Are you tired of the monotonous reality? Is keeping up with the news making you lose interest in this world? Well, you know you can just hop into another universe, right?
Through games, of course!
We all know how role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons impacted our childhood. They gave us an escape from the boring world and took us into the mesmerizing lands of mythical beings.
Dragons, mermaids, giants, warriors - what did we not have in these fantasies?
Along with opening up our creative minds, these games also helped us to find friends who have similar interests. They taught us teamwork, fairness and more such crucial moral values through fun.
These games can save us even now by planning a session with our closest friends or other loyal D&D allies. And an essential part of such sessions is the Dungeon Master screen.
The master will make sure everyone is getting a fair share of the thrill and keep the adventure going by bringing in new twists.
To make sure you and your pals have a great time in these RPGs, we have compiled a list of the most popular DM screens here! Keep reading to find the best DM screen for your team and plan the session!
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What Is DM Screen And What Are The Benefits Of Playing It?
DM is short for Dungeon Master. It is the most pivotal role of the globally popular tabletop game called Dungeons and Dragons. Fans also call this game D&D or DnD in short.
This game has gained so much popularity due to its thrilling storylines based on fantasy and adventures. It promotes healthy creativity among players and fuels their imaginative mind. The players are motivated to come up with their own twists, strategies, and consequences throughout this game.
A DM screen helps the dungeon master to choreograph all of these crucial moves from the detailed instructions, maps and other information provided in it.
Usually, a DM screen portrays a carefully crafted artwork on the front based on the game’s storyline. When other players get to marvel at this beautiful illustration, the master can figure out his next step by reading the back. This is also where he rolls dice and keeps track of each player’s current status or progress.
1. Organized Information
DM screens make it easier for the dungeon master to prepare his next step. Each screen has all the rules, maps and other information organized in tables and charts. These can be printed on the back, provided as separate sheets or be available on the internet for downloads.
If they are sheets or downloaded documents, the screen allows to store them on its back by sliding the papers into its pockets. A standard DM screen can come with three to four pockets on the back for this purpose. Typically, you should be able to fit an A4 paper in each pocket.
2. Strategies and Twists
The dungeon master can come up with enthralling plans, combat moves, characters and more with the DM screen. Reading all that information on the back can open up the doors of imagination in his mind. As a result, the game can get a lot more interesting while not operating in chaos.
3. Tracking Progress
In any game, tracking the progress or status of each player is necessary. Many DM screens make this possible by allowing the master to keep records of every player’s movement. As a result, all the participants get their due rewards after a fantasy battle has ended.
4. Necessary Privacy
The master can choreograph the entire ordeal in secrecy behind the veil of a DM screen. This gives him the necessary privacy to think of the next move without making anybody aware. As a result, the element of surprise sustains in a D&D game which itself plays a significant part.
Our Top 10 Best DM Screen Reviews in 2021
1. Stratagem The Master's Tome 4-Panel Customizable GM Screen
Keep your master secrets locked with the four mystic panels of this DM screen developed by Stratagem.
It is designed to maintain the interesting vibes of our beloved game Dungeons and Dragons. Be it kids or adults - we all fail to resist the charm of this thrilling board game filled with an impressive array of twists.
Each of the four panels has its own gemstone glowing on top. They can be red, green, blue or yellow from where your fellow players can see you. Its mystifying graphics adds more fun to the already addictive D&D game.
Being the master, you will feel like having the key to each of these four mystic portals in the palm of your hands! You can fit in an entire letter paper into each panel to keep the notes right in front of you. All you need to do is print out those notes and place them accordingly.
Besides, this set comes with its own share of example reference papers for 5E and Pathfinder editions! If you are a beginner, this will be a great way to get used to the many moves of D&D. You will also get to have extra fun with the bonus inserts and art included in the set.
Keep track of every player’s progress by writing directly on the vinyl papers since you can easily wipe it off later. Doing so after every the end of every session is highly recommended.
You can also make use of the eight pockets on this DM screen with extra notes and secret maps. Keep your secret moves hidden behind the 11.5 inches tall panels. When fully expanded, this DM screen covers a width of 3 feet and becomes o.5-inch thick when folded up.
2. Dungeons & Dragons Core Rulebooks Gift Set
If you have been wondering about what can be the perfect gift set for a true Dungeons and Dragons fan, your search ends here!
This amazing gift set comes with all the major tools a loyal D&D player would need. In this limited edition set, the main attraction is the three core rulebooks - each serving its unique purpose.
