Sunday, April 18, 2010

How I keep track of initiative

Reading one of the many RPG feeds I have in the Google Reader, I came into this article about how to keep track of the initiative rolls. It's a nice article worth reading, but it made me think "Hey, why don't I share the way we do that in our game?". I guess every DM has its own way and thinks it's the best one. So here it goes:
  1. In your favorite word processor (I used Word) just make a 4-column table and as many rows as you like. One for each charecter and enough for monsters or NPCs.
  2. Columns 1 and 4 are 1,5 cm. wide and columns 2 and 3 are 7 cm. wide. All rows are 1,5 cm in height. Make sure all cell borders are a least 3 pt. wide. All are suggested values.
  3. Use you favorite font type to write the name of the character in columns 2 and 3. For the example I used this one.
By now it should look something like this:

Make sure to use a heavyweight paper when you print it. Then cover the printed sheet with transparent contact paper. That way it'll last longer and you can write the initiative in the little box with whiteboard markers. Then you cut them along the rows like this:

The idea is to hand them down to the players, they write their initiative and the DM hangs them (not the players, put that rope down), in order, over the DM screen (you do use a DM screen right?) and use a pointer to mark whose turn it is. If you're using 3.x, and someone declares a ready or delay action, you just take it out of the queue util they act.

This is how it looks from the player's side (sorry about the worn-out markers).

An this is from the DM¡s side.

Hope you like it and find it useful.