Components?

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What visual and audio components do you have in your campaign. (i.e. Music or D&D Tiles)
I am Blue/Black "The Red Dragon is pulverizing your friends..." -Me "Okay so I'm up here?" -Shrui "Yeah..." -Me "Okay I want to triple backflip down from the ceiling while holding my family's katana and drive it through the Dragon's head." -Shrui "Yeah you'll take a -15 because he's moving his head." -Me "Don't care, I try it anyway." -Shrui (Acrobatics Roll Succeeds) (Attack Roll Succeeds) "How much extra damage do I get for this attack?" -Shrui "It dies, you don't need to do an attack roll." -Me Evil Dungeon Master says, And now young adventurer... you die.
I've thought about using background music, but I've never gotten around to it - too much of a hassle to set up, I guess.  A part of me worries that it might be too distracting, too, and the music I would pick out would be subtle sound-track music like most of the music from the old Quake video game.  (There are several threads in these forums about background music that give lots of details on background music.)

I've used combinations of Dungeon Tiles, poster maps, eraseable Paizo "Flip-Mats", old game boards, and miniatures (ranging from D&D Miniatures to old HeroQuest and Dungeon! boardgame miniatures.)  I tell my players that anything on the tiles or maps is "fair game" - they can pick up broken weapons, skulls, and loose rocks, for example, and use them for anything they can think of.

I usually point my players to HeroMachine (link) so they can create their own PC portraits.

I'll use pictures from the Monster Manuals or my own drawings as references for monsters sometimes (I prefer to describe monsters instead.)

Once in a blue moon, I'll use a picture from a magazine or downloaded from online to show what a treasure looks like, or to illustrate something I have trouble describing.
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri

What do I use?

Using GameMaker 8.0 Pro Edition I designed an Isometric copy of the games' encounters and used Photoshop to take monster images and work them out properly. The Lighting is already taken care of to add to realism. Plus I can inject music. I'm currently working on animations, sounds and general effects but most of it is pretty cool. With a flatscreen hooked up to my PC. Also I can rig the NumPad so when I press a key a Handout will pop-up.

I highly recommend you try this because it's really easy to use and quickly bypasses the need to go spend tons of cash on minis and tiles.

I am Blue/Black "The Red Dragon is pulverizing your friends..." -Me "Okay so I'm up here?" -Shrui "Yeah..." -Me "Okay I want to triple backflip down from the ceiling while holding my family's katana and drive it through the Dragon's head." -Shrui "Yeah you'll take a -15 because he's moving his head." -Me "Don't care, I try it anyway." -Shrui (Acrobatics Roll Succeeds) (Attack Roll Succeeds) "How much extra damage do I get for this attack?" -Shrui "It dies, you don't need to do an attack roll." -Me Evil Dungeon Master says, And now young adventurer... you die.
I'd like to get a voice changer program or device of some kind to use for certain monsters or characters. I only have a few different pitches I can do. Sucks when Farhuq the Shadar Kai and Michael van White the Vampire sound the same... Other than that just some background music.
I'd like to get a voice changer program or device of some kind to use for certain monsters or characters. I only have a few different pitches I can do. Sucks when Farhuq the Shadar Kai and Michael van White the Vampire sound the same... Other than that just some background music.



Audacity does basic voice modulation.
I am Blue/Black "The Red Dragon is pulverizing your friends..." -Me "Okay so I'm up here?" -Shrui "Yeah..." -Me "Okay I want to triple backflip down from the ceiling while holding my family's katana and drive it through the Dragon's head." -Shrui "Yeah you'll take a -15 because he's moving his head." -Me "Don't care, I try it anyway." -Shrui (Acrobatics Roll Succeeds) (Attack Roll Succeeds) "How much extra damage do I get for this attack?" -Shrui "It dies, you don't need to do an attack roll." -Me Evil Dungeon Master says, And now young adventurer... you die.
we play at the FLGS where he has his itunes on his gaming playlist at random. it's the playlist he uses for tourneys, preleases, etc... it usually has a high tempo but he plays it at a subdued sound; enough for us to hear it, but not enough that we lose our focus on it.
3rd ed SRD, character sheets, errata & free modules 4th ed test drive - modules, starter rules, premade characters and character builder & character sheet, errata Free maps and portraits, dice, printable graph paper, campaign managing website, image manipulation program + token maker & zone markers

