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D&D Dungeon master

JullosJullos Member Posts: 24
Hi guys, me and some friends want to start a D&D game and no one is willing to be the dungeon master... Is there any advantages to become the DM? Like, why would someone want to be it?
I'm just trying to find a solution here, no judging!
Thanks for your tips!

Comments

  • ChowChow Member Posts: 1,192
    Being the DM means you'll essentially be the God, ruling over everything and laughing as the puny players try to struggle through the world. It's a big responsibility, and requires a lot of work and imagination, but can be more than worth it if you're up to the challenge.

    Everyone in your group should at least give it a shot.

    JullosPokotalolien
  • JullosJullos Member Posts: 24
    Chow said:

    Being the DM means you'll essentially be the God, ruling over everything and laughing as the puny players try to struggle through the world. It's a big responsibility, and requires a lot of work and imagination, but can be more than worth it if you're up to the challenge.

    Everyone in your group should at least give it a shot.

    It's our first try at "real" D&D, we all played BG so I do not know it exactly works... Can the DM change everytime we play or once you're it you're it until the end of the adventure? Like, could I be it one week and then switch to a character?

  • Stargazer5781Stargazer5781 Member Posts: 182
    I prefer playing to DMing, but I do enjoy DMing, and I do it a lot.

    I'm an improv comedy actor, and one of my favorite parts of being dungeon master is performing the characters I create (sometimes ones I make up on the spot) and getting to try out my voices, accents, etc. I love strategy and tactical games, and my players are very intelligent, so I enjoy designing challenging tactical scenarios for them to deal with. I'm always impressed by their solutions.

    Some DMs their favorite part is drawing maps and designing the world. I definitely enjoy this part, but it's easily the most tedious and time consuming.

    A good DM is the following:
    -A confident leader, but not a ruler. Your first priority is making the game fun. A lot of DMs are assholes on power trips.
    -Patient
    -Doesn't get anxious when things don't go as planned - the art of DMing is to railroad the characters without them knowing they're being railroaded.
    -Creative and uses D&D as an outlet for his or her creativity
    -Intimately familiar with the game (though it's not necessary he be the MOST familiar person, I'm not in my games)
    -Willing to devote a lot of time to preparation

    The DM will probably be underappreciated. The amount of preparation needed for a good game is akin to that needed to write a good short story or give a good performance of a play. If doing those sorts of things appeals to you, and you think they're worth doing for their own sake, then DMing is for you.

    I might recommend switching off the responsibility - do short adventures, maybe 4-5 games worth per DM, and maybe someone will discover they really enjoy it.

    Jullossemiticgodtbone1lolien
  • JullosJullos Member Posts: 24
    @Drugar @Stargazer5781 You guys are beasts!! Thank you very much for those infos!! I'll use them for sure! Just crazy stuff you gave me here!

    Drugar
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 3,675
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

    Stickan
  • WakukeeWakukee Member Posts: 106
    You really shouldn't switch. The DM knows secrets that the players should not. Being a DM is fun enough, but you really need to know the rules. Every player only needs to know the rules relating to their class/race and abilities, you need to know them for every NPC you put in the game. If you trust your players and they know the game, they can handle their own tracking of HP and abilities, but it is probably best to track it for them anyway. Players often "miscalculate" their own abilities, especially is tough situations. I would suggest playing many different types of characters before you try to DM.
    You should also plan ahead, just be prepared for your players to think of something you didn't or get bored of a quest and waste all of your hard work. I have seen my players destroy an entire plot by using a scroll of transmute stone to mud to skip half of a very well planned dungeon. I could have changed the layout of the map so it wouldn't work, but I feel like it is important to reward ingenuity. Be careful not to give them too much magic stuff, or it cheapens it. Baldur's gate has WAY too many magical items. In most of my games, high level characters (8-12) only get 1-3 major items. A magic weapon, some armor, and maybe a ring. Potions and scrols should be more common, but not nearly as common as it BG, where every kobald has a scroll on him.
    One last note, if you screw up, you can fix it. You are the DM. Accidentally give a player an OP item? It has a hidden curse, or it gets stolen. Just don't be cheap about it. Make it a part of the plot. If it is stolen, make it possible to track down the thief (who has fenced the item, of course). Good luck!

  • DrugarDrugar Member Posts: 1,566
    Bhaaldog said:

    I find being the DM gives me an excuse to do Darth Vader impressions for some reason...

