Building a FATE Core Character Sheet in Roll 20

Roll 20 is a wonderful invention but it is a right bummer that there are no template character sheets out there that you can input straight away into the character sheet section and use.  +William Chambers yesterday posted to the FATE Core community asking how a character sheet could be set up to cover this and I offered my experience to aid him.  A few others asked for the same so I agreed to post it as my next blog.  I will now show you how to put together a FATE Core character sheet template and then use it to create a character.  Note, there are a lot of images in this post and it takes around an hour to set up the base template, but once you are at that point you should never need to do it again!

What we are trying to recreate in Roll 20

First thing is not to expect a character sheet like the above.  It just won’t happen.  What I intend to do is set up something that can record the above as well as provide you with macro buttons to roll skills in game.  First thing you have to do is create a new character sheet.  You do this by going to the journal tab in the far right menu bar and under Character Sheet heading press “new” or “add” to come up with the below screen.  It will generate a character name (mine was Frotoj Erer) but I replace this with Fate Core Template Sheet as this is what it will appear as in the Journal tab.

The initial character sheet

Once we have done that there are no other changes required for the “Bio & Info” tab so we click on the “Attributes & Abilities” tab.  The first thing we want to record are the Aspects.  These need to be done as Abilities so click add 5 times and edit each entry so your sheet looks something like the below image.  When we have a character entered (I’ll show this later) we want the heading section to be the aspect and the note section (editing is accessed by pressing the little pencil, changing details then hitting the little tick to close it again) will contain what type of aspect and how the character came by it.

Putting in the aspects!

Next step is for us to approach the numeric aspects.  This is refresh, physical and mental stress boxes and skills.  Now, as I am making a base FATE Core I am putting in basic details, I need one attribute for refresh, 10 attributes to cover skills and 4 to cover stress boxes.  I click add attribute 15 times and then I edit each attribute in turn so I end up with a sheet that looks like the below image.  You can’t see all the physical and mental stress boxes (but I only add two of each, people can add more if they get them) but they are there!  Trust me.  You will note that the Physical-Stress-1 box has an attribute of 0/1, so does the Physical-Stress-2, Mental-Stress-1 and Mental-Stress-2 attributes and it is done this way so the player can put a 1 in the current attribute stress track that they have used in game.  I tried to build a macro for this but couldn’t.  I will talk to the developers to see if it is possible to change attributes by macro and get back to you all on this.

We will attach skills to macros so they can be rolled by players so
the values are important to represent the skill pyramid

The next thing we need to do is add in the consequence slots and then start adding macros for the skill rolls.  The consequence slots are aspects so they need to go under abilities.  We add three more abilities and rename them to detail the types of consequences available.  The player comes in here and edits the ability changing the name to the consequence when they use it in game to get out of trouble.  We then need another 10 abilities so we have an ability that matches each skill and we can build a macro for it.  See the image below as I begin to put in some macros.

Make sure you pay attention to the next paragraph to save time
filling out the macros…

A lot of my time was spent putting in detailed macros so I could test that each skill operated correctly and this involves invoking the actual skill name in each macro.  I did this under the assumption (and if you are not a programmer you may want to avoid the end of this sentence;) that the skill was a variable that would automatically change when you changed the skill name under the attributes.  It doesn’t.  So what I had was all of the skills built like the following screen shot, with a varying name for each skill.  You do not need to do this, read after the next picture to find out the best macro line to put in the template and save a lot of time!!!

Each macro was built to match an attribute which is a waste of time
in the template as when the player personalises it it does not personalise
the macro.  Read on to find the best thing to put in the macro.

What you want to type in the macro box underneath the ability name for each skill ability is the following line;

/r 4df + @ + ?{Modifier|0}
Copy and paste that line into each skill box and then press “Save Changes” because the template is done!  Note that none of the macros will work properly at the moment but that is to be expected.  It is now ready to be personalised by a player.  Once you press the “Save Changes” button you should have a screen similar to the one below.
The completed template
So, now you need to get your players to personalise and use their sheets but they have had little to no interaction with Roll 20.  If you follow this process with them or point them at this blog they should be able to get through OK.  First, for every character you expect to play you need to duplicate the template for them and then give them access to edit the sheet.  The duplicate button is on the “Bio & Info” sheet. Just press it as many times as you need it.  I am illustrating only one character (I am building myself in FATE) so on the Journal tab you should see the below after clicking the duplicate button.
Make sure you give the player the “Copy” version!

