How to Use the Tinwatchman Initiative Tracker
The Tinwatchman Initiative Tracker is a simple web application intended to help gamemasters and dungeonmasters keep track of character, NPC and monster initiatives during combat. It is primarily useful for gamemasters utilizing netbooks or small mobile devices while gaming. To open a version of the Initiative Tracker that has been optimized for the iPhone and the iPod Touch, click here. To open the Initiative Tracker in a stand-alone window (without the instructions, header and sidemenu on this page), click here.
Please note – as it is a web application, the Initiative Tracker requires an active Internet connection to use. Since the application is partially reliant on server-side scripting, the page cannot be cached and used as a stand-alone application without an Internet connection.
This is the area that is initially displayed when the Initiative Tracker loads. There are three basic areas on this screen:
- The SIDEMENU BUTTONS on the left allows access to most of the application's functions. Click “Add Character to Order” to add a new character to the initiative order. Click “Roll Monster Initiative” to add large batches of monsters or NPCs to the initiative order. Click “Clear Order” to clear the current initiative order and start over again. Click “Options” to access the Options submenu. Click “Credits” to see the development credits for the application.
- The DISPLAY AREA shows the current initiative order. It will initially read “no data” when the application is loaded, before any characters or monsters have been added. Once added, characters and monsters will appear in a formatted table within the display area. To delete a specific character or monster from the order, click the small “X” next to that creature's listing.
- The SCROLL BUTTONS are directly below the display area. These buttons allow one to scroll through the current initiative list in order while keeping track of the current active character or creature. When a character or monsters is active, it is marked on the table in the display area. Clicking “Next” advances the marker to the next creature in the list. Clicking “Back” returns the marker to the previous creature in the list. Clicking “Return to Top” jumps the marker back to the first creature in the list (as if the current initiative round had ended).
Add Character to Order
This screen can be used to add a new character to the current initiative order. The character’s initiative can be rolled on screen or entered in manually (for instance, if the initiative has already been rolled by the player).
Relevent areas on this screen include:
- CHARACTER NAME – enter the character’s name into this field.
- INITIATIVE – this area contains three different fields. Use the select box to choose the Initiative Die you wish to roll with. Enter in the field next to that the character’s Initiative Bonus; this number will be added to the die roll. Click the Roll button to roll the character’s initiative; the value will be displayed in the Result text box. Alternatively, the character’s initiative roll can be input directly into the Result box.
- ABILITY – this optional field allows the user to enter in the numerical Ability or Statistic tied to the character’s initiative. The Initiative Tracker uses this number to resolve instances where two creatures have the same initiative roll. By default, the character or monster with the highest Ability score wins.
- The CANCEL button clears the form, and returns the user to the main screen.
- The ADD button adds the character data to the current initiative order. It then returns the user to the main screen.
Roll Monster Initiative
This screen allows the user to roll initiative for a large batch of monsters, who are then added to the initiative order.
- MONSTER LABEL – monster names are automatically generated by adding a number to the end of the text input into this field. For instance, if one enters in “goblin,’ the Initiative Tracker will name the monsters Goblin1, Goblin2, Goblin3, etc.
- INITIATIVE – select monster’s initiative die and enter in monster initiative bonus here. Optionally, you may also specify the monster’s Ability, which will be used to automatically resolve cases where creatures have the same initiative score.
- GENERATE – select the number of monsters to generate.
- ROLL button – clicking this will automatically role a number of monsters equal to the number selected in the Generate area. Said monsters and their initiative values will be initially displayed in the RESULT SET area.
- ADD button – adds the monsters in the Result Set area to the current initiative order. It then returns the user to the main screen. NOTE: monsters in the Result Set area will not be added to the initiative order until you click the Add button! If you click Cancel instead, the current Result Set will be cleared!
- CANCEL button – clears the form and the Result Set, and returns the user to the Main Screen.
… should be pretty self-explanatory.
This screen allows the user to modify or customize certain features of the Initiative Tracker to their particular game system. The available options include:
- SELECT RANK ORDER – allows the user to choose the order in which the initiative list is displayed. Selecting “Highest Initiative Goes First” (default value) displays the initiative list from highest initiative score to lowest. Selecting “Lowest Initiative Goes First” displays the initiative list from lowest initiative score to highest.
- Ask me for confirmation if I try to:
- DELETE A CHARACTER – when this box is checked (default value), the user will be shown a confirmation dialogue box when attempting to delete a character or monster from the initiative order. When unchecked, the creature will be removed from the list without showing the dialogue box.
- CLEAR THE INITIATIVE ORDER – when this box is checked (default value), the user will be shown a confirmation dialogue box when attempting to clear the initiative order. When unchecked, the initiative order will be cleared without showing the dialogue box.
- SELECT DEFAULT INITIATIVE DIE – allows you to select the default initiative die used on the Add Character to Order and Roll Monster Initiative screens. The initiative die (1d20 by default) on those submenus will be changed to reflect your selection here.
- The SUBMIT button saves any changes you've made to the Options menu to the server and returns you to the main screen. The CANCEL button cancels any changes and returns you to the Main Screen. The RESET TO DEFAULT button restores the menu to the default settings, clears your preferences from the server, and returns you to the Main Screen.