You enter a dark room, there’s a foul smell in the air and a dripping sound echoes from somewhere in the back of the room. As your eyes adjust to the darkness you see a figure pacing restless back and forth, it looks like a large humanoid dragging a big wooden club.
Dungeons and Dragons is one of our passions, we’ve been playing for 15 years now and we have tried several tools to help us when we run a campaign. Last year our director started running one in which the players had a lot of followers, making every battle big and difficult to handle, in the middle of the frustration we though “we know how to develop software, and how to make intuitive interfaces and stuff, we should be able to solve this”.
That’s how Dungeon Master’s Board was born, it started as a Combat Board for Android tablets, that shows the main information of a number of monsters and creatures, with helpful colored tokens and a quick-to-interact interface. DMB’s design philosophy is to provide a visually attractive interface with everything you need in two taps or less. You can add new monsters quickly, add or subtract Hit Points easily, roll their attacks with adjusted bonuses or kill a monster in one tap.
Of course the app features a Character Creation Tool, although is meant for the Dungeon Master to help create custom monsters and NPCs. Custom characters are saved into the device’s memory in an efficient text-based format. Once a character is saved it’ll appear in the Search Panel of the Combat Board, allowing the DM to add it in one tap to the field. In any case the app features 325 monsters from the Dungeons and Dragon’s System Reference Document.
One feature that’s always a problem during our sessions is to provide good, game-related, music to create the right mood during gameplay. We’ve tried Syrinscape in the past, but to be fair we found it incredibly cumbersome. Other soundboards and music tools for D&D just don’t cut it for us. So we though again “We have a good D&D tool, we can make this stuff” and thus we decided to add a Moodboard to DMB (by now you should be getting why we are calling this Dungeon Master’s Board).
Our Moodboard features several “Moods”, more like environments, with ambient music and sound effects that play on a random loop with some procedural functions. Each mood has two modes: “Chill mode” for the “we are happily strolling around with no worries on our heads” moments and “Combat mode” for the “Let’s split this mother%^$&#$’s head in two” moments. You can control the volume of the music, environment and sound effects separately, and there’s a master volume control for the whole thing in one slider.
And since we were making a Moodboard, and integrating sound with the whole thing, well, making a decent Soundboard was not really a challenge at this point. It features several “swishes”, “thuds”, and “pows” along with spell sounds and screams. Everytime you press a button a different sound plays from a list, since the selection is random from within a curated list, sounds don’t get repetitive and the effect is great during combat.
The DMB is almost done, there’re a few features we need to implement before publishing it to the Android Store. Right now our roadmap looks like this:
There’s some navigability issues we HAVE to fix before the app is ready to launch
Moods 3 & 4
We want to add a Busy Town and a Snowy Mountain moods into the Moodboard
By Q1-2020 we hope to release an open beta to the world.
Release and NPC Board
We hope to find and fix all issues found during the beta for Q2-2020. Also we want to add an NPC generator feature, one that creates interesting characters with easy to remember perks for the DM to use.
We want to add a Dungeon Designer feature into DMB. It’ll probably be an abstract tool to help DM’s to generate dungeon layouts fast, for Theather of the Mind style of gameplay.
We’ve been working on some handdrawn portraits for a few monsters. We don’t think we’ll be able to draw all 325 of them, but the most common ones at least will have some original artwork. For now we have about 13 of them, simple fast drawings of the monster’s face.