So you are starting out as a Dungeon master? Well, let me tell you something. Being a DM is not that easy. In fact, it can get incredibly overwhelming if you don’t have the right tools at your disposal.
As a DM, you have control over fate, time, and the universe in general. One of the most common problems a DM faces are difficulties in keeping the initiative on track.
You also have to take additional time in preparing subsequent sessions. To avoid any hassle, we have prepared a list of the top 10 essential dungeon master tools.
These tools help you remember the important aspects of the game, keep track of all the players, and also, make the job of a DM easier and enjoyable. Let’s Start!
Dungeon Master Tools You Should Have
1. Battle Mat
If you think you are the Dungeon master, then you want the best gears for the game. For D&D, a battle mat is probably one of the most vital tools in the game.
Why you may ask? Well, the answer is simple.
High-quality battle gear such as a grid mat is reusable. The best are the ones made with double-coated vinyl, which makes it incredibly durable.
A battle grid mat allows you to scribble important notes, erase them, and write again. Make sure you have a dry eraser to remove the ink marks.
Battle grid mats are light and portable. You can take it anywhere, without it occupying much space in your backpack.
It is also damage-resistant, so they will look good as new years later.
2. Table Dice
If you are a regular D&D player, you will know how crucial it is to have good dice. It is good to have dice for everything.
From bosses to spells, a good dice collection can give you the edge in your duels.
Multiple dice allows you to roll a combination of attacks. There are many types of dice. Metal dice and other premium styles are readily available.
3. Dungeon Master Screen
Being the dungeon master means that you have a lot of responsibilities. It might be difficult keeping everything on track.
As a dungeon master, there is crucial information that needs to be hidden from the players. The best way to hide such information is by using a DM screen.
The screen helps you get the private space you deserve. The exterior of the screen has great visuals that go with the theme of the game.
The screen contains important shorthand tables and reference sheets which are important for the calculations and planning you have to do as a Dungeon Master.
4. Markers For Spell Effects
During the course of combat, it can get difficult to remember the spells that are in effect. There is usually an array of spells flying around at any given time, and it is easy to forget who is blessed, who are blinded, or which of the enemies have a bane.
In the last round, this can become an issue. To avoid such problems, you can invest in trackers for spell effects.
When a playable character or a monster says, hidden or poisoned, you can simply place a small marker under the miniature so that you always remember the spell or effect it is under.
This makes sure that you don’t forget the characters state the next time.
5. Initiative Cards
When you have multiple players playing the D&D, they will most definitely face a large group of monsters. This becomes difficult as you have to keep everything on track.
If the players forget when their turn is, it sort of slows the game down. This affects the other players as well.
To keep track of the game initiatives, you can invest in initiative tracker cards.
As a dungeon master, you can simply hang them over your screen. This way, the DMs can have key stats that will be easily accessible.
Being a dungeon master, you probably have to take notes at some point in the game. You might have to write the names of the players, places, and other stuff.
A pencil will come in handy and is much preferred over a pen as they are easy to erase.
Also, 3×5 cards are very useful. They can help you when taking notes and rough drawings.
You can then pass them amongst the players. Players can use the cards to write down names or other stuff like the effects of magic items.
Sticky notes can be used to draw rough sketches of complicated positions that are difficult to describe.
This will help the players to understand what an area visually looks like, or which players are where.
7. Personal DM Journal
By having a personal notebook, you can write down all the crazy experiences you had during the game. Although you can keep a stack of 3×5 cards to take notes, a small journal book is more preferred.
Write the notes down in a consistent order, so that you can easily reference the journal when you have to.
You can use the journal to jot down important points about the characters. Since the game focuses heavily on the characters themselves, writing notes down will help you recall important points about them.
You can write facts such as names, classes, backgrounds, etc. You can review the points before starting a new game.
Doing this will help you know the characters more, and build the world with them being the center. Keep the journal with you during preparation and play.
8. Representing The Monsters And Characters
Using various objects to represent the characters and monsters makes the can easier to interpret. Use different things such as LEGOs, glass beads, coins, etc.
You don’t have to use a cool miniature figure to represent the monsters in the game. For the player characters, you can get cool miniature figures.
Players will find them amazing and this will also help to visualize the player’s character.
Miniature figures may not be cheap, but it will certainly affect the way you interpret the game and make a positive difference.
9. Monster Manuals
One of the oldest tools for Dungeon master is the monster manual. These manuals have essential information and can provide players with ideas.
It comes with stories that boost inspiration. Stories can simply be made up by mining the creature’s background.
These books purely hold all the information you need about monsters. It is good to use them frequently at the game table as the more you use it, the less you have to worry about thinking about your own stories.
It is important to have the manual at hand if you forget any stat of the monster, or if you meet on the fly.
10. Spell Cards
Managing spells is probably one of the most confusing parts of dungeons and dragons.
As different classes have different ways to use spells, keeping track of everything might get a bit tedious.
To make things easier, you can create a deck of your spell cards. This can make running the characters much easier.
You can easily purchase spell decks for individual classes. In this way, you can buy the deck that contains the spells you require.
With time, new tools are being introduced that make the tasks of a DM much easier. As the task is itself tedious, you must keep everything on track to make the most from your DM sessions.
Knowing how much you have to handle, it is very easy to stretch yourself thin. Building the courage to start your first game as a DM is a massive step.
The 10 must have dungeon master tools we have mentioned in this article will help you keep your players rolling and have a seamless D&D session.
We hope the tools will also help you improve as a Dungeon master. Take care of the players and most importantly, have fun!