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Runa
2007-05-31, 12:49 AM
See title. I keep thinking I might want to try it someday (and I figured I'd post here as I've kind of been wanting to for a while about this).

Not yet, as I'm still pretty much having fun with our weekly games as a PC. But someday. Maybe just a solo game with my boyfriend as the PC to start (he's a roleplayer not a rollplayer, so that might work out nicely). Eventually, someday.

In any case though, I was wondering - what IS it like to DM? What kind of personality does it take, as it were? The main reason I'm interested in it at all is because I think it would be fun to come up with basic stories and then improvise them into fun new directions as the player(s) make their choices. How hard is it to come up with or tweak basic adventures - as a whole, not just the stories, I would probably not have trouble coming up with stories as I pretty much think in stories all the time I'm talking figuring out how many monsters to pit against the characters and how much treasure to award and stuff like that - and what kind of soul-searching (so to speak) do I need to do before I can recognize whether or not DMing would fun for me? I'd kind of like to get some advice on this before I decide to spring for a DMG, you know? Since I'm pretty sure R. still will keep his DMG even though he doesn't DM anymore (he didn't like it, but I couldn't help but notice one of the things that seemed to frustrate him was adapting to unexpected directions the characters tried to take him into, and I personally think that would be a lot of fun to do), and of course, our current DM still kind of needs his. :P So either me or my boyfriend would be buying a new one, and well, yeah.

So, what sayth the people on this subject?

-Runa

Malik
2007-05-31, 03:57 AM
It all depends on the group of players that you have. I've done some DM'ing and one group was really good and the other group just painful.

Ninja Chocobo
2007-05-31, 04:11 AM
"Ever try to count hyperactive schoolchildren while someone shouts random numbers in your ear? It's something like that."

Seriously, it can be pretty rewarding for both you and your players if you do it right. Which generally involves quite a lot of work.

P.S.
A cookie to whoever gets the reference.

V
2007-05-31, 04:34 AM
"Ever try to count hyperactive schoolchildren while someone shouts random numbers in your ear? It's something like that."


A cookie to whoever gets the reference.

Runeboggle (http://ww2.wizards.com/Gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?name=Runeboggle&set=guildpact)?

Yay! Cookie!

Charity
2007-05-31, 04:34 AM
It's like herding cats with sticks of dynamite.

Dhavaer
2007-05-31, 04:39 AM
It's the perfect way of writing if you can't stand writing dialogue, because that's what PCs are for. It can get very frustrating when they do something that to you is obviously self-destructive. But it's excellent when it all comes together.

Of course, I've only played PbP. You don't need quite so much planning for that, although you will of course need to do some.

Alveanerle
2007-05-31, 04:46 AM
"DMing is like a box of cereal - once you get a crunch on it, you can't stop."

Ok ok, i'm only a newbie DM with just a couple of sessions behind, but i can say that for me the transition to DMing was a worthy one. Instead of one character to play you now have scores of them. Just don't get too emotionaly attached to them.

Ethdred
2007-05-31, 05:32 AM
People are being a bit negative here - it's not that complicated (well, it can be, but depends on your group). Starting with your bf is probably a good idea as he can presumably be relied on to a) not deliberately pee you off and b) give you some relatively honest feedback if you really aren't cut out for it.

The DMG has a lot of good stuff on the basic mechanics, like sizing encounters and giving treasure. I haven't got the DMG 2 but I understand it's pretty useful for starting DMs.

DMing is a lot of fun, for me, precisely because of the reason you give, of being able to make up and improvise stories. You can let lose your epic tendencies, and see how other people react to them. Be warned though, you can start getting addicted to buying more and more D&D books to help you develop things - you get a good idea for a desert adventure so pick up Sandstorm, then you have a really cool enemy who's a necromancer, so you pick up Libor Mortis, then......

Diggorian
2007-05-31, 06:21 AM
If you're creative, a good speaker, like being the center of attention, and have a decent grasp of the rules it can be very enjoyable. With three of those four, it's still nice. Only half, you may want to cultivate the other two.

For your first foray, I'd say follow the DMG guidelines very closely. That'll teach ya how to negotiate the rules.

For inspiration, I'd advise you to focus on what the players think is cool more than what you think would be sweet. Assuming you play with friends this shouldnt be tough. Many first timers make this mistake and their stories become their's as opposed to everyone's. I dont write stories anymore. I just make general notes on settings, monsters and NPC's and just let the players wander into them adding detail as they go. How they handle these inspires what will come next.

Also, besides your BF, try running single episode adventures on RPG chat servers. DMs are few so you'll find test players easily and anonymously. Ask for feedback.

Shhalahr Windrider
2007-05-31, 07:40 AM
If you're creative, a good speaker, like being the center of attention, and have a decent grasp of the rules it can be very enjoyable. With three of those four, it's still nice. Only half, you may want to cultivate the other two.
If you play with good friends that understand your speaking style, the "good speaker" bit is purely optional. I speak from personal experience on that one.

As to "being the center of attention"ówell that doesn't mean you have to be one of those folks that goes out seeking the most attention wherever you go. Once again, from personal experience. I only like being the center of attention when that attention comes on my terms. Fortunately, when I DM, things are pretty much on my terms.

One thing that's vital when DMing is that you need to have an honest desire for everyone to have a good time. If you are not willing to work towards that, your game will be a train wreck. Like you, your player's are there to have fun. If they have a reasonable request, do your best to accomodate it. Treat them how you want your DM to treat you. Some of these things, of course, work best if you know your players well. Then you can anticipate maybe 60% or so of what they want/need and be prepared to work with it.

Beyond all that, though, everything varies quite dramatically depending on your personal preferences and your group. Some people like to plan every last detail of their campaign far in advance. Others (like me), tend to play in a "fly by the seat of your pants" style where nothing more than a few general ideas is ready more than a week before it's needed. Yet furthers improvise the whole thing. (You've gotta be really creative and really know the rules for that one.) All those styles will affect pretty much every aspect of your game.

Raum
2007-05-31, 08:08 AM
In any case though, I was wondering - what IS it like to DM? What kind of personality does it take, as it were? It takes creativity, a good knowledge of the rules & campaign, and a willingness to put twice as much work into the game as players. Most campaigns require a significant amount of preparation time. It often takes a willingness to scrap everything you prepared to wing it in whichever oddball direction your players chose to head. :smallwink:


The main reason I'm interested in it at all is because I think it would be fun to come up with basic stories and then improvise them into fun new directions as the player(s) make their choices. How hard is it to come up with or tweak basic adventures - as a whole, not just the stories, I would probably not have trouble coming up with stories as I pretty much think in stories all the time I'm talking figuring out how many monsters to pit against the characters and how much treasure to award and stuff like that - and what kind of soul-searching (so to speak) do I need to do before I can recognize whether or not DMing would fun for me? Stories are easy. You can pull basic plots out of daily news, history, novels, or a variety of other sources. The work is in creating all of the NPCs and antagonists on paper. That's done for you if you use a published adventure, but then it can be harder to react to unexpected PC decisions.


