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View Full Version : Combat Tracker - NPCs being skipped by "Next Actor" button? - Also, effect duration??



callahan09
April 6th, 2016, 16:18
I had some confusion about the combat tracker. For instance, steps to reproduce:

1) I opened up the library, went to the SRD Bestiary, and moved the Goblin, Imp, and Kobold to the NPCs.
2) I opened up the combat tracker window & the NPCs window.
3) I dragged & dropped one each of Goblin, Imp, and Kobold from NPCs to the combat tracker.
4) I dragged & dropped four PCs to the combat tracker.
5) I clicked the Combat Tracker menu and Rolled All Initiatives.
6) Click 'Next Actor' over and over again and it just cycles between the PCs, skipping all NPCs (all are labeled "enemy" or "hostile" with the red skull symbol).

What am I doing wrong? I feel like this worked for me in the past when I used the sample encounter from the sample campaign, but now it is behaving differently? Not sure what's going on.

My other question concerns effect durations. I add an effect with a duration of "1 min" for instance. Each actor's turn should be 1/10th of 1 min (6 seconds per turn according to PHB). Next to my effect, when it's first created, it says "[D: 10]" for the duration. I assumed this should reduce by 1 after each actor's turn, but it actually only depletes by 1 after an entire round is over, so I can have 5 PC's all take a turn, and it never reduces until the round is over and then it only reduces by 1 instead of 5. This is incorrect behavior, is it not? Or is the fact that it isn't counting duration correctly related to whatever I did wrong that's making the Next Actor button not work correctly? Did I somehow do something wrong with the combat tracker? I read the wiki entry on the 5e combat tracker, but couldn't find any info that seemed to explain these issues.

EDIT: Sorry folks, I messed up, somehow I have always assumed that the timing of a round was actually the timing of a turn! I just went and double-checked the PHB and blew my mind that I've been using the wrong info forever, it says 6 seconds per ROUND not per TURN. So the above issue I described actually is correct behavior!

I also wonder how things like a 1 hour duration is supposed to work? As a part of the effect creation panel, does setting a duration of 1 hour actually have any mechanical meaning to Fantasy Grounds, or is it just a reminder of some sort for the DM to have it written there? Because I couldn't figure out any particular way that the game could expire an effect with a 1 hour duration automatically, what criteria would it use? I assume it doesn't actually do anything with that duration, but I thought I'd ask about it.

I also didn't understand (sorry for so many questions in one topic) how the "Expend" feature works. For instance, I added an effect to my Light cantrip for my Cleric so that when the player casts it they can click on the effect button and it will add the effect (it will just say the word "Light") as a reminder that the spell is active and something is being lighted (they can then easily change the effect description after it's created to describe what is being effected if there was no token to target [they target themselves and add the object being effected in the description in this case] or they can add the color of the light, etc.). Anyway, the Light cantrip is supposed to expire if it is cast again, in other words, it can only be active one at a time. I thought I could use the "Expend" feature to make it expire the effect if it's cast again, but none of the options seemed to do that. I read the wikipedia entry on these options, but I honestly have no idea what the description in the wiki entry means, it was very confusing and vague to me and in experimentation I haven't been able to figure out what it is supposed to do, so could somebody please explain it to me? And is it possible to do what I wanted, make a spell effect expire if it's cast again, or even to set a limit to how many effects it can create (for instance, the Thaumaturgy cantrip can have 3 effects active at once before it makes one expire after you cast a 4th effect with it). Is this possible or no?

damned
April 6th, 2016, 16:29
By default when you add monsters to the CT it sets them as hidden. You can see them but the players cant. Hidden actors are skipped by the Next Actor button.
A round is actually happening almost simultaneously but soeone has to go first... the whole round takes 6secs (or whatever duration you are using).
Effects measured in times other than rounds will need to be adjudicated on by the GM and/or players...
I dont believe there is any support (or plans) for having spells and effects know to cancel each other out like that...

Zacchaeus
April 6th, 2016, 17:15
1) Hidden characters: As damned says characters are hidden by default when placed on the Combat Tracker. However skipping them is optional. If you have a look at the options menu under Combat there is an option there 'Turn: Skip hidden actor'. It's 'On' by default which means that hidden NPCs will be skipped when their turn comes around in the CT. You can, however set it to 'Off' and they won't then be skipped. More information on options are here (http://www.fantasygrounds.com/wiki/index.php/5E_Options).

