DUNGEON MASTER BY: ALECTHEDURDLE

Dealing with Conflict

You know, we have a lot of fun here at Dungeon Master.  We talk about a lot of fun things to get you ready to lead a wonderful tabletop game experience for your players.  Unfortunately, like in the real world, things in the game world are not always fun.  So tonight, I thought we would sit down and have a more serious chat.  Maybe it’s the fact that Game of Thrones ends tonight as I write this or maybe it is impending work week that has me all doom and gloom.  But whatever the case, I am in a more serious mood tonight.  The perfect time to talk about conflict in your game.  And no, I don’t mean conflict in the story or between NPCs.  No, I mean between you and your human players.   

Let’s face it, when people get together in a group conflict is bound to occur.  It doesn’t matter if you all are friends so close that they should make a movie about you going to find some pirate’s lost treasure or a dead body.  Eventually, someone will do or say something that someone takes offence to and then: CONFLICT.  The worst part about conflict is that, if it is left unchecked, it can absolutely destroy your game.  I can’t even count the number of play groups I have been a part of where some conflict tore the group apart to the point where the game was left unfinished.  He said this, she said that, Frank ate all the Cheetos, or Suzy shot my character in the face.  It always happens in one shape or another.  And guess what?  It is up to you as the DM to make sure that conflict doesn’t destroy your game.  I have said before that the DM is the leader of the group.  Therefore, it is up to you to help the conflict be resolved so the game can continue in peace.  But what does that look like?  I will lay out the steps that I take when attempting to resolve conflict between two players in a play group.  

1. WAIT TILL AFTER THE SESSION TO FIX IT:  This is the most critical step in my opinion.  Most conflict between players can be resolved incredibly quickly.  A lot of times it is a simple miscommunication that will require a few moments to sort out.  However, what makes conflict worse is if you attempt to hash it out in front of the whole group.  That tends to make people feel like they are on trial.  People will get defensive, people will take sides, and then your whole group will spiral into a fit of arguing to the point where you can pretty much kiss your game goodbye.  So, take control of the situation immediately.  Say, “Ok, hold up, let’s take care of this out of game.”  Normally, your players will agree.  This let’s you work out the conflict in private, in a neutral setting where no one will feel pressured.  Even if the conflict involves most or all of the group, DO NOT try to settle it mid-session.  End the session first before settling the issue.   

2. Act as the mediator, NOT the judge: Like I said before, most of the time these conflicts that happen over simple miscommunication that can be sorted out with ease.  With that in mind, act as the mediator between the people in conflict.  A mediator is there to provide an outside prospective to the argument.  Help guide the conversation with constructive advice.  The worst thing you can do is take a side and start passing judgement on the other party.  This will breed even more conflict and mistrust in you as a DM.  If players feel like they can’t trust you, they will not want to play with you.  So be the mediator, not the judge.    

3. You can’t force people to get along:  Look, in the end it is up to the players involved to decide whether or not to resolve their differences.  As much as we may wish we can just make people get along, you just can’t make everyone happy all of the time.  All you can do is to help to guide them to a solution that works for them.  You can’t control them, so don’t try to.  And let them know that you don’t intend to.  It will help ease some of the tension.  You are a DM, not a tyrant king.   

4. You are the voice of the rest of the players:  So, let’s say the conflict is unsolvable, what do you do then?  We have already established you can’t just magically make everyone get along and it is up to them to resolve it.  Well, they won’t.  So now what?  Your responsibility as the DM is to make sure that conflict doesn’t make your whole game fall to pieces.  You are responsible for all the rest of your players.  Sometimes that means making a tough call and asking the players causing the discord to leave the group.  That can hurt and that can be harsh, but sometimes it is the right call to make.  It is better to lose one or two players then the whole group.  Don’t let that conflict infect they whole team.  

I hope these couple of tips help you all with resolving conflict amongst your players.  But what about when YOU have conflict with a player.  How do you handle that?  Find out next time.   

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Doing the Monster Mash

 

It has been a few weeks since I have added to this series, but don't worry, I haven't forgotten about my little DM babies.  Plus, you all have the tools you need to start your first game.  You've picked your game, you have your players, and you've got your toolkit finally put together.  You are ready, young Padawan, to begin.  So let's talk about some more specific aspects of your game and how you should be looking to improve them.  In the next few articles, we will be looking at some things that other people easily overlook.  Things like how players interact with each other, how to play your non-player characters (or NPCs), and the finer points of world building.  But as Tank from the Matrix once said, "That's major boring @&$#.  So let's get to something a little more impressive.  How about... combat training?"  I don't mean how to run combat, that is for another day.  No, let's talk about what your players will be fighting.  Let's talk about monsters.

