Last Updated on November 16, 2022
It’s no secret that Dungeons & Dragons can get pretty involved.
Role playing games of any type tend to venture far beyond the investment needed for other tabletop games. Playing the game is a process of collaborative storytelling that uses the rules of the game to dictate what can and can’t happen.
Keeping track of all of the moving parts can be a huge hassle.
Many players and DMs use tools to make their life easier so they can spend more time playing the game and less time juggling information.
There will always be players who stick to pen and paper, but we find that more and more, enthusiasts are taking a hybridized approach to their involvement in the game.
Random generators, character trackers, map makers, and more are part of these new ‘folders’ that we bring to the table.
This is a list of tools we’ve gathered from across the internet that have made our lives easier, and we hope they give you the chance to relax a bit too.
Our Favorite DnD 5e Tools
D&D Beyond is a website that has so many great resources. Essentially it’s an online marketplace for all of WotC’s official D&D content with a decent amount of information readily available before you make any purchases.
This site offers a multitude of tools, with perhaps the most useful to players being the character builder. With all of the knowledge of WotC official content at your fingertips, it should be one of the best trackers out there. And it just might be, if you’re willing to spend some money.
Unlocking different class and race options is done by buying the books through Beyond’s marketplace, and if you do so the tracker is so user-friendly. It even allows you to roll dice right in the app.
If you want a great tool, with everything in one place, and are willing to pay some serious cash (the full Player’s Bundle is about $100) then this is the place for you.
Check out what lies beyond here.
5E Companion App
This is one of my favorite D&D apps of all time.
The companion app is free, although you can pay to remove ads, and brings you character sheets, a party manager, homebrew content creator, a bestiary, an encounter generator, and a combat tracker. That’s pretty ambitious, and they do it all well.
My favorite is just how perfectly they’ve put together the character tracker. Your building process is guided by helpful hints and you have every option ready to go, with the ability to add homebrew that you’ve found or created.
Then, when you’ve created your character it fills in all of the necessary information like feats and skill proficiencies. The sheet keeps track of health, experience, spell slots, death saves, and more, and has all of your information ready to go with the click of a button.
Black Citadel RPG
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Fantasy Name Generators
I don’t know about you, but I normally spend like half an hour trying to think of some name with some great esoteric meaning when I’m building my characters.
Sometimes I will just completely change the character because I think of a good name, it’s a bit unmanageable okay. So I got in the habit of using generators.
Consistently, this site is the one that I end up on for all my needs, from a swarm of NPCs, to my player characters, and so much more.
They’ve got pretty much every race and a really impressive grasp of the naming conventions set by DND 5e.
Then when it comes to places and locations they have SO MANY OPTIONS!
Indulge me for a second. They have generators for: Fjords, Daycares, Breweries, Forests, Roads, Voids, Temples, Ruins, Magic Schools and so much more.
They’ve even got some decent description generators for when DMs get caught off guard and have to describe a dragon or something on the spot.
Check this website out here.
Donjon is just a WOW site. No, wait, it has nothing to do with World of Warcraft, my bad. It will just make you say wow. This has an extensive spell list, a full monster list, a list of magic items, an encounter size calculator, and an initiative tracker.
On top of all that, it boasts an impressive collection of random generators that give you so much lore/information to utilize. An inn generator, for example, gives you the location, description, innkeeper, menu (with prices), patrons (names and descriptions of each), and rumors you might hear there.
All of the generators give you some agency as well, with the inn example allowing you to select the type of inn, and what kind of patrons to expect.
For a DM looking to build a world, sit in the generators for half an hour and you’ll have regions, towns, dungeons, inns, npcs, treasure, encounters, calendars, and even a full campaign if you so choose.
Start having some random fun with donjon now.
If you don’t already pay for Microsoft Office, keep scrolling. Or don’t, I’m not your mom. I personally use this all the time for my organization, so I wanted to tell you about it.
OneNote is a very simple organization tool that allows you to make a notebook with different sections and folders.
As a DM, I often kept pages of notes from world lore to a background for Gnib Gnob the gnarly Gnome in case the characters wanted to talk to him. Sure, I might have been the over-planner, but one of my biggest problems was not being able to find anything.
I use OneNote to neatly separate things out into categories that make sense to me (and maybe only me).
There are plenty of organizers out there, this is just the one I happen to use.
RPG Cards Generator
One of the best ways to keep track of small bits of information is to print out (or write out, ew) some cards.
Especially when it comes to spells, it can get very difficult to just write everything out on a sheet of paper, or keep it organized somewhere online.
For a while, I used flashcards for things like this and would painstakingly write everything I needed. Then I came across this site which gives a beautiful format for printing out some really nice double-sided cards.
You can use this for anything you can think of, treasure handouts, npcs… making a physical deck of many things.
You know, casual D&D things. While this can look extremely intimidating for someone with no coding background, I’ve linked you to the tutorial which does an excellent job of explaining how to get something like this.
Go make yourself some at their website.
Kobold Fight Club
Now… I’m going to talk about it. I know I’m breaking the rules, but I’m going to.
Fight club is a great place to build and run encounters.
They have simple information on all the creatures and baddies you could want, with the ability to add in your own content as well. Plugin your player’s levels and use the legend to build the encounter you’re looking for.
As with any standardized tool, you’ll likely want to pay attention to just how much the difficulty levels match up to your player’s actual skill level and scale accordingly.
Not all groups are built equally, and different levels of experience are much harder for a program to keep track of. That being said, this is an excellent jumping board for new and experienced DMs to start with.
Build your encounters here.
Dungeon Map Doodler
Creating maps is a big part of being a DM. There are plenty of ways to do so, whether you’re using generators like Donjon up above, or going as far as drawing out your maps on a sheet of blueprint paper.
We’ve covered a few of our favorites, so go check out that article on map making.
This one isn’t necessarily my favorite, but it’s one of the simplest out there when it comes to creating dungeon maps. The user interface is so straightforward that you could create a great map on accident.
This is a great place to start whether you want to incorporate your maps into any VTT or you just want to print it out and set it on the table.
Check it out here.
Virtual Tabletop DnD Resources
Hey All, Rich here. I just wanted to jump in and add my 2 cents for VTT stuff since I primarily play that way. In addition to some of the above, here is what I use in my online games.
Why? Well, it’s just BY FAR the most modern VTT I’m aware of. It’s browser-based, has tons of functionality, options, and mods. I would say check this video out if you’re unfamiliar.
SyrinScape has a ton of great content. If you’re really into the sounds and mood music, this is absolutely something you should check out. It’s searchable, you can sync it up with your players or just play it on your laptop/phone during an in-person game.
Content is anything from Orcs raging to Dragon Breath to huge doors opening, to battle music, bar music, travel music… it’s got tons for you to choose from.
I like to pull music and sounds from YouTube. It’s just my preference so I thought I’d add it. I’m a big fan of Skyrim music for my games.
For Foundry, I’ll pull the audio with YouTube-DL-Gui and then add it to my playlist. Easy. You can also cut it up with Audacity or similar if it’s too much.
Roll Advantages Token Stamp
For online games you need tokens, and this is a simple one to make your tokens with!
We hope all these are helpful! If you have any favorites we missed definitely let us know.
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As a kid, I was often told to get my head out of the clouds and to stop living in a fantasy world. That never really jived with me, so I decided to make a living out of games, stories, and all sorts of fantastical works. Now, as an adult, I aspire to remind people that sometimes a little bit of fantasy is all you need when life gets to be too much.