A New Way to Track Initiative

A New Way to Track Initiative

Some things are meant to be. Like this…a new pizza/game store opened near my house. One of my good friends works there. They wanted to begin RPG nights. I run an RPG Instagram. She asked me to run a table. I said…YES please!

The store posted that I would be running an RPG one-shot table. I didn’t know what to expect, but when I showed up, there was a full table of 6 waiting for me. I had recruited my kids to fill in space if needed, but they ended up playing other games and I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better group of players.   

Slice and Dice

When you DM, you plan, and I had planned some battles with multiple monsters. As I prepared, I realized that I was going to have to keep track of 9 or 10 spots in the initiative order and I wouldn’t know anyone’s name (real or character). This could get ugly. So, I did what I always do in a tight spot. I looked deep inside and asked myself the one question that has never steered me wrong: What would MacGyver do?

My kids rooms have a wealth of unique problem-solving items (just imagine what MacGyver could build out of that stuff!).

When you’re in a tight spot, Legos usually have the answer. Not only are they the most common man-made object on earth, but they come in a ton of different colors and sizes. I grabbed 6 differently colored 2x3 baseplates and added a selection of minifigs. The baseplates would keep the minifigs upright and serve as markers for the players.

When I arrived, I had everyone choose a color (even if they brought their own figurine) so during battle I could just call out that color’s turn (and save the embarrassment of admitting I didn’t know anyone’s name). For example, “Blue, it’s your turn.” “Orange, be thinking because you are next.”  

Lego DnD

The other thing I did to help was create “sliders” that sat across the top of my DM screen. They matched the baseplates. I’ve done this before, and when I use them, I like to keep them on the left until it’s someone’s turn and then slid the color going to the right to signal their turn (kind of like an abacus). I also made sliders of greys and blacks to track the bad guys.

Lego dndlego dnd

As with all MacGyver tricks, it worked perfectly. I hope you’ll try it out and let me know how it goes.

May the dice be ever in your favor,


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Wow, ok, this is new and inspiring. Never think about this before.


I’ve done this with different color index cards folded in half. On the side facing the players, there are their character names, and on my side is their character name, AC and max HP (the latter two in pencil).

Chase C.

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