Things you quickly pick up being a new DM

Another Sunday, another month and another game of DnD.

Our little group of novice DnD players are busy killing and pillaging every NPC they can find, along with sweet talking and killing anyone which looks like they might hold something of value. Not to mention all the skin eating… so much skin eating. Its not normal and that’s why planing for these things is proving more and more challenging. So “winging” it seems to be a better strategy.

You have no idea what your walking into

Im not talking about the players, they seem happy falling into all sorts of situations and coming up with some rather unique plans to solve what seems to be a straight forward situation. I have to admit I’m impressed, which makes it even more difficult to DM a game.

How do you plan for 5 people imaginations?

Its a bit like herding ducks on drugs, with morning-stars. Some go where you want and some dress up as the opposite sex and try to “brute force” charisma role their way into an enemy compound. It’s allot of fun but difficult to plan, I mean how do you plan for 5 people imaginations. Simply put you can’t. Saying no isn’t productive and should mostly be avoided.

People coming up with random shit and wanting to do it is part of the game and doesn’t always fit into your beloved dungeon plan. So when it comes to planning: notes and ideas are best loosely worked out, then on the day use your imagination and a few charts to help you best judge how to handle the situation.

Guidance

Sometimes your party is eager to get hold of the latest orc bustin longsword and forgets what they are actually here todo. Gentle reminders work at first but sometimes you have to be blunt: “You are trying to do this, maybe you should ask around town about how best to achieve this”.

When you need to get the game back on track try not to limit the options. What this means is taking the players ideas and joining them back up to the intended goal. This requires you to stay one step ahead of your adventuring mob and the out come of what they want to do should in someway bring them back to the main quest.

Keep the game going

If your party is taking too long to get something done, solve the problem for them and move on as quickly as possible. Having the players re-enact an EU discussion on immigration over a small issue is both boring and time consuming. So just end it, kill it, move on.

What can I plan?

Plan out the goals, plan out the location, plan out key NPC and of cause plan out all the hows, whys and what nots of the scenario. Why are you hear, what are you going to accomplish, why can’t I just murder this guy straight-up and steal the quest reward, then go on a bloody murder spree where I collect NPC ears.

We are currently working our way through Lost Mine of Phandelver. It’s a fun little adventure which is showing us the basics of how the game works and how to guide a group through. Unfortunately its not really holding up against my players imagination and general dis-regard for human decency, so I’ve had to take a new approach of using the game as a loose guide to try and direct everyone to the end result.

Will see how it all works out over the next few months, but this way of playing is proving both challenging and fun.


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