by Mike Shea on 13 April 2015
It's hard to know exactly what we need to keep track of when running our 5th Edition D&D campaigns. The D&D 5e DM Screen has a lot of useful information in it and there are plenty of good 5e cheat sheets around as a quick Google search will show you. This can all be a bit too much, though. What do we really NEED when we're running the game? What is the most useful stuff we can keep track of with the least amount of text?
After some experimenting and testing I give to you the official Sly Flourish 5th Edition Campaign Worksheet.
In this article we're going to go over the sheet and how you can best use it at your game.
Most of the space on this sheet focuses on the PCs. This is intended to keep YOU focused on those PCs as well. Who are they? What are their backgrounds? What interesting story threads have come up based on the PCs? There's space for all of that material on the sheet and its intended to help you keep track of all of that during the game. As interesting PC-focused threads come up, jot them down. When you're getting ready to prepare your game, review the threads and see which might come into play.
The big blank section on the left is intended to help you keep track of NPCs who come up during the game. Write down their names and a word or two about how they got into the PCs lives. You can also throw down any interesting story threads that have come up during the game. Like the PC section, you can review this before a game to see if any interesting things might come out of the relationship between the PCs and the NPCs.
Encounter building in 5e is one of its more pain-in-the-ass mechanics. This part of the campaign sheet gives you a quick reference for building encounters on the fly. You're intended to write down the current PC level and the levels of potential monsters when facing 2 per PC, 1 per PC, or 1 per two PCs. This is the baseline for a "hard" fight. You can always make things easier by using fewer or lower challenge monsters. All of this is covered in the article Building Encounters for 5th Edition D&D.
If you want to calculate encounters the traditional way, you can write in the experience budget per PC on the sheet and reference the multiplier to build out encounters as explained in the Dungeon Master's Guide.
If you want to improvise some traps, puzzles, or hazards the sheet has a reference for the ranges of statistics for AC, DC, hit points, attack scores, and damage. These aren't intended to replace monsters from the Monster Manual but they'll help you build some interesting traps and hazards right at the table with the proper math.
This section has a heavily abbreviated summary of the results of various status effects. Not all of them are listed but these are the main ones you can expect to see during a game.
This section has a list of all of the 5th Edition skills. This is useful when you're creating improvised challenges for the PCs. It's always handy to know what sort of skills the PCs might use to overcome a challenge.
This section has a large list of random names from the Random Name Generator. You are free to mix and match these names however you wish to build the right names for NPCs as they come up. Circle them, write them down, or cross them off when they come up during the game.
The simplistic design of this campaign sheet is intended to keep you focused on what is most important and most needed during your Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition game. Use it as you will or design your own sheet to help you solve the specific problems you have during your game. As always, use what works and omit the rest.