GM Toolkit: My GM Chest

Earlier, I wrote about my Briefcase, and how I organize my papers, notes and tools. Today, I get to talk about my favorite part, and the one that has surprisingly improved my game:

I LOVE this thing. I love the impact it has on new players. I’m a pretty social guy, and end up floating between groups, and creating new ones. This results in me GMing for new groups almost constantly. Nothing sets the mood like slamming this monster down on the table and saying: “We’re going on an adventure today!”


   One of my good buddies bought me this chest for my birthday, and it’s been modified a bit to hold all the stuff I need to run a game. It’s very poorly constructed, and more for form than function, hence the modifications. I’m very happy with how it turned out, and how useful its been. Let’s crack her open!

Button

it took SEVERAL tries to get the focus right on this…

I love this button, even though I don’t necessarily agree. I encourage my players to contradict me, especially if they have thought of something I haven’t. I reserve the right to make the final call, but I’m no much smarter than the people I play with. Why would I act like it?

Book o’ Dice

I found a hollowed out book with a really nice magnetic clasp. Gotta love yardsales! I keep all my dice in here, organized by sides. To jumpstart my dice collection, I bought the Pound O’ Dice from Chessex. It’s basically about 100 random dice. Perfect for giving away to people, and jumping in to games with 4-5 people.

Pencil Box

I keep a bunch of extra pencils and markers in here, just to make sure that people aren’t unprepared.

Player Tokens/Figures

   Have you seen those really cool and neato miniatures you can get online? I thought about buying a bunch of those, but they are pretty specific looking, cost more than I’d like (even at $3 a pop, I still have to paint them), and seem to break pretty easily. Instead, I asked my girlfriend to paint some chess pieces in cool patterns and designs. My favorites are the zombie in the top left, and Slendermen in the bottom left.

Whenever I sketch out a quick scene, I ask my players to use these to represent where they are in the environment.

Monster Cards

For Monsters, I use these home-made dice card holders. I’ll do another blog post about them in the future (or you can read it now!), but it’s a great way to keep track of which monsters are where.
In-game example

In the bottom picture, an enemy ship is invading the players vessel. The dice correspond to the monsters (all d6’s are that fire-dancer, etc) and all the players are represented by chess tokens. It works pretty well, very easy to setup, and quick. I like it!

And all this stuff fits into my little chest! I’ll keep tweaking and making little changes here and there, but this is the basic setup I’ve got. We’ll finish off with a cool, artsy shot: