The group in my weekly game has stumbled into a Yuan-Ti layer. Past the point of negotiations the gang is now hacking and slashing their way through the reptilian horde with impunity. Blood everywhere, heads are flying, good time is had by all.
Now the GM tools for RPGSmith are at-best months away from being available for us to use (kickstarter launching soon for these, please support) but that hasn’t stopped me from adapting RPGSmith to march my minions of slithering cannon fodder to their demise. As the players would attest, the action has been fast, furious, and really really fun. I attribute our high gear and smooth combat directly to RPGSmith, but not just on the players side of the screen. So how have I done this?
Primarily with the use of 5 different tile types, a new page on the dashboard, and about 12 minutes of prep time I have created everything I need at my fingertips to command my army of scaley death with quick and precise results. In addition to RPGSmith the only other reference material I used are the 5e Monster Manual, and Volo’s Guide to Monsters which have the various monster stats.
What’s so special about the above interface?
What I have thrown together in the image displayed at the top makes perfect sense (to me at least) and allows me at a glance to get the information I need to know about a particular Yuan-Ti monster type and their combat capabilities. If you look at the column heading, then move your eyes down you see what are all of that monster’s custom actions for a given combat round.
For example if you look at the ‘Pureblood’ on the left, the top tile (under the name) is an image I can click to expand and show the group the full size image. Below the image is a rich text tile that shows the Spell DC for the pureblood, Spell DC for what you might ask? If you look at the tile just below that you can see a link to the suggestion spell, and below that the Poison Spray spell, both of which the pureblood has at their disposal. And finally finishing out the column are command tiles that launch the dice rolls configured for that specific attack, with all bonuses and other modifiers included.
Now when it is the pureblood’s turn in initative, I quickly look at the column, decide what they’re going to do in the situation, and make a single click on the appropriate tile to execute the action. I honestly got through about 5 different monster’s turns in less that 1 minute last week, and returned the action back to the players.
Intriguing, how might one create such a page if so desired?
Below are the steps I followed to create the interactive interface pictured above.
1. Create a new page to show this content. I didn’t want to intermingle this stuff with my other pages of content. I just named it ‘YT’ but I could have named it whatever I wanted.
2. Create ‘Text’ Tiles to display the column headers shown here with black background and White lettering.
3.Create ‘Image’ tiles and either upload, or search the web for an image appropriate for this monster.
4. Create a ‘Link’ tile and associate it with the appropriate spell. Now this step you’ll first need to add the spell to this “Character”. By Character I simply created a character named ‘GM’ (it’s not really a character) just to get access to the dashboard interface and all the content in this Rule Set (Item, Spells, etc.). So to be able to create a link to an item, spell, or ability you first need to add it to this ‘non-character’ GM character. I took a couple of minutes with the monster stat blocks, went into the spells interface, and added all of the appropriate spells for all of the Yuan-Ti monsters, again this is super easy as all of the spells are already created with the 5e Rule Set, I just did a quick search, placed a checkmark, and added all of them at the same time. Once those were added to this ‘GM’ character I came back to this page and created 2 link tiles, one for the ‘suggestion’ spell, and another for ‘Poison Spray’ (I even created those at the same time) which added them to the dashboard. I then sized and positioned them appropriately. You’ll notice that I expanded the Suggestion tile to stretch across the columns for the Malison & Abomination Yuan-Ti, that’s because they also have the suggestion spell, I could choose to create multiple links for this one spell, but I like this way, user preference.
5. I then noticed that the DC for the suggestion spell varies depending upon which monster is casting it, so I created a ‘Note’ tile, quickly threw in a 3 column table through the rich text editor, and recorded the Spell DC for each type of monster that casts this. I then saved and resized this 1 note tile like suggestion, spanned across 3 columns (actually 6 columns as they are double-wides) and then positioned it above suggestion. I could have put it below but I like it where it is.
6. Finally I created a couple ‘Command’ tiles for the actions. I gave each command tile a name I could quickly associate with the action, “Swing Swing” is my code for she gets 2 melee attacks with her weapon. For the command string, I took this from the book and converted into a simple dice command as:
d20 + 3 ‘To Hit’ AND 1d6 + 1 ‘Slashing Damage’ AND d20 + 3 ‘To Hit’ AND 1d6 + 1 ‘Slashing Damage’
If you examine the string you’ll see this monster gets to attacks with a +3 to hit, and if it does strike does d6 + 1 points of damage. Now when I click on that tile I get the below dice roll and can instantly see the 1st attack was a ’22’ to hit worth 7 points of slashing damage, the 2nd attack I rolled a ‘1’ so damage on that one I’ll just ignore cause I ain’t hittin’ a damn thing with that.
As I stated it took me about 12 minutes to create this entire page, and I’ve saved at least 3 times that amount of time in game which would have been otherwise spent flipping through different pages or switching through different tabs on my browser, or looking for which window on my computer I had open to display this information.
Take note of how many different monsters are on this one page, there’s 7 of them (9 if you count the 3 different types of Malisons) and I still got plenty of room to add more if I wanted.
I even threw the entire stat block for a snake in here as an image tile in case I needed to quickly reference that. I could have easily done the same for the other monsters if I wanted.
If I wanted to track things like number of spell slots remaining for the monsters I could have easily created a ‘counter’ tile to track that also, but these guys aren’t living long enough for that to be a problem.
Soap Box Comments
This is another prime example of what RPGSmith can do. We have yet to include any tools specifically for GM usage but see how well it already functions. And unlike other tools you’re not locked into this or any layout. Hide the stuff you don’t care about, only display the content/functions you do. Again make this into whatever you want, quickly and easily.
Yes, the GM tools for RPGSmith will be super-duper sweet. But as a GM don’t overlook all of the things the current ‘Player’ version can do to speed up, streamline, and enhance your Game!