I'd kind of like to get some advice on this before I decide to spring for a DMG, you know? Since I'm pretty sure R. still will keep his DMG even though he doesn't DM anymore (he didn't like it, but I couldn't help but notice one of the things that seemed to frustrate him was adapting to unexpected directions the characters tried to take him into, and I personally think that would be a lot of fun to do), and of course, our current DM still kind of needs his. :PIt can be fun to improvise on the spot...it gets frustrating when you get attached to the plot you put the time in to create. So if you're likely to tell the story you prepared no matter what the PCs say or do, you may want to reconsider DMing. On the other side, if you enjoy interactive story telling where you aren't in complete control of the story, you may have the makings of a good DM.


So either me or my boyfriend would be buying a new one, and well, yeah.

So, what sayth the people on this subject?

-RunaI'd get the DMG whether you plan to DM or not...a good portion of the rules are in it and not in the PHB.

valadil
2007-05-31, 08:39 AM
I think creativity is the most important part. Not so much because you need to come up with exciting new adventures for your players, but because making new adventures has to excite you.

A good understanding of the rules is nice, but only matters so much as your players like getting involved in the rules. If you don't want the rules to be an important part of your game, don't invite rollplayers until you are confident enough in your DMing to make sure they won't run rampant over you.

Really, DMing isn't all that big a deal that other DMs make it out to be. Just do it. It either works or it doesn't. What I like about DMing is that it lets me play a ton of characters but only on the surface instead of one character to the hilt. I have ideas for characters that make awesome first impressions, but getting boring after two sessions. These guys make great NPCs but poor PCs. I also feel like the DM gets to do way more improvising than players.

Fourth Tempter
2007-05-31, 08:59 AM
It is like having fire ants made of sugar in one's brain.

The J Pizzel
2007-05-31, 09:43 AM
It's like everyone has said. But one of the things I have to agree with the most is that DMing is, in a way, very selfless. You have to be willing to make them happy. Usually, the way to make them happy, is to overcome all the things you've been putting work into. Just last night I had a good large fight planned. The wizard "phatasmal killer"(ed) one and the cleric "slay living"(ed) the other. I know alot of DM's that woulda been extremely pee'd off with that (including our last DM). You have to be willing to pull a "well, good job party. Here's you exp" and not be mad about it.

Another point of interest is learning each party. My last campaign had numerous ROLEplayers in it. They could go 2-3 sessions without rolling an attack roll. My current group is the direct opposite. They want battle every session. You need to be willing to adapt to what your players want. Not that you can't have fun in the process. But in the end, your players gotta be happy.

With a big group is easier and harder at the same time. With a big group, I find that I'm almost a chaperone/DM during the sessions. You have to be stern sometimes and tell people to be quiet so you can hear the rest of the players, but as long as you be nice and respect them, it should be fine.

Movie reference:
"Be nice. If they wont' walk than you walk them, but be nice. If you can't walk them get some else to help you and you both...be nice."

Cookie for the winner.

jp

Pauwel
2007-05-31, 09:50 AM
Movie reference:
"Be nice. If they wont' walk than you walk them, but be nice. If you can't walk them get some else to help you and you both...be nice."

Cookie for the winner.

Road House.
Now gimme that cookie!

Raum
2007-05-31, 09:53 AM
Movie reference:
"Be nice. If they wont' walk than you walk them, but be nice. If you can't walk them get some else to help you and you both...be nice."Swayze had some entertaining movies...and Kelly Lynch was definitely worth watching. :)

The J Pizzel
2007-05-31, 09:59 AM
<gives out a warm ooey gooey raisin and candy corn cookie. Sprinkled with bits of cheyenne pepper>

What? I didn't say it would be a good cookie.

Runa
2007-05-31, 10:28 AM
People are being a bit negative here - it's not that complicated (well, it can be, but depends on your group). Starting with your bf is probably a good idea as he can presumably be relied on to a) not deliberately pee you off and b) give you some relatively honest feedback if you really aren't cut out for it.

Yep, plus, he's really good natured and very easygoing. So if I mess up a little or forget something, he won't be annoying about it, and if he messes up and I point it out, he'll just laugh at himself for doing it (and then I'll laugh, because you can't not laugh when he does. He has that kind of personality). The perfect player to start with, methinks. ;)



The DMG has a lot of good stuff on the basic mechanics, like sizing encounters and giving treasure. I haven't got the DMG 2 but I understand it's pretty useful for starting DMs.

Cool, that's what I was hoping. :)



DMing is a lot of fun, for me, precisely because of the reason you give, of being able to make up and improvise stories. You can let lose your epic tendencies, and see how other people react to them. Be warned though, you can start getting addicted to buying more and more D&D books to help you develop things - you get a good idea for a desert adventure so pick up Sandstorm, then you have a really cool enemy who's a necromancer, so you pick up Libor Mortis, then......

Haha, I could see how that would happen. It's starting to sound like if I gave myself time to prepare, I would enjoy it... at least if I have certain ones of my friends playing (there's a "I want to kill things with a big sword" rollplayer in my group I'm not sure I'd want to DM for, but most of the others would probably be OK, especially my boyfriend, and our current group's Fighter is also pretty easygoing). Has anyone tried just coming up with a bajillion backup NPCs and if the PCs go in an unexpected direction, just pulled a few out to work with? That seems like it might be a good thing to do, among other things.




It's like everyone has said. But one of the things I have to agree with the most is that DMing is, in a way, very selfless. You have to be willing to make them happy. Usually, the way to make them happy, is to overcome all the things you've been putting work into. Just last night I had a good large fight planned. The wizard "phatasmal killer"(ed) one and the cleric "slay living"(ed) the other. I know alot of DM's that woulda been extremely pee'd off with that (including our last DM). You have to be willing to pull a "well, good job party. Here's you exp" and not be mad about it.

I would probably laugh at myself if that happened "Wow, what an epic battle that was. Perhaps I'm underestimating my PCs an eensy bit?". :smallbiggrin:



Another point of interest is learning each party. My last campaign had numerous ROLEplayers in it. They could go 2-3 sessions without rolling an attack roll. My current group is the direct opposite. They want battle every session. You need to be willing to adapt to what your players want. Not that you can't have fun in the process. But in the end, your players gotta be happy.

It's probably a good thing then that the person or people I'd most likely end up DMing (at least offline) I know pretty well, at least as far as playing style goes. A couple want battles and XP and treasure every time, my boyfriend just wants to have fun and hopefully get treasure and stuff, and Mr. Fighter really just wants to have fun (case in point: he spent five minutes trying to convince our DM to give him a pony in one session. :P In case you're wondering what happened with that, the DM said "fine, roll two natural 20s in a row and you can have one". In an amusing twist of fate he did in fact roll two natural 20s in a row and got his pony). If I was setting up a game for all or most of the group I usually play with, I'd probably try to throw in both roleplaying opportunities and a couple of battles and some treasure. I'm positive the combination would be enjoyable for everyone. (I'd also probably look at the PCs' character sheets to check what they had in their arsenal and tailor the campaign a little more, something our DM sometimes forgets to do. There's an electronic character sheet thing online I got linked to on here from a different thread that could make that easier, though)



With a big group is easier and harder at the same time. With a big group, I find that I'm almost a chaperone/DM during the sessions. You have to be stern sometimes and tell people to be quiet so you can hear the rest of the players, but as long as you be nice and respect them, it should be fine.

