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The Douchey DM » Misc, Reviews » Why the DnD5E DM Screen is Almost Perfect (perfect is impossible, BTW)

Why the DnD5E DM Screen is Almost Perfect (perfect is impossible, BTW)

I just opened my DnD5E Dungneon Master’s Screen, and I am delighted.

This is by far the closest a preprinted GM screen can come to perfect.

The perfect GM screen would include information about the PCs, like weaknesses or disadvantages, but that’s impossible for a preprinted screen, of course.

Why is it so good? Here’s why:

Random NPC Tables

The left-most panel of the DM side of the screen contains about the most useful information a GM can have at-a-glance. It features five random tables for fleshing out NPCs.

Your players meet a shopkeeper and they start up conversation with a poor bloke who doesn’t even have a name. No problem. These five table will give you a fleshed out PC with a few dice rolls.

These tables give you a randomized version of the PC background information introduced in 5E, but skewed specifically to NPCs. You get a table for NPC characteristics, like absentminded, clumsey, friendly, irritable, suspicious, etc. It gives you a very quick, concise role-playing cue to make the NPC memorable.

The second table gives your NPC an ideal, like charity, fairness, glory, honor, might, etc. — something the NPC values. Below that is a table for a bond: a romantic interest, a keepsake, a collegue, a family member. Is it a PC? An NPC? Who knows?

Next is an NPC Flaw — his he envious? Maybe he has a phobia. Is he prone to rage?

And finally there’s a 3d20 table to randomly determine a name (set up in three d20 columns).

With five tables (and a roll of seven dice) you have an NPC who has a fleshed-out personality with depth and intricacy.

Conditions

Since 4E, I’ve considered the Conditions rules to be rather elegant. It gives you a dozen or so well codified rules for applying various woes to PCs and NPCs. All of the rules for each condition are included in roughly the center of the screen. No need to go searching. They’re right there in front of you.

The Other Bits

There are tables for cover, light level, travel pace, etc. All useful stuff.

The last panel includes some gems. There is a Something Happens! table that provides twenty strange events for when there’s a lull in the action — something to get the PCs off their bar stools and start investigating. And finally, there’s a D12 table of interesting things the PCs might find.

I can honestly say this is the most useful off-the-shelf GM screen I’ve purchased to date.

Written by

Stu Venable is the producer of Happy Jacks RPG Podcast and writer and editor of DoucheyDM.com. He is founder and director of the Poxy Boggards and a member of Celtic Squall. He holds a degree in Journalism and Public Relations from California State University, Long Beach. He is a husband and a father. He hates puppies.

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