2) Duration: I see you have a handle on the turn and round sequences and duration now. FG measures all effects in terms of rounds; so a spell which lasts for 1 minute translates to 10 rounds. If you enter the duration in minutes then FG converts that into rounds. However it doesn't convert hours into anything. So, if you want to have the CT count down something which lasts in hours then convert it to minutes first and then enter that in the duration. Of course that means that you'll need to run the game in turns which isn't very practical. Entering something in hours won't get affected by the 'clear expiring effects' menu item but if it's entered in minutes it will. So to answer your question the only mechanical meaning that entering an effect in terms of hours (or days) has is that they won't be cleared by clearing expiring effects. Such effects can be cleared by the DM either cancelling the effect or by using the 'clear all' effects menu option.

3) Expend? First off as damned says the expend feature doesn't operate to 'overwrite' a spell with another casting of the same spell. The expend feature tells FG when the effect should finish, and I thought I'd done a fairly decent job of describing the various options in the Wiki. However what might not necessarily be terribly clear is that the Expend feature is only used or looked up by FG when effects are checked, or when a turn ends. Effects are looked at when the PC (or NPC) is attacked, damaged, makes a saving throw (including a death save) or makes an ability check. There are a couple of exceptions such as ongoing damage and regeneration but generally the above is true. So when your mage casts light there isn't going to be any kind of check against any effects since she isn't attacking, doing damage or forcing a save or ability check. The effect will carry on until the spell ends or until the DM cancels the effect as noted above.

The expend feature is used to determine when the effect will end and I'm not going to repeat the Wiki options here, but if you still don't understand completely what the options are then post where you are having a problem and we'll try to help you along.

jajen2003
April 6th, 2016, 17:28
By default, when you add an NPC to the CT, it's hidden. In the Options menu, you can toggle whether or not you want the CT to skip hidden actors. Simply turn this off.

13696

***

When dealing with durations in the CT, you have the actual duration and the initiative order that triggers it. If you don't have any initiatives assigned to the actors, the CT won't know when to tick down the duration counter until the actual round itself is over. To have the durations tick down on turn, then each actor needs to be assigned initiative. Either enter it by hand manually, roll the initiative from the PCs character sheet, or use the CT menu to roll either NPCs, PCs, or all actor's initiatives. Once the initiatives are established, the CT will use those to reference when to count down on the duration itself.

I've created a pictorial walk-through explaining how this works HERE (http://imgur.com/a/Kv3gf).

I will note that effects can be built in a number of ways.

Please see the FG Wiki for more detailed information on setting up effects.

http://www.fantasygrounds.com/wiki/index.php/Effects
http://www.fantasygrounds.com/wiki/index.php/5E_Effects

callahan09
April 6th, 2016, 17:37
Aaha! Thanks for the info, both of you. When I went through my first sample encounter I did notice the hide/show toggle and set the NPCs to visible, but then went I went and started experimenting more this morning I didn't remember that option at all haha. But that definitely solved the issue, that's actually a really cool feature, it just sort of skipped right over my notice this time, but I don't think I'll forget it again.

Thank you for explaining the unique aspect of the "hours" option for duration, that's nice to know (doesn't count as an "expiring effect" for the purposes of that menu choice).

I am still not entirely clear on the Expend feature, maybe because I haven't used any abilities apparently that actually are meant to utilize it and if I do, then perhaps I'd have a lightbulb moment. Let me ask at least this, when it says "relevant action" for "On Next Action", is it only referring to rolls? If it's not something that involves rolls, then will it never "expend"? Maybe it would help if you could just point me in the direction of some spells whose effects utilize the Expend feature and then I'd understand what it's for? As it is, the 5E Effects wiki page doesn't seem, at least to my amateur and unknowing mind, what the Expend feature ITSELF is, it just explains what each of the options are. I thought I might know what it was for when I read the wiki, but when I started to try using it on my effects, I realized that I have absolutely no idea what it's for. All I notice (now, didn't notice it before) is that every single expend option mentions the next "roll" So it occurs to me that perhaps it only ever expends on a roll of some sort. It looks like the only sample in the 5E Effects wiki that uses Expend is for the spell 'Guidance'. So if I'm understanding, the Guidance effect here adds 1d4 to any ability check roll, and the "Expend = On Next Action" value means that as soon as the actor makes an ability check roll, it will remove the effect (since the text defining that spell in the PHB says essentially you only get this effect on the next ability check roll you make). So it only works when the effect ... ahem... effects a roll of some sort, the keyword being ROLL (I think this is where I'm getting confused, the difference between ROLL and ACTION, because the Expend options are both "On Next Roll" and "On Next Action" and I'm not sure I understand the difference and what might count as an action and not a roll)?? Sorry for my confusion, I'm feeling really stupid about this because you make it seem like nobody is ever confused about this but I'm having a really hard time understanding it.

jajen2003
April 6th, 2016, 17:51
Expend is when the effect is removed from the Character in the Combat Tracker.

