View Full Version : DM Help Tips for a New DM

2014-07-18, 08:56 AM
Kotaku posted an article linking to a reddit thread from a DM of 28 years. The DM posted some tips for new DMs, and as a DM of only one year, I thoroughly enjoyed the thread. What are some of your tips for a new DM?


2014-07-18, 09:48 AM
Talk with your players about the game. You can avoid a lot of conflict by setting expectations appropriately about what kind of game/campaign you're interested in running, determining what aspects of the game they're interested in exploring ect.

This also lets you communicate what your expectations are for your players. I personally have no interest in running PVP games. I expect my players to create characters that for the most part get along, and I expect my players to figure out why their characters would be active interested in the goings-on of the plot if the reasons I provide aren't enough.

Ultimately, my goal is to foster camaraderie around the table, and provide challenges and obstacles for the players to overcome.By having these conversations up front, I can better set my players expectations, as well as in some cases weed out players ill-suited to my style of play.

2014-07-18, 01:04 PM
Mostly not bad advice. Not sure how I feel about the whole taking PCs hostage thing, though. That takes a lot of power away from the kidnapped player. Also, charging players 5000gp or killing one of seems like it would upset more players than it would enterain. I am sure it is something that can be done well, but I am not sure why it is a "You should totally include this!" idea. I think it would be very dependant on the players at the table if that would fly.

I think my personal advice to any new DM would be to leave your ego at the door. While it is good to be confident and to take pride your work, I think many new DMs get too caught up in how clever their creations are. That usually results a very players vs. the DM kind of game, instead of a collaborative game. DM vs. players style can quickly escalate into one or both sides getting angry or upset, when either the players reveal that the DM's brilliant plan was full of holes or the players start feeling as though the deck is stacked against them. Its fun to make "DM is god" and "Don't anger the DM" jokes, but at the end of the day, the players aren't just pawns in your game. Everyone at the table should trying to respect and entertain everyone else...the DM just has a different set of responsibilities.

2014-07-19, 01:45 AM
In the same vein as the reccomended list of NPC names, it's helpful to carry something similar in the form of a setting. Sometimes players go so far off your expected path, you have to throw down a new area for them to play around in. So it's helpful to have something like an extra town or a small dungeon mapped out to keep the game flowing smoothly and ensuring everyone still has fun.

2014-07-20, 03:56 PM
I heard it explained in the context of improv comedy, but it still applies. Use the "yes and" principle. Your players describe something you weren't planning on? Take it and run! Let your players build the world with you.