"All right, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back. GET MAD! I DON'T WANT YOUR **** LEMONS! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THESE?! DEMAND TO SEE LIFE'S MANAGER! Make life RUE the day it thought it could give CAVE JOHNSON LEMONS! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'M THE MAN WHO'S GONNA BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that's gonna BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!" -Cave Johnson, Portal 2
I'd like to get a voice changer program or device of some kind to use for certain monsters or characters. I only have a few different pitches I can do. Sucks when Farhuq the Shadar Kai and Michael van White the Vampire sound the same... Other than that just some background music.



Audacity does basic voice modulation.



For immediate use? Cause as far as I've noticed it only adjusts it for recordings. I need something I can do on the fly RP with.
I've thought about using background music, but I've never gotten around to it - too much of a hassle to set up, I guess.  A part of me worries that it might be too distracting, too, and the music I would pick out would be subtle sound-track music like most of the music from the old Quake video game.  (There are several threads in these forums about background music that give lots of details on background music.)

I've used combinations of Dungeon Tiles, poster maps, eraseable Paizo "Flip-Mats", old game boards, and miniatures (ranging from D&D Miniatures to old HeroQuest and Dungeon! boardgame miniatures.)  I tell my players that anything on the tiles or maps is "fair game" - they can pick up broken weapons, skulls, and loose rocks, for example, and use them for anything they can think of.

I usually point my players to HeroMachine (link) so they can create their own PC portraits.

I'll use pictures from the Monster Manuals or my own drawings as references for monsters sometimes (I prefer to describe monsters instead.)

Once in a blue moon, I'll use a picture from a magazine or downloaded from online to show what a treasure looks like, or to illustrate something I have trouble describing.



HeroMachine is pretty cool, I might use it for my VT sometime.
I am Blue/Black "The Red Dragon is pulverizing your friends..." -Me "Okay so I'm up here?" -Shrui "Yeah..." -Me "Okay I want to triple backflip down from the ceiling while holding my family's katana and drive it through the Dragon's head." -Shrui "Yeah you'll take a -15 because he's moving his head." -Me "Don't care, I try it anyway." -Shrui (Acrobatics Roll Succeeds) (Attack Roll Succeeds) "How much extra damage do I get for this attack?" -Shrui "It dies, you don't need to do an attack roll." -Me Evil Dungeon Master says, And now young adventurer... you die.
HeroQuest models and furniture, wet-erase mat and a corkboard for posting continent map, house rules, notes, etc.

We built a 6'x4' table for the specific purpose of putting an LCD in the middle and running MapTools, but no one's ready to cough up the money for a 42" TV.

We used to play Jethro Tull everytime the bard played his fife. But that got old. 
3.x Faithful.
I use the monster tokens from the Monster Vault, and a bunch of miniatures. That's about it, though. One of my players has a spellbook which she uses for Rituals, that's pretty cool.
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
HeroQuest models and furniture, wet-erase mat and a corkboard for posting continent map, house rules, notes, etc.

We built a 6'x4' table for the specific purpose of putting an LCD in the middle and running MapTools, but no one's ready to cough up the money for a 42" TV.

We used to play Jethro Tull everytime the bard played his fife. But that got old. 




I forgot about that - the HeroQuest furniture does make an appearance from time to time.  (That game really should be re-released!)

Unfortunately, I've never been able to bring myself to do anything so elaborate as using electronics at the game table - they tend to be more distracting for me than it's worth.  The closest I've ever gotten has been to use character generation software between game sessions for leveling PCs up or character creation.

And now that you mention it, Ian Anderson seems like he would be one of the best Bards ever....
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
I forgot about that - the HeroQuest furniture does make an appearance from time to time.  (That game really should be re-released!)



Oh yeah it should!

