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Subject: I rated this a 3 out of 10 rss

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Danny Stevens
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I am a veteran dungeon master. Heck I started with Chainmail. One thing that is critical to a DM is having the basic mechanics to hand that you need for play. This screen doesn't have it, and because its glossy it will be hard gluing something useful over it.

One of this screens four panels is given over to stuff you need at prep time when developing NPCs. The next 1 1/2 panels is given over to full descriptions of Conditions along with the pictures that take up about 1/3 of that space. We get "Setting a DC", "Cover", "Obscured Areas", "Light" and an alphabetical list of skills and their associated abilities on the last half of the third panel.

The final panel has "Travel Pace", "Encounter Distances", "Damage by Level and Severity" and then a couple of random tables for "something happens" and "Quick Finds". Oh and 1/3 of the screen again used up by a painting of the Tarrasque attacking a city, and some sketches of dice with goblins hiding behind them.

Really?

"Setting a DC" is marginally helpful to a novice DM, certainly.

Of the other data "Cover", "Light", "Travel Pace" and "Encounter Distances" are useful.

So did no one think to ask an actual dungeon master what they have on their home made screens?

Weapons and damage dice maybe?
Armour info?
Combat actions?
What about the character advancement table?

Each of these would have been more useful than the NPC stuff, which a DM will have put together during prep, including some random names that fit into the culture of their games rather than the lame random name generator.

For better and more useful DM info have a look at Stan Shine's nice 3 pager.
Or for very colourful and useful look at this 6 pager by Ozuro at reddit.
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Quote:
So did no one think to ask an actual dungeon master what they have on their home made screens?

Hear hear!

I bought it to, but it's really not worth it's money!
I use it now as a frame to hold up the 6 pages by Ozuro, mentioned above.
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Andrew Goenner
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While I understand where you are coming from, I find myself on the opposite end of this opinionwise. Everything you listed that should be on the DM screen are items that myself and most other 5E DMs I know had memorized by the end of the first session, or isn't anything a DM should really need to keep track of (weapon and damage types are either present in creature stat blocks or added to NPCs when they are created, or the purview of the players in my games, I have no reason to reference them in the midst of a game).

I've found that the beauty of 5E is its simplicity. There are very few actual rules that need to be referenced by the DM in 5E. I vastly prefer the on-the-fly creation tables on the DM screen that are useful when the PCs inevitably go and do something completely random, if only for quick inspiration.
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Kevin Seachrist
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descriptions of conditions (which I will never be able to remember with 100% accuracy for some strange reason) and a wall of cardboard are what I actually need in a DM screen. The rest is basically gravy. The new screen is okay.

If you want to stick something to it reliably, use rubber cement or good old fashioned tape.
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Douglas Bailey
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MasterGeek wrote:
While I understand where you are coming from, I find myself on the opposite end of this opinionwise. Everything you listed that should be on the DM screen are items that myself and most other 5E DMs I know had memorized by the end of the first session, or isn't anything a DM should really need to keep track of (weapon and damage types are either present in creature stat blocks or added to NPCs when they are created, or the purview of the players in my games, I have no reason to reference them in the midst of a game).

I've found that the beauty of 5E is its simplicity. There are very few actual rules that need to be referenced by the DM in 5E. I vastly prefer the on-the-fly creation tables on the DM screen that are useful when the PCs inevitably go and do something completely random, if only for quick inspiration.
This is pretty much exactly my opinion, too: I started making my own screen before this one came out, and I couldn't even cover three panels with the tables I actually felt I needed to reference during play.

I'm not crazy about the player-facing art, and wish that something more useful was on those panels (price lists, maybe?), but from the DM's side, I'm quite happy with the 5e screen as it is. All I'd add to it is a copy of the random inn-names table from the screen included with Sundering Adventure I: Murder in Baldur's Gate.
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Marc Bennett
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I also find the random NPC tables useful for when the players do something oddball.
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mind fire
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Thanks, this is more useful than the WOTC version
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Danny Stevens
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Rykaar wrote:
descriptions of conditions (which I will never be able to remember with 100% accuracy for some strange reason) and a wall of cardboard are what I actually need in a DM screen. The rest is basically gravy. The new screen is okay.

If you want to stick something to it reliably, use rubber cement or good old fashioned tape.

You could use 3 A4 cardboard sheets, one printed page, and some sticky tape to replace the commercial product then. I had to pay nearly $20 AUD to find that out.
 
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Kevin Seachrist
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Your original quote: "because its glossy it will be hard gluing something useful over it." I was responding to that specific point. I suggested tape or rubber cement because either one makes a glossy surface a non-issue.

Frankly a glossy surface is actually a good thing if you're covering up some portions with your own material taped into place. The tape will lift off easier when you want to swap something out.

Sorry you had to waste your money though. That always sucks.
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Rob Doupe
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Yeah, I wish I had read this review before I bought the DM screen last week. Pretty much a waste of money. Even the artwork is lacklustre.
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Mark Buetow
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I set mine up the other day when we played. I rolled the dice behind the screen. The players couldn't see them. I give this a 10/10 for screening perfectly. laugh
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