Are D&D characters too complex?
I'm in the middle of my second D&D 3.5 game, well, actually I use Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed/Evolved, but the basic game is still D&D. One of the issues I have with the game is that the characters are too complex. They have too many skills, feats, and abilities that never get used.
I've been trying to think about how to pare down the skill list to a set of skills that will actually get used. We use spot, listen, and search all the time. Intimidate and other charismatic skills get used occaisionally (though we never seem to have characters that really focus on those skills). Knowledge skills get almost no use (and the Akashics in the games almost never delved into the Akashic Record). The "thief" skills (disable device and open locks) rarely get used (I have always felt that these skills were circularly justified, traps started appearing in D&D, so we needed someone to deal with them, so the thief class was introduced, but now we have a character that can't contribute that well in combat, so we need more locks and traps for the thief to deal with, so now we really need thieves, and round and round the mulberry bush of justification we go). Climb, jump, and the other athletic skills get used rarely (especially given the ease of getting flying characters in AE). Tumble is hard to use (for one thing, it's not clear, does the attacker make two rolls, one against your tumble check and one against your AC, or just one. If the attacker makes just one roll, your tumble check has to have a good chance of being better than your AC to be even worth trying).
Spell casters also may end up with too many options. And then there's people's magic item lists. 3e isn't as bad as my AD&D days where PCs might have 20+ items, but still, characters that have items other than standard AC, weapon, and save items that are factored into the "combat" abilities spelled out on the character sheet often get forgotten.
On the other hand, all of these options are important for creating unique characters and providing a wealth of options that are gameable (I like the tactical wargame nature of D&D play). Some are important for creating flavor even if that flavor ends up granting little or no mechanical advantage.
But trading effectiveness for flavor creates imbalances in the characters. We have had numerous flavorful characters that basically sat around on their butts during combat. Even if the character sees use outside of combat, it still seems less effective. And potentially there is circular justification going on.
Character sheets tend to show the failings of this complexity. One page character sheets don't really work. All the skills need to be listed to remind folks what skills are there. There has to be space to show how things like saves and attacks are derrived (and it doesn't really work to have the formula on a "worksheet" on the back, and just plug in the number on the front). Spell casters need at least half a page to list out their spells. Magic item and possession lists take space. Even if you could keep the sheet to one page, there would probably still be stuff missed. My current sheet is four pages, though I get everything (except for spells) necessary for combat on one page (well, skills aren't on there either, but few skills apply in combat - perhaps I should make room for a couple on the front page like Tumble - but then information is being copied since those skills should still be listed with the rest).