Customizable Role Playing Game Master's Screen
This page was slapped together because some people expressed interest in my design notes for a generic game master screen for roleplaying games.
The basic premise behind the design of the screen is to be able to add any notes that are found useful to a particular game. Published screens often have tons of charts and tables that do not necessarily have any real use in the heat of the game, and yet lack basic notes that can really bog a game down if you have to look them up.
Additionally, each genre will require different notes. I run a home grown fantasy campaign right now. So certain things, like combat modifiers and relevant skill defaults are important to have on the fly. If I was running a Pulp game then I would want a chart that handles appropriate rules and notes for that genre.
The easy way around this is to build into the screen the ability to change its contents with ease. This is done by affixing slightly modified plastic sheet protectors to the inside of the screen with a spray adhesive.
- 1/8" thickness foam board. You can find these in assorted colors. I chose a flat black.
- Spray adhesive. 3M makes a good one called SUPER 77 Spray Adhesive.
- Plastic sheet protectors. I would go with high quality ones that will not stick to the paper's printing.
- 2" wide packing tape. I chose clear tape.
- Photocopied or printed charts and tables on 8.5"x11" paper.
Step 1: Cut the panels
I chose to make the panels 9.25"tall and 11.5" wide, I like having a wide and low screen. It offers a nice sized area for information but is still low enough to be as little a barrier between me and my players as possible. I decided on a 4-panel system.
Using a nice sharp hobby knife, cut the panels out of a larger sheet which you can picked up at an art or office supply store for only a few U.S. dollars.
Step 2: Adding Hinges
This is the trickiest part of the design, in my opinion.
Ideally, for ease of storage, you will want the panels to be able to fold back on each other in an accordion-like fashion. To be able to do this, you want the space between the panels to be about 3/8". You will want to use the tape on both sides of the screen to make an effective and durable hinge.
Step 3: Modify the sheet protectors
Most sheet protectors come with a tab along the side with holes for a three ring binder.
If you look closely at the edge with the holes, you will see that the sheet
protector has a sealed seam just before this tab. You can slice this tab off
and still have a functional envelope. So just cut that off.
Step 4: Affix the sheet protectors to both sides of the panels.
I have found the best way of doing this is to spray the sheet protectors, not the poster board.
Make sure you have a lot of room to do this in a well ventilated area. Cover the area with copious amounts of newspaper. The spray adhesive will form a cloud that will drift to nearby surfaces and make a real mess.
And You're Done!
Here's another picture of the inside and outside of the screen. The inside has tables, or relevant notes, and the outside has mood setting graphics and a map.
Here is a picture of the screen as it is collapsing, note the space between the panels allowing for them to completely fold over each other.
This is a close up of the hinged
And finally the screen in its fully collapsed configuration. It's a bit worn looking now, because this picture was taken after a full five years of use. So it's durable too.
That's all there is to it. Not really rocket surgery is it?