I think I know what you mean. Our group has five PCs in it and I can't imagine us getting by with many more people, just from trying to communicate over the din sometimes. :P (Especially since we only have two PhBs between us)

Dizlag
2007-05-31, 10:37 AM
I will second the notion from Mr. Windrider that you must have a desire for EVERYONE to have a good time. After all, having fun is what it's all about. Trying to accommodate everyone's wishes is a little tricksy sometimes, but in the long run it's all about having a good time.

Having a good grasp of the rules helps out a ton, but isn't necessarily crucial. Having another DM at the table helps out as well to help adjudicate things every once in awhile.

If it's your first time DMing, you should download The Burning Plague (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/oa/20000801a) from the list of Original Adventures (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/oa/20030530b). It's a straight forward 1st level adventure and it will get you used to "running the game". You won't have to come up with the adventure or tweek it as it's pretty self contained as most of them on that site are.

Just give it a try and see how you like running the game. And remember, make it fun for everyone. If it's just gonna be your boyfriend and you, have him roll up a party of 4 1st level adventurers for the one shot. Or try to get a couple from your current gaming group to play as well. One on one gaming is different than having 4 others around your gaming table.

Good luck!

Dizlag

Ethdred
2007-05-31, 11:32 AM
Yep, plus, he's really good natured and very easygoing. So if I mess up a little or forget something, he won't be annoying about it, and if he messes up and I point it out, he'll just laugh at himself for doing it (and then I'll laugh, because you can't not laugh when he does. He has that kind of personality). The perfect player to start with, methinks. ;)

Yeah, yeah, get a room

:smallsmile:



It's starting to sound like if I gave myself time to prepare, I would enjoy it... at least if I have certain ones of my friends playing (there's a "I want to kill things with a big sword" rollplayer in my group I'm not sure I'd want to DM for, but most of the others would probably be OK, especially my boyfriend, and our current group's Fighter is also pretty easygoing). Has anyone tried just coming up with a bajillion backup NPCs and if the PCs go in an unexpected direction, just pulled a few out to work with? That seems like it might be a good thing to do, among other things.

Yep, preparation is essential - as is working up to taking on the 'difficult' players. Once you've got some experience, you'll probably find that even the rollplayers can be part of a fun session (as long as they're not complete 'holes). The NPC idea is a possibility, but depends on how many NPCs you think you'll need and how much prep time you have - and how well you think you can improvise. An alternative would be to just have some ideas about possible NPCs, and then if the players meet someone who you think might become important later, you can wing it during the session when they first appear and then stat them up as much as you need to afterwards. I don't think your players will mind that all your bartenders fall into one of four types, but the lieutenant of the main enemy will probably have to be fully combat ready at some stage. One of my DM's has a main patron NPC who he plays like Boss Hogg, and I'd be prepared to bet that's about all the statting out he's done for him, because he knows we won't attack him, but there's a black dragon that when it turned up was way too big for us to take on (he told us it had a CR of 'plot') but now we're getting up to dragon killing level, he's probably done some more work on it.

Oh, and do keep a note of who your party meet - if you don't, it's for sure that one bright spark will insist on going back to see how Street Urchin #3 is getting on and will remember that the kid didn't talk like that last time.



If I was setting up a game for all or most of the group I usually play with, I'd probably try to throw in both roleplaying opportunities and a couple of battles and some treasure. I'm positive the combination would be enjoyable for everyone. (I'd also probably look at the PCs' character sheets to check what they had in their arsenal and tailor the campaign a little more, something our DM sometimes forgets to do. There's an electronic character sheet thing online I got linked to on here from a different thread that could make that easier, though)


Tailoring, both for players and characters, is really the most important thing about adventure design - glad to see you've noticed the lack of it in your own DM, as that bodes well for the future. Well, up until you realise how tricky it is to do right :) If you do come up with lots of potential stories, then you can afford to offer people a choice of what they'd prefer (and maybe combine story strands) rather than getting wedded to one uberplot. This also makes the grieving process easier when the players trash your concept by going off-piste. Being aware of the characters' strengths and weaknesses means you don't have to worry if they are not optimised or are missing something. In the campaign I mentioned above, we don't have a rogue, so the DM doesn't give us many traps but we do have a Bear Warrior, so there are plenty of enemies that can be grappled or fought with natural weapons.

Since we seem to have convinced you, hope it goes well. Let us know how you get on

Deepblue706
2007-05-31, 12:08 PM
DMing can be fun - but be warned. If some of your players like you DMing TOO MUCH, you'll never get to be a PC :smallfrown:

Why is DMing fun? Because it lets you play with people's emotions, and grants you great opportunities to get your players saying "I'm gonna die I'm gonna die I'm gonna die." I relish their fear. BWAHAHAHA!

Also, it gives you opportunity to make charicatures of people/things, express your own feelings, and can be very much like writing a story. A story that never really goes EXACTLY as planned...as there's plenty of random factors and whatnot....but many aspects are still present.

Yeah, good times.

Just, uh...yeah...it can be frustrating, as once in a while some unforeseen actions may lead to great changes in what's happening...which is precisely why it's not a very wise decision to plan very far ahead without back-up plans and such. Uh...yeah, I remember when I was quite young I wrote over 100 pages of material for a campaign (ya I got carried away)...actually closer to 200...and the thing totally derailed around page 50. See..."Chaotic Stupid" players tend to ruin things.Which brings up another thing: being aware of a player's intent is a must.

Yeah, DMs have to focus on a lot of things. It requires plenty of patience.

Anyway, DMing usually has the "big rewards for big work" going. But, the group you play with sometimes determines just how great the rewards are, as you may find to like one particular field of play, while your PCs will want more of something else. Conflicts of interest can make the game boring, so you also need to be aware of what style of game everyone really wants before going into it.

In conclusion: DMing can be very fun. But, don't do it all the time or you might end up hating it, everyone you play with, and your dog as well.



Stupid dog...

snyggejygge
2007-05-31, 12:28 PM
I like being a DM, but it has to be in a good group of roleplayers, because when people just think about how to get more XP & get as good as possible in as low time as possible it gets very boring...

Knight_Of_Twilight
2007-05-31, 12:50 PM
Its..fun, as long as you like your group.

Its a bit like writing a story, and then having these new characters that walk in and start acting on there own. These new characters eventually become the focus of the story, which tends to go organically from there.

