Saturday, September 22, 2012

DIY DM Screen

After a role playing lifetime of constant disappointment with DM screens I have finally gone out and done something pretty awesome and I want to share it with everybody.

I have always had a problem with published DM screens; I have owned a few different versions over the years. My problem with published DM screens is that they magnify the frustration we all feel with RPGs (even our beloved D&D): wanting, even needing, to hack the rules to get them just right for our own gaming tables. When we are devising our own rules hacks often it is usually easy to put them down on paper and then to start playing with them. The problem is that we need to keep our own tables and charts organized when we run our games. Published DM screens are packed with information... but it's often not the information we need to run our games. Some of the information is just not relevant to our games and there is the problem of keeping our own hacks handy for play. When I was younger my simple DIY result was to print, photocopy, or just write up whatever tables and charts I needed and then cut and paste them onto my DM screen. Over time my DM screen became more covered with the information I had added to it to run my games rather than the tables and other information which was originally printed on it. And yes, I actually had to cut with scissors and paste with glue.

The awesome (not really) movie Mazes and Monsters inspired me to make my own DM screen, one based on the pretty neat one the DM... I meant to say Maze Controller uses in the movie. It looks like a little keep from the players' perspective with tables, etc. on the Maze Controller's side.

So, here it is and in full compliance with the Joesky Accord. I drew these with pen and then used Paint.NET to tighten up the images. There are 2 different page-sized images which represent the inside and outside (left and right sides... whatever) of a keep or fortress. See below:

When I assembled my keep I added two towers to the keep to provide a little more stability and to enhance the coolness factor. I took 4 printed sheets (I recommend using card-stock rather than paper) and folded the ends to make tabs which were then pasted together. The towers were made with the same method, each tower is made from 1 printed sheet. The screen folds down to a regular 8.5x11 sized stack. See my assembled screen and my assistant DM as we prepare to host a game, below:

I have thought about cutting little gates into the towers to make die rolling towers for the PCs. Some of them seem to think it would be kind of cool. I have also considered cutting a gate into the center front of the screen to create a cool way to introduce monster minis as the PCs encounter them crawling through the dungeons of Saedom. 

Now we have a screen, but without charts, tables, etc. What about the charts and other stuff? Well there are 2 ways to come at this. You can cut and paste or you can cut and paste. I have been doing both. I cut and pasted some tables I had developed into the images before I printed them. Since having produced my screen I have added more tables and little snippets of information. I have done this with a pair of scissors and some glue. It makes more sense than printing and assembling a new screen every time I want to add a new chart.

No comments:

Post a Comment