5E Combat Tracker
At its simplest the Combat Tracker does what it's name suggests which is to track certain aspects of combat such as number of turns and which character or NPC's turn it is. However it performs a number of other functions, not all of which are all related to combat, making it one of the most complex parts of the Fantasy Grounds software. There are two 'versions' of the Combat Tracker, the one that the player sees and the one that the Gamesmaster uses. Since the former is the simplest it seems logical to start there.
- The Combat Tracker is set up in columns from left to right being; creature token, creature name, Initiative, Hit Points, Temporary Hit Points, Wounds, Status.
- NPC's may have a number after their name if there are more than one of the same type and depending on the option selected by the DM.
- Creatures appear on the Combat Tracker in initiative order starting with the highest at the top.
- The actor whose turn it is will have a coloured border around their whole entry and an icon will be shown on the left hand edge of the window.
- Hit points are the total Hit Points that the creature has. This will only be shown for Player Characters.
- Temporary Hit Points and Wounds are shown only for player characters.
- For NPC's an entry will be shown next to their initiative value giving an indication of their state of health. How detailed this entry is and what colour text is used will depend on which settings the DM has chosen.
- The icons listed down the right hand column are Red = enemy, Green = ally and Yellow = neutral.
- The Combat Tracker will also show effects which are currently on any Player Characters and which have been placed on NPC's during the combat. Any innate abilities or effects such as immunities, resistances etc which are present on NPC's will not be shown on the player's combat tracker.
- The round tracking box is shown on the lower right hand corner of the Combat Tracker and will increment once all creatures have completed a turn.
- The player clicks on the 'next actor' button in the lower left hand corner to end her turn.
- Nothing in the Combat Tracker is editable by the players.
Players View - Combat
- A player can select a target in the combat tracker by holding down the CTRL key and clicking on the target.
- Multiple targets can be selected by holding down the CTRL key and clicking on each target in turn.
- Targets can be deselected by holding down CTRL and clicking on an already selected target.
- Players can make attack rolls by selecting a target as above and then double clicking their attack dice on the actions tab in their character sheets or by dragging the dice into the chat box.
- Attack rolls can also be made by dragging the attack dice and dropping them on the target in the Combat Tracker. This works whether the creature has been targeted as above or not.
- Damage rolls can be made in the same way, either by targeting and double clicking or dragging to the chat box from the character sheet or by dragging and dropping onto the target in the Combat Tracker.
- If an attack roll indicated critical damage this will automatically be applied to the damage roll.
- Spells can be cast by selecting the target and then clicking on the effect icon in the character's action tab. This applies to all castings, either attack rolls, damage rolls, healing or application of effects. All such rolls can also be made by dragging the effect onto the target in the Combat Tracker.
- If the player selects multiple targets any subsequent cast or attack will apply to all of the targets.
- If a cast requires that the target make a saving throw each creature targeted will make the save using the Difficulty Class specified in the caster's character sheet.
- Any creatures who pass the saving throw will be automatically untargeted before any damage is applied.
- Half damage on a successful save, resistances and immunities to any damage will all be applied automatically by Fantasy Grounds.
- For example if a wizard character selects targets and casts fireball; each of the creatures targeted will make a saving throw. Those that fail will be marked for full damage and those that succeed will be marked to take only half damage. Any damage to creatures who are resistant to fire damage will automatically reduce the damage appropriately.
- It is recommended for a number of reasons that players get into the habit of selecting targets by CTRL clicking before attacking or casting spells.
The Dungeon Master's view of the Combat Tracker contains a great deal more information that the Player's View, so we'll break it down into smaller chunks.
DM View - Basics
- The DM can edit any and all information which appears on the Combat Tracker, including names, hit points, wounds, effects, attack and damage rolls and everything else.
- In order for Fantasy Grounds to properly automate combats and other interactions the player characters and NPCs must be placed on the combat tracker properly.
- PCs can be dragged from the character portraits at the top left hand corner, or from the Character selection window (PCs tab) onto the Combat Tracker.