Raum
2007-05-31, 01:45 PM
Haha, I could see how that would happen. It's starting to sound like if I gave myself time to prepare, I would enjoy it... at least if I have certain ones of my friends playing (there's a "I want to kill things with a big sword" rollplayer in my group I'm not sure I'd want to DM for, but most of the others would probably be OK, especially my boyfriend, and our current group's Fighter is also pretty easygoing). The "I want to kill it" player you describe may actually be one of the easier players to entertain. Just make sure there's at least one combat per session so he can get his fix of hitting stuff. If you're lucky, he may grow into more of a roleplayer simply by watching and participating with the other players in the story portions of the game.


Has anyone tried just coming up with a bajillion backup NPCs and if the PCs go in an unexpected direction, just pulled a few out to work with? That seems like it might be a good thing to do, among other things. Yes, but not all up front. I had a 2" binder full of NPC categorized by level and class from when I GMed Shadowrun. But I didn't try to create them up front, I simply used the same format for all the NPCs I created for a given adventure and saved them when the adventure was over. It'd be even easier to do today by saving softcopies. Just ensure you organize them or they aren't all that useful.

It is probably easier to do in Shadowrun than in D&D...mostly because SR deals primarily with intelligent races as opponents. And there are far fewer races. :)

Rob Knotts
2007-05-31, 02:10 PM
If you're running D&D or anything else, there's one very important thing you need to be able to do without hesitation: saying "no" to players. Practice it the mirror, practice saying it on your way to school/work/whatever, get comfortable saying it. You can always change your mind and say "yes" later", but you should start out being prepared to say "no" without hesitation.

When you start out with players who aren't familiar with you as a DM they will contanstantly, constantly ask you what they can get away with both in character creation and gameplay. It's natural for players, they're trying to figure out what boundaries you're creating for them. If you're more willing to say "yes" to what they ask for, not only is it likely for the game to go to hell, but it also makes accomplishments a lot less satisfying.

DMs aren't supposed to be opponents for players, they're supposed to be the source of challenge for the game. The more significant a challenge you present, the more satisfying success will be for the players.

Diggorian
2007-05-31, 02:14 PM
Has anyone tried just coming up with a bajillion backup NPCs and if the PCs go in an unexpected direction, just pulled a few out to work with? That seems like it might be a good thing to do, among other things.


That's pretty much how I like to make my plots. A bunch of NPC's with their own motivations and plans that PC's just so happen to intersect with. The result of that interaction determines the next step. Primarily following nice structured plots may be better for a beginner though.

Thanks to Shhalahr for showing where I need to elaborate on my last post.

By good speaker, I mean good communicator. Your words must serve as the fives senses of the players. I shoot for the detail you find in video games in my stories (I feel competitive with them), emphasizing tactile, smell and taste that they cant do. How you emphasize and pace your speach bridges the gap between a good writer, which you sound like you may be, and a good storyteller.

"Like being the center of attention" = Dont be shy or nervous. This will mostly come from practice. One of our players tried her hand at DMing but would be literally nauseaous during her games. She practiced with her boyfriend first, but I think DMing over the net for strangers gives purer feedback. Feedback informs style, stronger style proficiency breeds confidence.

bosssmiley
2007-05-31, 02:20 PM
Like juggling enraged cats and doing advanced mental arithmetic while pogo-sticking through a minefield. :smallcool:

Think of GMing in terms of film-making (team effort, shared vision, et blah):

Pros: You are the director of the ultimate geek-wet-dream big budget blockbuster extravaganza. You have infinite budget, infinite props, infinite cast, instant fan/customer feedback, and no producer trying to re-write your work to cater to some perceived market demographic.

Cons: The actors are geek fanbois who get to improv' their way through the entire plot. Also, they can walk out at any time if your offering bores them, or you don't give them enough limelight time, or you try to edit their contributions... :smalltongue:


"GMing: it ain't meant to be for everyone."

Runa
2007-05-31, 02:48 PM
I will second the notion from Mr. Windrider that you must have a desire for EVERYONE to have a good time. After all, having fun is what it's all about. Trying to accommodate everyone's wishes is a little tricksy sometimes, but in the long run it's all about having a good time.

Having a good grasp of the rules helps out a ton, but isn't necessarily crucial. Having another DM at the table helps out as well to help adjudicate things every once in awhile.

If it's your first time DMing, you should download The Burning Plague (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/oa/20000801a) from the list of Original Adventures (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/oa/20030530b). It's a straight forward 1st level adventure and it will get you used to "running the game". You won't have to come up with the adventure or tweek it as it's pretty self contained as most of them on that site are.

Cool. :)



Just give it a try and see how you like running the game. And remember, make it fun for everyone. If it's just gonna be your boyfriend and you, have him roll up a party of 4 1st level adventurers for the one shot. Or try to get a couple from your current gaming group to play as well. One on one gaming is different than having 4 others around your gaming table.

I'd imagine it would be.



Good luck!

Dizlag


Thanks :)




Yep, preparation is essential - as is working up to taking on the 'difficult' players. Once you've got some experience, you'll probably find that even the rollplayers can be part of a fun session (as long as they're not complete 'holes). The NPC idea is a possibility, but depends on how many NPCs you think you'll need and how much prep time you have - and how well you think you can improvise. An alternative would be to just have some ideas about possible NPCs, and then if the players meet someone who you think might become important later, you can wing it during the session when they first appear and then stat them up as much as you need to afterwards. I don't think your players will mind that all your bartenders fall into one of four types, but the lieutenant of the main enemy will probably have to be fully combat ready at some stage. One of my DM's has a main patron NPC who he plays like Boss Hogg, and I'd be prepared to bet that's about all the statting out he's done for him, because he knows we won't attack him, but there's a black dragon that when it turned up was way too big for us to take on (he told us it had a CR of 'plot') but now we're getting up to dragon killing level, he's probably done some more work on it.

Oh, and do keep a note of who your party meet - if you don't, it's for sure that one bright spark will insist on going back to see how Street Urchin #3 is getting on and will remember that the kid didn't talk like that last time.


Sounds like good advice. :)



Tailoring, both for players and characters, is really the most important thing about adventure design - glad to see you've noticed the lack of it in your own DM, as that bodes well for the future. Well, up until you realise how tricky it is to do right :) If you do come up with lots of potential stories, then you can afford to offer people a choice of what they'd prefer (and maybe combine story strands) rather than getting wedded to one uberplot. This also makes the grieving process easier when the players trash your concept by going off-piste. Being aware of the characters' strengths and weaknesses means you don't have to worry if they are not optimised or are missing something. In the campaign I mentioned above, we don't have a rogue, so the DM doesn't give us many traps but we do have a Bear Warrior, so there are plenty of enemies that can be grappled or fought with natural weapons.

Yeah, that actually also sounds like one of the most fun parts (albeit I'm sure also challenging). My head swims with the story possibilities (in addition to knowing what they can and can't handle as far as traps and CRs and stuff go), for instance a party where somebody randomly decided to add a sewing needle to their equipment, and they meet an NPC that needs a needle and oh, look, she has important information she's willing to trade... (they would be amused by something like that, I think).



