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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Dakaran's Avatar

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    Default How useful is a DM Screen?

    I was thinking about getting a DM screen, but I was wondering how useful DMs actually find the info on them.

    I've also given some thought to making my own, but I'd be curious what info people truly find useful on a DM screen and what info really doesn't need to be there that presently is on official DM screens.

    Thanks in advance for the advice!
    Dakaran

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    ghost_warlock's Avatar

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    Default Re: How useful is a DM Screen?

    I mostly use mine to fudge rolls.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NotScaryBats's Avatar

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    Default Re: How useful is a DM Screen?

    Sometimes I forget exactly what all the different status ailments mean. Does Dazed give CA? How about Weakened? Its all right there.

    That's the biggest thing I look at, also having my maps right there but hidden from prying eyes is nice.
    Thanks Gigi Digi for the avatar.

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    Badgerish's Avatar

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    Default Re: How useful is a DM Screen?

    When I did face-to-face gaming for LFR I used mine a lot for hiding my notes and prepared minis. Having a quick look-up for a whole bunch of conditions/DCs/stadnard values was also useful, but not as important as well-written notes out of the player's LoS.

    I did all my rolling out in the open, which is a strong personal preference.
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    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Default Re: How useful is a DM Screen?

    I've never used a screen.

    And if I did, I would just grab a binder or something; it's not worth paying money for a piece of colorful cardboard that re-states the most used tables from the PHB. Those are the first things you know by heart as a DM anyway, so as a lookup they're lacking in value. $.02
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How useful is a DM Screen?

    I use mine for mostly improve like appropriate Level DCs, Status Conditions I didn't jot down and to just hide my rolls. Most of my notes are just on my computer so I don't have to hide them back their very often
    Last edited by DrBurr; 2012-09-25 at 01:15 PM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: How useful is a DM Screen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    And if I did, I would just grab a binder or something; it's not worth paying money for a piece of colorful cardboard that re-states the most used tables from the PHB. Those are the first things you know by heart as a DM anyway, so as a lookup they're lacking in value. $.02
    One difference between a good orator and a great one is that the latter knows better than to rely on memory. No matter how many times your players call for a knowledge check, it's unlikely that you'll be able to recite the DC for every easy through hard DC check for five or more levels. You probably have other priorities for your memory than that.

    Now if you're handy with crafts, I'll admit that one of the best things you can do is make your own screen. It's certainly cheaper, if that's a concern, and it can be tailored to organize things according to your personal preferences and house rules.

    There are advantages to colourful laminated cardboard over a binder. It tends to balance a bit better for one thing. It also gives the impression that you are committed to the task of DMing in ways that the makeshift use of a binder does not. It's a handy place for sticky notes. You can also use it for a wet erase markerboard, which can be handy for quick notes or reminders.

    That said, I typically forget to check my screen, mainly because I tend to spend the night running a game on my feet. Out of sight, out of mind, you know? Still, crouching is easier than finding the right page whenever there's a rule call, and it helps me contain my notes, dice, and counters so they're not spilling out all over player space. It's also a good refresher board before your game, sort of the pre-test cheat sheet, if you will.

    If enough of that would be useful to you, it's worth the cost.

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    Mando Knight's Avatar

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    Default Re: How useful is a DM Screen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shatteredtower View Post
    No matter how many times your players call for a knowledge check, it's unlikely that you'll be able to recite the DC for every easy through hard DC check for five or more levels. You probably have other priorities for your memory than that.
    It's a function. DCs are ~5 + level for Easy, then +5 for each level of difficulty on top.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Leolo's Avatar

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    Default Re: How useful is a DM Screen?

    I use it to play without a battlemap and still keep track of positioning.

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