D&D 5E 5E DMs: What support materials would help you the most?

overgeeked

B/X Known World
In a lot of conversations around here and other 5E spaces, DMs seem to want a lot more support from 5E than it gives them by default. So we end up with a lot of material on the DM's Guild and various 3PP putting out supplements and books to fill the gaps in 5E. So without turning this into yet another thread about the merits or flaws of 5E and the 3PP ecosystem, what are some of the things you want support materials for? Official, 3PP, homebrew, doesn't matter.

Combat encounter building. Monster building. Warfare. More spells. Journey and travel rules. Adventure design. Adventure paths. Old-school modules. Better layout and design. More utility. More optional rules. PC classes. PC races. Expanded weapons. Expanded armors. Historical periods. Setting books. Maps.

The question is limited to digital or printed material. Sorry, we can't help you with players missing sessions or not listening when your villains monologue.

So, what would help you the most?
 

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SakanaSensei

Adventurer
Materials that help with writer's block. I want lists of interactables I can throw into a fight, or even lists of goals besides hit it 'til dead. I want some tags I can use to throw together NPCs, the factions and cities they live in, and the region that surrounds that. Going further than that, man it would be nice to have some, like, single paragraph long examples of different factions you might find in a city. About 40 of them, and then if you wanted to you could change them or just plop them in wherever you want.

Examples of different ways to prep for a game would be neat, too. It'd be awesome to see a condensed version of the Lazy DM method, like actual notes for a session, and then 2 other examples that maybe go into more detail.

This is all pie in the sky, probably, but man would it be useful for me.
 

JEB

Legend
More help with making homebrew content: monsters, spells, magic items, races, classes, subclasses. The 2014 DMG is functional, but it doesn't provide enough insights into design intent and balance.

On a related note, more support for customizing existing rules content for your games, like monster templates or an easy way to increase/decrease monster/item/spell strength. Don't ask me to always reverse-engineer and reconstruct monsters from scratch to modify them.

More epic-level support, and more support for playing characters at higher or lower power levels than the default. Give me tools to help me run a game with all tiny PCs, or all giants, or angels fighting demons across the multiverse.

Also, instead of less lore, or vaguely detailed lore, how about multiple takes on lore that you can choose from and/or customize? Not just random tables to roll on (though those are cool too), but actual, thought-out alternatives. And provide tools to help DM invent their own lore variants.
 

aco175

Legend
I would like the modules to be smaller and better. I know better is arbitrary, but the last several books by Wizards are completely not my taste and it seems the days of smaller modules are gone from them as well. DMsGuild and others have filled this somewhat, but I find it hard to find something there as well that I do not have to spend time changing to fit. I'm sure that I'm just not looking hard enough for something plain and generic that only need minor changes to fit. Maybe more a shell to help me mold it would work.

Always could use more towns and NPCs, buildings that are there along with a place unique to that town. Not everything needs to be fantastic, but a list of NPCs with a couple sentences for them and room to expand if needed. Buildings with a few sentences as well to show this towns general store is slightly different then the next town's.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I've been at this 40+ years, so I'm a bit set in my ways. If you want products that appeal to me, they're going to be things I put on the table to add to the visual appeal of the game.

What I think, overall, would be good for many DMs is storytelling training. DMs learn mechanics fairly well, but the thing that separates a great DM from a mediocre one is usually nothing mechanical - it is the ability of the DM to use their voice to create attachment to the story, to create drama in the moment, and to know how to use their timber, pacifing, volume and tonality to their advantage. Meeting an ogre on the road can be a really boring encounter unless the DM knows how to narrate the scenario in a way that is evocative and engaging.
 


M_Natas

Adventurer
A bigger table. But for that, I would need a bigger flat or house ...
More time fo rgame prep (between work, household and the Kids I don't have a lot).
A 14 inch Laptop with good battery times that can run OneNote well and maybe can handle Affinity Photo und the mapmaking Software I use.

So in short, I need to win the lottery, so I can work less and cam hire a housekeeper, to take care of my new house with a big hobby room :D.

Besides from that right now I would need a good guide to create encounters and travel in the shadowfell.
 

pogre

Legend
Instant buys for me are high level 15+ adventures. I don't need adventures at levels 1-10 - those are easy to come up with and there are tons available.
 

Oofta

Legend
I don't really need anything for myself, but a better "monster builder" would be nice. Give me a tool that let's me input target CR and then a selection of typical role options to walk through the process. While 5E isn't as constrained on monster roles as 4E, the basic concepts of brute, lurker and so on still apply. So give me something that walks through that process of selecting options.

Oh, and an encounter builder that gets out of beta in DndBeyond would be nice too. :)
 

RoughCoronet0

Dragon Lover
Monster books and books that contain non-magic item rewards and powers.

I greatly enjoy having a wide variety of creatures I can throw at players, and because I have such a wide variety of abilities and powers between monsters I can splice them together to create new creatures.

I also have my own piety system in my game so players that follow certain god’s tenets can gain rewards and power ups. My world is also highly magical, so sometimes the players can gain extra powers from different events and incidents where they are infused with the magics of the world. I have especially enjoyed a collection of DMsGuild books that have converted a majority of the 4e class powers into special abilities/spells that can I can then reward players to give them new and interesting options during and outside of combat.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Nothing.

I have several decades worth of previous edition material, Dragon Magazines, websites, YouTube videos, and books from Third Party producers at my fingertips that there is nothing left to need that I don't already have access to in some form or fashion and can't adapt and adopt into my game. I especially don't need anything that has to be catered to 5E specifically.

But the biggest thing about having all this stuff from years past is that I have to take a little bit of time to find it, read it, and see if I want to use it. I have to put the smallest modicum of work and effort actually into my game so they can be where I want them to be. But you know what? That's the way I think it should be. Working on my game is a requirement and an important part of the process of being a DM. And if some of the stuff WotC gives me in their 5E books is not what I like when I play D&D... then I will go through all my other game material to find stuff I do and just incorporate it in... rather than just sit on my hands miserably and complain that WotC isn't making it for me.
 

Another monster manual of stuff that isn't classic fantasy tropes. I miss battlebriars and other genuine oddness in monsters.

An monster manual for traps, hazards, complications and other exploration encounters.

A big Book of NPCs

Mostly I want a bunch of ready-to-play ideas for stuff to do to players. Plots and settings aren't too hard for me, but coming up with details - and especially assinging numbers to them - is more work that I'd happily pay others to do for me.
 

Xamnam

Loves Your Favorite Game
I would appreciate adventure design/pacing/delivery getting more support in the core books, but I don't know that I'd buy anything for that exclusively, the last one I did purchase was pretty disappointing. Generally, if I'm looking to spend money, it's going to be on the stuff that would be the most complex, time consuming, or tedious to do myself, so in that light, setting books (obvious caveat: well written ones) would be my number one priority. After that, it'd be APs/Modules (which to a degree covers maps and encounters).

A full book of optional rule sets, of things like more in-depth crafting/base building/faction play, could be pretty tempting, especially if it splits the difference between what is currently available in base 5e and something like MCDM's Strongholds and Followers.
 

payn

Legend
Another monster manual of stuff that isn't classic fantasy tropes. I miss battlebriars and other genuine oddness in monsters.

An monster manual for traps, hazards, complications and other exploration encounters.

A big Book of NPCs

Mostly I want a bunch of ready-to-play ideas for stuff to do to players. Plots and settings aren't too hard for me, but coming up with details - and especially assinging numbers to them - is more work that I'd happily pay others to do for me.
I like these ideas.
 

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