Advice for First Time Dungeon Masters
You’ve just started to become a Dungeon Master (DM)? Well done. You are the most important person in the game. You control the universe that your friends play in. But how should you do it?
Well, I’ve played three games of Dungeons and Dragons (DND) in total. Yes, I know there will be outraged hardcore DND fans out there upon learning that I am already a DM. Thing is, I have friends who want to play but none who want to be DM. Thing is, I enjoy being the DM, because I can let my imagination work on more than one character. So in total, I have played as a character in one DND game and as DM in two.
My first DND game was a little iffy. My DM was a bit over enthusiastic about trying to get us killed by a baby kraken (we were level 1) and have the ship we were on destroyed. He tried so hard to railroad us into what he wanted that it wasn’t very fun. And then when he got sick of that and we started coming up with imaginative ideas to go about the game, he just let us do what we wanted without really working it. I was playing an assassin and in two of my turns I was able to run down to the hull and back out while grabbing 600 gold pieces, realistically, I think it would have taken more than 12 seconds.
One of the cooler things about this game was that the ships captain managed to get a grappling hook embedded in the baby kraken and then tied it to the ballista and fired, gouging the baby kraken on the way.
This was not the most exciting game of DND and if I were a person of weaker heart I would have given up on the dream I had since reading “Confessions of a Part Time Sorceress” by Shelly Mazzanoble at the age of 18 (I’m 21 now).
I then decided that because of the lack of people willing to be DM, I would have to do it or never play again.
My friends hate having to be railroaded into a decision but seeing as it was my first time I wanted to make sure I was prepared for what they wanted from me. I made them start in a jail cell with absolutely nothing and gave them two options for getting out. One was breaking out through a loose stone in the wall and going through a tunnel and the other was go on a quest to save the Elder’s granddaughter. Of course my friends took the illegal way out and everything went relatively smoothly.