Cool Tools: D&D 4e Combat Tracker

Sarah Darkmagic - Posted on 28 January 2010

I've been using the D&D 4e combat tracker for awhile now and I thought it would be handy if I came up with a short video tutorial on how to use some of the features. I'd like to apologize in advance on two fronts. First, I'm a programmer, not a media professional, so I'm not the most polished speaker. In addition, my main Windows machine is a great little netbook, but running the combat tracker, adventure tools and the screencast software all at the same time made some of the graphics run a bit slow. That said, I hope you find the information useful.

Video Tutorial

View larger video

Some Great Features

Adding Player Characters to the Library

The first thing we want to do is add some players and npcs to the combat tracker's library. To do this, open up the library by clicking on Library > Open Statblock Library or hit the F8 key.

Now that we are in the library, let's add some player characters from Character Builder Files. Click on the CB Load button.

That will open a file browser window. Select the Character Builder file(s) you would like to add and click on the Open button.

The Character Builder files are now loaded into the library, along with all of the player stats, powers, feats and equipment.

Next, llet's add the players to the battle list. You do this by selecting the characters from the library you would like to add and clicking on the Add button.

This is what it will look like once the characters have been added to the battle list.

Adding NPCs to the Library

The easiest way to add NPCs to the combat tracker is to paste the rich text from the Adventure Tools program. Right click on the monster in the Monster Selection window and select Copy as Rich Text.

Then go back to the combat tracker program and in the library window, click on the Paste button. You might have to click on a small down arrow next to the CB Load button.

At this point, the NPC will appear in the library. You can add it to the battle list just like you would add a player character.

Adding Library Items to an Encounter

Once you have all the creatures you need in your battle list, close the library window. Your creatures will now appear as part of an encounter.

Starting an Encounter

When the time comes, you can start an encounter by click on Encounter > Roll Initiative or hitting the F6 key.

Many players like to roll their own initiative. No worries, click on the player name > Initiative and adjust the number accordingly.

Running Combat

During combat, you can adjust the hit points of a creature by clicking on the creature name > Damage/Healing.

In addition to keeping track of hit points, you can keep track of effects and conditions. To add an effect, click on the Add button next to the word Effects.

This triggers a popup with the UI for adding an effect. You can select a previously defined effect or call it whatever you wish. In addition, you can set the duration, source and target. When you are done, click on the Save button.

The effects will show up when you click on the character's name until the effect is no longer in play.


  • Windows XP or later
  • .NET Framework 3.5 or later (if you have Character Builder or Monster Builder installed, you have this).


This is tremendously helpful! I had heard about the combat tracker and wasn't able to figure it out until I read this post. Thanks!

Same here! Thanks for the stupid proofing of it!

I am not a programmer and this is exactly what I've been wanting. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

By far the best tool I've used for managing encounters so far. Simply brilliant! Thank you for sharing your hard work with us!

Running my first D&D game this coming just saved my life. This is outright brilliant!

Wow, thanks Sarah! What a fantastic and helpful tool. I love to find new and exciting technological tools that streamline the game and make it quicker. This combat tracker not only helps with initiative but has taken out so many of the other tedious steps that I was going through as well. Before every game I was copying and pasting into word images of the monsters I wanted to use from Adventure tools and then printing them out. I no longer have to do that. The edit on the fly option is ultra handy! Just so useful I can't believe it!

Thanks for the tutorial, Sarah! Very useful in my search for the right tool.

As an experienced Combat Tracker user I would be interested in knowing what you think of 4eTurnTracker:

On the positive side: it looks like it has a more intuitive user interface, on the negative side: it does not support power-tracking (for example).

What do you think? Is this, or any other feature, a "must have"?

After dozens of session using CombatTracker, I found that Masterplan is now more than a match for it :
- the UI is a bit better (regular effects can be saved !)
- the encounter planning is a lot better

Yeah, I've tried Combat Tracker and all the other 4E combat managers - Masterplan has surpassed them all. It's just such a joy to use. No idea why people like Sarah don't talk about it more.

Send feedback using the contact form or through twitter, @sarahdarkmagic.

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