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I've been playing RPGs for 26 years, and in that time I've seen all kinds of GM screens. Some really cool (a castle wall, complete with towers and crenellations), and some not so cool (a cardboard box). In all that time I've seen how they've been both helpful and hurtful to a game. Regardless of your preference, take a look at some pros and cons of using (and not using) a GM screen. You might alter the way you game, and be thankful you did.
- Fudge a die roll to save a player character, end a combat, or to help get your adventure back on track after it's derailed.
- Post notes out of the players' view.
- Hide secret parts of a map.
- Hide the page a book is open to.
- Have easy access to game charts.
Why you shouldn't use a GM Screen:
- Players know that you aren't cheating them by you rolling your dice out in the open. And really, what gives the GM the right to cheat when the players can't?
- You are not burdened with keeping PCs alive, especially when they make poor choices – let the dice simply fall where they may.
- Knowing you won't or can't fudge dice rolls, the players are forced to make more tactically sound decisions.
- You get to move about the room more, or are not limited to one section of the table.
- With no barrier between you and the players, you're considered more a part of the group, as opposed to an adversary.
I have my preferred method of running games, what's yours (and why)?
Thanks for reading.
-Tourq Stevens runs the resource website, Stuffer Shack, because he loves the hobby of gaming, has learned so much from it, and hopes to help make it fun for others.