The Dungeon Master (DM) in "Dungeons & Dragons" often has information he wishes to keep secret from his players: notes on what happens next in the adventure or monsters that have not yet made an appearance. Many use a series of cardboard pieces to hide this information, called a DM screen. These screens also have important information printed on the inside for easy reference. Although Wizards of the Coast, who publishes D&D, makes DM screens, a simple screen can be made at home with the specific references and art a DM chooses.
Tape together three panels of cardboard along the edges so they stand upright. Some DMs prefer their screens joined along the long end of the panel, so they are taller and more difficult for players to see over, while others prefer the panels joined along the short edge so they can easily see maps and other documents at the center of a table.
Print out art to decorate the exterior of the DM screen. Good art can help set the mood for a fun game. Photocopy the covers of fantasy books you enjoy, reproduce interior art from D&D books, or find art online.
Choose charts and information for the interior of your screen. The official DM screen published by Wizards of the Coast features:
Experience Point Rewards Damage By Level Food, Drink, and Lodging Light Sources Character Advancement Actions In Combat Attack Modifiers DCs To Break Common Items Target DCs Fall Severity By Character Level DCs For Commonly Used Skills Rules Summaries for Rolling Attacks and Checks, Cover, Concealment, Conditions, Healing a Dying Character, Death and Dying
You may choose to eliminate some charts which do not have everyday use, such as Character Advancement and Experience Point Rewards.
Tape the artwork to the exterior of the screen and the charts to the interior.
Things You'll Need
- Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook
- Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide
- Cardboard stock
- "Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide"; James Wyatt; 2008
- "Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook"; Rob Heinsoo; 2008
- RPGnet: Review of Dungeon Master's Screen (4e)
Joseph Cohen has over six years of experience in writing and editing business-to-business media summaries for numerous Fortune 500 companies. He is the author of The Future Soldier: Fast Movers, a role-playing supplement from Steampower Publishing. Cohen holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.