I have now been playing Dungeons and Dragons for around 3 years and in that time I have been the Dungeon Master (DM) for my friend’s game. When I first got into DnD I did not know much about it, when me and my friends planned our first game all of us were excited about creating characters and playing them. We all created our characters and then we realised that we need someone to actually plan the adventure and run the game.
The role of DM needed filled and it kind of naturally ended up with myself. For our first game I DMed and had my own character. It was a tonne of fun but trying to play a character and be the narrator got confusing and messy fast. After a few years the campaign neared its end and I had learnt a lot about how to DM a good game. So when our second game the Lonnfellin Campaign was beginning I realised that in order to make a better game for us all I had to either DM or play a character not both.
Being the DM for me seemed like a daunting role, having to be responsible for creating the world and laying out the story, but at the end of the day the aim is to have fun with your friends and shaping the story is a group effort. For any aspiring DMs out there here are some of the tips I have picked up since starting the game that I wish I knew in the beginning. I hope these help!
And if you’re a DM please leave your tips in the coments below!
Build The World Together
The first tip I have found the most useful. For our first game I planned the whole world out and my friends had to fit themselves into it. It was useful for our first game but it is more beneficial to involve the players in the worldbuilding. Allowing your friends to contribute to creating aspects of the world helps them to be more familiar and engaged in it. Getting everyone involved also makes it easier for them to embed their characters in the game world making everyone feel more a part of the world and more motivated in what happens to it.
Next up is something I thankfully don’t feel I ever did that often but it is an easy trap to fall into. As a DM it’s tempting to come up with a story and try to direct and force the players to follow the “script”. While tempting when you railroad players into a specific story it takes the freedom and craziness of DnD away and it can detract from the enjoyment of the game for everyone and the DM and players can quickly come into conflict. If you have a story you want to tell with no interferences, then it is probably better that you write a novel.
Talk Out Of Game
Another thing I quickly learnt is that the game doesn’t have to begin when you sit at the game table with dice lined up neatly and pen and paper at the ready and it doesn’t have to end when you leave the game table. It’s important to hold some discussions outside of the game. If players or the DM thinks things are not going right and detracting from the game its important to talk it out. Whenever you bring people (especially friends) together to do anything collaboratively there can be conflict or fallouts and the only way to resolve the issues is to talk about it.
It’s Not About You
The underlying matter as a DM you need to remember is that it is not your game. You are the narrator but not a puppeteer. DnD is a collaborative effort. DnD is about sitting with friends and telling a story together. Sometimes being the DM can feel isolating but it’s important to remember that the DM and players need each other to tell the tale.
Thanks for reading to the end!
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