Since we seem to have convinced you, hope it goes well. Let us know how you get on

Will do, though it'll probably be a few weeks at least before I'm prepped and have a chance to do it. ^_^

-Runa

Narmoth
2007-05-31, 03:28 PM
Well, i think I can give some suggestions that might help you:
First of all, have a story for the game. The story consist of 3 parts:
- Backstory, what the campaign is all about:
Is the city lain siege to by orcs and the player characters are part of a guerilla warfare to get suplies to it, are they hunting the undead plague in the realm of Dyl Bobban or are Illithids gaining control in the realm of man and wan't to summon a sertain elder god? The more things you put in the backstory (different groups and persons, their motives, their resourses, maps and so on), the less you will have to make up. Be prepared to change anything that you later in the game discover should be different.
The backstory is the part that provides the reasons for the party to be there and some things for them to do. Most importantly it gives them reasons for doing whatever you want them to do.
- The campaign unfolds:
Here the players take action, but a lot of events might happen that they only hear about or see themselves, but can't do much about (the orcs conquer the city or the thieves guild is taken over by illithids or the vampire hunter sent to deal with the undeads is found dead). Here the story starts to change from what you had planned by unforceen action by the players (the players killed the vampire hunter thinking he was a vampire or something). Here is it important to let you players do what they want, even if it ruins a part of the campaign. Just because the heroic story you made says that the players should defeat the illithid priest in the start of the campaign you can't forbid the players to try, and maybee succed to ally him instead.
- The campaign either works like you wanted, just totally different from how you wanted, or gets totally ruined and weird (the players are proclaimed lords of the orcish race and consumed with a spicy souce). In this part the players affect you campaign world in a major way, and little should happen that the can not affect in a major way. At this point the story is usually as far away from the written story as possible, and the players are using the orcs to dig up undead to sacrifice to the elder god of the illithids. This is the phase where the game ends, after the dm unleashes and undead elder orcish god with tentacles and psionics on the players. (This is a bit more enginerous way of doing it than "rock fails, everybody starts to listen to rap-music").

Vuzzmop
2007-05-31, 05:41 PM
When I DM, I am god. No less.

Quietus
2007-05-31, 05:54 PM
Two fish on a stick. With peanut butter and crackers.

RandomNPC
2007-05-31, 06:17 PM
well, i got the name random NPC by being a DM. My group was awesome at doing things to me on the fly, and now i can make up a story and stick with it because of them.

Random NPC 1: a drunk outside the tavern, just sitting there. I mentioned him to show that there are other people in the world not plot inportant. they took his bottle of (probably) stolen wine, and when he started a comotion and the guards showed up they used a few good rolls in grapple to make it apear in the end it looked like the guards were drinking and killed the drunk.

they later took part in a fighting tournament and won the jobs of the two guards who were exiled from town.

Random NPC #? (next funniest): a fisherman whos fishing pole was taken by the groups lady dwarf. The fisherman found the groups guy dwarf and began asking if the lady dwarf was nearby and explained himself. when the guy dwarf learned that there was no ale offered to the lady dwarf he dwarf slapped the fisherman. the fisherman was knocked out, someone called the guards, the guy dwarf took the fishermans clothes, the guards showed up, killed a drow (i told them they were not liked as play began) and the guards were fought off by the PCs -1 drow. and that's the story of dwarf slap.

BardicDuelist
2007-05-31, 06:49 PM
It's the best of times, it's the worst of times. It is an act of wisdom, it is an act of foolishness, etc.

Really though, it takes more work, but is a lot of fun. A really good DM who can improvise down a fairly consistant story path and give characters new experiences (you start in a tavern, somone hires you, you go into some mysterious ruin or you are traveling and meet people along the road, you are then flung along a story that you cannot escape and so must find a way to go about your buisness; gets kind of old) is always appreciated. Don't try to just write a story, come up with a problem and a way to interest several individuals. Often I will play a single adventure or two just to set up each party member (we do this as the rest of the group creates characters, or when most of the group can't make it).

For your first long running campaign, I recommend a traveling campaign or something similar so that as the characters go you can have random subplots and villians. Have the archnemisis interfere from time to time, but those subplots really aviod monotony (if you are in a campaign to destroy mindflayers, you still want to fight things other than mindflayers).

Anyway, I really enjoy DMing, but a great deal of people don't. It really depends on your group and your playing style. I do recomend playing with your boyfriend or somthing similar (a small group of one or two is the best to start with as it gives you less to worry about).

Couple of things to avoid: Don't give out too much treasure, or too little. Follow WBL and similar things rather closely at first. Don't throw monsters of too high a CR at them. If your group is smaller, throw slightly lower CR than you would if it were bigger and avoid things like throwing an army of skeletons at the first level rogue (a first level cleric could wipe the floor with it, but a first level rogue cannot).

Fudge die rolls, but not often. Don't get caught at this.

Ravyn
2007-06-01, 01:16 AM
Know your PCs. One of my fellow players, during session today, sent me a link that, while it's not quite playing to your demographic, is useful enough that you should probably check it out: http://forum.rpg.net/showpost.php?p=7366567&postcount=4

Ten questions that'll give you a better idea of what you're getting into for each of them. Of course, players being players, they'll still probably do something unexpected like recruit their first set of antagonists into the party, gank the running antagonist the first time they meet him, cheese off the most powerful NPC in the setting when they aren't near ready for him and end up having to travel through the back of beyond to avoid his wrath, sit down with all the established Big Bads for tea and negotiations... but hey, working around that's the fun part! (I personally recommend encouraging that sort of playstyle. It makes things interesting. My players actually did all of the above in the first serious campaign I ran.... before we were even halfway through the first story arc. I'm still thanking them for that, because the ideas I got from it...)

If you're really lucky, you'll get a player with a definite interest in something you can pull. Maybe they're particularly fond of looking for hidden details. There's a chance that one of your players is fond of interacting with "weird and powerful creatures"--if you have someone like that, particularly if they'll cheerfully take weird over powerful, and you know they're going to avoid fights with those sorts of things, you can introduce all sorts of nifty and colorful new types of NPCs that you may never have to actually stat out. (Saves a lot of trouble, let me tell you.) Pretty backdrops are good for keeping people's interest, particularly if either your group's pretty patient with boxed text or you can sub in pictures instead of just describing. And their reactions.... completely and utterly worth it.

Pronounceable
2007-06-01, 03:21 AM
OP sounds like she's convinced, so welcome to the world of the DM!

There's some good advice in the thread. Here's my take:

1-You are their Lord and their God. They shall have no gods before you (no, not even the clerics). Remember this. If players do something bad you suffer, but if YOU do something bad, everyone suffers.

2-The Golden Rule, aka Rule 0: DM is always right. When you make a ruling, that's that. No ands, ifs or buts. Never, I emphasize NEVER, let the flow of the game be disrupted because of rules/arguments. It ruins the mood. Try your best to keep every arguement out of the actual game time.

3-Try to be consistent with your rulings. Players will remember things that happened to them, especially nasty ones. Rather lame example: If you ruled that orc chieftain can simply grab and throw the halfling PC over the cliff with ease because he has 18 str, allow barbarian PC with 18 str to throw kobolds off the cliff with impunity as well.

