Like many people, I’m terrible at doing things I find boring. Like a true tech geek, though, I’ll do a lot of those things if I get to track them on a gadget. That’s true even if tracking them on a gadget is FAR more work than just not tracking them at all. For me, those activities include a whole host of things: keeping track of my meeting schedule, recording my running mileage, and…ahem…remembering to blog.

In terms of RPGs, I will exhaustively take notes about the adventure, recording details of flora and fauna just in case a PC asks me. I create charts about the contacts the PCs have made in different adventures, and I sometimes practice NPC accents days before the session. I keep calendars of what the PCs did on which days of the in-game month. What makes my eyes cross with boredom, though, is the nitpicky recording of stats during a battle. I’m just awful at it. I can set up exhaustive or simple tracking systems ahead of time, but halfway through, I’ll realize that I forgot to record the last four hits on the Orc because I was too busy describing the blows or amusing myself (and occasionally the players) with his funny voice. Although I like to complicate my GMing with Stuff, I’m better off with something simple in this arena. Many programmers of the initiative/fight trackers had the specifics of d20 systems in mind, so much so that they won’t work well for someone running WFRP or Burning Wheel games. And if there are too many buttons, there’s a slight chance I’ll get more interested in the gadget than in the encounter.

I was therefore rather pleased by the straightforwardness of the aptly-named Hit Point for RPG. You type in character names and hit point values, group PCs and NPCs into encounters ahead of time, and tell the program if you need duplicates of a particular monster in a given scene. In the heat of battle, you add or subtract points with the keypad. “Kill” and “heal” buttons bring the creature’s hit points to zero or full respectively. Best of all, the program works on both iPad or iPhone, so if your iPad is tracking something else during combat, you can use this on your phone without having to switch between programs.

I haven’t had a chance to try this in a session yet; it’s possible that the clicking back and forth between individual screens will prove more trouble than its worth. Still, I know myself, and I know that I’m more likely to keep track of hit points on a screen than on a piece of paper. Perhaps this program will prevent future occurrences of The Orc who Never Dies or The PC With Some Number of Hit Points between Five and One Hundred Million, both of which have might have haunted my table once or twice.

Here are some pictures of its screens in all their simple goodness:

Advertisements