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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Keeping track of spells?

    Hi, I wanted to ask you guys for advice and suggestions on how you keep track of your spells and spells-per-day in your games. Neither me nor my regular gaming friends have ever really dove head-first into a pure spellcasting class (particularly prepared-casting classes), and we're all finding the need to keep track of spells and all of their factors a bit daunting. So, how do you do it?

    So far Ive been using my computer to keep track of it. I take my browser and open up as many windows as I have levels of spells, and I tab each spell I've prepared for each respective level, and I simply close the tab out after I've casted the spell.

    I don't always have access to my laptop in every game though, making this a very effective but unreliable method.

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    I just write out my list, put stars next to it (for spells I've cast on a spontaneous caster) or numbers (for spells I've prepared on a prepared caster) and then erase and rewrite as necessary. If you're a more visual person, you could use poker chips or coins to keep track of how many of what spell you have available, or how many spells of what level you can still cast.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    I've always just used notebook paper and wrote down what i would have for each adventuring day and then mark it off. Generally I would reuse my favorites and not waste much paper. It's pretty basic, I have a friend who does what you do with your computer and hyperlinks to the srd with each spell in her book.

    And this isnt really a tip, but this is why I prefer psionics.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    That's a neat idea, but it doesn't cover the issue of knowing what those spells do. I probably should have clarified earlier, but most of us are not familiar enough with all the spells in the game to remember all of their functions, durations, casting times, ranges, component requirements, and so on, so we need a way to track our spells AND be able to efficiently look up or record their effects and spell specifics (short of writing every single one down by hand, which would be extra murderous for divine casters).

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    Post-its in the PHB/Spell Compendium? Use the little ones, write the name of the spell and the level on it and stick it on the page where the spell is located. You could even take them out when you cast the spell and have multiples for spells you prepare a couple of times.

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    I use Excel heavily when I DM. I throw a little table into the NPC caster pages for their spells.

    Or, when not DMing, I just put little circles next to the spell names in a notebook when the spell's prepped, then check them when the spell's cast. Erase, rinse, repeat.

    EDIT: When I need to know what a spell does while DMing, I usually just Google the spell name to look it up quickly. Or, if internet access isn't available, I search a certain handbook from minmaxboards that I think would get this post scrubbed to link. Without a computer, I usually just keep spell choices restricted to Spell Compendium and the PHB because digging deeper than that is annoying.
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-10-30 at 02:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    If you can find it, there are sheets with all the spells on them, and all you have to do is checkmark the ones you want for the day
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    good topic. this is one of the primary reasons i rarely play spellcasters. looking forward to reading more ideas.

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    Print out several copies of blank spell lists (like the Spell Sheet Houserules from raflar.com)and mark X's next to the spells you've memorized that day. You can also include basic information on them so that you don't have to look things up. It can take a while to fill in multiple levels of spells, but it's definitely worth it.

    If you look around online there are pregenerated spell lists in very similar formats for casters that have preset spell lists like the Druid and Cleric. Some of those lists are very long, but they're also very handy. On those, I might print out the long lists and staple it together, then copy some examples of spells you use commonly onto the Spell Sheet linked above so that you can have a quick reference sheet to look off of.
    Last edited by HunterOfJello; 2012-10-30 at 02:39 AM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    3X5 index cards.

    A pack of a hundred is like $1. The first time you do a wizard, start at a low-ish level and copy each of the spells in your book from the PHB to a note card.

    Put the cards with spells you have prep'ed in one pile, and the spells you know but haven't prep'ed in a card-holder. As you burn off spells during the day, you take them from the spells prep'ed pile and put them back in the spells known card-holder. If you prep a spell more than once in a day, stack a couple poker chips on that card, and remove one for each casting till you get to the card. After a few times making and playing wizards, you'll have a decent collection.

