This discussion will be about spell/ability tracking play aids (mainly) for ability-heavy classes. Tools like these are essential for players who have mid to high level characters and want to streamline their turns or interactions. The time and attention spent on flicking through notes could be better used to play up a killing blow or a funny roleplay moment. The rest of the table will be grateful.
TRACKING CARDS. This collection of class ability trackers was made by reddit user gauchopictures and posted in this reddit thread. For optimal use, have the relevant class card printed, cut out, and laminated. Use non-permanent markers for writing on the card unless the plan is to have the character killed off .
The collection includes the following classes:
- Fighter/Eldritch Knight
- Rogue/Arcane Trickster
For those who want to have cards for the whole party, download the pdf file for all the classes here. If a printer or laminating machine isn’t readily available, try out some of the other methods below.
DICE. This method is great for dice hoarders. Now they can justify having more d6 or d4 than their character can possibly roll for. If the player is feeling a strong urge to flex, they can even use their limited edition metal d20s with luminous number indicators. A setup like this does have a downside of being easy to mess up if somebody “accidentally” bumps into the table. This problem can be solved by making a dedicated tray with snug dice dimensions like the ones made by reddit user stephenswoodworks.
COINS/TOKENS. This method offers more stability than using dice, but there is a degree of difficulty in quickly distinguishing how many pieces are stacked. Try to use coins that are thicker or ones that aren’t poorly designed (Banko Sentral amirite?). Similar to the dice method, players can get creative with how they implement this kind of tracking. Ran out of coins? Use your rings, keys, or even pocket lint and group them together with a label.
PENCIL+PAPER. First off, there are better ways of implementing this than the one showed above. Some character sheets like this one have pages dedicated to spell tracking. The downside to this method is that the paper will wear out quickly specially if you’re really aggressive with erasing or just playing a trigger-happy spellcaster.
PHONE APPS/DIGITAL TRACKERS. There are a ton of programs dedicated to documentation for all things Dungeons and Dragons. Fortunately, most of these programs are readily available on smart phone and tablet platforms. Apps like Fight Club 5th Edition for Android (shown above) are all-in one character creation and progression tools. Using up and recovering spell slots in apps like this can be done in just a few screen taps. This is a very convenient method where the worst downside would be the possibility that the character data gets corrupted or overwritten.
There are a lot of other ways to manage spells, but these are the ones I recommend for anyone having trouble remembering how many spell slots they have left. When you run out of 3rd level slots, it’s never a good idea to argue the legality of downcasting Fireball.