Your monsters are one of the most important aspects of who you are as a DM.  Heck, they have their own manual.  They are an extension of you; the powerful right hand of the DM.  They determine the difficulty of your combat, how memorable your game will be, and they will test your abilities to be creative and flexible.  But they are also an incredibly difficult resource to manage well.  It is all about walking that tightrope with your monsters.  But how do you walk that tightrope?  Why not just do things by the literal book and just follow what the monster manual tells you to do?  Well, let's explore that.  

The first thing your monsters do is determine how good the combat in your game truly is.  If you make the monsters too weak, then your players will not take your combat seriously and it will not be fun.  On the other hand, make the monsters too strong and you won't have players for very much longer.  And then it won't be fun.  Luckily, if you are playing a pre-constructed game then the work is pretty easy for you.  The monsters will level up along the same speed as your players.  Fine and dandy.  But that is kinda boring, isn't it?  I mean they all follow the pretty normal formula.  Goblins at level 1, slightly bigger Goblins at level 2, and so on and so forth, blah blah blah.  It is far more fun to set them up yourself.  Take some time to go through the monster manual and find some cool beasts you want to add into your game.  Then you can level them down appropriately to fit your needs.  For example, while your party might be expecting to see goblins in their first fight, wouldn't it be so much cooler for them to round the bend and see a young hydra?  Whoa.  Intimidating.  But that doesn't mean it has to be a level 50 beast.  Scale it down.  Fit your monsters to the situation your players are in.  

Your players will also find that kind of combat way more memorable.  When you go by the book, sure your combat will still be fun (it was designed to be), but it won't be nearly so memorable.  For example, I recently had a game where my players were going through a pre-constructed starter game to get them going.  The guide called for our players to fight a bunch of goblins and eventually a bugbear for their final boss.  I looked at that and thought, "I can do better than that."  So what did my players wind up fighting?  A beholder.  A giant, mother friggin beholder.  Naturally, I scaled down the beholder to fit my party's level, but that didn't take any of the fun out of it.  The fight was epic, lasting nearly our entire gaming session.  But they never forgot that fight.  From then on they were on their toes at all times, never knowing what the next corner would bring them.  That is what your monsters should do.  Put the fear of the DM into your players, while still making them feel awesome when they conquer your challenges.  The monsters should feel epic, but not impossible.  

So, don't be afraid to get creative with your monsters.  Go off book even!  The monster manual has a lot of good choices, but they certainly do not have every monster that has ever existed.  You can even create your own monsters!  As DM, you are the master of monsters.  You want your party to fight a xenomorph from Alien?  Slap some stats and abilities on that puppy and there you go.  This is your world and you get to decide the horrors that live there.  

Have fun with your monsters.  They are yours to command.        

Players, Take Your Mark

By Alec the Durdle


We have our tools, we’ve chosen our game, but we are still missing one critical element.  The players.  You can be the best Dungeon Master there has ever been, but without players you are about as useless as a poop flavored popsicle.  But how do you get players to come to your game?  What kind of players should you be recruiting?  And how involved in the creation of the party should you be as the DM?  Let’s dive in.  

Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat, ANYONE can play a table top rpg.  There isn’t an age, skill level, or personality that can’t have a blast playing your game.  That being said, not every player will mesh well together or with your particular game.  If things don’t work out, don’t give up.  We will cover how to settle conflict with players in a later article, but it is bound to happen eventually.  It is super important as the DM that you get to know your players as best you can.  If you know your players, your players will learn to trust you.  The game is always better when players trust a DM.  So what kind of players are you going to find for your game?  There are a few different players you are bound to run into as a Dungeon Master.   

1. The Friend:  The most logical and easiest choice.  If you are a first time DM, I always recommend getting a group of friends to be your players.  The friend makes the whole experience better.  They won’t judge you (usually) if you mess something up.  They play along and interact with you best because they are already comfortable with you as a person.  If it is a group of mutual friends, you will on the whole have less conflict with and between.  There is a lot more understanding and kindness with this kind of player.  However, that doesn’t mean they are perfect.  The friend tends to not take things as seriously.  They can be difficult to keep on task and you might feel obliged to take it easy on them because, hey, they’re your friends.  Friend parties tend to start strong but do fizzle out faster then other parties.  Especially if they weren’t that into it to begin with and just wanted to play to be with you.     