    Spontaneous casters are easier. Make a simple chart on a piece of notebook paper. A colum numbered 1 through your highest level spellslot with the number of spells you have of that level to the left of the column. Each time you use a spell-slot put a tally mark to the right of its level. When the tallys on the right match the number on the left, you've used up all your slots of that level for the day.
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-10-30 at 04:35 AM.
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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    If you're looking to be more "digital", there's an app for the iPad called DnD Sheets that has links in to the SRD for all the spells in the PHB, so adding them is a one time effort. It has a section in the spellbook to track spells available/cast, and another "page" for tracking active effects with a round timer that you can increment as needed.

    It's not a perfect char sheet, but it is a pretty darn good one IMO.

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    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    I have seen or used two methods that work well. One involves copying the details of known spells onto 3X5 cards (as previously mentioned) and moving paper clips from one side of the card to another as spells are used. In the other, spells are written into a small spiral bound notebook (oooh! a spellbook). Again, paper clips are used to mark which spells are prepared and moved or removed when said spells are used.

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    I use SpellForge by the creators of HeroForge. It has nice summary information and page number references if I need to look up more specific details.
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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    For druids and clerics, I use a sheet of notebook paper with the spell levels the number of spells per day next to each spell level in the margin. Then, each spell level has spells I commonly use written down, and the number of times I have left to use it that day left.


    For example:
    1st level: Produce Flame X2
    (3/day) Cure Light Wounds X1
    Um... example spell X0
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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    I worked up a general template for this in word. It's basically a table, and it has the following:

    * Checkboxes for how many spells you have per day (spontaneous casters) or a series of checkboxes next to each spell in your list for how many times you've prepared it that day (for prepared casters);
    * The spell's school;
    * The name of the spell;
    * The casting time and components;
    * Your current range;
    * Your current duation;
    * Your current save DC, with what kind of save is allowed, and whether a save negates, partial, or disbelieves;
    * A basic rundown of the effect, with all level or ability-based factors pre determined.

    One spell typically fits on one line (sometimes two, rarely three), and for most castings, is everything you need. Only rarely do I need to look up the exact text.

    I first started making these when I was DMing a campaign. One player was playing his first caster, and I knew he'd need to keep referencing his spells, so I designed it for him. Then, I realized is would be a useful tool for all of my players (many of them had special abilities and spell-likes, or whatever), so I made ones for them, too. Now it's basically a staple whenever I play casters, and lots of the people in my group ask me to make them for them, as well.

    I can try and upload a few samples for you to look at/steal, if you'd like. It basically puts all the work in the front of the campaign, typing it up, and then you just edit what you need to every time you level up and/or learn new spells.


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    Last edited by Absol197; 2012-10-30 at 09:50 AM.
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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    As a person who strongly prefers pure spell casters - I absolutely agree with the ideas presented here. It doesn't really matter which system you use; you guys just need to find something that works for you.

    There are mobile apps that can look up spells easily. If you end up enjoying casters; a worthwhile investment.

    Something for the DM
    If you have players learning spells they are going to pick spells they don't like sooner or later. So keep an eye out for when characters can trade out spells(sorcerer), and for prepared casters wanting to learn new spells(wizard). Druid/Cleric* have full access to their spell lists.

    An easy way to help prevent this is to make sure to give them lots of scrolls as loot. Note card idea with details printed out on it again works wonders here. This allows them to experiment with the spells without learning them first. If they like the spell; they may learn it. If not, they haven't wasted space. Just make sure the DM explicitly states this is their intention. This trick does no good if the players never toy with the scrolls.

    I've played with groups that would hoard consumables. "We'll hold off until I'm unconscious before we use a healing potion." "Use rope? Nah; I'd prefer to make 10 climb checks, can't afford that rope being damaged. Could come in handy some day."

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    http://www.imarvintpa.com/dndlive/

    I use this page, it makes flashcards with spells. Also very neat for when you have loads of scrolls

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    3X5 index cards.

    A pack of a hundred is like $1. The first time you do a wizard, start at a low-ish level and copy each of the spells in your book from the PHB to a note card.

