Anyone who’s played Dungeons & Dragons, or another roleplaying game, and used an official Dungeon Master (DM) screen knows how flimsy the commercial screens can be. Even the ones made of thick board not card stock, while being sturdier, are not very exciting and the information printed on them is fixed.
This past Christmas, Dave Henning and his gaming group did a holiday gift exchange. Dave wanted to create something truly special for his recipient, so he constructed a DM screen that would even make the gods of The Forgotten Realms jealous.
David’s DM Screen is made almost entirely of foam board. He says he used three pieces of 2′ x 2′ board for the project. The castle-themed screen that he ended up with has a bunch of special features, including lit dice storage shelves, a place to hang DM reference material, a dice tower, and a place to store non-playing character (NPC) minis. There is also a place for pencils, sharpeners, and erasers.
To create the bricks, David first drew them out onto the foam board and then used a FloraCraft Styro Wonder Cutter Plus to etch all of the bricks out.
To create the disks that he used to build the three castle towers, he used the plastic mug seen here. It has a 12-sided bottom that he used as his template. Each tower has 12 1-inch disks and 3 more on top for the platform and crenelations.
To create texture on the brickwork, David used a ball of aluminum foil to distress the foam and then followed that up with some added chipping and battle damage using a hobby knife.
To turn one of the castle towers into a dice tower (where the DM can roll dice in a controlled space), David had to hollow out the disks using the lid of a spray can as his guide. He says the process was long and tedious.
Building the dice tower. Hot glue was used in assembling all of the foam pieces.
To light the dice display, David used LED lights he got at Walmart for a buck. The lights had a metal housing so he installed magnets into the back wall of the display area to make a removable mount for them. Besides helping to see what dice are available, the illumination also provides a reading light for the campaign and reference materials that the DM is using.
Popsicle sticks were used to create the front castle door and trap door for the dice tower.
To finish the piece, David primed everything black and then painted all of the stone work in pewter gray, dark gray, light gray, black wash, gray wash, green wash, and finally, a titanium white dry brush to bring out all of the edge details.
All set up and ready to send bands of hapless adventurers to their doom in the deep dark dungeons of the realm.
David makes and sells dice towers and dice bags on Etsy. You can access his store here.