2. The Newbie:  There is always one.  Impressionable and inquisitive, the Newbie has never played a table top rpg but they have always wanted to.  Be prepared to answer questions, a lot of questions.  However, the Newbie can also be one of your best players.  Once they get the hang of things, most Newbies will play harder then any of the other players.  They are hungry for the experience.  As long as you are ok and confident in your skills as a DM to hold their hand a little, the Newbie is not a liability for your party.  Just watch out for the rest of the squad.  Other, more experienced players can get frustrated with the Newbie’s questions and inexperience.  Handle that conflict early and in private so that way the Newbie isn’t discouraged by negativity.  

3. The Pro:  You would think that having a party full of these types of players would be a good thing.  Sometimes it is. The Pro knows the game inside and out.  They have lots of experience playing table top games and can role play with the best of them.  That experience will let you relax a little bit on helping other players because the Pro can help their fellow players just as well as you could.  They will be your strongest player by far and they will most likely not just randomly fizzle out on you.  However, their greatest strength also makes them the toughest group to DM.  They know the rules of the game just as well, if not better, as you do.  If you make a mistake, they well not hesitate to call you out on it and start arguments.  They can be a little egotistical and will quickly assert themselves as the leader of the party.  This is the player you need to be in constant communication with, don’t let them take over your game.  If you are a new DM and still learning, I wouldn’t recommend having a bunch of Pros in your party.  Unless they are also willing to let you learn and make mistakes.  

4. The Wild Card: Sigh, there is always one.  You never ever know what this player will do.  They might be one of your best players, or they can be your worst nightmare.  They might read the spell scroll you put in the dungeon or they might burn it so they can cook soup.  The Wild Card adds spice to your game.  They are generally the most creative and will come up with some incredible solutions to your puzzles.  They are fun, hilarious, and usually keeps the moral of the party extremely high.  They also teach you to think on your toes as a DM.  They will force you to be as creative as they are and that makes for an intense and very exciting game.  That being said, they are FRUSTRATING.  They never play the way you wrote it out and they will not appreciate you trying to put them in a box.  Usually if you try to stifle them, they will lash out by being even crazier to push your buttons.  Take a deep breath and come up with creative ways in game to keep them in check like certain spells or traps to keep them in line.  The Wild Card and the Pro will ALWAYS be in constant conflict with each other and it will often take you stepping in to keep things working.  They are fun and exciting players to be with, but heaven help you if you have a whole party of Wild Cards.  As you start out as a DM, keep their number limited until you get some experience.

5. The Rando:  The easiest type of player to recruit, but easily the most difficult.  The Rando is that random person you meet at the local comic and game store, that person that answered your online post, or that friend of a friend you have never met.  You don’t know them, and they don’t know you.  They are easy to recruit because usually they will seek you as a DM out.  They just want to play, they don’t care who with and what game.  For that reason, they can be very good players (usually a Pro or a Wild Card) and can bring some spice to your party.  But they are finicky at best.  This is the player that is most likely to just disappear and never be seen again (usually because they found a different group they would rather play with).  If you have conflict with this player, they will most likely disappear.  Also, it will take a lot of time to build up that trust between you and the Rando.  It is definitely possible to do, but it is difficult and takes dedication on your part as the DM.  You have to go through a lot of Rando chaff before you find the Rando wheat.  But once you do, you can make a friend that will play with you for years and years.  Don’t be discouraged by the Rando.  If they leave it doesn’t mean you are a bad DM or your game sucks.  Just find a new player and move on.  

There your go, the 5 players you will most likely DM.  I will say this as a closing statement, don’t be afraid of your players.  You are all here to have fun and play a game.  So enjoy yourself and each other.  Celebrate your differences.  Treat your players with respect for who they are, and they will respect you.        

Choosing Your Arena

 

By Alec the Durdle


Alright! We have the desire and the tools we need in order to DM our first table top role-playing game. Now, we have to tackle probably the hardest, and most important, part of leading your first game. We have to choose our game; the world and game system that world will use to play in it. As the Dungeon or Game Master, it is your job to select the game that your party will be playing. It is vital that you know the ins and outs of that world in order to make sure your players have the best possible experience playing your game. So what options are out there? How do I choose between a premade campaign and building my own custom campaign? How do I make sure I am choosing a game my party will enjoy? Let’s go ahead and answer these questions and get ourselves one step closer to hosting our first game. 


