Game Master's Toolboxes

Hail, hail, fine BS’ers!!

Many of you are game masters. Some of you have been doing it since the dawn of time, well, you know, kinda. And there are some that are looking to join the ranks of us rpg narrators. We use screens, index cards, initiative trackers, music, tablets, whatever…

So tells us mighty Game Masters, WHAT’S IN YOUR GM TOOLBOX?

bonus points for pics. :slight_smile:

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This is from last year, but here are some pictures of some of my tools for my 7th Sea game. The skulls in the treasure chest were my Danger Points, and the drink swords were hero points. The gold coins were wealth tokens.


This is my PBTA kit. The big document carrier is what has all of the laminated player sheets in it, as well as all of the copies of playbooks. The mini dice are for games like Dungeon World or Infinite Galaxies that use other dice beyond d6s.


This is my Fate box, although the Script Change safety tools get moved from the PBTA box to this one when I’m running Fate. The cards in the sleeves are the Fate rules summaries from It’s Not My Fault, and the index cards are dry erase because otherwise you go through a lot of index cards with all of your Fate aspects.

These last ones are from my D&D Margreve game. Not pictured are the personal Script Change tools I have in the folders with their character sheets, as well as the 5e rules summary I printed off for them. The page protector goes into my binder and has my flat terrain minis in it for my instant forests, houses, and tents.

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I guess Jared is the only one with a toolbox? LOL

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I know @Fafhrd has a box he takes from game to game…

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Here’s my DM Screen/DIce Tray/Storage Box all in one!

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I’m mostly running games online these days, so I don’t have a GM toolbox so much as a GM desk.

On the screen is Roll20 with the player-facing map with their notes written on it, and Discord, which we use for voice and text chat. The microphone, audio interface, and headphones (not shown) are all related to that. All the character sheets are on Roll20 as well. I do keep OneNote open on a second desktop, but that’s mostly for keeping track of stuff outside of sessions.

I have the PDFs for Stonehell, but I like running it from a binder, where I can make notes on the pages, and stick in sheets of loose-leaf paper with updates based on whatever the players get up to down there. It’s also handy having it all in a physical binder for the rare occasions when I run an in-person session.

I keep some time tracker sheets that I made in the binder as well, which I use to keep track of things like torch usage and wandering monster checks, as well as make notes about where the party was each turn and any interesting things that happened. I used to use the extra space at the bottom to note which player characters (it’s open table, so that varies each week) and hirelings were involved, and what monsters / treasures they slayed / liberated, so I can tally up XP at the end, but I recently started tracking that on a separate index card.

I keep some dice handy, because while Roll20 has adequate dice rolling commands, I like the psychological effect of rolling them on the table so the players can hear when I’m making a check (or just rolling randomly to mess with them). It’s the little things that bring a GM joy.

I don’t often look at the rule book during play, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. I really like the OSE Rules Tome for that, because it’s a nice size, and the organization and layout are as close to perfection as I’ve seen in an RPG book.

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Okay. While I dig your setup and do kinda run a similar one… How do you deal with that mouse? I keep a magic mouse, but only for emergencies and travel.

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After using one for years at work, they mostly don’t bother me. I do change the settings to get normal right clicking and scrolling, though.

I love that set up.
I also love my trackball.

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Picked this up for my D&D games:

image image image

I’m getting this to the table hopefully for the first time tonight.

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I’m not sure you can keep showing me stuff I want to buy without first helping me to plan a heist from which to fund those purchases.

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But those aren’t (the obviously superior) hex grids… :wink:

Grids/Hexes are just for general measurement anyway. I fudge it all the time. :slight_smile:

For sure. I was just being a pest.
Nice looking book, let me know what you end up thinking of it, please.

I know. Hence the smiley. :smiley:

I like it, and used it once the other night, with a bit of wet-erase marker to define a smaller space. ( I used the bar/tavern map – 4th row, 4th full map column.)

I could see this being very useful with more play. If anything, looking at the maps will get me trying to figure out how to use it more, and hopefully inspire more interesting encounters.

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