
- Designs frequently take up writing space.
- Some designs are quite pricey.
- Won’t somebody think of my color ink?!
Question: “What is a Character Sheet?”
Answer: A character sheet is how you record your character in a role-playing game. Those that play video games might know it better as a “status screen” or a “Heads-up display“, and it functions very similarly.
It contains game statistics, actions, background information, notes, spells, abilities, and whatever else your character can be expected to be able to do within the game. It is one of the most required items to play DnD, putting it on par with miniatures and dice.
Question: “What Size are Character Sheets?”
Answer: The vast majority of character sheets, including all the examples you’ve seen here, are A4-sized. Larger forms exist and are great for writing space and those with poor eyesight, but they take up quite a lot of space at the table, so they can be pretty awkward.
Question: “How Do I Make a Good Character Sheet?”
Answer: There are a lot of parts to a character sheet, which can be daunting at first. Fortunately, a lot of the work is done for you; it’s nowhere near as complicated as it looks. Character sheets are split into sections, so you can fill one out in bite-sized chunks, making it far more manageable.
Your DM should run a “session 0“, in which you can ask them any specific questions you might have and build your character with them. Always ask about anything you’re not sure about, and make sure to use a pencil so you can erase any mistakes.
Knowing which sheet is suitable for you can be tricky with so many options. To make things easier, I’ll describe how I organise my sheets.
At the start of a campaign, with the players at level 1, I choose a free option that’s easy to print out in bulk. This is because I am expecting to shoot up levels at this early stage.
I mostly opt for the official sheet, but Legendary Pants Labs is also a good choice. At the end of every session, I expect to be up a level, which warrants a fresh character sheet.
Once you’re at level 5 or so, leveling up slows down. This means you can keep one sheet for multiple sessions. At this point, I opt for more extravagant, colored options.
It’s not as demanding on my printer, and by that point in the campaign, I have a better idea of who my character is, how they act, and what specific sheet best speaks of their style.
This isn’t always the case, of course. If I don’t enjoy my character as much as I thought I would or expect them to die soon, I won’t venture past the primary, functional sheets.
Likewise, if I’ve already played the character in a different campaign and already have a good feel for them, I’ll upgrade my sheet earlier. As always, it’s entirely up to you when you swap, if at all.
I also highly recommend carrying extras. Just in case, I always have at least six empty, spare character sheets. Again, these tend to be official sheets, as they’re what players are most used to, but I swap some out for beginner-friendly sheets if I think I’ll be playing with those new to the game.
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