4-As someone else has said, don't be afraid to say no. In fact, it's your duty to say no in order to keep the game from becoming bad. Don't let PCs get away with random chaotic stupidity. Or don't give one PC an uberweapon that makes him the star of the show.

5-The main point is having fun. If players don't have fun, they won't play. If YOU don't have fun, the game will die painfully. So if you ever feel like stopping, do so. It's better to let a game die than ruining a game that's been perfect up until that moment.

6-Develop your taste. You might want to spread out, but I find that specializing in a certain kind of game makes it more fun for you. Example: I've lived in big cities all my life so I tend to use cities as game locations (I have little to no idea how life is in pastoral settings or at sea). I also like intrigue in games. End result is that I'm sort of an expert on "dagger and cloak" kind of games.

7-Don't be THAT selfless. If you just know this guy's gonna mess up the game refuse to let him play. YOU deserve to have fun and if that guy's gonna ruin it you're better off without him. There might be some real life consequences tho.

8-Have fun. Always keep that in mind. YOU made the game, YOU did the hardest work and consequently, it's YOU who deserves to have the most fun. But NOT at the expense of others. It's a fine line to walk, so take this advice with a grain of salt.

Runa
2007-06-01, 09:51 AM
It's the best of times, it's the worst of times. It is an act of wisdom, it is an act of foolishness, etc.

Really though, it takes more work, but is a lot of fun. A really good DM who can improvise down a fairly consistant story path and give characters new experiences (you start in a tavern, somone hires you, you go into some mysterious ruin or you are traveling and meet people along the road, you are then flung along a story that you cannot escape and so must find a way to go about your buisness; gets kind of old) is always appreciated. Don't try to just write a story, come up with a problem and a way to interest several individuals. Often I will play a single adventure or two just to set up each party member (we do this as the rest of the group creates characters, or when most of the group can't make it).

This probably would have been a good idea in last night's game. Mr. Fighter didn't change his character from the last party we did, and my boyfriend and I both had our new characters pretty much ready as did R. (save for forgetting to name his), but our Ranger was only half-finished... in hindsight, we probably should have done a brief thing about how Mr. Fighter left the old party and met up with the rest of us (well, we kind of did, but not roleplaying, just kind of talked it out. Apparently, the rest of the party got turned into owlbears. Or got attacked by bears. Or just kind of got disgusted with each other and wandered off. Or magically turned into "whole new people", i.e. the new party. Depending on which story you go with, heh).

So, yeah, I could see how in some cases that would be helpful! :P



For your first long running campaign, I recommend a traveling campaign or something similar so that as the characters go you can have random subplots and villians. Have the archnemisis interfere from time to time, but those subplots really aviod monotony (if you are in a campaign to destroy mindflayers, you still want to fight things other than mindflayers).

Anyway, I really enjoy DMing, but a great deal of people don't. It really depends on your group and your playing style. I do recomend playing with your boyfriend or somthing similar (a small group of one or two is the best to start with as it gives you less to worry about).

Yeah, the boyfriend seems pretty enthused about the idea of playing a one-player game with me DMing. Partly because it gives him more freedom, because he doesn't have to worry about party dynamics so much. :P Plus, one of the ideas he threw out there was playing an Aquatic Elf in an underwater adventure, which we couldn't really do in our regular games as I don't think we could convince all the players in our group to play Aquatic Elves. :P

That, and I promised him that if he were to stick some really random things in his equipment list I would "find something interesting or hilarious to do with them".



Couple of things to avoid: Don't give out too much treasure, or too little.

Ahaha! Yes. Both of the DMs I've played under have had trouble with one or the other (but oddly, not the same one; R. gave us plenty of treasure but miniscule XP compared to Alan, who gives us plenty of XP and - at least formerly - used to skimp a bit on treasure from time to time, to the point where our poor wizard didn't always have the appropriate materials for things)



Follow WBL and similar things rather closely at first. Don't throw monsters of too high a CR at them. If your group is smaller, throw slightly lower CR than you would if it were bigger and avoid things like throwing an army of skeletons at the first level rogue (a first level cleric could wipe the floor with it, but a first level rogue cannot).

True, true. One of the ideas he had was to play a pair of a rogue and a bard (bard distracts, rogue steals), in which case I'm more likely to pit them against enemies like say, city guards and the local king or something. If he plays Druid or Ranger, he gets to have a little more... unusual baddies to fight. Especially if he manages to convince me to give him a kraken as a pet if he does the underwater adventure (I flat-out told him "If you give yourself a kraken as a pet, I WILL pit you against at least one giant squid"). :P



Fudge die rolls, but not often. Don't get caught at this.

Sage advice, methinks. :smallbiggrin:


Know your PCs. One of my fellow players, during session today, sent me a link that, while it's not quite playing to your demographic, is useful enough that you should probably check it out: http://forum.rpg.net/showpost.php?p=7366567&postcount=4

Hey, neat. Thanks. Not only will this help me DM, I think it gave me some stuff to think about in the game I'm still a PC in! :P



1-You are their Lord and their God. They shall have no gods before you (no, not even the clerics). Remember this. If players do something bad you suffer, but if YOU do something bad, everyone suffers.

Too true, too true.



2-The Golden Rule, aka Rule 0: DM is always right. When you make a ruling, that's that. No ands, ifs or buts. Never, I emphasize NEVER, let the flow of the game be disrupted because of rules/arguments. It ruins the mood. Try your best to keep every arguement out of the actual game time.

Sage advice, judging from some of the games I've been in. :P



3-Try to be consistent with your rulings. Players will remember things that happened to them, especially nasty ones. Rather lame example: If you ruled that orc chieftain can simply grab and throw the halfling PC over the cliff with ease because he has 18 str, allow barbarian PC with 18 str to throw kobolds off the cliff with impunity as well.

Hm, good point.



4-As someone else has said, don't be afraid to say no. In fact, it's your duty to say no in order to keep the game from becoming bad. Don't let PCs get away with random chaotic stupidity. Or don't give one PC an uberweapon that makes him the star of the show.

The occasional nerfing is my friend, gotcha. ;)



5-The main point is having fun. If players don't have fun, they won't play. If YOU don't have fun, the game will die painfully. So if you ever feel like stopping, do so. It's better to let a game die than ruining a game that's been perfect up until that moment.

6-Develop your taste. You might want to spread out, but I find that specializing in a certain kind of game makes it more fun for you. Example: I've lived in big cities all my life so I tend to use cities as game locations (I have little to no idea how life is in pastoral settings or at sea). I also like intrigue in games. End result is that I'm sort of an expert on "dagger and cloak" kind of games.

7-Don't be THAT selfless. If you just know this guy's gonna mess up the game refuse to let him play. YOU deserve to have fun and if that guy's gonna ruin it you're better off without him. There might be some real life consequences tho.


Thankfully I do have broad tastes, a vivid imagination and Google so I think I'd actually like and be able to do a variety of settings. :) Which will be good since my first player has like a million different things he's thinking of doing, heh.