But in the main idea, I use erasable map with Child's color pencils, easy to erase and I can even let the map for a week and it will be erasable. And it gives me plenty of colors!

I use a lot of tiles too! Mixing it with the map ives a lot of possibilities.

We use board games pieces to represent the players. ( All identical, except for the color ) and we have WotC pieces for our Minions, Monsters, Traps, Zone, etc.

I'm playing: Abin Gadon, Halfling Bard Winston "Slurphnose", Gnome Sorcerer Pasiphaé, Minotaur Shaman Eglerion, Elf Ellyrian Reaver (Ranger) DMing: Le Trésor du Fluide (Treasure from the Fluid) Un Royaume d'une Grande Valeur (A Kingdom of Great Value) La Légende de Persitaa (Persitaa's Legend) Une Série de Petites Quêtes... (A serie of short quests) Playtesting: Caves of Chaos We're building the greatest adventure ever known to DnD players! Also playing Legend of the Five Rings and Warhammer Fantasy. Sébastien, Beloeil, Qc. I am Neutral Good and 32 years old.
We always have music running during our games, our DM has an ipod mix that's all soundtracks from movies like 300, Gladiator, Braveheart, Pirates, those kinds of epics.  The music is just a playlist on shuffle, not that hard to do, and if it gets too loud we just turn it down.

He also downloaded some "ambient sounds" that he throws in during non-combat time: forest sounds, wind, ocean waves, crowded marketplaces, dripping caves, that sort of thing.  Should be able to find that sort of thing floating around the 'net.

Otherwise, it's typically battlemats and boxes and boxes of minis (one of our players works for WotC, and keeps our DM well stocked with the latest releases).
We always have music running during our games, our DM has an ipod mix that's all soundtracks from movies like 300, Gladiator, Braveheart, Pirates, those kinds of epics.  The music is just a playlist on shuffle, not that hard to do, and if it gets too loud we just turn it down.

He also downloaded some "ambient sounds" that he throws in during non-combat time: forest sounds, wind, ocean waves, crowded marketplaces, dripping caves, that sort of thing.  Should be able to find that sort of thing floating around the 'net.

Otherwise, it's typically battlemats and boxes and boxes of minis (one of our players works for WotC, and keeps our DM well stocked with the latest releases).



Lucky you.
I am Blue/Black "The Red Dragon is pulverizing your friends..." -Me "Okay so I'm up here?" -Shrui "Yeah..." -Me "Okay I want to triple backflip down from the ceiling while holding my family's katana and drive it through the Dragon's head." -Shrui "Yeah you'll take a -15 because he's moving his head." -Me "Don't care, I try it anyway." -Shrui (Acrobatics Roll Succeeds) (Attack Roll Succeeds) "How much extra damage do I get for this attack?" -Shrui "It dies, you don't need to do an attack roll." -Me Evil Dungeon Master says, And now young adventurer... you die.

Most of the listed above:



  • Minis

  • Tiles

  • Ambient Sound effects (cool little program called Softrope)

  • Second Monitor to display pictures/maps/notes

  • Laptop running MasterPlan (look it up Sealed )


plus lots of dice, soda and snacks!





IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

...and snacks!



The most important accessory!

Snacks double as counters, miniatures, treasure, bribes, and even distractions for the dreaded Dice-Stealing Cats.

[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
As a new DM I've taken to just starting my components for our gaming sessions. I made some custom maps and glued the print outs to photo mat to give them a solid feel and resist wear. We keep tea and soda on hand with a pile of finger foods. And other than the essentials I have not added anything else but you guys have certainly given me a few ideas!
As far as music goes I use the movie sound track station on pandora. It takes a while to get it to stop playing stuff thats not quite right for a setting, but i'ts better than nothing. For maps i use gaming paper so i can pre draw all my maps before the crew comes over. For markers I use numbered tokens a made out of polymer clay for baddies with hit points and and colored glass tokes for minions. for the PC's We use the game pieces from my Transformers monopoly set. (our party consists of Megatron for the Warden. Starscream for the Ranger ect...)
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