D&D 101 #001 – Behind the DM Screen
If you are one of my players, please stop reading! Let’s keep the mystery alive 😉
I’m still pretty new to being a Dungeon Master but I’ve learnt a lot this year already! I wanted to create a series to help any one interested in starting D&D, or new to being a DM, to feel less overwhelmed by it all because I know I put it off for years and really regret it!
This first post takes a look behind the DM screen, how I set up for our sessions and organise myself!
Behind the Screen
I use the D&D 5e screen which has a lot of pretty useful info on the back of it, particularly helpful is the Conditions section. I also have the occasional post-it stuck to it for stuff I need to remember. I tried making one out of folders but I found it too high, I really love the fact I can still see over this one quite easily and it’s long enough to completely block off my end of the table!
Roll For Initiative
I use initiative tents to track the initiative order of my players during combat, these sit on top of my DM screen so players can see them too. I actually created my own wet-erase cards for this so I can keep useful stats on hand, such as players Armour Class or whether they have Darkvision and track Conditions etc.
Dice Dice Baby
It’s no secret that I love me some dice! I keep at least 7 sets on hand, organised by type, then I have an extra pool incase I need even more. I love the dread in my players faces when they hear 12 dice rolled at once (insert evil laugh here).
Paper, the Cornerstone of D&D
As a DM you have to keep track of a LOT of stuff, like the health points of 12 zombies at once… so a nice big notebook is a must! I use this organiser full of all sorts of useful stuff.
- Charts for building NPCs or encounters on the fly
- Maps and the adventure book
- Character sheets for DM PC’s
- Monster stat tents
- Spare initiative tents
- Item/Spell cards to hand out to players when they find them
- Props such as maps and menus
All my notes are then filed in a folder so each session I start with a clean sheet.
Big Box o’Baddies
My players love to do combat on grids with mini’s so I’ve amassed an ever growing collection of miniatures which I keep organised using egg cartons! I also borrow mini’s from all sorts of games such as Zombicide, Blood Rage and Descent, and I use pencil to write numbers on the bases so I can keep track of who’s taken damage in battle.
Quick and Easy Maps
Finally I keep on had a selection of grid board that I made out of card and foamex with some sticky back plastic to make them erasable with dry/wet erase pens. As well as various lids/pots of different sizes to act as quick raisers for when mini’s are on different levels (such as the dragon below who was at the top of the stairs). And of course a selection of different dry and wet erasable pens!
The next post in this series will take a look at how to find players. It might be easier than you think!
If there’s anything you’d like me to cover in this series please let me know in the comments!