Friday, August 16, 2013

Player HUD

A heads up display (HUD) is a transparent or projected screen of information for a fighter plane, so that a pilot does not have to take their eyes off what they are doing to get vital information. 

Telecanter, who appears to have a bag of 1001 ideas, had the idea of creating one for D&D play, so that what a player is holding and what role they have in combat is clear both to the DM, and probably just as important, to other players at the table.  While this may seem unnecessary to veteran players, for new or more casual players, this sort of thing is pretty useful.  Many times, a character sheet seems to get in the way of role play, as players are looking down at their sheet, and away from each other and the DM.
Telecanter's Version
In the comments to Telecanter's post, I mentioned that I have used name tents to encourage players to call each other by character name [and help me remember!], and yellow sticky notes to show who had light sources, and wondered if it would be possible to combine those ideas with the player HUD. 

Then we had a baby arrive, and I did not have the time to develop the idea further until now.

Click it to get very large
So here is my "improved" Player HUD, with attached mini character sheet.  The idea is that during the game, this is all you need to look at, although for higher level play with more spells/abilities/powers, it would start to be too limiting.

Facing the DM and other players we have right hand/left hand, combat role, player character name, and a light indicator.  Facing the player, we have an injury track, the reduced character sheet, and a d30 reminder.  I also have a "ready equipment" list and a spells list.   This should be everything that a player needs to get going during an encounter.  To make it a "tent" it folds on the dotted line, and then again in between the name/Role line, and the damage track/reduced character sheet line.

The Injury track is supposed to be a way to show other players how your character is doing with a sort of slider, just like in real life you can see if your buddy is bleeding or injured with a glance. You might use something like these Post-it flags, or just a paperclip. 

Obviously your 1hp magic user is not going to be able to use the injury tracking the same way that a fighter might.

Thoughts?  Would this help in your games?


Telecanter said...

I'm a traveling DM so I'm always struggling to reduce my number of paper and forms, so I cooled to the idea of needing these after trying them a few times. But my players *request* them. They seem to really like knowing who is going to be responsible for opening doors and such.

I like the tent aspect of this and would have probably gone that route next, makes it easier to see. And with your adding of the character sheet, it would reduce my number or forms back down again.

I think if we played at a big normal, table rather than in a living room around a coffee table I'd be more prone to using these, but for con games or one-offs it seems like these would be the cat's pajamas.

Thanks for sharing!

Lasgunpacker said...

Yeah, I could certainly see this as being useful at a con or other one-off game.

As for playing around a table vs. couches etc, yeah, it would be less useful, but it seems like you might just need a different tent shape, depending on your seating arrangement.