I grew up hanging out in ballparks. Every once in a while, you’d see some grognard jotting notes in their program as the game progressed. Eventually, I tried keeping score myself and I loved it! Tracking a game on a scorecard gives you a heightened level of engagement and serves as a fun memory of your experience. Developing your own hand-written annotations to document your player’s actions gives these relics a personal flair.
This also translates to D&D! Players need to make the most of their turns. Tracking your actions will make sure you optimize each combat round. It can also serve as a helpful reminder as to what skills and spells have been used since your last rest.
Introducing the Action Tracker scorecard for RPG combat:
How to Use
Any way you want! You can just check off the box each round to make sure you didn’t leave any action economy behind. As you use the tracker, you may develop your own special system of recording your character’s actions. Fold the paper in half to save a little table space, or spread out a bunch of sheets and track the whole party!
I’ve provided standard notations in the center of the sheet for the Combat Actions in the Player’s Handbook (p. 192) and my favorite Action Options from the Dungeon Master’s Guide (p. 271).
I track damage by writing the damage total preceded by an A (for attacks) or an S (for spells). If I have two attacks, I will just stack them in the box and write a little smaller. Three gets a little wonky, but it’s possible. At that point, what I’ll do is just write one damage total, and at the bottom I’ll make a note to indicate how many attacks hit (e.g. 2/3).
Track what spell slots you’ve used. I like to write the spell level in a little box in the bottom right. Creative notes or pictograms can help you remember what specific spell was cast. Each caster has their own style.
The free action box can help you keep track of what you have in your hands, keeping the action economy honest. There’s no more “wait, were you holding that rapier?” from your skeptical DM. Some useful notations for this are:
- STW – stow
- DRW – draw
- L – left
- R – right
- Drawing little pictures of weapons
This is especially useful for Rogues who like to pull a lot of Use an Object shenanigans.
By tracking the date and location of the fight, you can faithfully track features that are limited in use per rest. While some class features don’t need abbreviation (Rage, Smite), others can benefit:
- BI – Bardic Inspiration
- CD – Channel Divinity
- WS – Wild Shape
- SW – Second Wind
- DM – Deflect Missiles
- SF – Slow Fall
- VAN – Vanish
- SS# – Spell Slot Level
- SP# – Sorcery Points
By tracking enemies, you can calculate Experience Points (XP).
With two Action Tracker blocks per page, you can easily track the action economy of an NPC or cohort.
I’ve found the scorecard to be most useful in tracking the action economy of playtest (sub)classes. Taking a look at your scorecards after some test battles can make it apparent if a class is wanting for things to do with its bonus action, or reaction. Or if some feature you installed is making the free action economy way too onerous. Then I can shore up these weaknesses for further testing.
The Action Tracker release comes in several forms. Click to download each type below:
- A full color set that includes four different colors, allowing you to track an entire party if you’re feeling ambitious!
- Two greyscale options which you may find easier to write on. I have provided alternates since there is a very faint backdrop to remind which box you’re in. You may prefer discreet text at the bottom of the box (mono). However, the diagonal text is unobtrusive and can serve as a nice divider (mono 2).
- A plain black-and-white for the printer-friendly crowd.