First, let’s talk about your options. That is the daunting part. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of role-playing games and systems out there to choose from. Everything from the classic high fantasy and dice rolling of Dungeons and Dragons, to science fiction universes with more complicated rules and dice rolls. There are even games based on a specific fandom like Star Wars or Harry Potter with their own rules and systems built in. Or if you are building your own game, the options are infinite as you can base your world on anything you could possibly imagine. So, the real question you have to ask yourself is, what is your flavor? If you want my advice, which I assume you do since you are reading my article, I always suggest starting simple. I recommend starting with 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons as a good springboard. D&D is an incredibly refined game that is both easy to learn and easy to play with little or no experience with table top games. 5th Edition, specifically, combines a perfect amount of role-playing with an exciting combat system without the need of miniatures or a game board. You can still use those things if you want to, but they are not required to have a full experience.  It also can get complicated as it progresses with your party, making the experience very satisfying for all levels of player and DM. However, I encourage you to put in the time to research some of the other games out there. Something might call out to you that you didn’t expect. Also, never be afraid to mix and match a bit. Like say you like the modern look of a game like Monster of the Week, but you want to use the rules of Dungeons and Dragons for dice rolls and such. You can totally do that! Just make sure you make the rules compatible with each other, and that requires a bit of prep time and research. 


Once you have your game and system chosen, another choice lies before you. Do you play a pre-constructed (or pre-con) campaign or do you write your very own custom campaign? The campaign, in very general terms, is the story that your players will be playing through. In order to have a good experience playing the game, you have to have a good campaign. If you don’t, your players will get bored quickly and you as the DM are going to get very, very frustrated. Not to worry, though. The game designers are aware of this. That is why just about every game system out there has pre-constructed campaigns ready for you to buy. These campaigns have literally everything in them you will need to run a game. The story, fights, treasures, non-player characters, even some specific pieces of dialog and store inventories are written out for you as the DM to follow like a road map. They can be very long campaigns that will take several gaming sessions to finish or what we like to call one shots. A one shot is a campaign that can easily be played from start to finish in one game session, usually 2-5 hours of game time. You can find pre-cons in your local game store, online, or even some for free on forums that have been written by other DMs like you! On the flip side, you can write your very own custom campaign. The difference here should be obvious. A custom campaign is way more creatively rewarding as you are building the whole game from the ground up. But it takes an unbelievable time investment. I have written a few of my own campaigns, and they can take months, or in one case 2 years, to fully flesh out into a playable experience. I won’t go into too much detail here on how to do this, that will be covered in another article (or more likely a couple of them, yes it is that much on an investment). So how do you choose? Usually, if it is someone’s first time DMing a game, I recommend starting with a pre-con campaign. That way you can focus on developing your pacing and other important skills you will need as a DM going forward. You can also do a little mix of both options. Many times, I will pick up a pre-con and make little tweeks and changes as my players go through as I see fit. Remaking the Matrix in a way. That way you still get the creative kick out of it, but you don’t have to invest nearly as much time into the construction phase. Whatever you decide, just make sure you do all your research first. It isn’t recommended to just grab the first campaign you see and play it (though you totally can). I always find my players have more fun when I enjoy the story I am guiding them through. If I hate it, they will too. Research, research, research. Read through the game, see if it is what you are expecting, and don’t be afraid to take some chances. 


So then how do you pick the right game and campaign for your players? Honestly, you don’t. You pick the game YOU want to play, then let the players decide to join in or not. This is why I always recommend finding your game before finding players. It is so much easier to find players when they can look at the game you are wanting to run and then decide for themselves if they want to join you. Yes, sometimes a group of friends will all get together and decide a group what they want to play. If you have a group like that, more power to you. But I have always found the games I have enjoyed the most is when I, or the whoever the DM is, chose and then find players that want to play that game. This is especially true if you don’t have a group of friends and you are just picking up players from online or at your local game store. They will trust you more as the DM if you have everything ready to go for them when you ask them to play, then if you ask them and then say, “Ok! So, what do you want to play?” 


And that is it! You are one step closer to having your first game session. As always if you have specific questions or suggestions and want to email me, you can at alecthedurdle@gmail.com. Just put Dungeon Master in the subject line. I hope to do a mail bag article eventually so write in your comments and questions.

 

Roll on, Dungeon Masters!       