    Actually, the earlier mentioned sandbox DM game was a Star Wars game, set right before Order 66. I played a droid, another guy a jedi padawan (I was his protection and training droid) and another guy a rodian doctor/explosives expert.
    We narrowly survived Order 66 (I got blown up by a tank but my memory core was salvaged) and through many adventures, including a radioactive rancor who tore me in half and a fighter chase that ended with me launching myself into the opponent's cockpit (I love playing droids), we eventually had a quest to blow up the training facility of some Dark Jedi and narrowly escaped the Secret Order of the newly christened Emperor only to run into Darth Vader outside.

    The DM even had a sound thing to do his voice properly, it was pretty awesome. We only escaped because we had filled the building behind us with explosives and the Rodian panicked and pressed the trigger, causing a massive explosion that, once again, ruined my chassis, cost the jedi character an arm and the Rodian his leg, while Vader was blasted over the edge of the platform we were on. We got into our badly damaged vehicle and escaped, spending all our credits and several months to recuperate.
    Later on when we had to hide on Tatooine (the usual place) we worked for Jabba the Hutt and the DM couldn't get enough of the soundbyte of him doing his "Ho ho ho" laugh.
    Then we helped Obi-Wan fake his own death so people would stop looking for him. Good times. Shame the game stopped at some point.

    JullosSkatanlolien
  • KingGhidorahKingGhidorah Member Posts: 200
    @Drugar
    Heheheh... mail this one to Lucas/Disney and im sure we'll see yet another trilogy this year. ;)

  • LadyRhianLadyRhian Member Posts: 14,695
    I roleplayed in a Star Wars game at a con where I was this big female bodyguard assigned to this diplomat character. Essentially, my character acted like she was big and dumb, dumb, dumb, and some stupid thrown in. But neither the character (nor I) was stupid. Long story short, the (NPC) diplomat defected to the Empire and the rest of the PCs and I prevented her from being successful. They sent two stormtroopers after me, and I knocked them aside like they were ninepins, grabbed the Empire guy that she was about to defect to and growled in his ear, "One move and I ventilate your head." To which he whimpered, "Please don't hurt me." CUE my large and very satisfied grin. :D

    DMing isn't easy. Even the kind I do here requires a lot of keeping track (of what everyone is doing, how many monsters are left, and their hit points, just to name a few, along with being able to write so that the other players get a feel for what is going on. I keep notes on everything written up in my room, next to my computer.

    For example, right now, there are 6 PCs left alive (one barely, and that's Shar-Teel). There are six wraiths left, which pretty much means the party is boned. Severely boned. I also know what the characters are carrying (in terms of magic items) and I also have a list of people waiting to play. And I make all the rolls with real dice, too. If you are going to be the GM, never let the party see your rolls (screens are your friends). That way, if you feel sorry for them and want to save someone, they won't know you are fudging the dice. If they get the feeling you won't let them die, that's also bad. Basically, be fair. Unless you misjudged (badly) how tough the foes are, let the party deal with them without saving their bacon. If they act stupid, then yeah, have no mercy on them. But if they are failing through no fault of their own, that's the time to step in and fudge the dice a bit.

    Moomintrollsemiticgodlolien
  • LadyRhianLadyRhian Member Posts: 14,695
    Oh yeah, and this video shows how *not* to name things: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/loadingreadyrun/7003-The-Theatre-of-the-Mind?utm_source=latest&utm_medium=index_carousel&utm_campaign=all

    Never let 'em see you flopsweat. And if you are bad at coming up with names on the fly, for heaven's sake, keep a list of names (small) to help you. And don't use names that are took evocative or your players are gonna laugh in your face. "The Barbarian Priestess Oohlala and her guardian Smkznrf" is gonna either make your players laugh, groan, cringe, or all three, maybe even more than one at once. Keep it short and simple. "Aila and Brok" is fine. If you really have to make a forest full of Vampiric Dire Weevils", you can call it the Forest of Dire Death or Dire Bloody Death.

    The other thing from the video: don't be so wedded to how you want your story to go that you railroad the players. Players can smell a railroad a mile off and they will hate it. You can still steer them into an adventure, but be subtle. If you are planning on the forest of Dire Death, and they want to do a dungeon first, it can be an underground, petrified forest... :) Just be open to changing the details a bit.

  • DrugarDrugar Member Posts: 1,566
    One of the best DM tips I got was actually from my dad, who wouldn't know a wizard from a weirdling when he saw one, but it has still proven effective.
    He's been a banker for 40+ years, dealing with clients and businesses large and small. Often when dealing with investments and financial planning, he had to deal with incredibly stubborn and smartass control freaks who demanded they make all the decisions (making the hiring financial advisors like my dad useless, but they liked lording their power over people).
    The way he dealt with those people was remarkably simple. He'd draw up three financial plans, two of which were remarkably, amazingly incoherent and stupid and one competent and useful. Then he'd present all three options to the client, who would be completely baffled by two of them and pick the one that actually made sense. That way, the client got to assert his control and felt like he was in charge and my dad got him to do what he wanted him to do.

