Something I’ve noticed with my group is that each of my players looks to me to let them know when it is their turn to take actions in combat. Since I use Masterplan for initiative it isn’t readily visible, but I do announce it whenever asked and I do have one player that writes it down for others. Most of my players know who goes immediately before them while one just waits until he hears his name to pay attention. I’ve also noticed that my players assume that the others know when their done and don’t regularly announce it. To help with this I am introducing the Ring of Power.
The idea is simple and one that many people probably use for a similar purpose. Take any reasonably visible item, in my case an old 12″ circular fluorescent light, and give it to the person whose turn is active. Let each player know who will be giving them the Ring and to whom they should give the ring when they are done. This provides several immediate benefits:
- Each player will know the initiative of two other creatures or players
- Any player has a clear visual cue as to who is current active, allowing them to quickly ascertain where the initiative is without interrupting the current flow
- Receiving the ring reminds the character to take beginning-of-turn effects while handing it off reminds them of end-of-turn effects.
- The exchange between players is streamlined. Rather than a player telling the DM they have completed their turn and then the DM telling the next player it is their turn, one player hands directly hands off to the next.
I like the idea of delegating tasks to my players since it allows me to focus on the scene and this is a method of providing a lot of information to each player. It is designed to be used along side informing your players of the initiative order, not as a substitute. Its effectiveness diminishes with more creatures in combat. For instance, if each player just has to hands the ring back to you then it serves no purpose. Of course, cooperation is required: If a player has no interest in paying attention to the ring, for example taking it from a player before their turn or not handing it off to the next player, the entire process becomes useless.