Tome of Tips: Turn Tracker

The Roll20 Team

The Roll20 Team


Pull up a cozy chair and pour yourself a cup of something hot; it’s time once again to crack open the fabled pages of the Tome of Tips, the leading source on all things Roll20!

Today, we’re talking about the Turn Tracker.

What is the Turn Tracker?

As the name suggests, the Turn Tracker helps you keep track of initiative in your games. This is usually tied to combat encounters, but any time you need to keep track of…well, turns, the Turn Tracker helps you do just that.

To put it in the most basic terms, the Turn Tracker is just an interactive list, usually of players or characters.

How do I use it?

Access the Turn Tracker by clicking the Clock icon on the Toolbox. While only the GM can open the Turn Tracker, once it’s open, everyone can see it.

There are a couple of ways to add a new entry to the Turn Tracker:

__Adding a turn associated with a Character Sheet __

If you’re using Character Sheets and want to add a roll from one to the Turn Tracker, select the token associated with the sheet first. Then, roll initiative from the character sheet.

Easy as that–the name and token image associated with that sheet will be added to the Turn Tracker.

__Adding a turn for a token __

To add a token without an associated character sheet, just right-click on the token and choose “Add Turn” from the drop down menu.

The token’s image and name will appear in the turn list.

There’s one more way to add a turn while a token is selected: Roll for initiative and add “&{tracker}” to the end of the roll in chat (for example: /roll 1d20 + 5&{tracker}). It’ll automatically set the token into the turn order.

What are some cool things I can do with the Turn Tracker?

Use the Turn Tracker to…

__Track Turns across multiple pages at the same time __

Did you know the Turn Tracker isn’t bound to a single page? You can use it to track turns across multiple maps at the same time. The GM will be able to see every token with a turn, but players will only see turns for the tokens visible on the page they’re at. This is particularly useful during split-the-party scenarios, where players are attacking an enemy at two separate fronts.

You might also find it useful in heist games. While one player hacks into a well-guarded security terminal, another player preps the getaway vehicle on a separate page. Using the Turn Tracker, the GM can follow the action in real-time, and make sure that one player’s actions can have meaningful consequences across the entire party.

__Use the Round Calculation feature to create a countdown __

You might already know that you can add a custom item to the Turn Tracker. But did you know you can use Round Calculation to simulate a countdown and attach it to that custom item?

On the Turn Order Settings Menu, name your custom item, then put a value in the Round Calculation box–for example, -1. Now, every time that a round completes, the value associated with that custom item will decrease by 1, or by whatever figure you entered in that box. If a wizard casts a buff that only lasts 3 rounds, for example, you could track that using Round Calculation.

Where there’s countdowns, there’s dramatic tension. Maybe an evil sorcerer will complete a dark ritual if the party doesn’t stop them within five rounds. To track this, create a Custom Item called Ritual, set its value to 5, and set the Round Calculation to -1.

Use Round Calculation to create a sense of drama and urgency for your players.

__Track a hidden enemy’s movements by giving them a turn on the GM layer __

Want to keep track of an enemy’s initiative without exposing their presence to the party? No problem! We mentioned above that players will only see turns for the tokens on their respective pages, but there are other ways to keep enemy movements concealed. The Turn Tracker is visible to the party, but they won’t see turns for tokens hidden on the GM layer.

If there’s an all-but-invisible rogue stalking the party from the rafters of an abandoned building, you can keep that rogue hidden–even if the players have no clue that they’ve entered into combat. Once the enemy finally does make their dramatic entrance, simply move the token from the GM Layer to the Objects and Tokens layer, and their turn will appear for everyone.

That’s all for today. Are there any features you’d like to read about in the Tome of Tips? Let us know on Twitter, and we just might dust off another volume of the sacred old tome and find the chapter you need.

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