They include the Dungeon Master’s Guide, Player’s Handbook and Monster Manual with the package. Each of these fundamental texts is based on the most popular edition of D&D - 5E.
They are all available in hardcovers which makes the whole deal a lot more serious (as it should be). This structure along with the foiled covers makes sure that these books will last for a good while.
You can see the subtle glaze on these covers which cannot be found on the usual rulebooks of gaming shops.
The DM screen itself is also very impressive. A detailed structure of the latest rules, charts, interactions and more are provided on its back. It features an amazing artwork of a flying red dragon coming right at your fellow players.
However, the set does not come with any exclusive artwork. The rulebook covers feature the standard artwork in foiled version.
You can carry this whole D&D set of rulebooks and DM screen anywhere with the stylish slipcase it comes with. Just slide them inside the slipcase and have a fun night with friends anywhere.
Although this option is more costly than other items on this list, it does come at a very reasonable price considering the three rulebooks and special inclusions.
3. Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: GMs Screen
Inspired by D&D, another role-playing game called Pathfinder was launched back in 2009 and since then has been a strong competitor in this RPG genre. Its rules and references are based on the third edition of D&D. So if you loved D&D and have never tried out Pathfinder, this would be a great opportunity to explore!
This Game Master (GM) screen comes with quite a handful of features. Firstly, you and your fellow players can marvel at the magnificent artwork laid out by the acclaimed British artist - Wayne Reynolds. He has been known for the beautiful fantasy artworks for Pathfinder which reflects on this GM screen as well.
You will get to see the mighty warriors sitting upright on their gallant horses in full warrior mode. Their sharp and broad swords shine in the battlefield with glory. We also get to see the female warrior in red attire, the wise wizard and the mystical creatures who only live in fantasies.
You can join this troop too along with your friends through this GM screen anytime! Get started by expanding all the four panels of this GM screen with the artwork facing your friends. All the information you need is already provided on its back so that you can come up with game plans fast.
This GM screen comes with an ultra-high-grade hardcover which makes sure that its durability stays intact. Get ready to explore the adventurous fantasy world with this affordable Pathfinder screen.
4. Dungeons and Dragons RPG: Core Rulebook Gift Set
This gift set is meant for those D&D fans who don’t mind sparing a few extra bucks on something truly special. Similar to the second item on our list, this one is also a whole set of the most treasured Dungeons and Dragons pieces.
Of course, it includes the main DM screen with four panels to keep the master’s secret plans safe from potential intruders.
Being the master, you will get to see all the essential rules related to skills, interactions, combat moves and exploration on its back. These rules are based on the 5th edition of D&D and have been modified according to the latest game update.
One of the most attractive aspects of this DM screen is the incredibly rich artwork painted on its front. With the beautiful contrasting shades of red and white, this intricately designed artwork blooms fully on the pitch-black background.
Along with the detailed design, the artwork also reflects the game spirit through dragon wings, spooky demon faces and more. The alternate covers available in this set are limited edition. So if you miss out on it, you won’t be able to find it in any store again!
Besides, the set also includes the three major rulebooks for providing clear guidance to the newbies. The experienced players can also benefit from its detailed descriptions and instructions.
The one downfall is the price point. For anybody looking to have just a DM screen, this set may not be worth it. However, if you want to have a high-end D&D gift for someone or just want to collect exclusive RPG games, this set will be a great choice.
5. Hexers Game Master Screen
Want all the fun of a D&D session but at affordable price points? This DM screen can be a viable solution for that search.
Just by appearance, it blows your mind away with the beautiful designs on the cover featuring our most loved fantastical creatures. The best part is you can choose your own cover designs from the eight exquisite photos this set delivers.
Every photo on this DM screen 5E showcases a mystic being, tool or element in vibrant shades. For instance, one of them portrays a magnificent wand that is engraved with powerful symbols. Two dragon spirits in green and orange surround this wand to harness its powers.
Similarly, there are other photos included like a magical tree adorned with skulls and digits, a pot of poisonous potion guarded by snakes, a conglomeration of deadly weapons like swords, axes, spears etc. and more!
The Hexers GM screen has four panels in total. Each of these four panels has a full-size pocket on both sides. So you can change up both the cover photos and the reference pages inside according to your wish.
In addition to such modification, you can customize the screen further with maps, rule sheets, campaign notes, and your own artwork! Before you prepare an art piece of your own, remember that the pockets only allow A4 papers to slide in.