As the GM you need to put the “Copy” into the players Journal by filling out the details of appears in and can be edited by section for the player that will use the sheet.  They then complete the “Bio & Info” page by adding a picture if they want, change the name, select the token on the tabletop if they are using one and filling out any background detail.  Also, I have left this space for stunts although you may want to build them as abilities like we did skills.  Up to you.  Once they are done here get them to go to the “Attributes & Abilities” page to customise aspects and skills.  See what the “Bio & Info” page completed looks like below.

Look, I am a FATE character!

Once they are on the “Attributes & Abilities” page they need to edit first their Aspects, filling in the names for each aspect.  Once they have done that they need to go through their skill list in the “Attributes” and change the generic headings (e.g. Skill – Great) to the actual skill name (e.g. Craft-Computer).  Once they have finished that they then need to finish the macros under the “Abilities” section.  They can alternate doing this at the same time so they don’t get confused as to which skill is which (i.e. I would adjust the attribute, then immediately adjust the macro then go back to the next and repeat).  The tricky bit is changing the macro.  In the line that I got you to paste into the macro boxes above being; 

/r 4df + @ + ?{Modifier|0}
Cursor right next to the @ symbol or it will fail…
The player needs to place the cursor immediately after the @ symbol.  The very next space so the cursor is next to it.  What this should do is bring up a pop up menu of “Attribute” names.  If the attribute name you just changed does not appear there, type the first letter in its name and it should show up.  If not (because you have a lot of attributes the same name) continue to type the name until it appears and then click on it.  With that done the macro is complete.  Below is an example of a completed macro set.
My fully customised Great skill!

When the player is finished customising them all have them hit the save changes button and then go down and tick the box next to each “Ability” that is a skill so it will show in their macro bar.  You should have something that looks a little like the below image.

My character of me is now fully complete (although I would need to
add another two attributes to represent the extra physical stress and
mental stress box I have (forgot to do this but you should be able to work
out how to do that from the above details)

Finally, to ensure that the macros appear on the players macro bar they need to enable the macro bar in the settings tab of the roll 20 interface.  It is the little gear icon.  Clicking on it should show the option to enable the macro bar right near the top.  Check the box and the buttons will appear at the bottom of the screen.  Not all the macros will appear but you can scroll along the macro bar to find the macro they need. It looks a little like this;

The macro bar
There is one more thing I need to tell you about the macro.  When a player selects a skill to roll and presses the macro button it will come up with a dialogue every time asking if there is any modifiers.  The dialogue box defaults to 0 so all they need to do if they are not using Fate Points etc is hit enter and it will roll for them.  However, if they are invoking an Aspect or Aspects and spending a Fate point (or it is a free invoke) I have included this dialogue box so they can add the bonus for their invokes and it will give the full result.  If you don’t like this feature then you need to take out the {Modifier|0} portion of the macro.  Trust me though, it is much better having it included.

So, I hope this lengthy post helps some of you to build automated sheets for the characters.  When levelling it is just a situation of adding more attributes and abilities as described above.  I would record my extras and stunts in the notes section on the “Bio & Info” page personally.  Also, when I am playing FATE via roll 20 I actually use the interface not for maps but to recreate the tactile nature of tokens and the like of an in person game.  See the play mat image I created for my Demolished Ones game I run below.
My play mat for The Demolished Ones

I realise that some of you want to implement maps and that is all fine so go for it.  I will ask the question of the roll 20 guys today so I can see if there is a way I can alter attributes with macros and if I can I will be back with a few other macro tricks you can use to alter say your fate points used and your stress tracks.  Please note that there is more information on macros on the roll 20 wiki that shows you how to add further modification to the macro to add nice personalised messages to actions etc.!  Until next time, keep rolling!

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