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Good DM Dan.

The fact that this has almost 200 notes is ridiculous…

Good DM Dan - four years and 55,000 notes later!

I made this image macro meme back in 2012. 

Here’s the original image. That’s me running 4e D&D Encounters. I used to have a really amateur web series for it. Some of it is pretty good. Some of it is ridiculous.

I have done all of the above things in the meme in real life. Multiple times even. Some of these things are good practices, someone of them are kinda questionable now that I have four more years of DM experience. Let’s run through them:

1. “Game starts at 6pm. Sets up an hour early”

This is still decent advice. Game prep is important, especially when you’re running public play pre-written adventures. As a grown ass adult though, I recognize that an extra hour of free time beforehand can be tough to come by.

2. “Lends dice and minis. ‘First time playing? No, you keep ‘em’”

Over the two years of playing D&D Encounters, I probably gave away about $200 CAD worth of dice and minis. It put a dent in my wallet, sure, but knowing that a lot of those first timers are still playing (and running) TRPGs today makes me really happy. 

3. “ ‘I should get a bonus to sneaking because I put sponges on my feet’ Seems legit”

Yeah. Seems legit. Good DM advice: reward player creativity and solving problems using their human imaginations, instead of always falling back on the rules/mechanics of the game.

4. “Player spills Coke on irreplaceable homemade map. ‘No problem, let’s say that’s a new lake’”

This has happened multiple times. It sucks. I’m pretty chill tho, so long as people apologize and clean up the mess. 

5. “Player fails final death save. ‘Pretty sure that’s jack dice’”

This is bad advice. 

It’s bad because player character death is an important aspect of the game. No character, or person, is immune to death by random chance. Fudging die rolls when it comes to character death is something I’m against. Characters die. It sucks, but it happens. 

That said, and this is my marshmallow DM side coming out, maybe every player gets a death mulligan. One, and only one per campaign. Cuz…y’know…dying sucks.  

6. “Players skip over all the plot points and hooks. Isn’t bothered”

If your game is ultimately about a story that you, the dungeon master, want to tell, it’s probably a shitty game. 

Players, and by extension their characters, have free will and can do whatever they want. This often means they’ll dick around and ignore your carefully constructed plot. Or worse still, they’ll throw a wrench into your plans and totally change or ruin your carefully constructed plot. 

That’s ultimately not a bad thing. I feel like D&D isn’t a game about the DM telling stories, it’s about the group coming away from the table with a story. And that story is likely not going to be like anything you had planned. 

So don’t sweat it. If players don’t take the bait, then the world keeps moving on without their influence, and now they need to contend with what happens after. 

On the off chance that you are bothered, TALK TO YOUR PLAYERS ABOUT IT! Actually tell them “Hey, it kinda sucks for me that you keep ignoring the adventure hooks I give you”. Chances are they’ll start following along. If not, find new players. Life’s too short. 

7. “All players want to do is shop. Lets them”

Spending gold is an important aspect of the game. Otherwise why else give the PC’s treasure (aside from XP)?

If you find this boring, or you don’t feel involved, turn it into an aspect of play. Actually have the players interact with NPC shopkeepers, who have their own quirks, stats, and problems. This way, sometimes going shopping can be a place to pick up adventure hooks, and other times the act of bargaining with a shopkeeper is like a verbal combat encounter. 

Gamify that shit.

I hope this helps. When in doubt, ask yourself “What would Good DM Dan do?”

Reposted bymkaynoa mkaynoa

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