Flexing the Geek Muscle(s)

Since my site has become hopelessly out of date I have decided to post the fruits of my evening’s activities.

Bunny’s new interest in D&D has sparked my interest in the hobby once again. I was already considering getting back into it for a similar reason (I rarely leave the house). My brother and I have been slowly picking up the 4e rules by bumming around on the D&D Insider account I setup a couple of months ago. I got to the point where I actually needed to read the rules in a coherent way so I finally opened the Dungeons and Dragons Core Rulebook Gift Set, 4th Edition that I preordered before the release of 4e. I’ve nearly finished the players handbook, so today Jason and I began constructing some materials for our initial encounter attempt.

The first Frankenstein of the evening was my new GM screen. This is something that I should have done long ago back when I actually played on a regular basis. Back in the AD&D days I just used to prop up some paper folders that I brought the adventure in. Not a very good solution, but it worked and I was a broke high school student. When 3rd edition came out I actually bought an official DM screen, which I used for pretty much everything I ran, regardless of the fact not all those games were D&D 3.0. My new solution is inspired by the Savage Worlds customizable GM screen. It is basically a binder with three panes you can just slide print outs into. However, I wanted a more flexible solution that would not require constantly swapping out reference sheets for different games. So, what I ended up doing was getting two three ring binders which I clip together with a binder clip. Inside the binders I have some document sleeves that I put the reference sheets in, and use binder clips to hold them open to the relevant pages for the game I’m playing. And, yes I did make these 4e reference sheets myself, and yes it took forever. I basically whipped it up in indesign while Jason was drawing grid lines on the poster board for the other project. Total cost for this project was under $7, which is a little less than the 4e Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Screen, which is $10.

The second creation was more of a creature of necessity. Unfortunately, since there are not many gaming places in the area you cannot really get a chessex role playing mat
so you can either order one online, or come up with a more creative solution. We chose to do the later. Basically, our solution was to draw a grid on some pieces of poster board, and them mount them to a sheet of Plexiglas. The total cost was under $20 for a 28″ x 36″ grid, the cost for a comparable chessex mat would be around $25 online (plus shipping).

Author: Jeff

Born a cantankerous old man, mellowed ever so slightly by age.

5 thoughts on “Flexing the Geek Muscle(s)”

  1. After reading “Flexing the Geek Muscle” and “I have decided to post the fruits of my evening’s activities” I thought this was going to be a very dirty and nasty post LOL

    Your D&D setup is very impressive. You and rusty have gotten me interesting in this activity but I’m not sure if I’ll put alot of time and money into it. Seems like like everybody’s renewed interest in Warcraft last spring. I’m worried it’s going to last like a month then I’ll be stuck with D&D stuff I’ll never use 🙁

    you are jjafuller

  2. Bun, using a DM screen isn’t necessarily required, but I am used to bring a ton of notes and pinning them up for reference, so its just a matter of convenience.

    Wes, you should come out to the PHB3 release event at White Caps. Generally speaking you should not have to spend too much as a player. And, I would not recommend buying anything until you play it. The first thing you should do is read the quick start rules. They will make absolutely no sense, but as things come up in the first game you’ll have a frame of reference.


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