When I started my GMing career back in 1981, I used a piece of scratch paper to track the initiative order. Once Third Edition came out, I needed a way to keep track of people delaying and such, so I started to use index cards. Today, I use the GameMastery Combat Pad, and I can't imagine going back to those clunky methods for tracking initiative!
The Combat Pad is the ultimate tool for managing combat in your favorite roleplaying game. It is a wet- and dry-erasable board with a steel core, so the included magnets stick right to it! It's portable—about the size of a sheet of paper—so you can take it anywhere you're gaming.
Use it to quickly and easily track turns. Write the character's names on the player magnets using a wet- or dry-erase marker, then place them in initiative order. Use blue magnets for PCs, green magnets for friendly NPCs, and black-bordered magnets for enemies. Hash marks label positions from 0 to 35, making it easy to put the magnets in the correct initiative order. When the order changes, simply slide the magnets to their new places.
For tactical groups, delaying and readying guides make it simple to synchronize attacks—enemies beware! Slide the magnets to the proper column and avoid the confusion common with other initiative tracking methods.
We sold out of the previous version of the Combat Pad a while back, so—even though the original won an ENnie award for Best Gaming Aid in 2007—we took the opportunity to make it even better. In addition to a cleaner look with a larger space for more magnets, it's now also much sturdier than before. Plus, it's printed on both sides, and it now comes in a reusable plastic storage sleeve.
And if you need more magnets for those truly epic battles, be sure to get the GameMastery Combat Pad: Extra Magnet Pack for even more magnetic markers!