Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Gaming Gadgets - The Savage Worlds GM Screen

I use screens less now than I used to. Actually there have been peaks and valleys over the years. I used to think of them as a cool extra thing, then I got to considering them essential, then I backed off a bit, then they started making those cool hardcover-stock landscape format screens (Star Wars Saga Edition had the first one I believe) and I was addicted for a few years. I've gotten better, and I run a lot of games "screenless" now because it gives me more flexibility with the setup of the playing area, lets the players know I'm rolling straight, and it's one less thing to keep up with. I run Pathfinder, ICONS, and Marvel screenless though I admit I did use one for 4E D&D. The last screen I paid anything for was the one that was part of the Werid Wars: Rome kickstarter and that was because it kind of came in the set.

That's changed as of last week. I finally picked up one of Pinnacle's customizable DM screens and I am pretty happy with it.

Now these things have been around for probably ten years in one form or another. I know they came along pretty early in the Savage Worlds run - because it makes sense to have a flexible screen setup for a game that covers as much territory as it does -  and I always thought they were cool but I was never running it enough to justify getting one. Necessary Evil came close but it ended before I pulled the trigger.

Think of the nicest, heaviest, 3-ring binder you have ever seen, one with the see-thru plastic pocket/cover on the outside. It's like that, only it's a tri-fold landscape design (and doesn't have the rings) and has the cover/pocket on both sides.

There are of course PDF's customized for various Savage Worlds campaigns available for a few bucks. More generic ones are free. It is completely possible to make your own too, and they don't even have to be Savage Worlds - you could use it with any campaign and any RPG. It's a great idea made even better by the total portability of PDFs.

Heck just being able to customize the player side with things like maps of the current campaign area, notes on NPC's, or pictures of the PC's is a pretty cool option.

I don't know that I will start using it for ICONS or Marvel or even Pathfinder, but I am going to try it out with Savage Worlds and see what I can do with it. If the 4E game ever gets rolling again I may do up some custom inserts for it too. It's another tool in the toolkit and I'm looking forward to trying it out.


Digital Orc said...

I find myself wanting one, but balk at the 20+ price tag.

Blacksteel said...

It is pricier than more typical screens but keep in mind you can use it for multiple games with low to no additional cost. That's what pushed me over the edge to go ahead and get it.