DM’s Guild: Five Favourite for Free!

The DM’s Guild is a fantastic extension of DriveThruRPG, full of material specific to the playing and running of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s packed with player’s guides, adventures, maps, art, and alternative source material for D&D 5e. And if you love the older D&D resources like I do, it’s a great repository of material going back to the beginning of the game. If you have any desire to create your own content for D&D 5e, and you want to share it with others in the hobby, this is a great place to do that.

But if you aren’t familiar with the DM’s Guild and want to get a taste of what is on offer, I’m giving you a list of five of my current favourites from the site. Besides serving as excellent examples of what the site has to offer, they’re free, so you can check them out yourself and see if you agree with my recommendations. I hope you’ll share your opinions in the comments.

In no particular order:

  1. The Secrets of Skyhorn Lighthouse – No Dungeon Master I know has enough time, including myself. As much as I love crafting adventure locations myself, sometimes I need an adventure I can just pick-up and run. Enter The Secrets of Skyhorn Lighthouse, an adventure so well put together and easy to run off the page, I literally stopped halfway through reading it and asked out loud, “How are you free!?” It’s optimized for 5th-level characters, but I could see it scaled up or down depending on your group. And that would be all the work you’d have to do, as the adventure is so well constructed I had everything else I needed in its pages. Plus, it’s just a really fun adventure, written by Kelsey Dionne. That’s a name I’m going to keep an eye out for.
  2. DM’s Guild Creator Resources – Not a single item, but a collection of graphic resources for anyone who wants to create material for the DM’s Guild. And it’s a pretty exhaustive collection of graphics, each ZIP file containing images on everything from adventurers to demons to dragons to locations around the Forgotten Realms. All of them are free, and you are granted a license to use them in any product you create for the DM’s Guild (and only for the DM’s Guild). Of course you can also use them at your table, making this another fantastic resource for the busy DM. And if you are just starting your self-publishing journey, this gives you the opportunity to really spice up your work early on, until you can find artists of your own to commision.
  3. Adventure Templates – Keeping in the self-publishing arena for a moment, the Guild also offers ready-made templates for D&D 5e adventure design. These take a lot of the work out of creating good looking adventure scenarios, in a layout that will be familiar to DMs. You can get templates for InDesign, Open Office, Scrivener, and Scribus, and all but the template for Open Office include the font files you’ll need as well (though it does tell you where to download them for free). If you are looking to publish adventures for 5e this is invaluable, and even if you just want to tidy up your own homebrew work they are useful.
  4. Critical Hit and Fumble Charts – I actually found two of these on the free list, so I’m recommending both of them as they each contain different information. The first, the 5E Player Critical Hits & Fumbles chart, contains short d10 lists for criticals and fumbles for melee, range, magic, and brawling (fighting without weapons). The second, The Vulture GM’s Critical Hit & Fumble Chart, is just two lists, but the options offered are broad enough they could be easily adapted to any combat situation. Of course, you don’t need to introduce either of these into your game, you and your players may get enough excitement from the standard critical/fumble rules. But if you wanted to add a little twist occasionally, these are a great way to do that.
  5. Kid Friendly Character SheetThe Kid Friendly Character Sheet is a godsend for anyone who wants to introduce younger kids to the game. The redesign is so simple and straightforward, but it immediately makes the character sheet easier to read. It comes in a black & white and full-colour version, as well as form fillable options. Besides the character sheet, you also get inventory sheets and spell sheets with all the same options. Perfect for any kids you might introduce to D&D, or even for yourself if you struggle to read the busier standard version of the character sheet.

That’s my five, and I haven’t even touched on some other favs like 100 Tiefling Traits, Item Crafting Rules for 5E, and all of the various map and handout packs for the published WotC adventures. If you haven’t taken some time to scroll through, I recommend pouring yourself a beverage of choice and doing so soon. And if you have looked through and have favourites of your own, please share them in the comments below.

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