Playing tabletop roleplaying games and surfing the internet go hand in hand. Ever since the early days of usenet, gaming geeks have been coming up with their own supplements and sharing them. In those days, we measured our transfer speeds in baud, and netbooks were encyclopedic text files full of bizarre spells and weaponry.
The more things change, though, the more they stay the same. Blogs have replaced bulletin boards as the medium of choice. Robert Sandlan wrote about five great roleplaying blogs earlier this morning, but he left out one of the best blogs on the web servicing Dungeons and Dragons fans: Dungeon Mastering. Staffed by five dedicated writers (and a red dragon called Expy), this 4th Edition-focused blog cranks out high-quality articles and top-notch tools for discerning DMs.
In addition to posts on such wide ranging topics as handling boyfriends and girlfriends at the table, clever uses for prestidigitation, and how Penny Arcade’s Tycho Brahe rolls when he roleplays, there are a host of offerings that any DM would be insane not to try out.
Check ’em all out, after the jump.
Free Instant DM E-Book. I was pretty skeptical at first. Free e-books are free for a reason, right? This one, authored by the site’s founder, Yax, is a genuine steal, though. When I created my homebrew campaign, I would’ve paid good money for a resource like this. Yax has written over 20 pages on how to assemble a ready-to-play RPG campaign with minimal prep time. If you want the guide, just sign up for the site’s DM Tools and Tips newsletter, which is worth doing even without the incentive.
Free Adventures and Maps. This is how I discovered Dungeon Mastering. I did a Google search for “free d&d adventures” and the site was at the top of the listings. Yax has scoured the web, collecting 83 free adventures and over 390 free maps for use in your games.
Online DM Tools. I’ve saved the best for last. If you’ve given up pen-and-paper for a laptop, then you really owe it to yourself to check out Dungeon Mastering Tools. Until I started using the custom monster and trap cards, along with the encounter screens, I was taking screenshots of statblocks. It worked, but it wasn’t very elegant. Now I can create custom encounters and export them to Obsidian Portal where I have my campaign wiki. You can even share monsters with other users. Check out this video to see the tools in action.
The whole service has a guarantee, so if it isn’t right for you, you get your money back. And 4% of all profits go toward building and maintaining local non-profit roleplaying clubs. It’s really hard to find a reason for not trying it out.
Update: Special thanks to both Dungeon Mastering and Obsidian Portal for their special offers to GeekDad readers. Even though the offers have expired, I still highly recommend both services.