You’re a busy dungeon master? No problem!
We are all too familiar with the struggle of balancing our real lives with our fantasy ones. Whether it’s an epic reveal, or just a consequence to that
smart ass comment your player made two sessions ago; sometimes you just don’t have time to prep to the extent you want to.
Or maybe you’re a master at winging it.
Either way, these resources will benefit you.
1. prep & planning on the go
Microsoft OneNote is a powerful tool for compiling all of your ideas into one place.
A great resource is through Microsoft OneNote. Microsoft OneNote is a powerful tool for compiling all of your ideas into one place. I am sure I am not the only one who has had inspiration strike in an inopportune place. Because it’s accessible via mobile this solves that problem. It even has an offline mode where you make edits without data or internet connection.
Ok – It’s convenient, what else?
OneNote is armed with the ability for easy insertion of images, text boxes and hyperlinking character sheets. This includes external links like to D&DBeyond. This has made catching up on prep so much faster for me. Instead of tagging pages in a book or bookmarking on my browser, I can plan it into my session prep for a seamless transition.
To find out more about using OneNote for D&D prep check out the program, or glance over at Cryrid’s Guide to the Digital DM
2. setting the tune to your session
Created by reddit user Gutrund, DnDify is an Android Exclusive App that pulls playlists from Spotify (free and premium) to match your session’s narrative. It’s available for free on both Spotify andYoutube.
Apple iPhone Work Around
I recently switched from a Google Pixel to an iPhone and discovered that I could find and save all of the uploaded spotify playlists that link to the app.
It is less optimal than the user-friendly interface of DnDify, but makes the content accessible for apple users.
3. what can your players handle?
Donjon Encounter Calculator is a quick tool to size up just what kind of strength your players can handle. Donjon also offers a selection of different random encounters and dungeon generators that can make prepping a battle a pinch.
Please note, if you are running a homebrew campaign I have found that it is better to bolster your enemies with either a larger health pool or higher AC. Throwing in waves of enemies can also help if your players fight more efficiently than expected.
4. A new kind of map
Dynamic Dungeons, once you are familiar with it, I consider a plug and play. You pick a map, throw up the instance and you’re ready for combat – no fussing with hexagons or grids necessary.
Created by a 3D designer named Tamas, Dynamic Dungeons is everything I have wanted for tabletop. Dynamic Dungeons is the producer of what they call “living maps”. Partnered with Arkenforge (a company designed to bring immersion to tabletop), Dynamic Dungeons brings you beautiful moving encounter maps that can be projected or displayed on a tv gaming setup. These maps include sound, programmed animation and an ability to build a storyboard as your characters progress through the world. You can add props to customize your scenes, as well as fog of war to keep your players guessing.
Dynamic Dungeons runs off Patreon, but priced between $1, $2, $3 or $5 a map pack (depending on your commitment) it’s affordable. Tamas is currently releasing up to 3 map packs a month at this time, so at most it would be a $15 amount. You can also set a cap so you are never overcharged.
DndBeyond is a great tool for both dungeon master and player. In addition to digital character sheets (great to drop items into your player’s inventory), DnDBeyond has a large library of official and homebrew monster stat blocks. Remember how I mentioned hyperlinking in OneNote? I will often pair the two. DnDBeyond allows you to create multiple campaigns for your players and even has an in-beta encounter calculator. While you do have to purchase content on DnDBeyond it is a neat package that has the best of all the above wrapped into one. If you are not looking to purchase entire books, you are able to purchase low cost sections from each book as needed. I like this option if perhaps I need it for a session, but I don’t own the book.