You can hide all the notes and trackers behind the master screen comfortably since each panel is 12.13 inches in height. Besides, when the team gets tired from playing, you can store the relevant documents in the box it comes with. This way, all your progress will be saved until the session restarts.
All in all, this one is a strong contender in our race of the best DM screen here!
6. Dungeons & Dragons - "Curse of Strahd" DM Screen
Introduce your friends to the spooky and thrilling world of Ravencloft with this DM screen. After all, what’s the fun sticking to standard fantasy games? Let’s add a bit of horror to it!
CoS DM Screen reviews show that it is a popular adventure tabletop game for fantasy-horror genre fans. It comes with 10 levels of characters who are invited by the vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich. You and your friends can join this feast from within the ancient walls of his epic castle.
There are four panels in this DM screen where two main characters appear on the two ends of its cover. One of them is a screaming vampire while the other seems quite docile in comparison. Between them, the covers feature lightning, battles, hawks and more.
Although the panel may seem slightly shorter than many other DMs, it still does a pretty decent job hiding your master plans from the other players. Each panel is 8.5 inches in height and the whole screen covers a width of 22 inches.
If you are not satisfied with just the DM screen, you can also buy the full version of Curse of Strahd in hardcover at a slightly higher price.
In this particular set, you will get several encounter charts, locations and NPCs along with the DM screen. Since the screen is built with durable card stock, you can use it to play RPGs for a long time!
7. Dungeons & Dragons - "Princes of the Apocalypse" DM Screen
Oh no! It is truly the end of the world! The four dangerous cults worshipping the Elder Elemental Eye have begun their mission to initiate the apocalypse. Now it is up to you and your team to save this world from the four corrupt prophets.
Sound thrilling, doesn't it? This is the theme of Princes Of The Apocalypse - the 2015 chapter of D&D 5th edition. It is also part of the adventure module called Forgotten Realms and the storyline named Elemental Evil.
This DM screen helps you to choreograph the whole fight against the four evil princes. You can decide every move in this fight from the reference papers which come with the screen. They have all the necessary encounter charts, NPCs and locations. You will know what to do, when to do it and how.
But whatever you plan for ahead, don’t let the other players see it by keeping the dice rolls and plans safe behind the screen. Each panel of this screen is 8.5 inches in height which are adequate for covering those secrets.
Bring your wizard powers to life with this DM. Get inspiration about your wizard look from the artwork that covers it. Every single panel of this screen depicts a leader of the occult group. So four panels portray the four princes fighting for the evil.
The artworks are really impressive where each prince gets to showcase their own kind of power and weapon. It includes ice, fire, wind, and thunder.
This DM from Gale Force Nine is available at a very affordable price point. Once bought, you can use it for a long time due to the durable card stock construction. When fully expanded, it will cover 22 inches of width over your table.
8. D&D Dungeon Master's Screen
Prepare yourself to see the mighty dragon! He is coming before you soon with his fearsome fire, glaring eyes, and monstrous breath!
He is the very dragon who welcomes you on the cover of this DM screen. You can clearly see its sharp teeth gnawing at the invisible enemy. This epic illustration of this giant beast was drawn up by fantasy artist Craig Spearing.
As your fellow D&D warriors are marveling at the lavish cover artwork, you can figure out the next twist in this story from the detailed sections behind the panel.
All four panels have been utilized to the maximum with an organized collection of the necessary rules. Its information has been divided into mainly three parts - interaction, combat, and exploration.
So you don’t have to look too far or too hard while making up your next ploy. Just take a glance at the portion you are most interested in or believe to be the aptest move for the moment.
Since all the conditions are arranged in tables with well laid-out structures and formatting, it should all come to you easy.
It also has the NPC generator table to quickly make up a character! So you and your friends can go wild with imagination! If there is no great idea, this table will create one for you!
Each panel is 10.8 inches tall so you should not have a problem hiding your plans and dice rolls from the rest.
Besides, this edition comes in hardcover. As a result, you can use it for many days without facing wear and tear. Make the most of this amazing Dungeon Master’s screen with your best D&D buddies!
9. Savage Worlds Customizable GM Screen
If you are bored with four-panel DMs by now, don’t worry! We got something new here now!
This particular item is the first trifold DM screen we have on our list for you. It is also the first one with landscape design as opposed to the usual portrait one.
The game featured on this tabletop screen is called Savage Worlds. It is the most popular game developed by Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Many even call it the core ruleset backing up all the roleplaying games made by this brand.
