Here’s the big secret: it’s as easy as the right cheat sheet!
The most important “4e DM’s Cheat Sheet” you can have in front of you at all times is a large index card or half-sheet of paper that shows you, at a glance, the party’s:
* Names, race & class
* Languages known
* Vision type (normal, lowlight, etc.)
* Passive Perception, Insight and Knowledge scores
* Trained Skill names
* DCs by level and difficulty for the party’s level (the Easy, Moderate and Hard DCs for their level)
All that info in one efficient place means you’re familiar with the party’s strengths and ready for any kind of encounter or check, whether it’s combat-related, social or otherwise.
On the bottom half of the sheet or back of the index card, note the entire level’s worth of treasure.
Bring everything but the defenses with you pre-done; pass around the sheet or index card so the players can fill in their defenses at session start. (Make sure to tell players not to turn over the folded-in-half sheet or the large index card or else spoil their treasure!)
Here’s an example:
What’s on your DM’s Cheat Sheet? Or what would you add? Rememember, the goal is to be ready for anything!
Beyond your Cheat Sheet, also be sure to visit the What’s a DM to Do? forum and help out or ask questions, whether you’re just starting out or a veteran. It’s a great community of D&D gamers and DMs who offer lots of friendly advice and helpful feedback for running our favorite game. And, yes, visiting What’s a Player to Do? for even more insight is also a good idea!