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Dungeon Master's Screen Wilderness Kit: An In-Depth Review

The latest official Dungeons & Dragons' supplement is the Dungeon Master's Screen Wilderness Kit, arriving slightly after Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, but clearly timed to work with it. However, this is a general wilderness adventure supplement, not one specifically for Icewind Dale or other frozen locations.
dnd_press_dmscreen_wild.png
If you've seen D&D Essentials Kit, some of the components will be familiar to you. Like that set, this comes with initiative cards, condition cards, and a box to hold them that you can assemble. My complaint then as now is that I'd prefer it if it came with more condition cards so you could hand one to every player who is affected by a condition. Of course, if you have the Essentials Kit, you can combine the cards.

Now, if you're playing online like so many of us are during COVID and not using a service like Roll20 (my group plays on Discord), the cards might not seem as handy as they do for in-person games. You could always photograph the condition card and drop it into chat or send it to a player so they have the condition details handy.

The DM screen here is MUCH sturdier than the one in the D&D Starter Kit or Essentials Kit. It's solid like the classic 5th Edition DM screen. Inside it has the usual information on conditions, difficulty levels, etc. plus info on weather conditions like strong winds, a weather chart, visibility and distance, and audible distance. I'm not sure why it doesn't also have the avalanche rules from ID:RotF. They should at least included it in the other sheets.

Speaking of the sheets, the set comes with five double-sided, laminated sheets that you can use with dry erase markers. One double-sided sheet is a hex grid on both sides. Another sheet is a hex grid on one side and a food and water supply tracker on the other. The next has a cheat sheet of actions you can take in combat on one side and and a hex grid on the other, allowing to have a three-sheet hex map at any given time..

Wilderness chases are the topic of the next sheet. Part of it covers running a chase, and the rest features a chart of complications the DM can add to the chase.

The last sheet explains the cycles of a wilderness journey to help the DM plan it and break down how many cycles would occur in a given trip. The other side has a random encounter chart and a weird locations chart. It also includes guidance for food and water usage. Foraging information rounds out the subject.
dnd_press_dmscreen_wild_full.png
While this set isn't essential, it pairs nicely with ID:RotF (of course). It would also work well if you're DMing travel through an area created using the the supernatural hazards section of Tasha' Cauldron of Everything or any other wilderness adventure. Now if only they'd do an urban adventure set to go with Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and other city adventures with random encounter and urban chase rules and commplications.

If you don't already have a DM's screen, it's gotten too beaten up, or you only have the one from the Starter Kit and want one that's more substantial, picking up the Dungeon Master's Screen Wilderness Kit is a no-brainer. If you already have a perfectly good DM screen, it depends upon what kind of campaigns you're running and your budget. The kit has enough little things to make DMing easier when running a wilderness adventure that the additional purchase could be quite worth it. And, of course, if you like being equipped for every possibility, get it. The price point combined with the features make this an easy yes to buy.
 

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Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
Theoretically, I’m going to start a solo wilderness campaign for one of my players and this would be a nice thematic prop. I do wish wotc would make them customizable though.
 

Sketchpad

Explorer
I really enjoyed the Wilderness Kit, but I also feel that we could use a book to expand on some of the rules a bit, as well as detail hexcrawling a bit more, and incorporate other environments.
 

Im not a screen guy, like to roll in the open. But the condition cards are nice and I like that art.

Does anyone know if the audible distance rules are in a book? I have inly ever found them on the screen.

I refrence my screen for that and object hitpoints. I could use a full page of common object hitpoints.
 

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
Im not a screen guy, like to roll in the open. But the condition cards are nice and I like that art.

Does anyone know if the audible distance rules are in a book? I have inly ever found them on the screen.

I refrence my screen for that and object hitpoints. I could use a full page of common object hitpoints.
I have the same question about distances
 

dwayne

Adventurer
everything presented here i can really just make my own, with much lower cost, and my DM screen is my laptop, but if you have the money and not the time then guess this is ok
 

audible distance
As others have said this is new to me. I dont remember seeing this in 5E anywhere. Not sure it really needs a rule but regardless this screen seems to be as step above the other screens until this point, but I honestly still dont see myself buying it.
 





embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
PLUS
Wishful Thinking


(I'm just teasing. I also would like to see Dark Sun.)

In trying to tone down controversial subject matter to make it more palatable to modern audience, all references to slavery on Athas have been removed and replaced with "internships."

The upcoming sourcebook is tentatively titled "Dark Sun: Trigger Warning"
 

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
I really enjoyed the Wilderness Kit, but I also feel that we could use a book to expand on some of the rules a bit, as well as detail hexcrawling a bit more, and incorporate other environments.

That already exists. It's called "Wilderness Survival Guide" and TSR put it out in 1981. You should be able to pick up a copy on eBay.
 


Well the art is not bad. I guess if I had to stare at it for a long time it would be good.

As DM though, I unfortunately would be on the wrong side. (Although I guess I could invert so I could look at the art and the players could check the rules for obscurement or the frightened condition themselves rather than asking me.)
 

everything presented here i can really just make my own, with much lower cost, and my DM screen is my laptop, but if you have the money and not the time then guess this is ok
I don't think there is anything in D&D you couldn't make on your own at lower cost.

If you had the time and the skill.
 

twofalls

DM Beadle
I have two screens I use, with with an online game. I almost never reference the material printed on the screens and I think the only reason I set them up is because I've run games for 41 years and just associate it with being the DM. That is a poor reason. I should probably dump them since I have quick reference sheets of rules that I use instead.
 


Green Onceler

Explorer
I almost never reference the material printed on the screens and I think the only reason I set them up is because I've run games for 41 years and just associate it with being the DM. That is a poor reason.

I also rarely reference the rules content on my screen. However, I like them as scaffolds on which to paper clip maps and obscuring upcoming minis.

I also feel they add a degree of visual excitement to the table. The art on this one is nice, IMO.

I do not think I would use one if I were playing online, however.
 

Aaron L

Hero
No one keeps notes and maps behind the screen to keep them away from player's eyes anymore?

I mean, under normal, non-current circumstances.

Every player in our group would fear blue bolts from the Heavens and/or ethereal mummies as a consequence of looking behind the DM's Screen! ;)
 

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