The narrative of Savage Worlds has all the components of any thrilling game universe including chases, interludes, and dramatic tasks. You will get to view all of those in detail behind the DM screen walls.
However, the rules and references of this game are not laid out with proper color-coding or illustration. As a result, it can be very easy for anyone to get lost in the boxes full of text on this screen.
There are six pockets available on this GM screen in total. The screen consists of three panels, each with three pockets to slide in your favorite artwork.
You can download these art pieces based on Solomon Kane, DeadLands and Slipstream. Then print out the best choices and insert them in each pocket! Such freedom of customization adds more to the players’ imagination.
The material of this GM screen is black vinyl hardcover. So it doesn’t have much chance of getting destroyed too fast. Keep fighting in the fantastic universe of Savage Worlds and write thrilling adventure tales of your own!
10. Dungeons & Dragons - "Storm Kings Thunder" DM Screen
Are you ready to feel the Storm King’s Thunder? Because he is here to call you upon his mission against the evil giants.
The war is near and looming over the Savage Frontier. You and your team can push the ill-willed giants away by visiting the Forgotten Realms through this DM screen.
The Storm Kings Thunder is one of the many fantastical adventure stories which function as part of the D&D 5th edition universe. It is about an epic war of giants with powers over hills, clouds, stones, frost, fire and more!
Even though it is impossible for homo-sapiens like you and me to combat against them, we must give our best shot in this revolutionary war.
So call up your friends and begin your journey down this thrilling road of challenging battles and godlike figures.
This DM screen can help you with the strategic planning since it displays all the rules of this land, as well as the battle, on its back.
You can browse through the four panels of this DM screen laid out with those conditions and references.
However, you may be disappointed at the fact that the two central panels only depict the map. There is no instruction or table available in this giant space. Players using this DM screen have expressed their dissatisfaction with this layout which does not utilize the available area properly.
However, the beautiful character artworks at the front of this screen should impress you enough to ignore that drawback. Besides, it all comes at a very affordable price which is a big win for anybody running on a tight budget.
11. Gale Force Nine Waterdeep Dragon Heist DM Screen
Like most options on our list, this DM screen also belongs to the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons tales. Gale Force Nine brings this Dungeon Master screen for those who are willing to take part in the exciting adventures of Waterdeep.
The well-known explorer of this universe - Volothamp Geddarm - will be there to guide your way in this thrilling journey. It includes a quest to find the mighty dragons! You will also need to unveil a villainous plot where some of the most powerful names of this city abide.
You will be able to embark upon this epic trail of adventures with the characters of levels 1 to 5. To help you do your job as the master, this screen holds a lot of information for you to glance at anytime.
It has two D100 tables - one for the city scenes and the other for pickpockets. You can check out the detailed map any time where all inns, taverns, festhalls and boarding houses of Waterdeep are marked.
When you are tired, take a break with your brave teammates to have some food and drink here. Their prices are also listed behind this screen.
However, one downfall is that it does not come with enough quality as the rest of the DM screens on our list. This one is a little more prone to wear and tear. As a result, it may not guarantee high durability.
On the other hand, it does come at a very cheap cost and features kid-friendly designs. So if you want to gift your little one a handy new gift, this will be the best DM screen for you.
12. Game Master Essentials: Roleplaying Starter Kit
It does not get better than this! If you have been dreaming of the perfect roleplaying kit, look no further! Although this kit is categorized as “starter”, it can be beneficial to both beginners and experts alike.
This will be ideal for anyone who loves a colorful setup for their D&D sessions.
Along with the four-screen panels, you will receive five sets of dices and five character health trackers. All of them are available in vibrant colors like yellow, blue, green, pink and more!
The dices come in distinct polyhedral shapes which gives the whole collection a little more edge. Each set includes seven pieces and can be stored in small handy black pouches. So when you are done with a session, it will be easier to organize them all and store safely for later use.
On the other hand, each of the five-pocket health trackers helps the master to keep a foolproof record of players’ progress. You can track 0 HP to 209, one status effect and bonuses up to +4 on these trackers.
Make dungeons yourself with 44 reversible tiles and 48 hand-illustrated object tokens! They all come as part of the Master’s Atlas. Each tile is a one-inch square and allows the use of dry or wet-erase markers.
Every panel of the DM screen has a colorful portal-like design on top, making the whole environment even more mystifying! You can keep your masterplans safe from others behind these panels which are 11.5 inches tall and 10 inches wide. It can fit papers of 8.5x11 inches size inside.
