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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

MockingBird

Explorer
The screens that came with Murder in Baldurs Gate & The Legacy of the Crystal Shard were really awesome. I would love if every adventure came with a tailored screen even if it is just card stock.
 

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R_Chance

Adventurer
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.
I agree. The Dungeoneers and Wilderness Survival Guides were 2 of my favorite AD&D books. 1885 or 86 though iirc. Mid 80s anyway :)
 

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! ;)
I've never had the luxury of a table big enough. I usually have books an notes on chairs, on the floor, etc. Players are trusted not to peak.
 

Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
The screens that came with Murder in Baldurs Gate & The Legacy of the Crystal Shard were really awesome. I would love if every adventure came with a tailored screen even if it is just card stock.
So, like these then?

Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus
Curse of Strahd
Eberron: Rising from the Last War
Elemental Evil
Of Ships and the Sea
Rage of Demons
Storm King's Thunder
Tomb of Annihilation
Tyranny of Dragons
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
 

Talltomwright

Explorer
Forgive me if this has already been covered but are there any new rules in this? Or is just collating rules from PHB and DMG and making them easier to reference? I’ve read several reviews and I can’t find a clear answer anywhere!
 

MockingBird

Explorer
Yes except they come with the book as one single purchase. They also don't have to be hard backed to save cost. Like its apart of the contents of the book so you don't have to buy separately.
 






embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
Yes, I have it, thanks. But a 5e one would be nice.
And, like so many great things TSR, it'll probably be a good long time before it's officially converted to 5e. ID has some wilderness survivalism in it but it's only a beginning.

A proper 5e wilderness mechanic not only would be nice, it's a prerequisite to having any Dark Sun revival. Even more so than psionics.
 

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