The computer. What I was able to do after the computer was so much better than anything I did before it.
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.
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.
Sure, Life IS like a bowl of cherries, but how SWEET they are depends on how much crap your willing to take to fertalize your DREAMS. Michael L. Cross
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.
Running: infrequent VtM game
"I'm beautifully hideous!" - Sven the Nosferatu
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.
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)
Walls made from Castlemolds (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.
The RAVENLOFT Campaign 2e. All the suggestions for the DM are great.
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.
Last edited by tesral; 05-22-2008 at 02:07 PM. Reason: that spwelling thing