Keeping Track of Conditions

Keeping track of conditions is the one thing 4th Edition doesn’t make easy.

During the first few levels, things aren’t too bad. Occasionally, someone will be slowed or immobilized; nothing too complicated. However, as levels start to rise, so do the amount of conditions that are handed out each round. What really makes this situation total mayhem is how varied conditions can get. “Is my slowed save ends or does it end at the end of your turn? Is this +2 to attack against all creatures or just one specific one?”

When each combatant is regularly under the effects of three or four conditions, a system must be put into place to keep track of it all.

In the past, I’ve tried many methods. At the beginning, I used paperclips, magnets, hair ties, and chits—either on or near the miniature—to call out conditions. Unfortunately, those sorts of methods don’t lend themselves well to 3D terrain play; they got in the way very easily. After that, I started using laptops, smartphones, and even an iPad. The major negative aspect to digital devices tends to be in the software: they’re often cumbersome or aren’t fully featured. Finally, I tried using magnetic whiteboards with small magnets varying in shape and color to denote conditions. While better than most of the other methods, someone had to be in charge of all the record keeping that conditions generate. That’s a lot of work, writing out all those conditions and moving around all those magnets!

Surely there had to be simpler way. That’s when I was asked, “Chris, why aren’t you just using index cards with the conditions written on them?” Apparently, I’ve been going about this whole thing the hard way all this time. Condition cards may, in fact, be the answer we’ve been looking for all this time. When a character is dazed, BAM—they get a dazed card. As soon as they save against it, they hand the card back. A tangible card makes it hard to forget that you’ve got something to worry about.

Of course, as a graphic designer, I knew I wasn’t going to be happy with any of the fan made condition cards already available on the Internet, so I put together my own from scratch. They’re meant to be printed out, cut up, and placed into plastic sleeves so you can write on them with dry or wet erase markers.

Here’s a link to some pictures that show what the cards look like when printed and inserted into sleeves.

Download my Condition Cards here: Color and Grayscale