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The Parchment Paladin

Printable D&D 5E Initiative Tent Cards

Printable Initiative Tents to streamline initiative for your 5E players.

Initiative Card Tent
Initiative Tent (back),
full-size / 3in
Mini Initiative Card Tent
Initiative Tent (front),
mini / 1.75in
Download printable PDF

Initiative tent cards are a great way to track initiative when playing in-person. I've been experimenting with these cards at the table lately when running games for Adventurer's League play, and have found this to be a really handy technique.

The idea, if you've not seen these before, is for each player to fill out the tent card before play with the salient details for their character, and hand that back to the DM, who can then hang them from their DM screen in descending initiative order, or array them in a line in front of themselves if working without a screen. As mentioned previously I'm a fan of the landscape-format DM screen, and I find that hanging tent cards from the top of the screen puts them at a great eye level, requiring minimal eye movement to bounce between player faces (looking over the screen) and character names and stats (looking just slightly down). I also find, as a player, that having the names and some salient details of other PCs facing outward at me is helpful, and being slightly elevated at screen height helps with a large table.

Now, in the past I have used index cards as tents for this purpose, and indeed this works well. If you've not yet settled on an initiative tracking system you enjoy, you owe it to yourself to at least try this method with cheap index cards. But I find that having a pre-printed initiative tent lends a little more class and uniformity to the presentation at the table, and if nothing else, that's what we're here for at The Parchment Paladin.

I have also tried laminating these and using dry-erase and/or wet-erase markers. You can totally do this, and it does work, but I have settled on using medium weight copy paper, and cheap black pens. I don't think twice about printing a couple sheets' worth for a session, and I find that it is a little less fiddly and is a overall less "precious" than laminated cards: it's no big deal if these tents or pens get lost, damaged, or accidentally thrown away, whereas I might not feel that way about laminated cards and markers.

Why black pens? Contrast. Especially helpful for the front, player-facing sides of the tents at large tables, the dark ink really helps the text to stand out.