8-Have fun. Always keep that in mind. YOU made the game, YOU did the hardest work and consequently, it's YOU who deserves to have the most fun. But NOT at the expense of others. It's a fine line to walk, so take this advice with a grain of salt.

Having been on the PC end of things with two different friends DMing at different points, I think I know what you mean.

-Runa

Galathir
2007-06-01, 06:02 PM
Like others have said, it depends a lot on your players. When the players just follow you around and rely on you to provide the emotion and energy it will quickly drain you. However, if the players often take the initiative, get into role-playing, and think for themselves it can be loads of fun. I spend about equal amounts of time as a PC and DM and they both have their strong and weak points. I like DMing complicated, role-play intensive campaigns which aren't for everyone but I am always changing things to meet the needs of the group. After all, if you are the only one having fun you have pretty much failed as a DM.

Matthew
2007-06-06, 08:39 PM
I agree with the general sentiment. being a Dungeon Master is both a lot of fun and potentially a lot of work. Here is a link to a useful resource that I don't tell people about enough: Roleplaying Tips Weekly (http://www.roleplayingtips.com/index.php/)

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-06-06, 09:51 PM
DMing is a lot like playing Russian Roulette where you happen to have the gun, it's fully loaded, and you're not sticking it at your own head. Actually, I guess it's more like playing serial killer. You get to decide when everybody in the room dies.

Thrall_Of_Ao
2007-06-06, 10:18 PM
Hi,
Without getting the chance to read all (or most even) of the replies to the question, I'd say that the simple answer is:

1. Find some material (book, magazine like Dungeon, or other "inspirational" story containing decent plot concept)

2. Make sure that your players would be interested in such an adventure

3. Have as solid an understanding of the rules as you can (this means, approximately 3-6 months minimum of gaming in one system IMHO).

4. Throw yourself into the GM seat, even if you're not sure you can hack it. If you have even the tiniest writers bone in your body, you'll enjoy it. Agravating at times, challenging almost all the time, but definitely rewarding.

Remember, the gaming world is FULL of players, but often painfully short of GMs, ESPECIALLY good GMs.

-TOA

PS I've run several home campaigns of D&D, and several Living Greyhawk modules, so I have a fairly good idea of what I'm talking about.
Also, there are TONS of articles written by and for GMs on the web, like on the WOTC site (www.wizards.com), so go read a few. I know I learned a few things from them.

de-trick
2007-06-06, 10:22 PM
if you die the party wins, u win if the party dies

Rasumichin
2007-06-07, 07:23 AM
What's it like to DM?

Basically, it's like being a player, but with the entire world as your PC.

This also means that there are as many different DMing styles as playing styles.
There's world-builders, storytellers, duellists, NPC-method actors and whatnot.

And, as is the case with playing a PC, the ability to find a working group dynamic, a consensus how to play, is crucial.

Greyen
2007-06-07, 09:06 AM
IMHO DM'ing is like rearing a child. Frustrating and rewarding at the same time.

Players: We win!
Me: (Grin) Yes you do, now what?
Players: We raze the village!
Me: What!? Really?
Players: Yes, it was evil, clearly. You said it had rats. Rats are evil...fire kills everything. We raze the village.
Me: (Facepalm) OK...

1. You need to be flexible and creative. If your players don't like the yellow brick road and decide to go off into in a random direction you need to be able to work with them.

2. If they find a loophole that fubars your adventure for the night before it happens that you didn't think of, so be it. Keep the game going with something.

3. Be tough, have thick skin, as they say. If you argue with your players over Rule X, don't get hurt feelings if they are mad. You are GOD for the moment and any changes to the system you make may come back to haunt you.

4. It is not the end of the world if your players take a left at Albuquerque, just have some little side plans for them if they do.

5. Players like to shop, allow them to do so. But please do nat make them rolepplay every little purchase! (This is one of my own rules of DMing, personal experience with a good roleplay/bad rules DM led to 8 hour games of "I want to buy X" "Ok the shopkeeper is a little old man with a scar who says Hello good sirs..." UGH!!"

6. Keep notes better than they do. The village they razed last week will remember them, as will the rest of the local populace. That shopkeeper they robbed blind with amazing bluff rolls will eventually realize his mistake and return the favor somehow.

7. Know what will motivate the characters and the players. Bob wants gold..easy. Jo wants glory..ok. Fred want bleu cheese and rice pudding...a little difficult but I think I may be able to work that in. Willy want vengence against the guy who ran over his cat...(that guy is dead and Willy just doesn't know it yet) a little harder to motivate Willy.

DMing can be fun, it can be frustrating. Planning is necessary. Most plans wilt after first contact. You have one brain, they may seem dumb but they are going to pull some stunts that you didn't expect.

I plan my adventuers like this, first I think about the general story I want them to foloow. Loose frame work, "Orc Raid village and are taking slaves". Next figure out how much Xp they are going to get 1 level, 1/2 a level 2 levels...whatever. For a party to level they need 8-13 fights plus/minus bonus xp for roleplay/whatever. So I want to set up 10 fights of for this adventure, plan mobs treasure etc. Ok I have the encounters, now I plan the frame work of when where how the fights "should" happen. As I do all of this I am thinking of the NPC's they will most likely interact with and what the conversations will most likely be about. I write down any notes about such and have a rough idea of the NPC's personality and what it will take for them to give whatever information they have about whatever. From here I can wing the rest of it, but I am good at improv. if the characters take a left I have a few other back up plans, lesser adventures, quickies you might call them. This is in addition to other ways of stearing them back to the plot. Like in the aforementioned adventure I wrote up, one player wasn't interested in helping the local populace for the measly reward the village could offer, he would rather sit in the tavern/inn and dandle a whore. So I had the orcs swipe the whore, then he was mad and wanted to go along. pain in the butt player/character now motivated via a little twisting of the story.

I agree with someone from above though its like herding cats with dynamite.

Dausuul
2007-06-08, 10:25 AM
Yep, plus, he's really good natured and very easygoing. So if I mess up a little or forget something, he won't be annoying about it, and if he messes up and I point it out, he'll just laugh at himself for doing it (and then I'll laugh, because you can't not laugh when he does. He has that kind of personality). The perfect player to start with, methinks. ;)

Yup, that's the perfect player right there. A rare and precious breed.


Haha, I could see how that would happen. It's starting to sound like if I gave myself time to prepare, I would enjoy it... at least if I have certain ones of my friends playing (there's a "I want to kill things with a big sword" rollplayer in my group I'm not sure I'd want to DM for, but most of the others would probably be OK, especially my boyfriend, and our current group's Fighter is also pretty easygoing). Has anyone tried just coming up with a bajillion backup NPCs and if the PCs go in an unexpected direction, just pulled a few out to work with? That seems like it might be a good thing to do, among other things.

The best DM I know runs things in about that fashion. It's how I try to run things too; a willingness and ability to improvise is key.