In the case of Guidance, the effect is applied to the Character, until the Character performs a skill check. Once that "relevant" roll is made, or the duration of the effect expires whichever comes first, it will "expend" the effect and remove it from the CT.

On Next Action refers to the action referenced in the effect. For instance, if I make an effect called Anger, I would write it as
Anger; ATK: 1 melee. In this example, On Next Action would refer to the next melee attack action I make from the actions tab on my character sheet.

On Next Roll refers to the roll referenced in the effect. For instance, if I make a Guidance effect, I would write it as
Guidance; CHECK: 1d4. In this example, On Next Roll would refer to the next ability or skill check roll made from the skills tab or main tab on my character sheet.

Zacchaeus
April 6th, 2016, 17:57
Yes, an action is a dice roll.

So suppose that a PC has an effect on him like ATK:4; SAVE: 1d4. This means he gets a +4 to attack and 1d4 on any saving throw

If the effect NEVER expires then the character will always get those benefits every time he rolls an attack or saving throw.

If the effect is set to ONCE PER MODIFIER then it will expend completely once the character has made an attack and a saving throw. The character might make many attacks before he makes a save but only the first attack will get the benefit of the +4 to hit. The effect will stay after that first attack until a save is made and it will then be expended.

ON NEXT ACTION and ON NEXT ROLL essentially would do the same thing with a slight difference. Both effects will end whenever the player makes a relevant roll, but the On NEXT ROLL version can affect a number of creatures not just the first. So for example an effect which added damage would only affect the first creature if multiple creatures were selected and ON NEXT ACTION was the expend but ON NEXT ROLL it would affect all of them.

callahan09
April 6th, 2016, 18:08
Aha! Thanks, to both of you. Your comment there, Zacchaeus, is extremely helpful and basically spells it out in the clearest way that I needed to fully grasp it. That makes much more sense to me than just what's in the wiki right now. If I might be so bold, I'd suggest modifying the wiki to make what you put in that post more clear in the wiki.

Thanks again!

Moon Wizard
April 6th, 2016, 19:43
Exactly as they said. One clarification to Zacchaeus post.

On Next Roll expends on the next relevant single roll. (i.e. Only applies once in multi-target situations)

On Next Action expends on the next relevant action. (i.e. Applies to all rolls in a multi-target situation)

Cheers,
JPG

callahan09
April 6th, 2016, 19:47
Exactly as they said. One clarification to Zacchaeus post.

On Next Roll expends on the next relevant single roll. (i.e. Only applies once in multi-target situations)

On Next Action expends on the next relevant action. (i.e. Applies to all rolls in a multi-target situation)

Cheers,
JPG

Thanks. So if I understand correctly, it's the opposite of what Zacchaeus said (I think he said that "next Roll" applies to all rolls in multi-target, and "Next Action" applies to just one roll in multi-target situations, which is opposite of what you said, right?)

I had another question actually, not related to any of this, but I don't want to start a new thread just for this... Is there any way to make casting a spell automatically check off a free spell slot of the appropriate level? I'm not able to figure this out, not sure if it's possible.

Moon Wizard
April 6th, 2016, 19:58
There are a few reasons.

One reason is what action should trigger the slot to be checked off? Cast, save, attack, damage, effect? What happens if a spell has all, some or none of these? Each action/roll is independent, so there is no real way to know when a player is "done" with the spell.

Another reason is that spells get hidden in combat display mode when you check off the last slot of a given level. You don't want the spell to disappear before the player is done applying actions from the spell, or looking up any necessary spell details.

Finally, for 5E, each spell can be cast using higher level spell slots which modifies the spell. I haven't had the time or insight at this point to come up with a good interface to allow players to cast spells at various levels that interacts with all of the actions and is not confusing.

Basically, it's really a user workflow and UI challenge.

Regards,
JPG

Zacchaeus
April 6th, 2016, 20:00
Thanks. So if I understand correctly, it's the opposite of what Zacchaeus said (I think he said that "next Roll" applies to all rolls in multi-target, and "Next Action" applies to just one roll in multi-target situations, which is opposite of what you said, right?)

I had another question actually, not related to any of this, but I don't want to start a new thread just for this... Is there any way to make casting a spell automatically check off a free spell slot of the appropriate level? I'm not able to figure this out, not sure if it's possible.

Indeed, I have reversed things because I wasn't paying enough attention since my dinner was burning :)

Currently there is no automation to check off spell slots. The reason is that FG won't know what slot you want to use for a spell that can be cast at more than one level. You can, for example, cast Fireball at levels 3 right through to 9.

callahan09
April 6th, 2016, 20:43
There are a few reasons.

One reason is what action should trigger the slot to be checked off? Cast, save, attack, damage, effect? What happens if a spell has all, some or none of these? Each action/roll is independent, so there is no real way to know when a player is "done" with the spell.

