While there are plenty of really good pre-printed character sheets out there, my tendency has always been to write mine out very neatly in some form of notebook. Usually this takes up the first 2-4 pages; the rest I then use for campaign notes, maps, sketches, and so on. I tend to play fantasy RPGs like Pathfinder, and I like the idea of my character keeping a journal of some kind. As much as possible I try to make journal entries as I think my character would, which makes it potentially fun and sometimes not very useful for remembering things later. For instance, I once played a barbarian character (Stonk) who, after growing up on the ‘cuisine’ of his one small tribe, was suddenly exposed to the varied foods of the world as he traveled with his party. So while other party members were taking detailed notes on our mission, Stonk’s journal read like a foodie’s notebook (“The King talked; served a passable red wine, but loved the mussel-stuffed game hens. Stonk must get recipe.”) And of course I carefully tracked treasure. Stonk liked food, but he liked treasure more.
As a side note to this, my friend Morgan once gifted me with what I now consider the ideal character notebook. It was a 9-1/2”x 7-1/2” Moleskine notebook with graph paper pages, ruled at 5 squares per inch. Gorgeous quality, and the graph paper meant I could keep my maps nice and tidy. I’ve found others since, but thank-you, Morgan, for giving me that first one.
What’s your favourite character sheet? Drop it in the comments below!