I would probably laugh at myself if that happened "Wow, what an epic battle that was. Perhaps I'm underestimating my PCs an eensy bit?". :smallbiggrin:

Remember also that you can fudge the numbers to make battles go better; fudge in the monsters' favor to make a fight more dramatic, or in the players' favor to avoid a TPK. Whether you actually choose to do this depends on how you like to run your game. Some people prefer to fudge in the name of making the fights more interesting, others feel it makes things more exciting if the PCs know they're not going to be cut any slack and have to overcome every encounter with nothing but their own skill and cleverness.

If you do fudge, do it sparingly, don't tell your players when you're doing it, and fudge things that they can't easily figure out--monster hit points, saving throws, attack rolls, and damage rolls are my fudge targets of choice. You can't fudge the monster's AC and the save DCs of its special abilities because players will start saying "Hey, I hit with a 21 last round--how come a 23 missed this round?" But you can arbitrarily up the monster's hit points by 50% with no one the wiser, and if you roll behind a screen (as any good DM should, even those who don't fudge at all), you can increase or decrease the amount of damage the monster does, make it hit when the dice say it misses or miss when the dice say it hits, and decide whether or not it makes a saving throw.


I think I know what you mean. Our group has five PCs in it and I can't imagine us getting by with many more people, just from trying to communicate over the din sometimes. :P (Especially since we only have two PhBs between us)

Yup, 6 players is the most I would ever DM for, ever. I was in a game once with 14 players, and man, was that a mess.

Incidentally, my big failing as a DM is that I get grandiose ideas and come up with a big epic storyline, and then I get bored and stop putting the work into it to make it fun. So my advice on that score is: Don't bite off more than you're willing to chew. Try a small story arc, see how that goes, then expand as seems appropriate, and don't be afraid to take a break if you're burning out.

Lavin
2007-07-07, 11:10 PM
I have found that DM-ing is a mixed bag, with it's respective quirks and perks. I, for one, get a huge thrill out of designing a world and villans and dungeons and all of the in-game stuff. However, I have also found that managing the close-picture stuff (namely the players on a bad day) can be, in a word, tricky. Sometimes arguments from the real world work thier way into being full-blown charcter rivalries, where just the other day, they had no qualms with each other. Also, it can be somewhat stressful and time consuming to try and design (and respectively run) the next session. Once you start DM-ing, though, you'll find that the pros by far outweigh the cons. There is an undeniable joy and thrill that a person as a DM gets from watching thier players faces light up with interest at the universe that you have created, the characters they interact with, or the confusion as they deliberate the latest puzzle you have thrown at them. Perhaps it's the way a good group just clicks with each other, bue every campaign, if run smootly, is as much, if not more, fun for the DM as it is for the players. Just remember that it IS work, and requires a fair amount of constant thinking, but therein lies the fun. A universe. It's all at your power and command. Now if THAT isn't something to love, I don't know what is.

Sorry to bring back an old thread, just the topic interested me, and I felt the urge to rant some.

Fawsto
2007-07-07, 11:36 PM
you want it short? You are the ENEMY! AHAH. Ok, just kiding there.

Well, pretty much of what is said, plus the fact that you are the most responsible for the fun of the session.

evisiron
2007-07-08, 01:42 PM
I play and DM on an alternate week rotation scheme within the same group.

DM-ing can be a lot of fun. The one big thing I notice is that when playing, you customise your character a little when you level, and it alters the game slightly. When GMing you can almost ru anyhting you want, as long as it makes sense.

Admittedly, it is a good idea to play the sort of game your players will enjoy (rollplaying vs roleplaying).

Just one big tip: Try to avoid having a single way to defeat a problem. The freedom to work out the way past an obstacle ca be the best part of the game. In mine, I set a start, and end, but the gap between is up to the players!

Kiero
2007-07-08, 04:57 PM
Not yet, as I'm still pretty much having fun with our weekly games as a PC. But someday. Maybe just a solo game with my boyfriend as the PC to start (he's a roleplayer not a rollplayer, so that might work out nicely). Eventually, someday.


Only point I'll make here, is that the dynamics of a solo game and one with a group are very different. Except for not-terribly-useful generalities, like having to come up with ideas on the spot, experience of one isn't very useful experience of the other.

As I discovered myself when I tried to run some solo games, having been used to running for groups. In particular you never get any down time, a moment to think or consider the way you do when a group of people are bantering amongst themselves and doing all the other interaction stuff.

Dairun Cates
2007-07-08, 05:54 PM
DM'ing can run the gambit from being an extreme rush to an experience similar to being a smaller God in a universe full of pissed atheists. All in all, it's fun for the right people though.

As for what it's really like, it's hard to say exactly since it's different for other people, and some things are either impossible to explain or best not said in front of players. The short of it is, being a DM, you have infinite power and no power at the same time. The universe is yours, but you're obliged to entertain its inhabitants. If you can't entertain them, then you lose your power. With varied player interests, this can lead to chaos that makes "herding cats with dynamite" sound sane, fun, and profitable.

Basically, only one kind of person should DM; utter freakin' lunatics. However, there's a lot of them, and if you're actually interested in DM'ing and doing all the work, then you're probably one of them. If you like to entertain other people, then you should be fine.

Edit: Oh, and don't think that DM'ing takes away all the surprise in a campaign. Your players will derail it so many times that you'll be making up just as much as they are. The only difference is that you'll be able to cover the fact that you're doing it.

Runolfr
2007-07-08, 06:22 PM
In any case though, I was wondering - what IS it like to DM?

With a sufficiently sane group of players, it's a lot of fun. With a dysfunctional group, it can be torture.


What kind of personality does it take, as it were?

Reasonably creative. Pretty devious. Willing and able to put in the time to make sure you players have something to do on game night. Good improvisational skills, as no carefully designed NPC, dungeon, trap, monster, what-have-you will survive contact with your adventuring party unscathed. They're notorious for doing the unexpected. You have to design flexibility into your game.

It takes a fair amount of devotion to the game to be the DM, as you're the most crucial member of the group.


The main reason I'm interested in it at all is because I think it would be fun to come up with basic stories and then improvise them into fun new directions as the player(s) make their choices. How hard is it to come up with or tweak basic adventures - as a whole, not just the stories, I would probably not have trouble coming up with stories as I pretty much think in stories all the time I'm talking figuring out how many monsters to pit against the characters and how much treasure to award and stuff like that - and what kind of soul-searching (so to speak) do I need to do before I can recognize whether or not DMing would fun for me?

If you're already got a good idea of the rules system, the technical part is not too difficult. The book provides plenty of guidance on encounter setup, experience awards, and treasure distribution. Having been a player for a while also helps, as you already have a feel for what sort of encounter constitutes a challenge for a group of adventurers, having been on the receiving end for a while.

If you can see the game from the NPC's/monsters' perspective, you probably won't have too much trouble designing encounters. They have abilities, resources, and various amounts of intelligence that they will use to protect themselves and accomplish their goals. Encounter design just flows from that. Know the monsters' capabilities and your players' capabilities, and you can probably "wing it" without too much trouble.