    You can do the same with DMing, though you need to be subtle about it. If you want the players to go through the forest to the Tower of Evil instead of teleporting or going through the desert or the mountains, have NPC's inform them of the problems of each route; the Wizard of the tower probably protected the tower from teleportation, everyone who tried to teleport there hasn't returned. The desert is a horribly dangerous place with no food or water and intense heat, so the party has to stock up on supplies and prepare Endure Elements spells. The mountains are treacherous and mazelike and prone to avalanches. The forests are filled with bandits and creatures who will steal your money or your life.
    All of these sound threatening and dangerous, but one of them sounds threatening and dangerous with the possibility of bonus XP and loot. Do this subtly (so not three dangerous and one harmless with a red carpet) and you can get your players to do what you want without them knowing that it was your plan all along.

    jackjacksemiticgodlolienLadyRhian
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 931
    In the original post, you asked about the rewards of being a DM. Well, as someone who has been DMing since 2001, perhaps I can offer some insight.

    Playing a character is like going on a run-through of any video game, you encounter NPCs, you have an adventure, you struggle against the odds, solve intrigue and puzzles, etc. Being the DM is more like a combination of improvisational acting and story writing, and if you are creatively inclined it is a blast. You control the variables, so rather than being swept wherever the game may take you, you decide if you want to tell a story about Vikings on a glorious conquest, or the machinations and political intrigue of a society run by a wizard cabal, a good ol' hack and slash dungeon crawl, or what happens when the members of a Federation space charting team crash-land on a world that only has primitive technology but possesses psionic powers that might otherwise be described as "magic." You make the world, you create the antagonists, and for me it's just an incredible amount of fun. Like anything, if you practice you will start to get better at inventing names on the fly and being able to think on your feet when the players do something you don't expect, such as not follow your plotline at all.

    Honestly, I like playing a character as much as anybody. I got started into DMing because no one else wanted to or was up to the challenge (or I thought I could do better), and I quickly learned I was pretty good at it. My main advice to you is to always keep the fun of the game in mind. You'll figure out how to strike a careful balance eventually, but listen to your players and try to give each of them at least some of what they want, even if you can't give them everything (and some people will ask for too much).

    Jullos
  • TawmisTawmis Member Posts: 96
    Jullos said:

    Hi guys, me and some friends want to start a D&D game and no one is willing to be the dungeon master... Is there any advantages to become the DM? Like, why would someone want to be it?
    I'm just trying to find a solution here, no judging!
    Thanks for your tips!

    I love D&D because of the creativity; but in the end, I actual prefer to DM. For me, DMing is a chance for me to come up with a story/adventure - and have my players use their characters to interact with the stories, characters, and areas I have created. I often go all out, and create custom worlds, with gods, cities, histories, and everything - but that is not at all required. Back in the day, it was much easier to DM, because there was a plethora of modules that you could use that aren't all "let's save the world" (which is my only qualm with 5e modules at the moment; they're magically and beautifully written and planned; but all of them eventually are about stopping one big bad menace, there's no - "Let's just crawl through this abandoned ruin and find out what's been haunting it" type modules). But those old modules can be found, and very easily converted to 5th Edition (er, assuming that's the edition you're using).

  • MatthieuMatthieu Member Posts: 371
    edited December 2017
    The main question is: "do you like to follow a story or to write one".

    That's the essential point. I'm more a DM than a player myself. Starting D&D with friends is good, but it may not be the best way to start. You should try joining a club and see if they have places to accomodate new players. Because yeah, it's better to start as a player than a DM if you're a total noob.

  • LadyRhianLadyRhian Member Posts: 14,695
    I also DM. And I am also a writer. And yes, you are essentially telling a tale *with* the players. You set out the environment where the story takes place- describe what's happening, what they see, etc. They ask for more, or do things, and you tell them what they find or what happens. It's like shared storytelling, and you are the one with the main role.

    All those stats are there to let you know what the characters are capable of, and the dice adds random chance to the mix. i.e. Do I hit this creature that is attacking me with my sword and if so, how hard do I hit it? Mainly, the DM directs the story, but the players, by their actions and dice rolls influence the way the story goes.

    ThacoBell
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