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102

Our group writes the names on pieces of colored paper, about half the size of 3x5 index cards. These are folded in half and the names of each combatant written twice upon the card, so that it forms a little tent, with the name readable from either side. When initiative is rolled, the cards are placed in order straddling atop the DM screen, shoved over to one ...


76

I recently saw an excellent post by Matthew Colville on Twitter and use a slightly modified version of this system. It consists of a dowel rod and clothes-pins with names written on both sides for the players and clothes-pins with colored stickers (Walmart link) for the baddies and NPCs. Everyone can see the order and it's very expandable for use with minis.


43

That would be the Dungeon Master's Screen. Sometimes referred to as a DM Shield, or Game Master's Screen (especially in non-D&D games), they are designed to give the Dungeon Master quick access to frequently referenced rules, and to obscure dice rolls the DM doesn't want to players to see. They are usually filled cheat sheets to status conditions, more ...


42

A Style or Category More Than a Tool There is a style of games in which the GM gets to be surprised and explore unknowns. These are games where the players also have the right to add story details, places and NPCs to the game world, and otherwise take over parts of the usual GM's repertoire of powers. In some games, such power is highly restricted and/or ...


41

How you use it The Same Page Tool is designed to help avoid social conflict. It does so by setting players' expectations about the game. The Same Page Tool advocates that you answer the questions in the context of a particular game that you or the group chooses ahead of time. (Note that "group" includes the GM.) You answer the questions based on the play ...


40

According to Mike Mearls, Wizards of the Coast does their design and layout in Adobe InDesign, which is the industry standard for any sort of graphical book publishing. InDesign is a layout program designed primarily for combining graphics and text together. Microsoft Word, which is a word processing program, is designed primarily for manipulating text, ...


40

For remote play at our table, we use a camera that is stuck on a microphone-boom-arm that can be rotated by 360°. We found out that we prefer it to have our rest position at about 45°, instead of top-down because the top-down angle creates nausea for some of our players, and it simulates sitting at a table. We use a 19 by 19 go-board with numbered and ...


37

Use a Ring Binder and Poly wallets I once ran a similar scenario, but mine was a dungeon that went down a whole lot with plenty of sub-levels. For this, you will need two ring binders, a whole bunch of poly wallets, some paper, a pencil, some tape/glue/adhesive and some scissors. Optional extra is some tracing paper. Draw each discrete room/explorable ...


31

Here's the link to the program, and here it is in its entirety: DICE:{4,6,8,10,12,20} loop D over {1..(#DICE-1)}{ loop SECOND over {0..5}{ FIRST: 6-SECOND FIRSTD: D@DICE SECONDD: (D+1)@DICE output [count {4..20} in FIRSTdFIRSTD] + [count {4..20} in SECONDdSECONDD] named "[FIRST]d[FIRSTD] and [SECOND]d[SECONDD]" } }


31

The entire purpose of the Tool is to start a discussion, and only secondarily to record the results. The paper and its exact options are far less important than the discussion prompted when using it as designed. It is designed and intended to make people realise that there are differences, and to talk about what they all like and want for the upcoming ...


30

If you roll from the character sheet, you should be able to hit the 'up' key in the chat box to see what the character sheet macro actually entered automatically for you (hitting 'up' in the chatbox refills the chatbox with the previous submission). You can copy and paste that into a custom-made macro to create a macro with the same effect, and can then ...


30

SevenSidedDie's answer is underestimating the damage it can take to use the SPT as a survey. It is not just a waste of time, it is actually harmful. If you let every player make up their mind on their own about what kind of game they want to play, they will fixate on their opinions. So when it turns out that you get very different results from all group ...


28

Giant in the Playground’s roller is tamper-resistant; any edit to the roll-code after posting, and the post gets a big red angry message and it messes up the roll. But the real solution, of course, is trusting your players. If you cannot trust your players, you don’t have a game, and no amount of anti-cheat device will fix that. You need to fix ...


26

Draw the map in isometric. Usually isometric maps are just for fun, but where they truly shine is for maps with a lot of verticality. It takes some time getting used to drawing them, but it's not that complicated once you get the hang of it; drawing simple maps shouldn't be too much trouble. If you're looking for professional maps for inspiration, Elven ...


