A few months ago, I came up with an easy way to keep track of monster’s hit points during battles. I got sick and tired of just scratching notes and numbers on paper. It felt disorganized and it was a waste of paper. I have no problems writing stories and side notes in a notebook but pages full of numbers scratched out and all over the place felt like a waste.
I use Obsidian Portal (www.obsidianportal.com) for my campaign and notes. I prefer the high tech method of operations as I find it to be easy, organized, and I can’t lose it! So, I figure why not have a high tech method for hit points? And so it began. You need a spreadsheet program. The most common is Microsoft Excel. Spreadsheets can be confusing so I will make it as easy as I can for you and use pictures as well. Enjoy!
- Open your spreadsheet program (easy enough, right?) Also, open a spreadsheet (or workbook) if it asks.
- The program uses what are called “cells.” They are the boxes you see. Across the top, each column has a letter. Down the left side, each row has a number. So the top left cell would be “A1” Move to the right, you have cell “B1” and so on. Please click on cell “A1”. (The blue cell in the picture below.)
After that, you will type the name of the monster you are using. Click one cell to the right (B1) and here you can put the Armor Class of the monster for easy reference. (If you’d like, you can put the other defenses or any other info you need in the cells below these two..example: Fortitude and Reflex in cells A2 and B2)
After you have your monster name and defenses, let’s add a border to keep things neat. There should be a border button that allows you to add thin or thick black lines around each cell. Do that. Refer to the picture below to see the borders.
Every monster takes hits. The next cells are for recording these hits. Highlight cells A3 thru B10. Put an “outside border” on these cells. You should have a large, empty box now beneath your monster and his defenses.
The blue square will be where his remaining hit points are. Put a border around it if you’d like. To get his hit points to adjust automatically, we are going to put in a simple formula. Click on the blue square. Next you will need to find what is referred to usually as the “autosum” or “sum” button. It automatically adds up certain cells and gives the result in another cell. Do some research to locate your sum or autosum button. Click it while the blue square is highlighted. Next you are going to be asked to select the squares to add up. Click and drag on all the empty squares in our box. Press enter or return. The blue box should now show a “0” because there are no numbers to add.
The hard part is over. Now just put in hit points. Enter the total number of hit points in cell A3. When you press enter after this, the “0” in the blue square should automatically adjust to the number you just added. Your battle form is set and ready to use!
Let’s say your monster takes a hit. He takes 55 damage. You will enter this in cell A4. Here’s the trick. Put a minus sign (-) in front of it. So you would click on cell A4 and enter “-55”. This will subtract those points from the total in the blue square. Cool, huh? Keep doing it for all the hits the monster takes in the rest of our open cells A5 thru B10. When your hit point total (blue square above) reaches 0, the monster is dead! And (although it may be lazy) you didn’t have to do any math! The final product is in the picture below. Please ask if you have any questions I know this can be confusing. Once you get the hang of it though, it’s super easy and super organized.
Hope this can help some of you make your sessions easier. It sure makes mine a breeze. Just copy and paste one monster to the side. Change his name and stats if you need but it will keep the borders and the formula all set up!