- Individual PCs and NPCs can be deleted from the Combat Tracker by right clicking on the CT entry and selecting delete item.
- NPCs can be dragged onto the Combat Tracker from the NPCs tab, or they can be populated via the 'Add encounter to Combat Tracker' button from an encounter.
- Additional NPC's can be dragged into the Combat Tracker during a combat, either directly from the NPC tab or from another encounter.
- A new, blank NPC can be created by right clicking on the CT and selecting 'Create Item'. (It is not recommended that new NPCs be created this way)
- The icons down the right hand side of the Combat Tracker allow the DM to open the NPC or PC sheet of the creature.
- The DM can also drag this icon for an NPC and drop it onto a blank part of the Combat Tracker to create an exact duplicate of the NPC. This can be used to great effect for example when certain NPCs such as Ochre Jellies split in two when hit by certain damage types.
- Unlike the Player view the DM sees the correct hit points, wounds etc for all NPCs.
- When an NPC's turn comes around on the Combat Tracker the 'Offense' window for that NPC will open as if the icon had been selected. This facilitates combat for the DM. See below for more details on this.
- The DM can target a creature by holding down CTRL and clicking on the creature's token on the left hand side of the Combat Tracker.
- Multiple targets can be selected by holding down CTRL and clicking on each icon in turn.
- Deselect targets by holding CTRL and clicking on an already selected target.
- The arrangement of the Combat Tracker is essentially the same as the Player's view. However the DM has the following additional buttons and menus:
- NPC portraits on the left have a small 'ID' button indicating whether this creature is identified or not. If this icon is red the NPC will show on the player's combat tracker as 'Unidentified Creature'. This button can be toggled between red (unidentified) and green (identified)by clicking on it. Toggling one creature will automatically change the status of all creatures that are currently on the CT that are the same as the one being toggled.
- A global toggle to make all NPCs visible or Invisible to the players at the top left hand corner of the Combat Tracker.
- An individual Visible/Invisible toggle for each NPC on the Combat Tracker.
- An Initiative marker token which can be dragged to the left hand side beside any PC or NPC name to give that creature initiative. This should be dragged to the first person on the Tracker after initiative is rolled and before combat starts.
- A menu which is discussed in more detail below.
- A set of Global and individual icons which open up further information on the player characters and NPCs. These, too are discussed in more detail below.
DM View - Menu
Clicking on the menu brings up several options which allow the DM to control the following aspects of the Combat Tracker and Game mechanics.
- Close Window
- Closes the Combat Tracker
- Clear All effects: Clears all of the effects on all of the creatures currently on the Combat Tracker. This will clear all long term and short term effects from every creature on the Tracker. NOTE: It will also clear effects from PCs and NPCs which should not actually be cleared - for example damage immunities or Dwarven poison resistance.
- Clear Expiring Effects: This will clear all short term effects from every NPC and PC on the Combat Tracker. Short term means effects which normally have a duration measured in rounds or minutes. For example a Wizard's Mage Armor spell which lasts 8 hours will not be removed but an effect which lasts for 10 rounds or minutes will. NOTE: If you enter an effect which should last a number of hours or days, but you enter the time in terms of rounds then this will be taken as an expiring effect and be removed. So if you entered the mage armor duration as 2880 rounds rather than 8 hours then it will be removed.
- Roll all Initiatives: Allows the DM to roll initiative for every creature on the Combat Tracker. This will be rarely used since PCs would normally roll their own initiative. However the option exists should the DM want to do this.
- Roll NPC Initiatives: Allows the DM to roll initiative for all NPCs on the Combat Tracker.
- Roll PC Initiatives: Allows the DM to roll initiative for all PCs on the Combat Tracker.
- Clear all Initiatives: As it's name suggests clears all initiatives.
- NOTE: The DM has an option to auto-roll NPC initiative when the NPC is entered on to the Combat Tracker.
