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View Full Version : What Expanded Your DM Horizons?



Kilrex
03-13-2008, 11:16 AM
Ok, what additional materials affected the way your run your games? I am not talking core rule books. I am talking about items such as mats, supplemental books, dice roll generators, DM screens and other misc crap used. Or even columns written with advice.

My first dual-sided hex/square vinyl map was pretty awesome. Up to that point we had been using a poker table with squares drawn by marker onto its surface. My friend was grounded from RPing at his house for a month. (We had also been using the green plastic Army men for figures.)

We had been playing for about 2 years before we discovered the DM screen. We bought most of our stuff from the small shop in our town that mostly catered to collectable sports cards. With the advent of the internet, we discovered the DM screen. Oh Happy Day!

And my favorite set of books ever was Grimtooth's Traps. I still use them to this day. I so love those books. Many an upstart thief (and once a whole party) has met their end by prying into areas they were warned away from. Not much works needs to be done to keep those books useful.

tesral
03-13-2008, 12:32 PM
The computer. What I was able to do after the computer was so much better than anything I did before it.

spotlight
03-13-2008, 05:39 PM
What got my attention? One of the dnd core books, I think it was 'Wilderness Guide', had several pages of hex fields in the back. I sliced this out and made hundreds of copies, which I still use today.

MortonStromgal
03-14-2008, 10:14 AM
Transylvania for Vampire: The Dark Ages

It got me to experiment with lighting (candles), music, and other props. Plus it got me thinking more about who my NPCs are and what are their motivations.

Probably not the answer you were expecting ;) but it really made me a better DM for D&D and GM for every other game.

TAROT
03-14-2008, 10:53 AM
Probably the biggest effect was from reading other games. Looking at how HERO or GURPS would accomplish the same task changed the way I used D&D.

The Complete Book of Villains for AD&D2 was a nice compilation.

pchavez
03-14-2008, 05:06 PM
The Complete Book of Villains for AD&D2 was a nice compilation.

Excellent book.

cplmac
03-14-2008, 08:18 PM
The computer. What I was able to do after the computer was so much better than anything I did before it.

I have to agree with tesral. With the use of the computer, it helps to keep information readily available. It has also helped with supplying maps to the party as well as other props.

RealmsDM
03-15-2008, 09:45 AM
my laptop... having every single core rulebook & supplemental book at my fingertips as a .pdf file made running a session much easier.

Also, Paizo publishing's run on Dragon & Dungeon mag was great. I kept my older brothers old issues from the 80's, and I had a few from the mid 90's, but after that they all sucked IMO. Then one day I was waiting for a train & decided to pick up a copy to kill time, and WOW, it was great. I loved the adventure paths in Dungeon, and Dragon actually had interesting stuff in it (no Dragon Mirth comics, but you can't have everything)

wizard_in_motley
05-20-2008, 06:14 PM
Ok, what additional materials affected the way your run your games? I am not talking core rule books. I am talking about items such as mats, supplemental books, dice roll generators, DM screens and other misc crap used. Or even columns written with advice.


Adding minis to the game made a huge change for me. Before minis I would describe combatant as being in melee, medium or long range. I'd worked out how long it would take to change between those if you chose. When we added minis I think some folks could follow what was going on a lot easier and I was able to get more tactics into the fights. It also ment we had to take up more space on the table, less room for pizza and chips.

Valdar
05-20-2008, 09:12 PM
Walls made from Castlemolds (www.castlemolds.com (http://www.castlemolds.com)). Faster than tiles or even drawing, and you don't get dry-erase ink all over your hands.

I never understood how people successfully play without minis and a board. Players just seem to want to be in two places at once all the time (that is, close enough to be next to the action, and far enough away to be perfectly safe.) If a player says, "Wait, wasn't I there too?" I point at the board.

StarLady98
05-21-2008, 12:25 AM
The computer. What I was able to do after the computer was so much better than anything I did before it.

