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D&D General Best DM Screen

The DM screen from revised 2E hands down. It had everything you wanted. The 3.5 Kalamar was great too but you needed a degree in map folding for it to be of use. What was your favorite?
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
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is this even a question?
 






Li Shenron

Legend
Hard to pick because every official DM screen I ever saw always had unnecessary information, making it cluttered. In fact most of the information on DM screens is unnecessary.

The only good DM screens are the ones you make yourself based on what you think it's uncommon enough so that you tend to forget it, but not so uncommon as to be almost never needed, and this is a personal choice. In addition, the good DM screen doesn't only have rules material but also adventure material and possibly some PC stats (for stuff you want to roll in secret without having to ask the players), and these are group-dependent and change over time! Which leads to my final point i.e. a good DM screen for me can't be just a printed cardboard but something more complicated that can be changed every session, such as a board with pinned papers or a transparent sleeved folder.
 

aco175

Legend
Have not used one in a long time, but remember using binder clips to add pages that I needed and be able to add a map to face the players. At the last Convention I went to, a DM used theirs to clip PC cards to show who was playing and the initiative. It was fine, but I also have some DMs that are too behind the screen and both my father and myself need to sit on each side to hear him.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Any screen that had art on it seemed wasted space to me.

I think that the best screen serves two purposes-

1. The DM's side. This is obvious. The original 1e DMs screen had everything you could need. It was invaluable for a game so reliant on tables and matrices.

2. The player's side. You can't overlook this. For the most part, players aren't looking at your screen for information. But it does set a mood. And nothing has ever set the D&D mood like the original screen. Sure, there was the iconic Otus piece (spear, critter) that people still remember. But if you show either of the two panels to anyone who played at that time, it triggers something deep and primal, from the hours, days, and weeks of seeing that image and thinking about it, and having it deeply associated with D&D.

The Trampier two-panel piece may not be the best image in D&D, but it is certainly one of the most iconic images. And that's not wasted space.
 

2. The player's side.
This is just my preference but I prefer a screen with as much relevant information as possible. Of course relevant is subjective from person to person. I most often rolled in the open and kept the screen to my side rather than upright in front of me. I totally understand your point though and agree if I left the screen up most of the time.
Have not used one in a long time
I havent either. Reason I started this thread was because I gave the 5E one last night and after looking it over while we were talking I realized how much wasted space there was compared to the useful information.
a good DM screen for me can't be just a printed cardboard but something more complicated
Ideally yes. Im surprised WotC hasnt done this yet. If I were them Id Id take every table in the PHB & DMG and make them each individual pieces that you could pick and choose what info you want on your screen. Ive entertained making one many time through the years but never did.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I last ”used” a screen some time back in 3E. Still put them up in face-to-face games but it’s more to hide notes, maps and the like than for actually referencing. I do like the more unusual ones, like the Wilderness, Strahd and others that has handy information pulled from the adventure and put on the screen - though the maps are too small for my old eyes.

Best screen, though is the one Snarf pulled up. I used the hell outta that thing, and the players did too (Weapon charts and the like). Second best was the customizable one I bought where you could print and slip whatever you wanted into the screen.
 

aco175

Legend
I havent either. Reason I started this thread was because I gave the 5E one last night and after looking it over while we were talking I realized how much wasted space there was compared to the useful information.
Was it the official one, or the free one in one of the box sets? Didn't use the box set one but found it thin and most likely would roll and fall over causing grief and certain words. The 1e/2e one was thick enough.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
The Pathfinder GM's screen (to branch out a bit) is one of my favorite screens. It had modifiers and DCs for skills, brief summaries of common conditions, and item hardness/hit points. There was little wasted space and few useless tables. One nice feature was each table was also accompanied by a page reference for where the full info could be found in the core rulebook. That was a very nice touch.
 

Was it the official one, or the free one in one of the box sets? Didn't use the box set one but found it thin and most likely would roll and fall over causing grief and certain words. The 1e/2e one was thick enough.
There was two that I had one was the first one released and then there was the deluxe one released not long after. I think he took the deluxe one. They were very thick but I hate the landscape layout. The 2E ones I had were pretty resilient although even after being duct taped they eventually failed their saving throws and are in pieces now.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I don't have photos of the best screen I ever had, but it folded up perfectly. This is one I used for many years after the first homemade one I made (and that I liked better) was damaged by a careless friend I lent it to. The outside referent stuff for the players had not been pasted on it this version yet. (This photo is from about 1997 or 98)

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I will try to get a photo of the one I use now (not homemade but customizable).
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
We were kids then (ranging from 18 to 24). These days I might still lend something, but only to someone I know would take care of it. The only reason I remember this incident so well is because I loved that screen and because I (the oldest in the group) had lent it to the youngest in the group and his excuse was that the screen got smashed up in the trunk of his other friend's car, but he wasn't the one who put stuff on top of it so it was not his fault. Of course, thinking myself the mature one who had to teach an important life lesson, I responded "When you borrow something from someone you are responsible for whatever happens to it while it is in your possession. Shit happens, but trying to weasel out of responsibility is a little kid move."
 


We were kids then (ranging from 18 to 24). These days I might still lend something, but only to someone I know would take care of it. The only reason I remember this incident so well is because I loved that screen and because I (the oldest in the group) had lent it to the youngest in the group and his excuse was that the screen got smashed up in the trunk of his other friend's car, but he wasn't the one who put stuff on top of it so it was not his fault. Of course, thinking myself the mature one who had to teach an important life lesson, I responded "When you borrow something from someone you are responsible for whatever happens to it while it is in your possession. Shit happens, but trying to weasel out of responsibility is a little kid move."
Yea at least admit youre in the wrong, offer to pay for it or help make a new one.
 

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