View Full Version : Why DM?

2008-04-22, 12:13 PM
I've hopped behind the DM screen for a couple semester-long campaigns, enough to get my feet a bit more than wet. The question to anyone else who's spent time saying "...now everyone roll spot checks" is this:

Why do you enjoy DMing?

Is it the challenge of creating memorable scenarios for the PC's?
Is it the thrill of trying to fight against their plans?
Is it the satisfaction of being in charge, controlling destiny itself?
Is it because no one else will rise to the challenge?

Myself... I do it because I love making NPC's that get remembered session after session, occasionally cross-campaigns.

Why do you do it?

2008-04-22, 12:15 PM
Because I have a story to tell, and a plot that needs protagonists to save the world.

2008-04-22, 12:18 PM
I've only DMed twice, and not in D&D for that matter, but I think it's a lot of fun to write an adventure and then see it unravel before players. It's also nice to see how players react to the plot hooks and events you planned, especially if they come to completely false conclusions. It can be also good time to improvise when players do something you didn't plan. Finally, it's good to see that other people are enjoying something you spent good time writing and planning.

2008-04-22, 12:18 PM
Because I'm a morally bankrupt individual who enjoys orchestrating the suffering of others.

Jack Zander
2008-04-22, 12:19 PM
Honestly, because I like to play my way. I much rather be a player, but then that means I don't get to control the rules of the game.

2008-04-22, 12:29 PM
Cause we need a dm, and no one else are able and agrees to dm

2008-04-22, 12:33 PM
All of the above, of course. :smallcool:

Intellectually I want to craft a story. It's years since I ran a 'sandbox game', nowadays its always about a story I want to tell, and involving the PCs in that story (and giving them some control over it too) from the beginning. Emotionally... I have to admit that there are few things better than seeing everyone enjoy themselves because of something I've created and when they talk about the game afterwards and tell me I'm cool. Shallow, I know... :smallredface:

And practically, well I DM because the quality of the games I see about me has been pretty varied of late and I'm trying to lead by example. That and because I've DM'd so much that I tend to think "that's not what I would have done" all the time when playing.

Shallow and egotistical - go me! :smallredface: :smallredface: :smallredface:

2008-04-22, 12:35 PM
I DM for a few reasons.

I come up with characters all the time. Only a few of them have the depth to be PCs. The rest are the silly ridiculous type that are awesome for the first couple sessions but grow real old real fast. These guys are perfect for NPCs.

I like writing stories. I especially like writing unique stories. D&D is a platform where I can share these stories.

Unlike writing, D&D gives me something to play with in real time. I don't want to be in control of the story the whole way through. I tried writing for NaNoWriMo last year and got bored. Why? The characters did what I told them. I'd figure out a plot point, I'd set the characters loose, and then they did what I expected. No wonder I didn't finish. When GMing I build up scenarios and then let the players run wild on them. I'm pretty quick and really enjoy improvising. Having a couple other people in my story forces me to think fast.

Finally, on a rather arrogant note, I like GMing so I can set an example for other GMs. I know I'm not the best out there. Lately my NPCs have been bland as hell and I've had no energy at all. But I put together interesting collections of plots and I encourage roleplay between players better than the other GMs I know. I've also been told I'm the least adversarial GM. Aside from the last couple sessions my games help show that D&D doesn't have to be about DM vs Players, but can also be collaborative storytelling.

2008-04-22, 12:39 PM
Because I like being in charge, I like having an audience, and I like telling (rather than writing) stories. Getting to do this all interactively is way fun.

Yeah, I DM because I'm an attention whore. That, and since I usually buy the books, it seems to naturally fall on me to do the DMing.

2008-04-22, 12:39 PM
1) To create something interesting to share with my friends.
2) Because none of my regulars are as willing to DM.
3) Recent experiences with terrible DMs have made me hesitant to give up the throne.

The Great Skenardo
2008-04-22, 12:44 PM
As I understand it, I DM mostly because I'm the only one in my group really inclined towards roleplaying, and I do a variety of voices reasonably well.

2008-04-22, 12:45 PM
To be blunt, no one else in my gaming group pours over the books as much as I do, nor do they share my obsession with game design.

The perks are that I get to roleplay new characters every session, run a new build every encounter, and experiment with each and every element of the game without running a major risk of destroying everything (since the world's under my direct influence). I also manage the players, keeping them interested and involved; it's challenging to figure out what interests players, especially when they can't vocalize what interests them most. I almost view that as a second game on top of the one I'm creating for the players.

Aside from Worldwide D&D Game Days, I haven't played a PC in years. But it says something that a group of four characters run by different people can be as entertaining for me as the world I create for them.

2008-04-22, 12:48 PM
I DM because I enjoy setting the scene. I think storytelling is the wrong word to use, at least in my case. It's more collaborative; I just come up with the bit part characters and the locations, the players make the story. I do enjoy making up all the characters and settings; it's fun and it's more enjoyable for me than playing a character is.