Similair idea. Finding the DnD 2nd Ed Core Rules Program. Having a dice roller, every single 2nd Ed book, and printable character sheets all on a computer made life so easy. It also made using Player's Options Rules plausible for my group. Player's Option was too much of a headache to try to write out, but with the computer walking you through the character creation, it was easy.

tesral
05-21-2008, 09:28 AM
Similair idea. Finding the DnD 2nd Ed Core Rules Program. Having a dice roller, every single 2nd Ed book, and printable character sheets all on a computer made life so easy. It also made using Player's Options Rules plausible for my group. Player's Option was too much of a headache to try to write out, but with the computer walking you through the character creation, it was easy.

The 2e core CD was the basis of my custom rules. The RTFs are editable and I have with a will.

cplmac
05-21-2008, 10:20 AM
The 2e core CD was the basis of my custom rules. The RTFs are editable and I have with a will.


This is the first I heard about a CD with all the 2E information on it. I'm sure it is as nice as it sounds.

Dimthar
05-21-2008, 12:49 PM
The RAVENLOFT Campaign 2e. All the suggestions for the DM are great.

.

tesral
05-21-2008, 09:38 PM
This is the first I heard about a CD with all the 2E information on it. I'm sure it is as nice as it sounds.

The programs that came on the CD were so-so. I found I could write an encounter faster by hand that the program could generate one. The PC generator didn't allow any exceptions or rule changes. So you couldn't enter a non core class for example, or give anyone an exceptional strength.

However that is more than made up for in the fact that the books were present in RTF format as well as the art from the Monstrous Compendium. It was the first time we could get our hands on editable D&D books.

StarLady98
05-22-2008, 10:41 AM
This is the first I heard about a CD with all the 2E information on it. I'm sure it is as nice as it sounds.

I think luck was in finding it. I got a copy in 1998. Just having all the books and being able to do Player's Option easily was worth it. Like any program, it can be stupid and restrictive, but I think it was a fair trade off.

Last time I saw a copy of the program, it was selling on Ebay for $150. I guess it must be rare.

clint
05-22-2008, 12:03 PM
Playing.

None of my usual players wants to DM, so I usually do. I think I DMed for about four years before I ever was a player. It was an eye opener.

tesral
05-22-2008, 01:08 PM
Last time I saw a copy of the program, it was selling on Ebay for $150. I guess it must be rare.

Makes me wish I had saved the whole thing, not just the parts I wanted.

cplmac
05-22-2008, 08:15 PM
I think luck was in finding it. I got a copy in 1998. Just having all the books and being able to do Player's Option easily was worth it. Like any program, it can be stupid and restrictive, but I think it was a fair trade off.

Last time I saw a copy of the program, it was selling on Ebay for $150. I guess it must be rare.


Hmmm, quite a bit outside of my current price range. Because of it not being easy to do, I have not used the Player's Option.

Fooliobass
05-23-2008, 09:08 PM
At one point our group had expanded to over 10 people and we were having a hard time using the little fold out grid paper; just not enough room. I went to Loews and bought a sheet of 4x8 ply wood and a sheet of dry erase board glued the two boards together and put legs on it turning it into a table. Lined it out using a sharpie and now use dry erase markers for the maping. it allows the map to be continued across the board allowing the party to do all their own maping. It has helped a great deal with the actual locations of players measuring areas of effect and so on.

StarLady98
05-25-2008, 12:40 PM
At one point our group had expanded to over 10 people and we were having a hard time using the little fold out grid paper; just not enough room. I went to Loews and bought a sheet of 4x8 ply wood and a sheet of dry erase board glued the two boards together and put legs on it turning it into a table. Lined it out using a sharpie and now use dry erase markers for the maping. it allows the map to be continued across the board allowing the party to do all their own maping. It has helped a great deal with the actual locations of players measuring areas of effect and so on.

That is an awesome idea! I don't have the space for it now, but I think I'm going to try something like that when I do get more space.