I'm going to begin running a Dresden Files Roleplaying Game campaign in a group that has no Fate or Fudge experience (myself included); we've largely been running D&D 3.5 and 4e. I'm concerned about tracking the many aspects that will be flying back and forth (scene aspects, aspects placed through maneuvers, who still has free invokes on what, etc).

What physical or digital tracking aids help the smooth running of DFRPG?

As an example of the kind of things I'm talking about, in D&D we've found these useful: A small whiteboard for tracking initiative and conditions (with a magnet we slide to indicate who's currently up in the round); the inCombat program so I can track everyone's hit points in one place; an index card box to hold power cards (printed and put in TCG sleeves); and two binders, one to hold character sheets and handouts, and the other for my own notes and reference pages.


Dresden Files is pretty tracking-light compared to D&D; the only character assets that really need tracking are the Stress tracks (which work fine on character sheets) and Fate points.

For my games I've been using the following:

  • A stack of poker chips for Fate points. This makes it easy to keep the Fate economy moving quickly; I can take them when spent, give them out when earned, and hold an extra out tantalisingly when I'm doubling a compel...

  • A single GM aspect reference sheet on which I've written down each player's aspects. That's just to remind me what's out there when I'm looking for tags and compels against the players.

  • Some blank sheets or index cards on which to note scene or character aspects. (To be honest even this much isn't always necessary; most aspects created on-the-fly are relevant for such a short time that they're easy to remember. I only bother to put a card out when the PCs use assessment to find or create aspects that are going to matter in future, such as on a recurring NPC or a site they're planning to break in to.)

I've found that more than sufficient.

If you want it to be easier for player's to use each other's aspects, I also recommend the excellent folding FATE character sheets, as available from the download link in this answer.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ooh - I love those sheets - a more formal version of what I've been doing with index cards. \$\endgroup\$ – Gaxx Jan 20 '13 at 11:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ The question seems to be asking about Aspects placed on scenes, locations, objects, (N)PCs, and other things during play, not the ones on the PCs' sheets. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 20 '13 at 11:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Yes, I am concerned about all kinds of aspects. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jan 20 '13 at 11:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Understood, @SevenSidedDie, but I'm standing by the answer as is. My experience of running Dresden is that it's just not that difficult to remember most Aspects during play, since most are created and then tagged immediately. A couple of index cards is quite sufficient to track the long-term ones. NPC aspects should already be in your adventure notes; created ones are usually short-term, so I just put out a card with the ones they've found by Assessment. \$\endgroup\$ – Tynam Jan 20 '13 at 11:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 experience, then! Although I am still nervous about it given the group's utter inexperience with this style of system. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jan 20 '13 at 11:28

It's low tech but my favourite approach is to have index cards for the PCs, listing their aspects and folded into a sort of triangle so that the list is facing the table as a whole. Then - a few sheets of paper in the center of the table that with titles like "Scene" and so on where more general aspects can be place, on their own (unfolded) index cards. This makes it relatively easy for all the players to keep track without going to much cost or effort.

I'm pretty sure there are more high-tech solutions out there, however.


Playing Fate games we always have a wet-erase gridded mat (a large Chessex battlemat, to be precise) on the main play space. Maps and drawings get sketched on it to illustrate things during the game. Lots of temporary Aspects go particularly well there, since they tend to be attached to map locations or are otherwise associated with something on the map.

For NPCs (or a category of NPC, like "foot soldier") I often use index cards tossed onto the table where everyone can see them, and any new temporary Aspects get written on them in pencil.

Index cards and your whiteboard should do splendidly if you want a similar setup.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Oooh, good idea. I'll try this out next time I run Dresden. \$\endgroup\$ – Tynam Jan 20 '13 at 12:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you describe (or give a link to) your wet-erase gridded map, please? \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jan 20 '13 at 17:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW It's a large Chessex battlemat. It's a factory seconds because the grid was misprinted (the lines are a bit curved instead of straight), so they cut it very large and sold it as-is. It covers almost the whole table. Any similar light-coloured vinyl mat would do, grid or no. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 20 '13 at 17:54

I created a foldable character sheet that really helps me keep track, especially since it makes the list of aspects directly related to the player at the table instead of being a list.

I also have used other variations to keep track of aspects and such not directly related to a character- index cards, whiteboards, notepads.

  1. Index Cards - put aspects on a card and throw them in the center to be used in a scene.
  2. Whiteboards - draw out the scene as the players explore, and write aspects in the rooms or on the edge of the whiteboard.
  3. Notepads - Lay a notepad in the middle of the table- as the scene changes, write the aspects that are related to the scene on the active page. Then tear off and repeat as the scene changes.

Those have really helped me to keep track of what's going on, and helped the players to visualize. The index cards were the most visceral, but a bit hard to manage in regards to having them organized and ready to go, the whiteboard the most visual and helped to set the scene, though the space and location is key and self limiting, and the Notepads were the easiest to manage, but seemed to lose something in regards to setting the scene. I tend to fall back on the whiteboard the most, and the notepad if I fall short of time to prepare.

Related: Where can I find a foldable character sheet for The Dresden Files

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your answer really helps me visualize the table during a game, thanks! (And your character sheets are so popular this is the second answer to recommend them, so kudos for that.) \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jan 21 '13 at 3:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ No problem.. hope that helps you, as I've found as easy and intuitive as Fate is, it's also a lot to manage (much of which they've addressed in Fate Core). \$\endgroup\$ – Chuck Dee Jan 21 '13 at 4:50

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