As for why I'm DM of my group, 1) I'm the one who's most familiar with 3.5. 2) I asked to DM. 3) The others are perpetual players who want nothing to do with the screen.

2008-04-22, 01:01 PM
I DM mostly because I really enjoy the improvisation aspect of it. I get to be reactive and intriguing, I watch the world flow and ebb and subtly guide the players along on their epic quests, scrambling whenever they take Option C which I never, EVER think of. Luckily for me, I can improvise some pretty exciting scenes and I get to play like, 19 different characters a session. My attention span may not be able to handle one singular character for a while...

2008-04-22, 01:03 PM
Because I never agree with others' rules so I much prefer my own. And I'm a perfectionist so I want to do everything myself.

2008-04-22, 01:35 PM
Hmm. Well, I enjoy creating stuff. I've got a countless amount of characters I've created, if I start my players in a thorp or some other smallish village, I run up stats for every member of the village, creating cities, NPC's, campaigns, the more I can create, the happier I am. But what's the point creating stuff if nobody gets to see 'em?

I love being a player as well, possibly even more than DMing, but it's also good to be in control. And to see the look when it dawns on the Captains face...he's in my world now.

2008-04-22, 02:17 PM
Why do I DM? I simply prefer it. I've played a Paladin before, under a good DM, and I've played a Bard before, under a bad one. Even with the good DM, I still didn't like playing very much.

I admit, I'm not a great DM. Only rarely do I adopt a different voice to utilize while speaking. Four rounds of combat often take eight or more minutes. I forget things and miscalculate numbers. However, despite my obvious DMing flaws, we still all have a good time. I create a good story, and my players immerse themselves in it.

2008-04-22, 02:23 PM
Why do I DM? Because I have the most DnD experience in my group, and we've learned through trial and error that I'm the only one of us who is any good at it.

2008-04-22, 02:31 PM
Honestly? Because I'm a big Lovecraft nerd and nobody else knew enough about it to run CoC, so it was either run a game myself or never play it at all.

That and I'd been a freeloading player for the first three years of college and it was my turn to run a game for the group. I mean, we probably averaged 4 regular, weekly games a semester within our pool of players (about a dozen of us all together, never all in one game at once though) and I hadn't run anything up until that point. :smallredface:

My players told me I did a good job, but I felt like I was hanging onto the plot by my fingernails through most of it.

2008-04-22, 02:44 PM
I do it because no one else will, and it comes to me easily. I enjoy it because I really feel awesome bringing fun to others, and because this lets me tinker with everything and do the most outlandish things in terms of builds and character personalities.

That said, I really would like to try my hand at playing again sometime. I mean, it's been two years since I was on the other side of the screen, and I have this scythe-wielding Warblade concept... :smallamused:

2008-04-22, 02:49 PM
because i love to create living breathing worlds, people, and situations, and see how people react to them.. I love to test my players in a realistic fashion and see what they do

2008-04-22, 02:52 PM
I gave up on "telling my story" as GM years ago (Edit: not out of some high-minded elitism, rather that my players never seemed to cooperate...). Telling a story isn't my job, it's the players' job. I GM because it's so much fun to see the wicked cool stories my players come up with.

I have to be on my toes, because every single session one of my players comes up with some idea that so far out in left field that I never see it coming, but that's so damn cool that I love it - and I love rolling with that punch and seeing the PC have an impact on the campaign world.

No campaign I've run in the past 3 or 4 years has gone the way I expected it to, and it's completely awesome. :smallbiggrin:

PnP Fan
2008-04-22, 03:00 PM
I enjoy running a session that people enjoy, which is most of the time, but perhaps not perfect.
I also enjoy putting together a story that I find interesting. Not all of the GMs in my circle put together stories that I find interesting. Fun perhaps, but not always interesting.

2008-04-22, 03:17 PM
I gave up on "telling my story" as GM years ago. Telling a story isn't my job, it's the players' job. I GM because it's so much fun to see the wicked cool stories my players come up with.

I have to be on my toes, because every single session one of my players comes up with some idea that so far out in left field that I never see it coming, but that's so damn cool that I love it - and I love rolling with that punch and seeing the PC have an impact on the campaign world.

No campaign I've run in the past 3 or 4 years has gone the way I expected it to, and it's completely awesome. :smallbiggrin:

Same here. And I've only DMed one session so far. *snerk!*

Of course, I had already not had 100% enough time to plan, so I basically just opened the game with: "*points to respective players* A dwarf and a Warforged walk into a tavern..." and winged it until I could come up with an excuse for an NPC to walk up to a couple of them and offer up a quest.

