Homemade Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Character Sheets from the 1980s

DnD character sheet quickly became a rare commodity in my group of friends. It seemed that no matter how often we were able to make a copy of the sheets at the local library, we would run out. So most of the time we were forced to take pen or pencil to paper and make our own.

I am not sure of the exact date, but at some point in the late 1980s I had access to a computer with a printer at an office my sister worked at and proceeded to make some crude character sheets for myself. I seem to remember only getting to print out a few before being told that computer ink cost money and that I should not do that. Lessons learned.

These sheets are pretty sad, which might explain why they were never used. There is not a lot of room for stuff and they are weirdly formatted in many places (look at all that white space!). We were going through a pets and hirelings phase when these were made I guess, which would explain the extra pages for that. Oh and notice we used comeliness. This is always an attribute we played with, the difference between it and your charisma made for some really interesting roleplaying opportunities.

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8 thoughts on “Homemade Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Character Sheets from the 1980s

  1. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Nifty character sheets.
    Yeah, we had to make our own for a while (handmade, in Basic Set days).
    When the faraway D&D hobby shoppe got these green sheets (for Basic, then later AD&D) I whooped and purchased in a jif.
    All the extra info on these added to the texture of player characters.
    We loved filling them in. Would spend an entire evening (and then some) poring over their creation.

    And white space is very practical for treasure listing!
    Also, bored doodling while the DM looks up arcane rules to deal with mischievous players.

  2. Yup, we made our own too. We bought some of the AD&D character sheets that were on yellow paper (which was to prevent you from making Xerox copies of them), but that didn’t stop us. My mom made copies of them at her work for us and the result was dark, smeared-looking character sheets. The worst part was, they were on some sort of glossy paper, so whenever you tried to erase something (which was often) everything would smear. Xerox copiers have come a long way in 25 years.

    I ended up writing a program in BASIC on, I think, our IBM PC Jr., It would allow you to type in simple things like the character’s name, race, class, and statistics, and then it would print out a sheet with a few details and a lot of blanks for you to fill in by hand. They worked pretty well.

    To give you an idea of how broke and desperate we were back then, I once wrote a program on the computer to print out graph paper. It didn’t work very well.

  3. We had those copied yellow sheets as well. The original DM’s father worked in some technical field and brought them to his work and somehow copied them so that they were only light grey. Those sheets were out gold standard. I think I must still have some in a folder in some box.

    Graph paper! That was nearly as valuable as a good character sheet. I remember erasing and reusing graph paper until it had holes all over and having to build dungeons around the paper wholes. Amazing how things have changed.

  4. I started really playing my freshman year in high school. Most of the people in the club were already seniors. One of them had access to equipment in the school and printed up sheets on heavy stock and even put them in a plastic spiral binding.

    I’ll have to see if I can scan some of them cuz, you know…I still have them.

  5. You know I think you might be right on that, it was a brand new computer in the office at the time and I can remember the tech guy talking it up.

    Did you have one?

  6. Payton says:

    I use to own one. The fonts used and the design the layout hints at a modern GUI. This was definitely created on the SE, maybe a SE 30.

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