5 D&D Apps & Sites For Smart DMs
Whether you are an experienced Dungeon Master looking to make life a bit easier, or new to the chair looking for help overcoming the daunting task, apps can make your job easier. Finding a good app can be difficult, as many are locked behind paywalls, filled with ads, or they aren’t stable! Do not fret. That is why you have me, The Existential Nerd. I too was once a new DM that started out as a player that took the dive. Thankfully D&D 5e is not only simple for new players, but simple for new DMs. These apps are fine tools that help with generating quick content, keeping track of stats, maintaining the flow of combat, and more! Here are some of the ones I recommend for Android.
Let us get the obvious out of the way. This is the end-all-be-all app that both players and DMs will come to rely upon the most for ALL of their needs. However, much of the “good stuff” is locked to individual books. That in itself can end up costing quite a small sum in GP. The free resources are still invaluable, and the character creation tools are by far unrivaled.
Dungeon Developer is the creator of seven different, yet related, apps in the Google Play Store. Each app represents a key element of what any DM is going to require. Each app has a minimum one time fee of $1.49 to remove any and all ads. You are capable of updating each app via the devs website with a json file that adds in regularly updated lists from the most recent books. The interface is clean, and offers phone and tablet interfaces. You will find it easy to add specific spells, monsters, items, and more to a favorite list within each app to help with keeping track of what you need for a particular adventure or campaign. These apps are also fantastic for the player regarding the character sheet app, and the character generator app.
A one-two punch offering a decent character sheet (albeit with some limitations in certain areas) and a fun pixel art style character avatar maker. The free version offers full character sheet support, but limited pixel art assets to make your character. A one time fee lifts those limitations. The app does not offer anything groundbreaking. However, due to its simplicity it allows players to be creative with their character designs. Added bonus? It just has that fantastic retro appeal to the character art! Check out Theodoric Oakbottom below!
This app has a slight learning curve to it, but once you manage to understand how it works; it is practically a requirement. Keep track of NPC’s, cities, quests, PCs, taverns, inns, shops, and more. This app makes fleshing out your world far easier thanks to the level of organization it offers, along with making it extremely easy to keep track of it all. Another benefit is that the app automatically connects everything. Have a shop that is run by a particular NPC in a specific town? No problem! The app automatically associates them all together, making referencing easier than any pen and paper notepad could ever do.
Creating a dungeon can be hard. You need to know what challenge rating is best for your group, the monsters that should be in there, and how big it should be. This app (which is available on iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac!) does all of that for you. It even gives you the ability to play solo, or without a DM when everyone wants to be a player. You can automatically generate the dungeon so everyone can enjoy the surprises of what lurks around the corner, or run it in DM mode so you can use it to help keep the various tasks required to run the dungeon in one location. At a mere $1.99 - $2.99 you can’t expect a lot, but for that price you get more than enough.
Many DMs enforce a “no technology” rule at their tables. Some players also feel that this is an important rule. Coming to an agreement where the benefits outway the potential cons of such a rule is new territory. The rule is outdated and unnecessarily restrictive due to how many of us play the game in a post pandemic world. With the high cost of books and materials, these apps have opened the doors to many more players with limited budgets. I hope that you find each of these apps useful, and a true benefit to your overall experiences.
With these apps in hand, anyone can get down and dirty with mastering the game for the players. Just remember that being a new DM opens up a whole new experience where you are no longer playing in someone else's world, but building one for others to explore. Have fun with what you create, and your players will too!
About the Author:
Eric, aka The Existential Nerd, is a lifelong nerd. He has been gaming on console, PC, and good old pen and paper for many many years. He has played Dungeons & Dragons since 2nd Edition, Rifts, Cyberpunk 2020, and a smidge of Shadowrun. He streams RPG’s and retro games on Twitch, shares photos of his vast collection of toys and collectables on Instagram and Twitter, and leads would-be adventurers in the Existential Guild of Adventurers.