Can a Sheet Be Modified?

A question that crops up occasionally is: “I see the sheet for my game exists, but I want to add X to it. Is this possible?” Or, “The design style for this sheet is not to my taste. Are their extra designs available?”

The Short Answer


The Long Answer

Usually there is only one sheet available for a game, sometimes two, and very rarely more. And each sheet has a very specific design style chosen by the author and that is fixed.

Why Though?

There are in fact several very good reasons why this is, and people not realising it makes sense but can be frustrating.

The Roll20 Limit

First, there’s Roll20 policy. For a long time, Roll20 had the policy: there can only be two sheets, max, available for a system – the By Roll20 sheet (an officially licensed sheet made by an agent of the Roll20 devs and that publisher), and a Comnunity Sheet (one sheet made by fans, however many fans that sheet has).

Systems could not have more than that. Some systems did have more than this (mainly D&D ones, for reasons below), because this rule limiting the number of sheets didnt always exist, and older sheets were grandfathered in.

Roll20 might have relaxed this rule limiting the number of sheets, but still have some rules like, the new sheet must have a specific reason to exist (whatever that means).

The Community Size Limit

Creating a sheet is a lot of work. This is really underestimated. It can easily take dozens of hours to create a sheet, and this is uaully the work of a single person who has the skill in HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Roll20 code to be able to put that sheet together.

A game’s community must have substantial size or dedication to produce even a single person capable of creating the sheet. Remember it takes a lot of work to create a sheet, so anyone who creates a sheet is likely engaging in a labour of love and they aren’t going to randomly do it for other systems (there have been a very few counter-examples in Roll20 history, like Coal-Powered-Puppet, but they don’t create sheets any more).

Only the most popular systems, like the variants of D&D, have a big enough community to support creating more than one sheet. But they run into the Roll20 Limit.

Attribute Names

Everything that can be entered on a sheet is an attribute – statistics, skills, saves, attack bous, levels, each item of equipment carried, each attack and each property of that attack, ditto for spells, and so on.

In the rare case you have multiple sheets, the people designing them did’t coordinate their efforts – so all these attributes have different names under the hood. One person might name the Strength Mod as attr_strength, another might use attr_strength-mod, and another might use attr_strength_mod. All of these are different.

When you move a character from one sheet to another, only the attrobutes that are named identifcally show up on the new sheet. The rest are there, but hidden.

Every attribute on a sheet takes up a little memory and can contribute to lag, especially if there are a lot of characeters. This means the standard advice when changing from sheet to sheet is to start a new campaign with completely new, blank sheets for each character – and manually copy over any scores you need to.

This means you get all the stats converted properly, and the new campaign is bogged down by hundreds of attributes you can’t see,

Because of this, there is little incentive for people to create new, interchangeable sheets. People pick one sheet and stick with it, and if there is just one widely used sheet, their characters can be used in other people’s campaigns. If there are multiple sheets, the characters won’t be transferrable.

Varying CSS Styles

In theory, there is one approach to making sheets that manage different styles. You can bild multiple styles into a single sheet and use CSS toggles to flip between them. But no-one does this.

The reason for this is simple: Each extra design takes a lot of extra work, and requires design choices. Most people creating a sheet just pick a single design and emulate that. That is hard enough, why make it harder?


When someone asks are their extra options or designs for this sheet, the answer is almost always no. If you want customisation, you will have to make it yourself.

Solving This Problem

It’s debatable whether this actually is a problem. Creating a sheet is a lot of work, so if a system has even one sheet, be willing to use that and consider yourself lucky. But for sheet authors who want to support multiple sheets here are your options (note that these can only be done by sheet authors, not general users):

Switching Sheets

When building your sheet, look at any other sheets that alrteady exist, and make sure you use the same attribute names as the existing sheet does for everything.

There are problems here: you might have attributes the other sheet doesn’t use, or the other sheet might have attributes for things you don’t intend to create. There’s no good way to handle this – people using either sheet will just have to accept the differences.

The Versionator Option

Create a sheet worker that transfers all attribute values from one sheet to the other. You’ll have to be skilled with JavaScript and be able to identify something unqieue about each sheet, so you can tell which sheet is which when ever sheet:opened runs, and you can also tell whether the versionator needs to run.

This is a topic for another post. It gets really complicated!

This also has the biggest drawback: when you copy attribute values from one attribute to another, you create an extra attribute. The original still exists, but is hidden. Since attributes contribute to campaign lag, this is not a good approach.

Adding Styles To A Sheet

The easiest solution would be for a sheet author to build different CSS styles into a sheet and offer an easy way to switch between them (see my now-ancient Trollbabe sheet for an example). But there are draw-backs – attributres might be different bewteen the different versions. It also requires a lot of extra reward for little reward.

The easist solution would probably be for peeople contributing to the sheet fater it is created to create extra styles. But they need to understand the way the sheet is built.


There’s no good solutiobn to this ‘problem’. Creating a sheet is a lot of work, and if your system has a sheet, be grateful! It would be nice *really nice, a great user benefit) to be able to tweak it, but in practice that’s just not really possible.

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