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A DM’s best friends: antiacid and index cards

Written by Expy - Published on March 15, 2008

Random thoughts

I hate flirting with lady cyclops. I never know if they’re blinking or winking.

Useful and/or hilarious advice from the Exemplars of Evil contest

I just love what the latest contest is turning into – a useful AND entertaining resource for DMs! Now we’re talking!

There’s just over 100 tips as I write this and I got dozens of great ideas from reading everyone’s take on DMing. I also laughed out loud a few times. Here are my thoughts on some comments:

Going pro

Sideshow said:

Associate a piece of music with each major NPC and play it whenever they show up.

Professional baseball have their own music when they get to the plate. Professional wrestlers have their intro music and gimmick. Why can’t NPCs have their own theme music? This got me thinking about the showbiz/entertainment potential of a D&D game. With a willing bunch of players, I think I could turn a game room into a raucous chaos filled with cheering, trash-talking, and plenty of fighting – I mean more than usual! I won’t say much more right now but I need to give this style of play a shot. Maybe at GenCon.

Index cards

I’m not using them right now but they seem to be a popular tool. I need to get my act together and work on my session running skills!

Antiacid – an essential DM tool

Lord Shell’s comments were so funny I read them a couple of times. If you’re having a tough day, do yourself a favor and check them out. Here’s a sample:

Any time a new player enters your game and spends all his idle time talking about his history of killing other PC’s, have a lot of antacid and painkillers available. It’s going to be a long night.

Words of wisdom!

Keep the DM tips coming!

Each DM tip gives you a chance to win Exemplars of Evil!  If you write 5 tips (the maximum allowed) your odds of winning are pretty good.

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Written by Expy

Meet Expy The Red Dragon

Expy is the mascot for DungeonMastering.com and the real mastermind behind Expy Games. He likes to hoard treasure, terrorize neighbors, burn down villages, and tell white dragon jokes..

No matter how fearful the legends claim dragons are, they always end up being defeated in 5 rounds by adventuring parties they encounter. That’s what dragons are – experience points for the heroes in your Dungeons & Dragon party. And this mascot is no different, hence the name Expy.

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5 Responses to “A DM’s best friends: antiacid and index cards”
  1. Mat says:

    Music = bad idea.
    A friend of mine tried playing “Flight of the Valkyries” during a dramatic moment. The bard of the group started singing “Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit” and all laughter broke lose. No, music has damaging potential. I guess if you use it, be careful what you select.

    Index cards I’ve always liked. If a Player looses the index card with that item written on it…then their character lost it, too. So hold onto those index cards! (Allows for pre-game session prep as well – no time wasted on explaining identifications – one for unidentified, one for the identified).

  2. Yax says:

    That’s why I said a “willing bunch of players”

  3. Granger44 says:

    I used to use index cards but have graduated to a laptop/tablet PC. I found I can use One Note in place of index cards.

    As a player, I still use index cards to organize spells or special powers.

  4. Kane says:

    A DM that I play with uses index cards with little pictures he drawls of the items and id’s on the back, pretty cool, I would use them in my game(s) but I have been lazy :)

  5. Ryan Reid says:

    I have always been anti music during a D&D session when I am the DM, until our last session. One of my players, who’s basement we use for our gaming room, had downloaded a ton of great lyric free dramatic music that worked out great during combat and other moments where tension needed to be built up. I guess a good DM can build those moments with out outside tools such as music, however I am an OK DM, so I will take help where I can get it.

    I do agree that the wrong song at the wrong time can cause too much distraction and spur more table talk during the game. I think it comes down to the DM’s personal preference and if the player enjoy it without losing focus.

    Index cards have been super helpful for me when I DM. I tend to write my own stuff and print off my notes and use that to run a game. I might bring a piece of scratch paper for some notes and to keep track of monster hp and things of that nature. However, as of late I have been running some purchased adventures, Sons of Gruumish, and because I did not write the adventure I find it helpful to take notes of the adventure on any thing that I do not want to miss.

    Also, jotting down monster stats on these cards are great to avoid looking up the monster in the MM over and over and to keep track of its current health and what spell effects it may be currently under.

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