DM Screens are one of the Dungeon Master’s most valuable tools. They serve to hide miniatures, plot, statistics, and dice rolls from the players. They can also provide useful reference to the DM, and they look great on the gaming table! But with so many options out there, which one do you buy?
In this article I’ll discuss the five best DM screens, this way you’ll have an easier time deciding which one is right for you.
#5 Wizards of the Coast DM Screens
This section actually describes several different DM screens, as Wizards of the Coast has created several different versions. They’re all about the same quality-wise, but there are a few differences with their content. First we’ll discuss them in a more general sense, then we’ll talk about each of the different versions in turn.
The Wizards of the Coast DM screens are made of a light cardboard. They have printed artwork on one side, and reference pages on the DM-facing side. Unfortunately unlike many screens, the reference pages are printed on, meaning you can’t use custom ones.
The material is not particularly tough, and is prone to wear over time. However, it has the advantage of being incredibly light and compact; you could easily slip it into a bag or binder. Don’t expect them to last forever, but they are a great option if you’re looking for something cheap and portable.
Original DM Screen
The original DM screen is the one people tend to be least satisfied with. It has some useful information, but a lot of the space is taken up by art and unnecessary tables. Typically, NPC names and traits are things a DM plans before the game, not during, so this screen is only something you’d likely want to pick up if you can get it at a steal.
DM Screen Reincarnated
The DM Screen Reincarnated, however, is a step in the right direction. It removes a lot of the more extraneous information and brings in more useful tools like random encounter tables. This is a good one to pick up for your campaigns, as it has useful information for all your games.
DM Screen Wilderness Kit
The Wilderness Kit comes with a Wilderness-themed DM screen that contains a lot of information specific to campaigns in a wilderness setting, such as weather, food, and navigation tables, as well as information about travel.
The kit also comes with a few other useful tools to aid your adventures. This is a great one to pick up if you’re going to be doing lots of typical adventuring.
Of Ships and the Sea DM Screen
The Ships and Sea DM screen is similar to the Wilderness Kit screen, except it’s angled towards seafaring campaigns. It has great water-adventure art, as well as lots of information regarding ship speed and statistics.
This is a great choice if you intend to spend a lot of time on the water or if you’re playing the Ghosts of Saltmarsh campaign.
Campaign-Specific DM Screens
If you’re playing a different published campaign, however, you have options too. The campaign-specific DM Screens are fantastic if you’re running their respective campaign, but become far less useful outside of that.
They include information and tables about the area specific to the campaign, NPC information, and a map of the area, as well as featuring art relating to the campaign. If you want to up the level of your campaign – and you intend to run it for a long time, or multiple times – these are great screens to pick up. However, if you want to run different campaigns then this is going to be far less useful for you.
- Curse of Strahd DM Screen
- Princes of the Apocalypse DM Screen
- Out of the Abyss DM Screen
- Rise of Tiamat DM Screen
- Dungeon of the Mad Mage DM Screen
- Storm King’s Thunder DM Screen
- Tomb of Annihilation
#4 Dog Might Games Valhalla Screen
These beautiful screens are a great option if you’re willing to spend a little more money and don’t intend to travel with your screen. They’re custom-made to order out of solid wood. You can choose your wood species, artwork, color, and finish, as well as the accessories you want on your screen.
The Valhalla screen is angled less towards reference materials and more towards other accessories; it includes a place to hold your miniatures, a miniature dice tower, and an initiative tracker. If you want to seriously upgrade your game with a gorgeous screen and don’t mind not having reference materials, this is a great option.
Just be warned, being out of solid wood this screen is very heavy, and I would only suggest using it if you’re hosting the game. That being said, the construction is sturdy and should last you a lifetime. (In fact, Dog Might Games guarantees it.)
#3 Stratagem The Master’s Tome
This is a great screen, relatively cheap, and is very customizable. You don’t get the 3D accessories like with the Valhalla screen, but you can print your own reference pages to your own liking, and they’re dry-erase. It looks nice, but lacks any intriguing artwork. This is a great option if you’re looking for something like the Wizards of the Coast DM Screen but a little hardier and more customizable.
Notably, the Game Master’s Tome allows you to insert sheets on either side of the screen, unlike the Wizards of the Coast screens. This allows you to keep reference sheets on your side, as well as provide the players with maps and information. The screen does come with its own inserts, or you can use custom ones. My favorite inserts are Fitz’s DM Screen.
#2 Hexers Game Master Screen
This is very comparable to the Stratagem Game Master’s Tome, with a few key differences. Like the Stratagem screen, it is double-sided and allows you to insert reference sheets on either side, and is dry-erase.
However, the Hexers screen has much nicer artwork, comes with a carrying sleeve, and has much nicer inserts. They’re both about the same price, so you’ll be happy to pick up the Hexers screen first.
Honourable Mention: Wyrmwood DM Screen
The Wyrmwood screen is by far the best one on the market. All Wyrmwood products are some of the finest quality, and this one is made of handcrafted wood, though it’s far lighter than the Dog Might Games screen.
It’s modular in design, allowing you to take the screens apart easily and move them around. You can choose between flat screens for reference pages, a dice tower, drawers for dice and minis, initiative trackers, and even a reversible board to provide maps and information to the players. Like the Dog Might Games DM screen, it’s still quite heavy and I wouldn’t recommend it if you commute to your games, but otherwise it’s an excellent choice.
The Wyrmwood DM Screen is by far the #1 on my list, but there’s one small problem: it’s currently unavailable for purchase, which is why I’ve listed it as an honorable mention. After Wyrmwood’s hugely successful Kickstarter they aren’t accepting new orders – the high quality craftsmanship takes a long time.
If you’re interested in a Wyrmwood screen, keep your eyes on their social media to see when they’re offering them again.
#1 The World’s Greatest DM Screen
While the WGDMS isn’t nearly as fancy as the Wyrmwood or Dog Might Games screens, it isn’t called The World’s Greatest without reason.
It’s a simple and no-frills accessory and does everything you want it to. It has pockets for custom inserts, or you can use the ones that it comes with. The pockets are dry-erase pockets.
The WGDMS comes in different colors and sizes, and you can choose between portrait and landscape orientations. It can also fold into an easel if you’d prefer using it in that format. The mini version in easel format can serve as a character tent in the event you get to create a Player Character after your time as a DM.
The World’s Greatest DM Screen is more costly than other screens, but for the quality and simplicity you won’t regret it.
There are a number of options for DM screens, and in my experience simpler is better. There are options if you want to spend a little more money on a nicer accessory, but you definitely don’t have to. Of course, if you don’t want to spend any money, you can always stand up a couple of old binders and tape your reference sheets to them too.
If you do end up buying one of these products, make sure to try and support your local game stores by buying from them whenever possible.
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Until next time, may the dice be ever in your favor.