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Referee Screens


Do you use the referee screen, or do you use A referee screen of your own design?

What makes a good screen? What are the kind of things that make it easy on you, the ref, to run the game? Is the existing T20 screen good or can it be improved or what?

I'm thinking of making my own because I really don't have the money to spend on peripheral enhancements. Does anyone find a use for the things? (I just like the idea of hiding behind a screen and plotting the PC's doom... muahahaha! *twirls moustache*)
I have used the T20 screen with the JG sheets clipped on one side. Dalton & I plan to build our own, as I need one that I can customize, as much as the T20 rules are fine, I still play by a home brew.

What makes a good screen Height & Width (I got conned into buying the Savage Worlds screen) one has to have at least 5-7 panels of A4 [8.5x11] and strength, so we are thinking thin sheets of plexiglass. Most screens are re-enforced bristol board, they need more strength than that. And, for me at least, customable is also very important.
Because you can mark on them with china marker. We used to have a Lighted one ala Rebel Base in ESB. It was a store display that had cracked in shipping in an upper edge. Group went nuts for it.

I always had some kind of plexi setup for V&V, to handle phases.
But why would you want to mark on them?

Also since you're making your own Kafka, what customisations do you intend to make? What kind of rules/tables/information do you feel needs to be on a screen for your easy reference? Why do you need 5-7 A4 sized panels?

Well if you have a real good screen, as the good Baron said you can have a backdrop light and project things onto the wall. Think of maps or illustrated props drawing the player's attention to particular parts. You are Here...baddies are there, also sometimes you need to look at something later, marking in washable ink makes all the difference.


Not sure what you mean. But usually take any table and if you want to modify them by adding your own or subtracting some data or create you own panels for different scenarios or if new products come into being eg. FF&S, Refing a bunch of gearheads comes easier when you have the neccessary panels for design rather than combat, at hand. Plus changing the exteriors (ones facing the players with inspiring pieces of art helps keep the game fresh).

5-7 panels?

Two are the middle section where you need the most neccessary info. Could be the module itself with the main maps or could be combat, something that you want front & centre. The one or two panels on the side add more privacy for secondary tables.
Was not aware they made screens for T20... how long have they been out?

I saw a demonstration of what you were talking about for the displaying and from what they were describing it was alot of work in photoshop. But then I don't know to what exctent you are going at it on but they were making multiple layers for a each square of a dungeon crawl in D&D. It was still rather impressive to me.

Marking on your maps with out damamging them is always an obvious plus. I know atleast one player who it is hard for him to visualise things in his mind, and I am sure there are more then one out there. Fore the charts thoough I am not sure... never really had to deal with that.

As for your accounting of panels, that comes out to 4 max.... what would the others be used for? More nesscary info, though on a general basis? Supplemental material?
Accounting note...I have always found the traditional screens with 4 panels to a tad limiting which is why I would another fold on either side, so you are right by citing 4 but I would rather have 6 or have it slightly lop-sized with a projector, maybe, with 5.
I don't actually use screens at all, but I DO use reference sheets placed on a tabel behind me while I'm GMing. This is particularly handy in T20 when dealing with vehicle or character combat; have you noticed how spread out those rules are in the handbook? Anyhow, that's my input.
My GM screen is my laptop cover, because I do almost all my GM-ing from the laptop these days. The rare times I'm working from published (paper) materials, I may need to hide things from the players, so sometimes I resurrect my Star Frontiers screens. (Yes, I am that old...) They're more appropo than AD&D screens.

The one regret I have about T20, actually, is that it isn't available electronically. In my D&D campaign, I've taken the SRD [System Reference Document, the electronic version of the core rules] and modified it heavily for my system, fleshing it out to include things like the experience point table and such - the things they deliberately left out so you'd have to buy the Player's Handbook and other rulebooks.

It'll actually be a difficult adjustment for me to go back to using a rulebook.

I also use MS Excel to do my dierolling. You have to have the proper add-in to actually have the randbetween(val1,val2) command, but if you have it, you don't have to parse a rand value to the particular die type. The moral of this story? Always do a full install of MS Office products.

Anyhow, my spreadsheet has a section for initiative values, which I type in each combat next to PC names and monster identifiers, and then run a reverse sort to *poof!* put them in order. There's another section for different die combinations, mostly repeated multiple times. For example, I have about 14 lines of randbetween(1,20) so I have 14 attack rolls, critical followup rolls, saving throws, etc. I have 1d6 rolls up to 20d6 rolls (and multiple iterations of those), and other combinations.

It *really* speeds up combat when I can just go down the list and pull up however many rolls I need. It's also nice when I don't want them to know how many dice the enemy wizard's throwing. A 8-level wizard who rolls really well - say 39 on 8d6 - seems more dangerous than if I'd tossed 8d6 and given them the result. Likewise, a 15-level wizard who rolls bad on one spell might seem less dangerous than one for whom they can hear the cascade of 15d6 hitting the table.

Keep 'em guessing, always!

Of course, in T20, I'll have to redo the layout for the die types the weapons use, but that's always fun.

Anyone who wants a copy of the dieroller spreadsheet, just email me (david@princelian.com). You'll need Excel to use it, with the Analysis Pak add-in, I think.
If I just need to hide my papers from players, I sometimes use a three-ring binder opened up. The nicer ones you can slip papers into and view the paper throught the trasparent covers.
I've got three manila folders pasted together, which gives 4 'panels'. Standing it upright is a tad difficult, but I haven't finished crafting it. I'll think up something, probably support from folded paper.

The side facing the players will have drawings. The side facing me... dunno. Maybe printed off tables for data that I find necessary and nonspecific.