- Long Rest: All PCs who are currently on the Combat Tracker will take a long rest. All players will gain the benefits of a long rest (e.g. all wounds will be removed, spend Hit Dice will be regained etc) as detailed in the Player's Handbook. In addition any other Class specific abilities which have been expended (spell slots, Ki ponts etc) will also be returned.
- Short Rest: All PCs will take a short rest. As with a Long Rest any specific ability uses which have been expended will be recovered automatically, if they can be recovered after such a rest.
- Delete from Tracker
- The two options here are to delete all non allies (which would include neutral creatures) or delete only enemies. In both cases the selected categories will be deleted from the Combat Tracker.
DM View - Toggles
As mentioned above there are 5 global and individual toggles each of which open up a new section in the Combat Tracker to enable DMs to run combats and edit aspects of characters and NPCs 'on the fly'. Each of these is discussed in more detail below. It is not considered necessary or even desirable to have the Global toggle on for any of the 5 additional boxes since this takes up a good deal of additional space on the Combat Tracker.
- This section shows the currently selected target(s) of the NPC or PC. The target(s) are shown as tokens and mousing over a token will reveal the target's name.
- The small icon to the extreme right of this section can be used to clear all of the targets from the individual PC or NPC.
- Individual targets can be removed by clicking on the target's token.
- The second small icon on the right can be used to select targets by dragging and dropping the icon onto the targets.
- As it's name suggests this brings up the creatures attributes.
- The DM can double click on these to make any ability check.
- The DM can also edit any of the attributes by selecting any of the boxes and typing in a new value.
- The Size/Reach box can be used to edit the size and reach of any creature. This can be useful if the creature is subjected to a spell or effect which alters these factors.
- The edits are done by simply typing a new value into the appropriate box.
- If the Size is increased or decreased the red (NPC) or green (PC) square that is usually seen around a creature on a map, will expand or contract to take account of the change.
- The creature's token will not automatically change to take up more or less space on the map, but the token's size can be altered by holding down CTRL and moving the middle mouse button up or down.
- If the size is altered the gray square indicating a creature's reach which surrounds a creature when moused over will change to reflect the new value.
- If the DM selects the offence icon for a PC then a limited box opens up.
- On the left is a check box to record whether a reaction has been used during this turn. Click to check or uncheck.
- The next box is for initiative and is rollable but otherwise is for information only as is the AC and Spd information in the same box.
- If this box is opened either by the DM clicking on the toggle or more frequently because it's the NPCs turn on the Combat Tracker then a great deal more information is available, effectively allowing the DM to use the creature in combat without requiring the NPC's sheet to be open.
- If the creature has any traits they will be listed here along with an icon which can be clicked to get more information on the trait.
- Actions and, if present, Legendary Actions will also be listed here - see combat below for more details.
- Open this toggle to obtain a list of all effects currently present on the creature.
- A new effect can be created by right clicking and selecting 'Add Effect'.
- The 3 small buttons on the right of the effect allow the DM to control certain aspects of the effect
- ACTIVE: Toggle whether the effect is active or inactive or whether to skip use of the effect this turn.
- VSBL: Toggle whether the effect is visible to only the GM or to players as well. NOTE: If an effect is created in the effects panel and is set to invisible then, when placed on the PC, the effect will automatically be set to GM Only. Thus effects can be placed on the PC without the player knowing that an effect has been placed on their character. This is useful for curses and such like which the player would not be aware of.
- ALL: Applies the effect to all future rolls, only the next roll, only the next action or once for each part of the effect.
- The 'Duration' box shows the number of rounds that the effect has left to run. If this box shows zero the effect will remain until the DM clears the effect from the creature. (This would be the normal state for permanent effects such as a creatures immunities or resistances, or for effects that last for periods measured in hours or days rather than rounds or minutes). This value can be adjusted by the DM.
- The 'Initiative to adjust on' box shows when the duration will be decremented. This box will show zero if the effect was placed on he creature when there was no initiative rolled. Again this would be the normal entry here for effects which are permanent or last for a long time. This value can be manually adjusted by the DM.