    Put the cards with spells you have prep'ed in one pile, and the spells you know but haven't prep'ed in a card-holder. As you burn off spells during the day, you take them from the spells prep'ed pile and put them back in the spells known card-holder. If you prep a spell more than once in a day, stack a couple poker chips on that card, and remove one for each casting till you get to the card. After a few times making and playing wizards, you'll have a decent collection.
    +1. This is exactly what we do, even for spontaneous casters. You want to cast the spell, then you have to toss the card to the DM.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    +1 on Spellforge.

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    How much initial work do you want to do? And do you have electronic copies of the books or only hard copies?
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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    I use a word processor to create my character sheets. I then have a table and type shorthand notes about the spells into the cell. I can normally get 3-5 columns (one column per spell level) and spells usually take 1-4 lines.

    As for tracking, I just write on the sheets with a pencil. I can then rub out my jottings and besides I'm going to print a new character sheet when the character levels anyway.
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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    I make a list of all the spells I might need based on the situation. I separate them into groups like "combat buffs" and "attack spells" and "Save my you-know-what spells" (I did this with the character Brillon Longstride in my sig, in the additional information section)

    basically, in each category, separate them into groups based on the relevant information that they would hold. For combat buffs, separate them based on how long they last. for attack spells, separate based on multiple or single targets or type of damage or level of spell. group save your butt spells into section based on like characteristics and level.

    and because you are new with your spells, also include the book it can be found in

    That way, when you start knowing what kind of situations you will need to prepare for, you will be able to have a go-to-guide for preparing your spell list. it also helps to prepare a couple of "generic" lists, for when you need to decide your spell list in a hurry.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    Well, I learn all of my spells. Doesn't take long to check them out if there is a doubt anyway, and I do this a lot the first times I use the spell because I don't know it well yet. Given that, on my wizard I write on a sheet, in pen, the spell name; then with a pencil I will put a '/' symbol next to it for each time I prepare it. Every spell I cast, I draw the other line (\) to make an X. My typical spell sheet looks like:

    Black Tentacles X /
    Glitterdust X / /
    Summon Monster VI / /
    Haste X X

    (of course I sort them by spell level and make several columns, so it fits on a single sheet).

    About summons, I write their builds on notepad and keep them on my PC but you can easily write/print them.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    At low levels with 3 spells/day, my Pathfinder Cleric2 has his spells written on the basic character sheet, with an X next to the ones he's cast today.


    For my high-level casters, I have an Excel sheet with spells known vs. Memorized. They're in columns like:


    Save DC: X
    Level: N
    [Per day #]
    [Memorized list]
    ------------

    [list of spells known]
    ---------------
    Last edited by Slipperychicken; 2012-10-30 at 04:49 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    I like the spell cards here, and print extra copies of regular spells. The custom spell option is nice, but the interface is the big draw for me.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    Quote Originally Posted by BowStreetRunner View Post
    I use SpellForge by the creators of HeroForge. It has nice summary information and page number references if I need to look up more specific details.
    Spellforge... doesn't work for me. When I click on the boxes, it just freaks out with security warnings and macro-failure and kicks me into a page with race names all over it. How do you make it work?
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slipperychicken View Post
    Spellforge... doesn't work for me. When I click on the boxes, it just freaks out with security warnings and macro-failure and kicks me into a page with race names all over it. How do you make it work?
    Have you tried enabling macro's? Common mistake, most Excel versions have a little bar pop up just above the sheet, below all the tabs and such. Click the button that enables the macro's, and that should do it.
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    Default Re: Keeping track of spells?

    I typically play casters, and I remember this problem well. I made an in-person 'spell book' it was a binder with open slots to store cards, that I put sticky notes in for each spell level. Write the name of the spell on the front, and the effects on the back, take out as many as you prepare, and flip them over once used. This works better for low levels, but if you are OCD, don't have a whole lot of spells, or just have lots of time you can make this work.

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