Sometimes, to get a feel for the direction of a game, I sit back and do some design work relating to it. This typically comes in the form of developing a character sheet.
My rationale works like this...
If the character sheet looks clean and crisp, then the system is probably the same. If the sheet looks messy and cluttered, then the underlying system is probably even more messy and cluttered.
It's not entirely accurate, but it works as a rough gauge to determine if I'm on the right track.
Character sheets are one of the tools that a new player will use as a window into the game and the setting. I like to make sure my sheets are functional, the details are easy to find, and where possible the sheet evokes a bit of the setting's character. I'm not always successful in all of these aims, but that's why I'm still designing....I haven't created my perfect game yet, and I don't think I ever will. The process is important, the game is just a step along the way, and the character sheet is just a way of reflecting my thoughts in a different way to those who follow my path.
Anyway...enough zen...here's the sheet.
I've deliberately used some iconography to make certain concepts more apparent. One example of these is the use of elemental symbols, but more importantly I've included "human" forms on the mutation scales, at the top level of "Appearance", "Hands", "Stance" and "Speech", and in the middle of the "Size" track. These indicate the points where an average person would exist on these scales, and thus show at a quick glance how far the character has deviated from the standard evolutionary path of humanity.
The whole sheet is designed to tri-fold. The front would be the section to the left of the DNA ribbon, the inside would be the remainder of the sheet. The front gives general information about the character, things that might come up in a story but don't necessarily have a mechanical function. The inside has all the features that interact directly with the game's mechanisms. A two sided version of the sheet might have a cheat-sheet of rules on the back.
It doesn't include anywhere for equipment, because I'm still thinking about this part of the game...especially how different sized equipment might interact with different sized characters. I'll probably track equipment as a series of cards, or might keep note of it on a separate sheet.
It could probably do with some tweaking, but I'm pretty happy with it at this stage.
3 weeks ago