- These two boxes can be used to precisely control when an effect ends on a creature.
- A wizard character casts a spell on an ally and the effects of the spell last until the end of the wizards next turn. If the Wizard has an initiative of 10 then the spell will end at the start of the wizard's turn, since this is when Fantasy Grounds adjusts the duration by default. However by adjusting the 'initiative to adjust on' to 9.9 the spell will remain until the end of the Wizard's turn.
- The 'target' icon can be used to drag the effect onto one or more new targets. This is used to apply 'effect targeting' to a creature. For example if a PC were to cast a spell that gave her an advantage on her next attack against a specific creature only she could apply the effect to herself then use the target to drag the effect onto that specific creature.
- The DM can end an effect on any creature by clicking twice on the red button to the right of the effect.
- Where an effects was applied by a third party a note will appear under the effect line saying who applied the effect.
- Similarly if the effect is a targeted effect a note will appear stating the target(s).
DM View - Combat
- When an NPC populates the Combat Tracker Fantasy Grounds will automatically list the creatures traits, attacks and special abilities in the Offense Box of the Combat Tracker.
- When an NPC's turn comes around on the Combat Tracker the 'Offense' part of the Combat Tracker for that NPC automatically opens.
- Once target(s) have been selected the DM can make attack rolls by double clicking on any ATK: entry in the offense section.
- Damage rolls are made by double clicking on any DMG: section of the offense box.
- All attack and damage rolls can also be made by dragging the appropriate ATK: or DMG: dice into the chat box provided a target has been selected.
- Attack and Damage rolls can also be made by dragging the ATK: or DMG: dice and dropping onto a creature either in the Combat Tracker or onto it's token on a map.
- Saving throws can be forced on a creature by double clicking the SAVEVS: section or drag/dropping the dice into the chat box if a target has been selected.
- Saving throws can also be forced on a non-targeted creature by drag/dropping directly onto the creature in the Combat Tracker or onto the token on a map.
- Effects can be placed on a targeted creature by double clicking on any EFF: part of the offense box or by drag/dropping onto the creature in the Combat Tracker or onto it's token on a map.
- Innate spells and if the NPC is a caster, spells will also be listed here, together with syntax enabling them to be automatically cast if appropriate.
- Each spell or innate ability will have an icon that can be clicked for access to a description of the spell.
- All, attacks, damages, saving throws and effects can be rolled or applied in the same way as attack, damage and other rolls in the actions section.
DM View Action Entry Example
The action entries are auto created by Fantasy Grounds from the standard wording taken directly from the creature record in the base 5E RPG material. For example, the two actions seen in the graphic below are created from the base descriptions of:
Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw, taking 9 (2d8) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. If the poison damage reduces the target to 0 hit points, the target is stable but poisoned for 1 hour, even after regaining hit points, and is paralyzed while poisoned in this way.
Web (Recharge 5-6).
Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 30/60 ft., one creature. Hit: The target is restrained by webbing. As an action, the restrained target can make a DC 12 Strength check, bursting the webbing on a success. The webbing can also be attacked and destroyed (AC 10; hp 5; vulnerability to fire damage; immunity to bludgeoning, poison, and psychic damage).
As mentioned above, the entry is created by FG parsing the normal description text of the action when the NPC is added to the combat tracker. The syntax used is similar to, yet different from, effects. The following lists the current ruleset (5E v3.1.3) supported parameters:
- [M] or [R] sets the range type of the action: Melee or Ranged
- [ATK: XX] sets the attack roll bonus (and indicates an attack roll)
- [DMG: XX] for a damage roll/application - can be a die string (e.g. 1d6) or a fixed number.
- [SAVEVS: <ability> <target> (H)] for a save - (H) indicates half on save
- [HEAL: XX] for doing healing
- [R: X] for a recharge number against a d6 roll ([USED] is added once a damage roll has been made and indicates this action has been used and will be removed when the recharge number is automatically rolled on the beginning of the creature's turn).
- [EFF] Indicates there is an effect that can be applied.