Jul 26 , 2023
It’s not a secret that being a good Dungeon Master (or, more generally, Game Master) takes some work. It’s a lot of work creating a world and it’s even harder to create a world for others to play in and change as the story dictates. So why do it? For me, it’s because being a DM is incredibly rewarding. The enjoyment that players have at the table is the payoff. The more fun my players have, the more fun I have. It’s not every day we see hard work pay off in real time.
That being said, dungeon masters need a little help. There’s a lot to keep in your head. Maps, monster stat blocks, storylines, plot points, motivations, NPC personalities, and of course the rules. Before you give up in frustration before even starting, let’s look at some helpful little things to make your experience DMing a game much better.
THE DM SCREEN
This has to be the single most useful item for a DM in any tabletop game. When you’re at the DnD table, it’s important to keep certain information secret from the players. How can you surprise people if they already know what’s coming?
The DM screen is a great way to hide miniatures, books, notes, and everything else. Many campaign and game-specific GM screens have common rules and important campaign info pre-printed for you. For Game Masters looking for a more custom solution, Forged makes a customizable Game Master screen into which you can put exactly the information you need for your game, when you need it.
If you happen to have a tablet or a small laptop, those can go right behind the screen as well and all the information you’ll ever need is right there.
DICE TOWER AND DICE TRAY
Space at the game table will always be a problem. Sometimes there’s just a lot of stuff on the table. Despite the heavy role the DM plays, it’s important for the DM to take up as little physical space as possible. The players need room for the maps, dice, and their character sheets. Having a dice tower and a dice tray is very helpful. Rolling dice is part of the fun of any TTRPG and a good dice tower provides a central focal point for more dramatic roles and a dice tray makes sure the dice don’t go flying all over the place. These might not be the most essential, but keeping dice rolls from knocking into minis and rolling onto the floor and under the couch saves a lot of time and goes a long way to keeping a game moving.
One can never have enough dice. They come in all kinds of colors, shapes, and sizes. Plus there are many dimensions of dice. You might need multiple D4s, D6s, D8s, and D20s. Depending on how you run the game, you might even need Multiple sets. But what DnD dice are the best? There are plenty of options. I really like metal DnD dice. They are tough, heavy, and they are just a ton (hehe!) of fun to roll. There’s something to the weight and clanging sound that just makes the experience of rolling them better. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with basic plastic dice. It’s the age-old question of quality or quantity.
You may have seen some of the really nice gaming tables out there, and there are A LOT of really nice tables made specifically for tabletop gaming. I mean REALLY nice. Seriously, just search for a premium TTRPG table. Sure, it’s cool and convenient to add desk extensions, cup holders, and to countersink your game and cover it up until the next session. But, the truth is, you don’t need a special table to have an amazing game and make memories with your friends. All you need is a space to play. Whether it be a grand custom TTRPG table or picnic table in the park. Just get some friends together and have fun.
BEING A GREAT DM
Accessories like this will keep you organized and that will help with confidence and planning. Just remember to do your homework as a DM. Accessories will not make up for a lack of preparation. They will only aid in preparation and execution. So read the books, write your notes, but above all have fun.