Why do we only use one side of the DM screen?
As a DM, you have enough to manage at the table. DMs often lament players who are not prepared for their turn. Yet, we do not afford players the same luxuries we experience as a DM. At most tables, there’s a handy multi-page reference material sitting right in front of the DM. Yet, instead of dressing the other side with information that’s useful to the player, we give them a pretty picture.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I love a pretty picture. But it’s something I’d readily sacrifice to rid myself of the exercise of running a new player through a list of possible actions their character can take. That’s why I made a player’s side to my DM screen:
This player-side DM screen supplement provides an easy at-a-glance reference material to keep players on track during combat. It explains what you can do on your turn in terms of action economy, what actions you can take with brief explanations on how they work, and other useful information such as basic attack calculations and basic spellcasting information.
This has been a huge help keeping new players from getting stuck on “um…” during their turn. It’s also useful for encouraging greater creativity for players stuck in a move > attack > pass routine. After seeing how much it’s helped my games, I’m sharing it with the community.
You can pick up the screen on the DM’s Guild. There are 5 different screens for each of the different proficiency bonuses (though hopefully you won’t need this by the time your party reaches the endgame). Just print it out and tape it to the player side of your DM screen. You may need to trim the edges (the standard DM screen is smaller than 8.5″ x 11″), which works fine if you print the PDF at actual size. Feel free to stretch it to the full page if you’re using this as a handout or a placemat, or shrink it down as small as you need to fit on a reference card.