Recently I decided that I needed a DM screen, after seeing how useful they could be in other games. Seeing as I lack money, artistic skills, and time, I went ahead and made a quick and easy one for £2.15 ($2.70).
Here’s my DM screen in all its low quality glory. I needed a screen that was easy to transport, quick to make, and overall helpful to me as a DM. I lack hard copies of many of the game texts, relying on my iPad for the DM guide, Monster Manual, and Player’s guides. This means that I really needed the essential information in an easily accessible place, without information that I could either memorise or ask players for.
The ‘screen’ is a large black folder- easy to carry, cheap to buy, and able to hold loose character sheets, item prices, maps, and NPC information. The tables were printed at my university for 5p a sheet, then cut out and arranged as needed.
The left side is for information that needs to be quick to access at any point in the game, and primarily consists of information that doesn’t rely on combat being initiated. The tables are:
- Ability modifiers for scores 1-30
- Typical difficulty classes
- Skills and there relation to ability scores
- Object ACs and Hit Points
- Food and Water requirements
- Exhaustion stages and effects on players
- Character level advancement requirements.
At the bottom there is also a glued on block of sticky notes, which can be used to pass on information to the players, as well as to put items down that they can then take, switch between each other, or give to NPCs.
The right side is more combat focused, with tables for action options, conditions, and cover modifications. I personally feel that a lot of the players
I have played with don’t consider the full amount of actions available to them- for example, I don’t think I’ve been in a game where a player has used the Dodge, Help, or Ready actions.
I also don’t think that I as a DM have made full usage of the different conditions available, nor was I fully aware of the rules that they have.
Decorating the front cover would be nice; I’d like to try and stencil something onto the front, such as this beholder stencil. I’d likely print it out on paper, carve the stencil out of card, then fill in the gaps with paint or markers. I may also add some more charts to the inside in the future, such as carry weight or transport time.
I know it’s not much, but I really wanted to share how simple it can be to make RP screens when so many of the DIY options online are about creating elaborate screens that take up half a table. As much as having some massive wall that fits in my backpack would be cool, I think I’ll go with the more practical one for now. Hopefully my players will appreciate it, especially now that I’m potentially going to be running a game for my current DM in the near future.