For diehard nerds, the nerd-aligned, and hipsters everywhere, there’s little better than Dungeons and Dragons night. After all, it’s enjoyable, creative fun, and it (presumably) won’t lose you any friends, unlike the evil Monopoly. But if you opt to be a Dungeon Master rather than a typical player, your fun and games will be peppered with some additional responsibilities. Remember, you are the organizer – the one in charge of creating the details, maintaining continuity, and ensuring that your campaign goes smoothly for all involved. Oh, and you’re probably also the one in charge of the snacks, but we can’t help you there. What we can do, however, is point you in the direction of the four dungeon master tools that all new DMs should have in their arsenal.
One of the important parts of being a good dungeon master is the ability to improvise and remain flexible. The way the game’s set up necessitates it, bringing about surprising situations, allowing for near open-ended creative solutions, and introducing various NPCs that, while secondary, play an important role throughout your D&D campaign, nonetheless. Now, keep in mind, all of these characters need a name! If you’re not the type who can easily think of good character names right off the top of your head (and most DMs fall into this category), you should build up a list to have on hand for these random character encounters. Using a good name generator will be a lifesaver, and fantasynamegenerators.com is one of the best.
Dungeons and Dragons is well known for having quite a few different races and ethnicities, and each one has its unique name traditions. You can find this info if you want to stay more faithful to the universe and more immersed, but it can get rather unwieldy over time. This site cuts out this work with generators to cover 45 of the official races found in the D&D universe. All names stick with their respective naming conventions, meaning you won’t get some random Dryad named Jerry anytime soon. For most of us, that’s a good thing. But for the folks it’s not, this probably isn’t the best DM tool for you. Once you find some generated names you like, just write 10-12 down on a card and keep it handy for your next Dungeons and Dragons night.
WildBot3D Condition Rings
Despite the countless 5e D&D tools available today, this particular one is perhaps the most practical and frequently used. Condition rings, also known as condition markers, are small rings that indicate different status effects. They come in various colors, each attributed to a specific condition. All you need to do is hang them on your miniature or place them on the figure’s base to never again wonder who’s on fire, who has been poisoned, or who’s about the bite the tabletop dust. They’re also great for quickly identifying other traps and more to eliminate confusion as well as those terrible “I forgot” moments that break immersion. In the end, your gameplay should feel a lot smoother and more satisfying than it would sans any accessories.
However, not all marker sets are created equal. There are several different options out there, but the WildBot3D Condition Markers are a fantastic option – affordable, well-made, and ideal for all your status tracking needs. Sold as a full 77-piece set, it can help easily track any of the conditions seen throughout the game. The colors to denote the specific status are bright and easy to distinguish. Even better, the ring also includes the buff or debuff directly on the marker, so DMs rejoice! Now you won’t need to keep messy tracking sheets strewn all over the place, nor will you have to keep referring back to the marker packaging to verify what statuses are in effect (which, you know, kind of defeats the whole purpose of condition rings). Everyone at the table will readily understand what buffs are active, and you’ll seem like a total tabletop boss.
Kobold Fight Club
Are you interested in becoming a new dungeon master but would rather avoid the tedious bookkeeping that inevitably accompanies the role? Well, welcome to the club. This D&D tool will be the perfect fit for you. Kobold Fight Club is an encounter builder or a tool that helps the DM find monsters that work for their specific party. DMs can select the number of players involved in their campaign, the level of those players, and the number of monsters they want the party to encounter. Got a surprise already planned or have a basic idea of how you want the encounter to go? Kobold Club allows for all of that to be considered right in the builder, allowing you to select certain monsters, choose what type of monsters you want, set a minimum and maximum Challenge Rating, choose environments, and much more.
Random encounters are also something you can easily play with within the builder. All DMs have to do in this case is select the encounter difficulty and roll with it. If any tweaks are wanted, those can still happen in this section. Just add or subtract the number of monsters and set the XP you want your party to receive for successfully completing the encounter. Pretty nifty, yeah? It’s an incredibly flexible 5e D&D tool, and it’s a godsend if you want to streamline your games.
The role of DM is just never done. You set up encounters, track conditions, and come up with interesting names for your characters. It’s all an essential part of the job. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than just these few things. Overseeing combat is also one of the responsibilities a good dungeon master takes on, and while this can be done the old-fashioned way, having a little extra help never hurts. That’s where Improved Initiative comes into play. Improved Initiative is a D&D combat tracker that basically does what it says on the tin. Tracking and enhancing combat it aids in effectively managing initiative order, hit points, and displays all the stats you need to have on hand for creatures, characters, and spells alike.
Improved Initiative isn’t the most straightforward thing to use, but it is an impressive tool once one gets familiar with it, especially considering it’s free. The D&D DM application comes preloaded with all the official OGL characters you’ll need to use, it features a built-in tutorial, and it even works perfectly with encounters created in Kobold Fight Club. Basically, it’s awesome, and we can’t recommend it more. Do you think it is, too? Support the app creator on Patreon today.