25

I am the developer of Wild Card Creator, a commercial character creator for the Savage Worlds RPG. While I don’t have direct experience working with Catalyst Game Labs or Shadowrun, I think that my experience is pretty typical of building an RPG character creator for most systems. I’m going to approach this question a bit differently. Rather than asking “...


25

My groups usually use a wet erase mat or a whiteboard as a battle mat (grid optional). We always write the names1 of the characters or monster identifiers in the initiative order on the mat itself. If the game allows for changing that order, we might leave more space or just erase and rewrite if it changes. This method is highly amenable to changes, such as ...


23

The website Invisible Castle had this exact functionality, and with this exact purpose in mind. It saved the rolls with tags for character, campaign, etc. You could look up the entire roll history of a player. However, Invisible Castle seems to have gone down, possibly permanently. The site has apparently changed hands and now tries to install suspicious ...


22

Creator of FastCharacter.com here. Y'all are right, sorcerers were getting d8 instead of d6 hit dice. Fixed it.


20

Use intelligence checks, in particular, the Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, and Religion skills. From the Ability Scores and Modifiers section of the basic rules, under Intelligence: An Intelligence check comes into play when you need to draw on logic, education, memory, or deductive reasoning. The Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, and ...


19

It's a common mistake with anydice to look for a procedural solution- anydice models dice. Therefore cast your problem as "What does the dice look like that gives the answer?" Think about how Great Weapon Fighting works with a d8. We are potentially rolling 2 8 sided dice so our result die has 8x8=64 faces. There are 2 ways we can get a 1 (or 2) - rolling a ...


17

Your HP calculations look correct to me. Sorcerers have d6 hit die, the average of which is 4, which gives me the same result you came up with (assuming a CON modifier of 2): Level 6: (6+2)+5x(4+2) = 38 hp The average of a d8 is 5. So if a Sorcerer had a d8 hit die: Level 6: (8+2)+5x(5+2) = 45 hp Therefore, my conclusion is that the fastcharacter.com ...


16

Figure out how relations are between the orcs and the ogres in the camp. Give these two groups tribal names, flags, distinctive armor, etc. Are there members of more than one clan within either tribe? If so, give each clan a name and a flag, and figure out the relations between the clans. Is there tension there? History? Pride? Think about how labor is ...


16

Nothing quite like that exists. What you are talking about would be a D&D simulator, the closest thing to it might be Neverwinter, an MMO built on 4e's ruleset, but its not the same thing as playing 4e as a pen and paper game. However there are ways to find others to game with Discussion boards on sites like rpg.net or WOTC's 4e boards are a great ...


16

PCGen is a completely free Open Source character generator and maintenance program, and can do what you are looking for. And even a bit more. I personally use it for GMing a group of six very different characters, print out their character sheets, and I also can create monsters with unique abilities, having additional levels in various classes etc. The ...


16

Hero Lab is the premier character generation software for Pathfinder (and a variety of other game systems). It's commercial and costs more than PCGen but it's also way more usable. You have to buy content packs, and it can get expensive to get them all, but they have the content available for all new Paizo books (and some third party) available at or very ...


16

Go to the Query Category page on Scabard. Returns pages across all campaigns that have that category, sorted by campaign score. Example: Searching for 'City' pages: Pick "Place Category" on the selector Enter "City" Click "Search" Full disclosure: I am the developer of Scabard and created this page in response to this question. Update 3/21/21: Greatly sped ...


16

You should have a look at the manufacturer's FAQ. It does appear to have a coating on it, and they recommend using color pencils for things you want to remove.


16

Don't invent and plan your entire world in advance. It's always a good idea to have a basic plan ahead of time. Knowing that your players will start in a city and you want to throw a hook at them dealing with a crime boss (maybe they get mugged in an alley to get the ball rolling?). But you don't need to plan out the entire world. Sure, they're in a city, ...


15

Use Chaotic Shiny's Civilisation Generator. Setting-agnostic: Yes. It covers a few date ranges from the past to the future, and is generically applicable enough. Scalable: Yes. As you take this smaller-scale, you may want to de-emphasize some generated details, ignore them, or treat them as properties of the larger civilisation this village belongs to. (The ...


14

The tools for 4th edition will stay online as long a people continue to pay for them. D&D insider will continue to be a subscription service for 4th edition content (compendium, character builder, Dungeon and Dragon mags) only. The digital tools for 5th edition were being developed seperately by a company called Trap Door Technologies (TDT). The ...


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