Among other things, we had a severely drunken dwarf trying to hit on the non-too-happy barmaid, a very annoying Artificer repeatedly poking at the Warforged until said Warforged (who btw, was a monk) punched him, a seemingly-human rogue who tried to seduce the local satyr, and a female sorcerer hitting on a cute waitress before they even left the tavern. We later had the Artificer set his sword on fire before attacking a guy who had padded armor on, subsequently starting a forest fire... while the dwarf handled the hidden-in-a-tree bandit archer by chopping the tree down and the Warforged put the "monk" in "monkey" by climbing up the trees.

It was awesomeness incarnate. :biggrin:


2008-04-22, 03:22 PM
Because I'm a morally bankrupt individual who enjoys orchestrating the suffering of others.

The best answer by far. :smallbiggrin:

2008-04-22, 04:24 PM
Because no one else in my group can string together a story, or design an encounter, or play monsters the way they're supposed to... Whenever someone else wants to DM, in about 3-4 sessions, they get fed up, quit, and I end up taking over their orphaned game. I had to find a second group to be player, but we only play that game about once a month.

2008-04-22, 07:49 PM
Because I can't stick with playing one character, and I like being the centre of attention.

There are lots of other reasons too, but those are the most amusing.

2008-04-22, 08:16 PM
the same reason everyone else does:


ok, fine, just because no one else wants to.

2008-04-22, 09:13 PM
Two and a half years ago, I began an Exalted game because nobody seemed to be running for me, and it was the only way to get people to learn to play well enough that they themselves might be interested in running later. Somewhere along the line, though, I realized I couldn't stop. It's far too fun watching the reactions of my players to new and interesting situations, plotting against them incessantly, and coming up with new and inventive ways to describe things. That, and I'm one of a grand total of two, maybe three people in my group who can run the same thing more than three sessions in a row without losing interest, and I happen to like continuity--and there are types of games only I am willing to run unless they've been run before, and I want to play them some way or another.

2008-04-22, 09:18 PM
It's mostly because I keep getting ideas for stories in my head, and I just can't resist using them. They just keep nagging at me until I do.

2008-04-22, 09:24 PM
Because nobody else apparently has my insane ideas about having triple gestalted PC's fight off historically accurate civil war soldiers while massive gods battle in the background and work as giant robots for the organization that the PC's have to create on their own or the effectively lose automatically while someone quotes Pope, Poe and Blake as waves of chaos crash on the shores of reality.

Which, incidentally, is the next game I'm running.
Oh, and all the PC's are liches.
With flaming donkey cannons.

2008-04-22, 09:36 PM
I DM because no one else in my group is willing to.

And they all suck at it anyway.

2008-04-22, 10:12 PM
Because NO ONE ELSE WILL, i've only run a handful of 3E-3.5E characters due to this horrible fact.

I believe the major thing i like about being a DM is the catchers Mit. i learned long ago try to judge and pre-pair for a PC's actions is all well and good, after a while you get to know your plays, know how they will react etc, but they'll always throw a curve ball at you. Before i used to set up elaborate interconnected social and physical mechanisums that would be triggered when party member A did "B"

problem is, party member A never does B, party member A is always inclinded to hover around C for a bit, disregard it as stupid, move to G and maybe H before deciding finally, screw it, we'll do Z. and my mechanisum falls apart. like one of those Increable machines, each action leading onto another, perfectly balanced and weighed, and someone comes in and baseball bats the dancing money and urinates in the waterwheel.

So now i set up the world, and a few major sinisters and let them have at it, dropping the occasional hook to make them aware of this or that, providing lower "access" levels, as in if your not up for hunting a lich, this guy will pay you 100g to go kill some hobgoblin bandits. :P but hopefully not so terrably generic.

I'd describe how i do it now as a catcher's mit, i'm damned near ready for anything they might throw, but being prepaired for none of it. Watching them wrap there own story around the ones i put down is fantastic

of course

theres reason B

Which is WHY theres a Acient Red Dragon in the sewers, cause i god damned well said, and yes you have to fight it, i don't care if you carrying nothing but a tig and a clown wig! get in there!!.


thats me

2008-04-22, 10:31 PM
Because I'm a morally bankrupt individual who enjoys orchestrating the suffering of others.

Ya, thats about it.

2008-04-22, 10:33 PM
I DM because no-one else knows the rules quite well enough (of my pool of potential players), and because I have a nigh-pathological need to create fun for other people.

2008-04-22, 10:36 PM
A few reasons.

1) Few others want to.
2) Most others get bored.
3) Stories are fun to tell.
4) Someone's gotta tell people that Candles of Invocation are banned.
5) The game needs it, and I serve the game. The game serves the purpose of fun. The fun serves the players. And, if all goes well, the players find ways to serve the bad guys.

2008-04-22, 10:37 PM
when my friends and i initially starteed, we would make a character and have one DM for thats night session, that way each time had a different solo adventure author.

this helped trim up down a bit to those who like to DM and those that like to PC, i love to DM only because i can never choose and stick with a character.

2008-04-22, 10:39 PM
I DM because I enjoy embarrassing and confusing people.