Once I picked up TSR's Dungeon Master Screen back in 1983 (see top right), I knew I had made a great purchase. Not only could I keep notes, maps, and even dice rolls secret, but I had a very useful set of combat tables and the like at hand. I had already worn out the pages in the Dungeon Master's Guide that held those sometimes mind-boggling attack/defense matrices. I loved the artwork side that faced the players too. To me, that evoked a lot of the 70s pulp/epic imagery that graced the era's fantasy/sci fi paperbacks and magazines. I used the screen long afterward for those aesthetic and sentimental reasons. I skipped the screens of 2nd and 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, even though I imagine they would have been somewhat more useful. Beside favoring the old art, the game's combat calculations evolved enough that we didn't necessarily need matrices to get us through combat.
I recently purchased Paizo's Pathfinder GM screen (see above), and I am itching to try it out. It has a lot of tables on skill checks, which are more integral to the game now, and it also has some combat-related tables as well. It features the iconic characters from the Pathfinder game, which are nice looking works by Wayne Reynolds.This screen is really something - it is made out of hardback book cover material. It looks like it might be sturdy enough to resist thrown dice.
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