Improved Initiative: Initracker

Posted on August 6, 2009 by

6


I have been searching far and wide for an initiative and condition tracker for fourth edition.  For my condition, I’ve been using a modified version of the Alea Tools magnetic markers:

The poor Rogue should be taken out of his misery.

The poor Rogue should be taken out of his misery.

For initiative, I’ve been using a sheet I created for my New DM Starter Kit.  It’s just a run of the mill Excel spreadsheet, but it does the trick.  Well, after searching for a piece of software that would do all this for me, in a matter that I liked, I’ve found it.  It’s called Initracker, and I can see it getting major use at my table from now on.

Initracker's  basic layout

Initracker's basic layout

With its simplicity and understated design, Initracker won me over.  Let’s go over some of the benefits of the program:

  • Through Google Gears, you can save monsters as group of NPC’s (Goblin Cutters, for example), that all act together in initiative order, with the individual options to delay, ready, etc…
  • You can apply immunities, resistances, vulnerabilities and regeneration to monsters, as well as pc’s.
  • Hit point tracking and damage dealt tracking, including by damage type (for resistance purposes for example).
  • Program reminds you when effects end, when someone is bloodied, or someone dies.
The combat screen

The combat screen

So to start the combat, I added all the participants to the main screen, then I had the players roll for initiative.  Once I had their scores, I added it to their initiative box on the program and hit “Roll Initiative”.  It put everyone in order based on my PC’s real initiative scores, an the monsters’ random roll.  And I started combat.  Each participant has a target checkbox at the end of their line, and when they are hit of affected by something, you click it and either change their hitpoints of apply a condition on them.

Applying hit point damage based on type.

Applying hit point damage based on type.

See the image above?  When you click the target check box and select “hit points”, it opens up the hit point bar, where you can apply the damage (or healing if the target was the recipient of a heal).  There you enter the amount and select damage or heal or whatever you want.  The program handles the math.  If the monster has a fire resistance, and you did fire damage, it takes it into account.  I ran into situations last night where some of the damage given in an attack was fire, so I had to insert damage twice, but no big deal.  Maybe an additional box for additional damage of a certain type would be handy?

For conditions, it’s the same thing.  You select a target of the specific condition, and apply it. The only issue here is that there isn’t a drop down with the condition names already written.  You have to enter them by hand, which seems a little odd to me because that shouldn’t be hard to implement.   See the following image:

Condition tracking becomes a little less complicated.

Condition tracking becomes a little less complicated.

There are some things that I would like to see done to the program though:

  • Handle marks.
  • Be able to remove a dead combatant from the battle.
  • Create whole encounters and load them all at once. (Right now you manually build the encounters by loading saved groups of NPC’s)
  • The color layout of who is currently active in the round confused me a little, as PC’s are blue, and active combatant is a lighter shade of blue.  Maybe a strikingly different color for active would be better?
  • If I know the next hit kills a monster, let me hit a “Dead” button instead of having to enter the damage manually.  It’ll save time.
  • A bit of documentation for the tool, as it has none.  Learn as you go my friends!

I encountered no bugs as I played out our encounters, but keep in mind, I haven’t given it an extensive workout with different groups of enemies all at once, plus the pc’s.  I kept it relatively simple, but it did the trick.  I can recommend it to you guys with the caveat that I didn’t give it an extensive, robust challenge.  I kept it simple because it was my first time and I didn’t want the program to divert too much time from my campaign, as my play time is limited.

Mike over at Mike’s Mind wrote a nice article about the program as well, you may want to check it out of you’re interested.  Finally, here is the URL where you can find the tool:  http://www.incompleteuserna.com/initracker/

I’m sure that by playing with it, you’ll get more out of it than what I wrote here.

My final verdict?  Go get it.  I think you’ll love it as much as me.

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