In all of history, only one challenge surpasses all others. One monumental task that seems impossible. Only a select few can ever hope to master this challenge: Being a Dungeon Master.
All hyperbole aside, being a Dungeon Master is a very nerve wracking and time consuming task. In this weekly series, I will give tips for both aspiring DMs and rpg veterans to help you add more to your campaign. Keep in mind these are tips, not hard and fast rules.
Who am I? I am a long time D&D player who has been running games for over twenty years. I started with AD&D and have played all the way to 5e. I currently run the weekly stream for Military Gamer Supply set in the classic Ravenloft setting, Masque of the Red Death (every Monday at 7pm on the Military Gamer Supply Twitch channel).
There are many things to cover. I decided to start at the beginning with one simple question: Why?
Do you have a great story in mind? We’re you the only one of your friends willing to DM? Do you like the idea of playing many different characters at once? Did your kids get the starter set for Christmas? Excellent! These are all solid reasons to DM.
Regardless of the specifics, there is one goal for every DM: Facilitate the fun. No matter what your “why” is, fun should be the ultimate goal. Everyone is trying to have a great time with this game, as the Dungeon Master a great deal of that burden falls upon you. However, as we move into the first tip, you will find that it is not a burden at all.
Tip #1. Before you start playing, you need to work out with your players the type of game they want to play. I am not talking only about the setting. Do you want to play a silly game where even the characters names are jokes? Or perhaps a more serious game about the ramifications of war. The goal is for you and your players to have the same idea in mind as you craft the story. Know the answers of what you would like to get out of running the campaign from the very beginning. Failure to have a clear idea in mind can lead to a bad overall experience. If you want a serious noir style game and one of your players shows up with Facepunch the Buttkicker, Lord of Smasha Town, someone is not going to be having fun.
Some things to consider:
Setting (Traditional Fantasy or SciFi for example)
Serious v Silly
High magic v Low Magic
Combat Driven v Story Driven
How often will you play?
How long for each session?
Player against player actions
House rules (no cell phones at the table for example)
If you have a clear idea of the type of game you would like, it makes it easier for your players to fit in. You may need to compromise a little bit on some issues which is fine. Table top gaming requires communication and compromise like any other relationship.
Now that you have worked out they type of game that you will run, it is time to get into the meat of it all. Next week I will be discussing character creation and the role of the DM in that process. If you want me to go over a specific topic, comment below. Thanks for reading, and Happy Gaming.