Your Dungeon Master’s Tool Kit

 

By Alec the Durdle


Well, we have done it. We have decided to become a Dungeon Master and run our first game. Don’t we feel proud? Absolutely we do! MWAH HAHAHAHAHA! So…. What now? What do we need to have to get started? What do we do first? To me, the first thing to do is assemble your Dungeon Master’s Tool Kit!


Just like any professional, even the god of a fictional world needs to have some tools of the trade. But if you just look at the list of things available for DMs and GMs, it can be a little overwhelming, not to mention outrageously expensive. So what are the things we absolutely have to have? I have a short list of things I always recommend to new DMs before they start.


A Full Set of Dice – Ok, this one should probably go without saying, but dice are kind of the most essential tool of the kit. Dice in table top games like Dungeons and Dragons are what we use to simulate randomness in the world. Without dice, players or the DM would simply have too much control over the outcome of situations. Rolling dice insures that everyone is on a simi level playing field. Every action you or a player will take will not just be based on their skill, but a little bit of luck too. So you will NEED a FULL SET of dice. A full set includes a d20, d12, d10, d8, d6, d4 or d3, and a coin for 50/50 flips. By the way, that lower case d and then a number simply means the amount of sides or numbers the dice has. So a d20 has 20 sides, a d12 has 12 sides, etc. There are other dice that you can purchase as well like a d100 or other specialty decision dice, but this core set is all you need to start playing. You can purchase these dice as a set (which I recommend) or as separate pieces from most game supply stores. They come in an unfathomable number of colors and styles so get a set that you love. After all, you will need them to be good to you and your players.


A Notebook – This is another really critical piece of every DMs Tool Kit. As god of this new world, you are going to have to keep track of a lot of different things. From items and key story points, to all the different life totals for your dungeon monsters. Too many times, I have seen DMs who seem to think they will be able to remember every minute detail about their game. Then they get lost, or stressed out, or just start making up things on the fly. Trust me, your players can tell when you are just making things up. Unless you are some kind of walking computer with a massive memory bank and can do math on the fly, you are going to want a notebook. I personally just use those college ruled 1 subject notebooks. They are incredibly cheap, they don’t take up a lot of space, and have plenty of room for all the countless scribbles you will be writing in them. But whatever your style, a notebook is key.   


The Rule Book – Ugh, everyone hates and loves this part of the kit. The dreaded Rule Book. Regardless if you are using a premade game or building your world and game from scratch, eventually there will be a rules dispute. Someone will do something and you will hear, “THEY CAN’T DO THAT!” Which of course will be followed up by the unbeatable rebuttal of, “YES I CAN!” Who do you think your players will turn to? Well you of course, you are god after all. I am not saying you have to memorize the rule book, or read it every day, but keeping it handy for in game disputes is a must. Even if you think you know every possible rule for every possible situation, your players are crafty. They will find a situation you have never encountered before and you will want that rule book. Plus, the rule book can shut down arguments. A player will argue with you till the cows come home about something they want to do. But if you whip out that rule book and read to them the rule in question, well they can’t argue with that. Some games you will literally never touch that rule book even once, but just keep it with you anyway. Rule Books save games. 


A Dungeon Master’s Screen (optional but recommended) – One of the beautiful parts about being the Dungeon Master is that typically you know what is going to happen in your game way before your players do. Let’s keep it that way. A DM Screen is basically a long piece of cardboard or laminated poster board that you place in front of all your notebooks, rule books, notes, numbers, and dice so the players can’t see them. It provides players with an air of mystery as to what could possibly be coming up next, meanwhile you can hide your poor handwriting, fudged numbers, and the last Mountain Dew you took from the fridge. Honestly, it isn’t a must have and I only use my screen when I am leading a party in person. Playing online or over a video chat negates the need. But they are pretty cool thing to have. They come in so many designs and patterns and you can even get custom made ones on the cheap. Look them up and pick up one that best shows of your style. 


A Monster Manual (optional but recommended) – Again, this is absolutely not a need and it will probably be the most expensive book in your tool kit. A Monster Manual is basically a big book of monsters that you could possibly want to use in your game world. These manuals give all the stats, abilities, and weaknesses of those monsters so you don’t have to spend a lot of your prep time before a game looking these things up. Plus, in more advanced situations, I have used these manuals to make up encounters on the fly. For example, if I think a dungeon is going to easily for my group, I can make it harder by looking up a Hydra and dropping it on top of my now very doomed party without stopping the game. Ok, bad example. But you get the point. It lets you be very flexible with your encounters. Ramping up the difficulty with a tough boss monster or even letting you tone things down if your party is struggling. These things don’t really come cheap, depending on the version and how complete a manual you want. But if you want to do it on a budget, you can construct your own. A lot of monster stats can be found online by searching for them. Then you can fill a whole notebook with stats, rolls, abilities…… ok, no one has time for that. Just bite the bullet and shell out for the book. It is really worth it. 


