3 Things I’ve Learned as a DM

Will is the brainchild of Encounter Roleplay. He runs the livestreams and heads the management team. You can follow him on Twitter @EncounterRP!

I’ve been DMing games for the best part of ten years. I’d like to consider myself good at it, and I am told that I am. Maybe that’s because everyone’s just too nice to tell me otherwise though? Maybe I’ve surrounded myself with sycophants? I was determined to find out.

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of talking to lots of great Dungeon Master’s through streaming on Twitch and running a ‘Dungeon Master’s Tavern Talk’ section during our 24 Hour Streams. This show involves discussing DM tips with a wonderful cast of experienced DMs, many of whom have been playing the game longer for me and have a lot of wisdom to impart on a young chap such as myself. Here’s what I’ve learnt about Dungeon Mastering from them.

1.) I’m RIGHT. ALOT.
Modesty was never my strong suit, but it turns out that I’m pretty right a lot of the time when it comes to Dungeon Mastering philosophy! Okay, so maybe you think there’s no right or wrong when it comes to D&D, but nonetheless it was affirming to hear other people agree with my thoughts when it comes to decisions such as how to deal with problem players, the best ways to introduce new players to the group, world creation and our favourite methods of storytelling.

A few months ago, I found myself in almost constant agreement with Timothy from Experience Points when it came to the ways he found enjoyment from our hobby and Dungeon Mastering as a whole. Having watched him DM a game previously and already respecting his talent to tell an amazing story, I felt I was doing something right. On a side note, EncounterRoleplay is funding their Indiegogo campaign, and we wish them the best of luck! We love seeing our friends succeed.

2.) I’m WRONG… A bit.
Okay, so it’s not all good! I was actually very pleased by this news, as it meant I had more to learn about Dungeon Mastering and could continue to improve. A personal peeve of mine and Mitch’s is the DM who thinks that he’s made it. In reality, we’re all constantly learning together when we play.

I’ll give you an example of where I’ve been wrong in the past. A question came up from chat which read “How can I get my player to roleplay more if I’m not the DM?”. My initial reaction was to say “Go and talk to your DM, get him to do it!”, but my learned colleagues had some great alternatives.

They suggested asking the player how they made certain actions, and posing questions to them such as “Oh you’re drinking, do you go and get drunk?” and making them not only think about their characters actions but also to vocalise that. Mythematic had one brilliant 4am insight which was that “Most players don’t actually realise that they’re not roleplaying. They’re thinking about it in their head, they just don’t convey that to the group.”

This was something I’d never thought about before, and made me rethink my opinion on the matter. It got me thinking about how if I was a player I could encourage more roleplaying. Gone was my distaste for the non-roleplayer (Alright, it’s still there somewhat) and I instead came away with more of an understanding behind the mentality, feeling armed with more tools to help them.

3.) I LOVE DMing
Above all else, talking to other Dungeon Masters made me realise how much I love D&D and DMing in particular. Moreover, I’ve still got lots to learn about it! After playing a game for years, you could fall into the trap of feel like you know everything there is to know. I promise you that you don’t. A beginner can teach you just as much as a veteran, and that’s the joy of it. Start a conversation with some other DMs you know, whether that be in real life or via Twitter using the hashtag #rpgchat. For me, it’s reinvigorated my passion for Dungeon Mastering. I encourage you to do the same, and go and learn something new about D&D today.

You can listen to our Tavern Talks on our Twitch streams or later on ourYoutube Channel!

Image ©David Revoy

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