Saturday, April 16, 2011

I Want A Seven-Inch DMs Screen

Over at the LOTFP blog Raggi was presenting some ideas regarding producing a high-quality DMs Screen; of course my initial reaction was "Oh Damn! Raggi's making a digipack-size screen? Awesome!"

I have mixed feeling regarding screens. One one hand I want to be the D&D version of a Dogma 95 zealot: no miniatures; no music; no screens; no pauses; Imagination Only! Also, with the way I hop from homebrew to AD&D to LOTFP to OD&D to Humanspace Empires a bunch of charts and tables on a screen are going to be of limited utility. On the other hand I have been repeatedly pestered by players about DM maps being where they can see them, etc. If I must use miniatures a screen make a decent staging point.

But most screen are just too damn tall. 11-odd inches? Give me a break, what a stupid, galling barrier to throw between the players and the DM. Some rare ones are landscape format, which I think is awesome/more practical, and B.Portly made a great digest/mini sized Carcosa screen...but even that is a bit tall for my preferences.

What I want is a three or four fold DMs screen that has seven-inch square panels, like the below photos featuring gorgeous model & vicious pit bull-hybrid Orchid:

I like how the height prevents there being any barrier between MY DM GAZE OF DEATH BORING INTO THOSE WEAK PLAYERS, while providing a hiding spot for miniatures and map, and I also dig how it takes up a small footprint.

My group has a dedicated gaming room with a dining table, and even with that ridiculous luxury THERE STILL IS NEVER ENOUGH ROOM for a full-sized screen; The B Portly Carcosa screen is better in that regard, but still, check out how easy it would be to park the sporty model above (indications I'm getting old: I prefer small, sporty models that are easy to park).

What I would like would be a sturdy, high quality, "small sporty" DMs screen, available with a variety of quality graphics options for the player side (such as Swords & Sorcery, Space Opera, Post-Apoc, etc.), and transparent pockets on the DMs screen to put inserts into. Even though I have good eyesite, ANY charts/tables on a screen have always been too small/distant for me to bother using.


  1. I've tried some little screens for hiding maps and minis, and I like them. HERE is a ~4 inch screen I tried. And HERE is a screen of boxes.

  2. Yeah, Dogme 95 is a pretty damn legit approach. I do like my landscape oriented customizable screen, though. It and the d30 are pretty much my last two concessions to the Spectacle. I agree that screens always need more room for stuff. Maybe landscape orientation plus flippable pages like the HackMaster 4th screen?

  3. Of course I'm hating myself for not mentioning Matthew Slepin from the Wheel of Samasara's awesome "Tequila Box Under the Dying Sun Screen"

    @ Cyclopeatron: Based on those pictures, if the OSR ever needed a spokesmodel to market RPGs to well-heeled urbanites you would be the man...

    @ Jeff: I kind of dig those SW screens, but they're just too big and the price tag kinda scaes me away... what if I end up not using it?!?!

  4. Yeah I hear what your saying and those are all the same reasons I dont use a screen either. Yet I dont know how many times I wished I had one as well. I think a 4 fold version slightly larger or the same size of a CD case would be perfect. I think Im going to rig up one on my own. That might make a good blog post.

  5. What's wrong with the Godflesh DM Screen you have already? It has everything on it you need to play. The outside reminds your players you are utterly merciless, and the inside reminds you that their characters are all unworthy flowers and must be crushed. Looks great to me!

  6. Great dog! How old is she (i guess that Orchid is a female name:D)? My dog is 15 now and it's in ~75% white - he looks like covered with hoarfrost :D

  7. This gives me such a good idea... I'll post the link soon. :)

  8. @ Zombiecowboy & Stuart: Did I accidentally start an OSR meme? ;)

    @ Johnstone: Uncharacteristically enough I did not think of any of that; the other 7" is a Diocletian one featuring artwork of an armored forearm and fist giving a "thumbs down" gesture with the song titles "Infinite Destruction," "Sect of Swords," and "Weltering in Blood." Obviously my subconcious at work :)

    @ Omlet: Thanks! She is 17 and a half or older! She's clumsy, confused and stubborn as all hell!

  9. I use the four-panel screen from the Call of Cthulhu Keeper's Kit circa 1992

  10. @ Stuart: Thats... brilliant! Imagine using them for mini-modules?

    @ Myrstyr: I'vbe never seen one, but Ive heard reverent discussion of them when the subject of ideal screens have come up....