And that is it! Those are the only pieces you need to get ready to roll (pun intended). Now you just need a couple more things we will be discussing in our next couple of pieces. All you need now is a game and players!


Roll on, Dungeon Masters! ­  

So You Want To Be A Dungeon Master

 

So You Want To Be A Dungeon Master

We crept forward as silently as we could through the tunnel, our armor and weapons clicking with each foot fall. The walls of the tunnel oozed with slimes and molds, the scent assaulting our nostrils. We couldn’t carry a torch for fear of giving ourselves away, but the elf leading our little party never stumbled. Her keen Dark Vision lit up the tunnel in front of her better then any torch could.

The dwarf behind me grumbled, “This tunnel seems to stretch on forever.”

Our small halfling thief nodded, “I’m starting to get nervous.” 

“Quiet,” our human cleric whispered harshly, “We don’t know what could be down here with us.”

We rounded a corner and came to a sudden halt, the elf holding up her hand. 

She turned, “There is a door here. Light and voices on the other side”. 

Before us rose a wooden door. It seemed pretty sturdy, but not anything that couldn’t be destroyed by my fighter’s strength. 

I slowly drew my sword, “I’m gonna kick it in.”

The party looked at me with worried expressions. The halfling spoke up, “Didn’t she just say we don’t know what could be down here with us? And now you just wanna go kicking doors in!?”

I grin wickedly, “I wanna get to the action!” 

The party glanced around nervously, but eventually all shrugged or nodded in agreement. 

I laughed, threw my head back and yelled to the heavens as I kick the door with all my might, “I KICK IN THE DOOR!!!” 

And then….

What?

What happens next? 

Do I blast open the door dramatically to terrified screams of my enemies? Am I recklessly rushing into a trap that could get me and the whole party killed? Do I fail so hard at kicking the door that I fall on my back to the laughter of my comrades? Or maybe something completely different? Dungeons and Dragons and other table top role playing games are chalk full of situations like this one. As the player, of course I would always choose the option that works out best for me. But that wouldn’t make for a very interesting game would it? The game needs someone to introduce chaos, drive the story along, control the non player characters, and make sure the players aren’t breaking all the rules too badly. If that sounds like something you would like, then the role of the Dungeon Master is right for you!

So what exactly is a Dungeon Master, or Game Master if you aren’t playing Dungeons and Dragons? The Dungeon Master, or Game Master, is the person in charge of every aspect of the game their players will be entering. It is their job to organize the game, explain and execute the rules for the game to ensure a pleasant player experience, create situations for the players, guide (but not dictate) the players along through the story, control the NPC (or Non Player Characters) the players will interact with, and describe to the players what they are seeing and hearing around them. And all of those things just scratch the surface of what the Dungeon Master does. If I was going to wrap it all up in one sentence, it would be this. The Dungeon Master is God in the world of the game.   

But not just anyone can be a DM (no not direct message, Dungeon Master), right? I mean with all those responsibilities plus all the rules you have to know and math you have to do, it must take an uber nerd to be able to do it! Absolutely not!! Anyone and everyone should learn to be a DM and anyone can do it! Let’s get this straight right off the bat, being a DM is certainly not an easy job. I have been doing it for nearly 15 years and it’s a tough, tough gig. Having a good or a bad DM will make or break the experience for the players in the game. But that is what this column is going to be for, to help you learn how to make the best experience possible for you and your players. 

Even if you have absolutely zero experience being a DM or GM (Game Master), I will prove to you that you can do it and do it well. In the coming weeks, we will go over everything I have learned in my 15 years of experience, the good and the bad. We will talk about how to use the preconstructed adventures you can buy in your local game store or how to build your own world from scratch. We will talk about how to solve rules issues and how to deal with having difficult players in the game. We will go over different games and how they work so you can learn the ins and outs of different systems.

We will learn together too, as I hope you will all write to me at alecthedurdle@gmail.com to share your experiences and ask questions that we will answer in these articles. I can’t wait to begin this adventure with you, my fellow World Builders. 

See you in the World.