Another reason is that spells get hidden in combat display mode when you check off the last slot of a given level. You don't want the spell to disappear before the player is done applying actions from the spell, or looking up any necessary spell details.

Finally, for 5E, each spell can be cast using higher level spell slots which modifies the spell. I haven't had the time or insight at this point to come up with a good interface to allow players to cast spells at various levels that interacts with all of the actions and is not confusing.

Basically, it's really a user workflow and UI challenge.

Regards,
JPG

Thanks for the explanation! Makes perfect sense to me. If I ever personally think of a way to do it that makes sense in my head, maybe I could pass that idea off to you guys, but at present, I obviously don't know as much as you experts so I've of course got no ideas on it either haha :)

Speaking of casting spells at a higher slot, how do we apply the extra effects? For instance, say I'm using my Cure Wounds spell and I'm in the Life Domain so my spells with a healing effect will heal 2 + (Spell Level) extra HP. So casting Cure Wounds with a Level 2 slot will heal 2 + 2 + 1d8 extra HP from the base 1d8 + Spellcasting Modifier that it normally does as a Level 1 version of the spell.

So I've got a "3" in the Bonus section of the spell's heal effect to represent the 2 + 1 (Spell Level) from the Life Domain feature. But when I cast it as a Level 2 slot, it gets another +1, right? First of all, how do i apply that, and second of all, how do I apply the extra 1d8 as well?

EDIT: OK, it looks like I found the answer in this post:

https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forums/showthread.php?23757-Spells-with-higher-level-slots

Click & hold on the effect, then right click to add the dice.

So that just leaves the question of how to get the extra bonus from the Life Domain feat... I get the feeling it's just something you have to add manually? So if I cast my Cure Wounds as a Level 2 spell, and roll a 5 and 4 on my 2d8's, also let's say my Wisdom modifier is 3, FG will heal my target 5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 ... but in reality, it should be 5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 2, because I've cast it as a Level 2 spell so I get 2 + 2 not 2 + 1 from my Life Domain feature. Therefore, would need to just manually in the combat tracker change my resulting WND total by subtracting 1 from it. So if I had 18 WND before healing, the program will leave me with 3, and then I can manually adjust it to 2 to reflect the extra bonus I deserve?

Nyghtmare
April 6th, 2016, 20:47
If you drag your dice for the healing, you can click your right mouse button to add extra dice while you are holding the dice still... then you release the dice and the additional ones are rolled.

So you are dragging with your left mouse button and then, while still holding that left mouse button, you click your right mouse button to add additional dice to the roll you are about to make.

callahan09
April 6th, 2016, 20:53
If you drag your dice for the healing, you can click your right mouse button to add extra dice while you are holding the dice still... then you release the dice and the additional ones are rolled.

So you are dragging with your left mouse button and then, while still holding that left mouse button, you click your right mouse button to add additional dice to the roll you are about to make.

Thank you for your help :)

Now that I understand that part, I was still curious about the extra bonus from the life domain feat. I think probably just manually adjusting the WND value for the extra bonus after the program applies the results? That's my assumption, but I wasn't sure.

Moon Wizard
April 6th, 2016, 20:54
As in that lengthy response above, there's no mechanism to track or know which spell slot that a player wants to use on a per spell basis, so the only way to handle in advance is to set up separate rolls/actions for each level you plan to use.

Alternately, you can adjust by adding a modifier to the modifier box in lower left before applying (though I believe this only applies if dice are involved, but not sure off top of my head). Also, for dice rolls, you can right click while dragging to add extra dice.

Regards,
JPG

Zacchaeus
April 6th, 2016, 21:15
As for the additional healing because of the Life Domain you will have to manually add in the additional healing to each spell. So, for example, drag healing word into your actions tab and the spell effect will automatically set up. Click on the little magnifying glass beside the line which starts Heal to open up the editing dialog. You'll see a small box with 'Bonus' above it. This is where you can add your additional heal. So for 1st level add in 3 here. You can now if you want add another line to this spell (right click on the Healing word line, select add action then add heal). Click the magnifying glass to edit, drag 2d4 into the heal box and add 4 points into the bonus. You can keep adding another line for each level of spell you want to cast.

Alternatively for the bonus you can, as Moon Wizard said above, add a modifier into the modifier box. To save time you can set up slots on the quick bar for the modifier for each spell level if you wanted to. Type (say) three into the modifier box and drag that to a quick bar slot. Now when you select that slot it'll automatically fill in the modifier; then you can click the heal.

Nyghtmare
April 6th, 2016, 21:20
You could do the modifier route or, as I tend to do in my own game, have a different version of the spell for each level so that the number of dice and the bonus healing from the Life Domain are all included. It make the sheet longer, but saves time in the end.