For years I kept track of player order using 3x5 cards with the player or monster names on them, folded in half and draped over my DM screen. They were not fancy, but they were effective. A large clothes pin moved along the player tents to indicate whose turn it was. The closest I came to dressing them up was to have the players write their own name and to write monster names in red. I once taped pictures of the monsters to the3x5 cards instead of the monster names in an effort to add to the visuals of the game, but it was a time consuming process (and the cards never survived very long, requiring me to remake the cards all over again) and they did not include very many details.
Using the Magic Set Editor (MSE) [I know I use that program a lot, but I like its versatility], I created an enduring player/monster tents complete with facing visuals and necessary DM information.
The player facing side sports an image and label. The image can be frameless, or it can be placed on a shield or banner (perfect for those who opt for symbols to represent their character). The player facing side also can include background colors, but I kept them simple, using only primary and secondary colors (plus back and white).I use the colors to identify the different categories of actors in the game: blue for PCs, yellow for NPC, green for allies and companions under control of PCs, red for monsters, etc.
On the DM side of the card, the label can be annotated differently – this allows me to keep information like a villain’s name hidden from the players until they discover it later. It also includes basic information on the creature. The intent was to place “quick look” information on the card, generally information that affects die rolls. I still maintain the strategy and tactics on my encounter script.
For the player characters, I include reminder information about the character that might affect an encounter, and for NPC, I include characteristics to remind me to flavor the NPC interaction consistently.
I do have to update the player tent after each level, but MSE allows me to print selected cards as needed.
The “details” section at the bottom on the DM side of the card is just enough space for reminder information to suit your needs.
These will print six to a page. The files attached only include the style and game template for you to fill out. The examples below are from my campaign.
Latest Version is 2015-05-17
On the DM side -
Added Source Field to place original source reference and page of full data
Added capability to select multiple vision/perception types
Added all races and sub races for each creature type
Added character classes -- separated them from the creature type
On the player facing side -
Added a capability to choose any color (about 12 are already available, but custom choices are now an option)
Added an additional Shield and an Additional Banner background option
Made the creature image on the shields and banners larger
Added 6 new nameplate styles (including an option not to label the creature at all -- make the player learn what the monster is called!)
Added Many new font choices (in the style field) for the player facing name (including many fantasy type fonts to represent the various languages)
Added an option to make the images larger (chosen in the style field. Note, when choosing an expanded image style, reselect the images to fix the image proportion)
In General, added a border (multiple colors) for general purpose.
Note: you will need the various fonts for the fonts (available at dl.dafont.com) to work (in addition to the MSE software)
Latest Version is 2016-10-27
Update game file to accommodate compatibility with the Monster and Character Data card style.
Latest Version is 2016-11-20
Updated game file now include supported data for creatures from the Monster Manual, WOTC published APs, Volo's Guide to Monsters, and Kobold Press's Tomb of Beasts.
*** Updated*** 2016-12-03
New style file added called "Art". It enlarges the graphic image facing the players. A color stripe is an option on the front (helps to highlight PC, NPCs, and foes. On the DM side, the short note section is a little larger, and the extra row of "save bonus" boxes have been removed.