How To Choose The Best DM Screen?
Now that you know which DM screens are the most popular, you must be curious about how to decide the right DM screen for yourself!
Well, let us lend a helping hand. The factors discussed below play the most important role in deciding the right DM screen.
Height of the panels plays a significant role in a D&D game. The taller they are, the easier it will be for you to keep your master plans secret.
Typically, DM screen would be the one with panels which are 10-12 inches tall. This is the ideal height for hiding the trackers, dice rolls and other important elements away from fellow players.
A standard DM screen comes with four panels oriented in portrait mode. This guarantees the necessary height as we discussed in the previous point.
Besides, four panels are usually enough to store all the necessary references and notes. Many DM screen sets also come with additional artworks to insert on each pocket of these panels, making the game more visually appealing for everyone.
Although most panels are portraits, some also come in landscape variation. The drawback of this orientation is the lack of usual height and thus more probability for the master to lose his privacy.
Hardcover DM screens prove to be the best because they have high durability. They are not too prone to wear and tear like other bindings.
Besides, many DM screens also come in vinyl which allows the master to write his notes directly on the panel! Such material makes it possible to wipe out the notes fast and easy as well. As a result, vinyl DM screens are the perfect choice for those of you who are looking for convenience.
You may or may not get all the reference papers with the DM screen. Obviously, investing in a screen including these informative and organized sheets will be the smarter way to go.
If the papers don’t come with it, you can just download the PDF versions of that information from the internet and print it in sheets of the required size (usually A4). This gives you the freedom to choose which artwork you want on the panel covers or pockets.
There are some very good options for those of you who want more than just a DM screen. Keeping the popularity of RPG games in mind, many brands have come forward over the years with entire sets of D&D storylines and kits.
A good DM screen kit includes the three most vital books - Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual. These are called the core rulebooks of D&D which should come in handy if a beginner player is joining your team.
Invest in a set where these books are available in hardcover for long-term use. Read up on the laws and criteria applicable to your fantasy land from here.
6. Additional Perks
Some truly exclusive DM screen sets come with even more to offer like unique dice sets, trackers, limited edition artworks and pouches or cases.
Although some of them may seem to be way too expensive, there are other stunning full sets of D&D available at very reasonable price points.
So if you have been thinking of gifting someone special who is a crazy fan of D&D or general RPG games, one of these sets can be the perfect idea.
How To Take Care Of Your DM Screen?
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Can I Be A Better DM?
Answer: First off, get to know your players well. By understanding their individual personalities and points of strength, you will be able to determine their roles in the game more easily. Also, this will make the bond between you and them more amicable.
Then, do some reading and research on the game itself. If the DM screen is based on a specific chapter of the D&D saga, focus on that story. Make sure you understand all the interesting characters, combats and other aspects of the story clearly.
2. Can A DM Also Play A Character?
Answer: Technically, nothing is stopping you from playing a character and the DM at the same time. However, it is not ideal for the game.
It is usually the norm to keep the DM out of other playing characters. This helps with larger groups of players where the master has to keep many tracks and come up with a wide range of plans quickly. Being a DM and a player can, therefore, turn out to be quite stressful.
3. What Is A DMPC?
Answer: DMPC refers to a player character played by the Dungeon Master. When a DM plays an NPC (non-player character), he is referred to as a DMPC. So, he can run the session, follow the same rules as other players, reach levels and do everything else an NPC can do.
4. What Is DC In D&D?
Answer: DC refers to “Difficulty Class”. In Dungeons and Dragons, DC is represented by a target number which a player has to earn to have an ability or a saving throw. The DC of a game is set by the Dungeon Master. DC determines if a check is successful or not by being higher or equal to the roll.
5. What Should Be On A DM Screen?
Answer: A DM screen is supposed to help out the dungeon master to make decisions by providing all the necessary information. At the very least, it must have the general conditions, DC table, and combat summary, common penalty rules, save calculation, attack rolls, and similar game-based instructions. DM screen is the one which comes with enticing fantasy illustrations and detailed location maps as well.
A big part of choosing the DM screen is really about your aesthetics and preferences. Some people like dragons the most, while others prefer wizards. One of your DMs may want to use 4 panels, while another may choose 3.
So at the end of the day, all of it kind of depends on what you and your D&D teammates prefer.
Here we have made an effort to bring some of the most popular options by studying each DM screen features and reviews. However, which one of them will be the best DM screen, is up to your master!
Remember to let us know which one you chose in the end and how well it went for everyone!