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Is there a good tool to get plays to remember their immediate interrupts?

(please remember I play D&D4e with kids, so kid specific answers are always appreciated)

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

If its unique and interesting enough, tie their interrupt ability into the idea of the character as a part of the story of what they can do. The interrupt power then becomes the mechanic by which they do it. If my character is Daryll and he can disappear (teleport) when anyone swings at him (or punch them before they hit him, whatever), that is something I can remember. (He can do it against anyone, just not everyone... It just so happens that it wears him out and he needs a bit of rest before he can do it again. )

If its part of the story of the character, they'll be more likely to remember it when it the triggering circumstances arise.

The physical reminders (cards, etc.) are a good memory aid as well.

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When playing with younger players, I like to have power cards printed out and I give those to them and divide them into the groups. At-Will, Encounter, and Daily. The same thing can be done, but, seperate their interrupts into another pile, and add in prompting when appropriate. 'Is there anything you'd like to do before this big monster uses you as a toothpick?' ;)

But, just telling them that they can 'play' those cards at certain times will make them look at those cards each time that situation pops up and they may be more apt to use the ability.

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I've been trying that but the interrupts keep getting lost in the shuffle. Definitely keep on trying. – anon186 Aug 29 '10 at 19:52

Weem put together a combat sheet designed to address this question. It's divided into things you do when you're attacking and things you do when you're defending; the defending section is further broken down into defenses, things you can do when you're hit, and things you can do when you're missed. The attacking section likewise includes a place to put extra things you do when you hit someone and extra things you do when you miss someone.

It isn't perfectly suited for your needs; in particular, there's no section for interrupts that don't fit into the categories above. On the other hand, it might be useful for inspiration.

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Phrasing is important: when describing the actions of the NPCs, use verb tenses and constructions that indicate that what's going on is incomplete — there's still time to do something quickly before it finishes.

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Exactly what I was going to say. Cards, reminder tokens, post it's, etc, are all great, but if you narrate the scene like the events have already happened, then it's easy for new and young players to forget about things like interrupts. This is a good habit to get into regardless. I find that my players stay on their toes and engaged better if I'm asking them if they are hit rather than Assuming AC, A hit and moving directly to damage. – SladeWeston Aug 31 '10 at 18:01

Since nobody said this yet, I'll add my 2-bits: As a DM look over the PC character sheets and see if you can't memorize the interrupts. That way if something happens, the first few tiimes you can point out the PC and say "did you want to use your interrupt?"

I think (well, it's been my experience) if you manage to do this once or twice, players will start paying attention on their own. And some players will never remember, but that's life.

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I wish I could remember all the stuff on their sheets. Quite frankly I have to have a sheet with all the defenses just to keep those straight (I'm getting old and all). Though writing them on the same white board is a good idea. – anon186 Aug 31 '10 at 18:18

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