I'm a GM and a couple of the players who have healing abilities are tracking others' HP on spreadsheets during combat. On the one hand, I love that they're looking out for each other. On the other hand, combat keeps getting slowed by the collective accounting of HP. The HP blockchain if you will...
Some relevant information:
- We're in an online zoom game (D&D 5e) + Roll20 basic tier for encounter maps.
- Players track their own HP in a manner of their choosing (paper & pencil, Google spreadsheet, D&D Beyond, some initiative-tracker phone app; I'm not 100% sure about specifics)
- While everyone keeps their full character sheets private, everyone knows each others' total HP.
- The HP tracking players listen to everyone's turns, and also mark their fellows' HP on separate spreadsheets.
- In this way, the healers do a great job of noticing when a player is low and healing them before they go down
However, this also slows combat in several ways:
- When I call out damage, I often have to clarify the numbers for additional players who are not taking damage.
- For AOE effects, there's even more accounting since then we have to clarify who is in the affected area, who is using what abilities to reduce damage, and who succeeded/failed on their saving throws.
- Healing spells and spells that grant temporary HP also take longer for the same reasons.
- Whenever a player goes unconscious (or something else happens that reveals their exact HP as recorded by the player), if their number doesn't match what the spreadsheet-keepers had for them, the group spends time hashing out whose number is right, and where the error might have happened.
Maybe I want us to have our cake and eat it too, but how do you let players track other's health without bogging down game play? One parameter is that I want to avoid having to monitor Zoom chat or text messages during combat. I could also accept suggestions/reframings about how healers in your game know whom to heal & when if they don't track others' HP at all.