Help me put together a Dungeon Master (not that kind) kit.
October 17, 2020 7:16 PM   Subscribe

My partner and I play a lot of tabletop rpgs but by far our most intensive prep goes towards Dark Heresy. I want to put together a DM kit for them as a Christmas present. What should I put in it? Extra points if you have a good idea for what I should put the kit in.
posted by Marinara to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is this in person or virtual?

I’d def include a Fancy GM Screen if in person, also possibly a variety of tabletop miniatures
posted by bq at 7:57 PM on October 17

Themed dice and notebooks for plot planning.
posted by Gneisskate at 10:08 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]

Dice towers are really fun. You can find flat pack ones for pretty cheap and there are tons of other options out there.
posted by sleeping bear at 11:32 PM on October 17

Dice rolling tray! I'm partial to the hexagonal ones. There are snap-together ones for convenient flat storage, or wooden ones if you can spare the space. Lots of interesting thematic or classy options.

I'm not familiar with Dark Heresy specifically - maps and minis or no? If maps, a friend got a bunch of lovely map-making supplies he's been using on a recent D&D campaign. Spell/effect templates can be handy. Wipe off hex/grid mat.

If virtual, things are tougher - roll20 subscription or wherever you play?
posted by february at 3:52 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]

Not sure how much you are looking to spend, but these ones are enviable, you might be able to build something similar if you are crafty. They have a lot of beautiful things on their site too. These ones are also beautiful....depending on where you are playing/how you play the coffee table versions are pretty amazing too. This is a super versatile item for any gm in nearly any genre...they can pick and choose which they want to use and when.
posted by AnneShirley at 9:24 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]

How crafty are you?
If I was putting together a game kit for a 40K based game, I'd rush out and get a few plastic skulls from the Halloween stores before they disappear. These skulls are hollow, so you can cut them open and create spaces for dice bags, tokens, etc. Outside the skull, you add embellishments and paint it up as the Servo Skull no Inquisitor would be without. With some cunning work, you could make it a dice tower where you drop a die into a hole in the skull and it rolls down out of its mouth.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:30 PM on October 18 [1 favorite]

As a DM, I don’t prefer gifts like dice towers, rolling mats, or screens, because I’m very particular about my setup. It’s usually a finely tuned system!

If in person dnd, the best gift a dm can have is help making things less stressful during the day. Take as many responsibilities away from the dm as possible.

Some ideas: all the players gift the gift of bringing food / doing dishes the day of dnd

An initiative tracker, I like to use decorated clothes pins on a dowel or on my dm screen if it’s thin enough, but have a player run it and be in charge of who’s next.

A player to run music for them. The best/easiest music I’ve found is Brian Davis’ playlists on Spotify:

Volunteering to make a custom map for dnd might be nice as well. Would have to be a secret between you and the dm for the others enjoyment.

Well-made storage solutions, to help them organize minis, set pieces, etc. I like tubs but it’s not perfect.

Or, ask. I, for instance, always needs new white board markers because that’s what I use... or I could use a really short dm screen because that’s what I prefer, about 8 inches tall.
posted by bbqturtle at 6:32 AM on October 19

For the sake of the question, let's assume that the person in question would welcome this as a gift. We're very experienced dms in our circle and this is for in-person sessions, once we can safely resume them.

We really get into atmospheric story telling so I adore robocop is bleeding's idea of a servo skull.

Currently the kit will be comprised of:

- poisonwood master vault
- Servo Skull dice tray (I think I can finagle this with a CNC machine)
- fresh set of dice from DieHard Dice
- red taper candles
- long stem matches + cloche
- brass candle accoutrements
- Coins of Wonder (so cool!)
- mechanical pencils
- notebook
- various storage boxes for smol things

Currently leaning towards building a box to match the poisonwood tray to store it all in.

If anyone else can think of anything else, keep it coming. Excellent suggestions so far!
posted by Marinara at 1:34 PM on October 19

I love zip compendiums for storing notes, notebooks, character sheets, pencils and the like. There's something really satisfying about having everything in one spot ready to go. The one I linked is an example, but you can get them with or without ring binding (to allow inserts for your Coins, for example) or with space for a tablet. I like ones with a few little pockets for sheets and handouts, and enough depth to allow the inclusion of an eraser and some page flags, too. They're nice and fancy too and nothing means business quite like the opening of the compendium.

Oh! If you're putting a pencil in, put a nice fancy eraser, too. I have one a bit like a mechanical pencil that's really good for rubbin' out dots. The page flags I mentioned are also good for use highlighting often used reference tables, like my favourite, The Psyker Rolled a Nine table. They range in style from the purely practical to the whimsical to more elegant styles, so there's likely to be something that fits your asthetic.
posted by Jilder at 7:56 PM on October 19

Speaking of often used table,s you could always print out and laminate your most often used tables, too. If you have any sort of skill with design putting the ones you refer to most on a single A4 sheet and laminating it, with some holes to put in the compendium. If a player showed up with a gift of that to one of my DH games I'd be delighted.
posted by Jilder at 7:59 PM on October 19

I had a few other ideas.... for building ambience these are pretty cool and my understanding is that they last a pretty long time. You might pick up a mug/stein/shot glass especially for the DM (depending on their drink of choice) and any favorite snacks. Nice notebooks for taking campaign notes (and graph paper for mapping) are always useful. When I run games outside of my home, I usually bring a tackle box which has lots of compartments for my odds and ends. I also like hard plastic card sleeves which I use for all sorts of things--printing out small character sheets/initiative trackers/tavern games -- and they can be written on with wet erase markers and then reused over and over). Post it note flags are great for marking places in your books and notebooks. I also make custom pads of post it notes which I leave out on the table (and change up with the edition/game themes/things going on in the game/seasons/personal whims) that my players use to pass notes (index cards are also useful for this!). A subscription to Syrinscape would be amazing, the ambient sounds make for the best background music...(though honestly my current group is far too large and I find it distracting at the moment...but I love it for one off games). A wax seal or two (and some wax) or a calligraphy pen are great additions to any kit. An hourglass or a timer might come in handy, especially if you have a player or players and take a very long time on their turn. I also saw (and can't find where I saved the information to...) at a gaming convention last year (and also on kickstarter) a set of dice that have built in bluetooth and they will automatically calculate your rolls when you roll them....which I think could be amazing for a DM (plus they just looked incredibly cool.

Best of luck!
posted by AnneShirley at 8:02 PM on October 21

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