A DM is more than just someone playing a game and it takes more than just imagination to be a DM. Every DM has the tools they find useful for their games and I’m no exception. Here are my tools and why I find them useful.
Dark Sun Box:
A DM on the go needs a way to bring all his crap to the store, house or wherever they’re playing. I got this box at PAX East 2010 as a reward for DMing. It’s small enough to be portable (not hindering me with all the books and other paraphernalia I take with me) while being large enough to hold my pens, notepads, dice, and play tokens. And the Wayne Reynolds art is awesome.
Dice and Dice Bag:
I have four sets of Chessex dice. Chessex is the only brand of dice I’ll buy anymore. I’ve used other dice and it never really felt right. Chessex dice have just the right weight and they look damn cool. And the price is very good. The dice bag is a recent purchase. It’s made by Q-Workshop. I had my eye on it for weeks at my Friendly Local Gaming Store and have been pleased that I finally caved since. It’s got a good size, the tie close is very nice, and it’s made of durable material.
I use these small notepads for the tracking of initiative and monster HP. My college’s print shop used to give these out for free. They were the leftovers from producing posters and other things. I found them incredibly useful, even then, and scooped up as many as possible. The only thing I’ve had trouble with is keeping track of conditions. I usually note it, but that hasn’t been working for me. You can see in the box pictures how well they fit in my Dark Sun Box.
I use the miniatures that Wizards of the Coast used to produce. I have a massive collection. They bring life to the action I find, more so than tokens ever could. The downside is they take up a lot of space. It can be a real pain to transport five or more books, the laptop the game is on, my Dark Sun box and a box of miniatures.
Another Wizard’s product. The Dungeon Tile sets I have are really fantastic. I never find myself unable to make the exact area I need for an encounter. The art and design are really top notch. Also, they’re a very portable way to bring terrain to any table. The only downside I’ve found is they slide. The print and lamination on both sides causes this. We’ve figured out how we’re going to solve this problem though: we’re going to get the rubber liner you get for kitchen drawers.
Those are the things I use to run my game. I feel unprepared if I don’t have any of them. Coming soon, I’ll tell you how I’ve repaired my campaign and I’ll share my thoughts on the WPN Encounters program.