It’s Thanksgiving today in the United States, so this is going to be a quick post. On this holiday we think about the people in our lives that we’re grateful to know. For me that includes a ton of gamer friends. With the holidays coming up, I’m giving you a few gift ideas for one of your most important gamer friends: your Dungeon Master.
DMs deserves our love, because not only do they have the mammoth task of running the game, they also spend more hours outside the game preparing it, often serve as the organizers and schedulers of games, and usually drop the most coin on gaming products. Here’s how you can appreciate them.
Gifts that Cost Cash
If you’ve got some change to spare, these goodies will make your DM smile… and possibly overlook the next time your PC takes a critical hit!
- Official D&D Books. If your DM does not yet have Volo’s Guide to Monsters, this is a great gift. More baddies and tons of great story ideas. As a bonus there’s even some new PC races in there for players! If you’re nearing the end of a story, consider picking up Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Princes of the Apocalypse, Out of the Abyss, or Storm King’s Thunder and asking your DM to run it for you.
- Third-Party Products. There are tons of great third-party products for the DM in your life. Tome of Beasts doubles the size of any bestiary while Sly Flourish’s Fantastic Locations, Book of Lairs, and Prepared! make preparation a snap. You could also grab any number of third party adventures. I personally enjoy Blood Vaults of Sister Aklava and the adventures in the Legendary Planet adventure path. If you want your DM to have a consistent flow of third-party goodness, consider getting them a subscription to EN World’s EN5ider. Want your DM to upgrade your games with sound? Then how about a few Syrinscape sound packs or a kit from Battle Bards?
- DMs Guild Goodies. Of course the Dungeon Master’s Guild has some great products for the DM in your life. It has adventures galore! I recommend anything by the following authors: Shawn Merwin, Merric Blackman, M.T. Black, Tony Petrecca, Jeff C. Stevens, Cindy Moore, Teos Abadia, James Haeck, Mike Shea, Karl Resch, Michael Robbins, Alan Patrick, Greg Marks, or Robert Adducci. If your DM doesn’t need adventures then checkout some traps from David Gibson or some awesome puzzles and riddles from Patrick E. Pullen.
- Maps & Minis. Buying tiles, flip mats, 3D terrain, dry-erase boards, and more are great for any DM. If you play online, gift your DM some minis or tokens for your favorite virtual table.
- A New RPG. There’s a lot to play beyond D&D. Why not get your DM a new game that you want to play as a group? If you like D&D, then odds are your group might like Shadow of the Demon Lord, Night’s Black Agents, Phoenix Dawn Command, and Mutants and Masterminds. It’s very flattering to be handed a game and asked, “Will you run this for us?”
- Gift Card. Not sure what your DM already owns, but know that they’d love something new on their shelf? Get them a DriveThru RPG gift certificate!
Gifts that Cost Time
Maybe your philosophy is “Spend more time than money on those you love.” It’s a good one! If that’s the case, here’s some gifts that will fill your DM’s heart with cheer.
- Create A Game Calendar. Get together with your gaming group and plan a year’s worth of sessions. Put it all onto a calendar you buy or create and you’ve got one of the best gifts a DM could ask for! You can even give this gift digitally. Make sure you ask your DM for their schedule before locking down dates.
- Run A Game. Many DMs rarely get to play. Offer to run a one-shot for you DM so that they get to have fun in a new way. You’ll gain a new appreciate for what they do.
- Write A Recap. If you’re in the middle of a long campaign, on your own or with the rest of your group, write a recap of the narrative so far and give it to your DM. Each person in the group could take a few “chapters” of the campaign and write it from their character’s perspective for extra fun. You could post the whole thing on Obsidian Portal to really give your DM a special treat.
- Find Great Free Products. There are tons of free products out there. Print them out and hand them to your DM. Of course, I recommend you start on the Free Game Resources section of this site (why not try my one-shot adventure Happy Holidays), but you can find tons of free and pay what you want goodies on the DMs Guild. Be sure to leave a review of a product and/or shout it out on social media if you’re grabbing it for free, to help spread the designer’s good work.
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