DM Checklist

What does a good Dungeon Master do? He creates a campaign where every single player feels like the main character, he balances forces in an imaginary world and creates challenges in physical (Combat), mental (Riddles) and social (Interaction) ways. Well I know there are a lot of DM advice pages and arcticles out there, but I felt like – a nice checklist could be useful – so I will give it a try.


I’ve used a lot of different products in the past to keep track of my player’s abilities and specialities but I tend to use only very few attributes on the various sheets. Therefore I’ve picked an open spreadsheet and decided to make this one a bit different, with notes for three main fields as said before.

Primary Notes


This is where all combat related stuff goes. In section one it’s about your information so you can take a better hold of situations. Combat related for me means you have to know your player’s attacks and weapons as good as possible. Equally important is the kind of armor they wear. This will start improving your descriptions when you make regular use of it (though don’t stress it too much). Instead of the various hit descriptions you can relate to these notes and describe cuts on the leather armor (and take a note of them as well), break chain-links at the shoulder or pierce through plate armor – a red dragon’s breath tends to leave some marks on the skin below the plate armor as well… But I think you get the idea.
Especially when you’re running a action heavy campaign, make sure you know the hitpoints of your characters, it’s not very useful to have an enemy fireball dealing 10d6 (rolled 39) hitpoints when you should know that two of your players have neither a chance to avoid them nor more than 20 hp… Subjective realism isn’t always your best friend when it comes to a tpk after a few hours of gaming.
Last but not least physical specialities should be noted for every character, whether they are Skills or Feats (in terms of D&D) it’s the edge of the various characters and it’s there for you to use as a tool to get the character right into the spotlight – just where he should be on a regular base. Continue reading DM Checklist