Tag Archives: DM advice

Becoming a Great DM: Talent vs. Experience

DM ScreenIn a recent blog article, Teos Abadia (aka Alphastream) posed the question: Is a good DM “good” because of talent or because of experience? And is there even such a thing as DMing talent?

By way of response, if I have to choose talent or experience, I choose experience. While there may be certain aspects of DMing that some people do “naturally” well, I don’t believe that anyone naturally possesses everything it takes to be a good DM. Further, I believe that everyone can learn enough of the skills necessary to be a competent DM through practice and experience. And even those natural abilities some people have can be honed further through experience.

That being said, I think that the article misses the heart of the issue by asking a question that is only tangentially related to what we all (DMs and soon-to-be DMs alike) ask at some point. The real question at the heart of the matter is this: Continue reading

How I Ran A Multi-DM Campaign (And How You Can Too)

I totally stole this image from Hit On Crit. Click to check out their site.

I ended up editing this article for length. I didn’t want to go on too specifically about “what happened in my campaign.” However, if you want to know more, please leave questions in the comments, and I’ll be happy to expound.

We just finished a very short summer campaign. The group I DM for usually only meets twice a month in the library basement (even in public buildings, the D&D players are relegated to the basement), but over the summer, we decided to try and pack an entire mini campaign into 12 once-a-week sessions. Even though the story took a weird hop (that I’m not sure anyone noticed), I tried a few new things that all worked out very well. The biggest experiment was a multi-DM model where everyone took a turn as DM, but since some of the other things we did fed into that, I’ll recap those other things first. (If you want the shorter version of the article, skip to “And here is the part about the Multi DM Campaign.”) Continue reading

Subcontracting Your Villain Work

The following graphic (scroll down) has been making its rounds on the internet for about a year now.  It describes a situation in which a person was playing a one-on-one RPG game online, and was unwittingly actually playing the villain in the DMs live game. At the risk of offending Anonymous, I suspect its veracity is a bit dubious, but the point remains: handing over some of the creative work for your campaign can yield results above and beyond what you could have come up with on your own. Continue reading

On Temptation

I’ve been thinking a little bit lately about temptation in an RPG setting. None of these thoughts are fully fleshed out. I’m putting this up in the hopes of starting some sort of discussion on how to best approach the problem. Please comment, Tweet, etc. I would love community input, as I don’t feel like I have a good answer…yet.

Temptation is a tricky business in RPGs, especially if you have a group that isn’t necessarily “role playing” focused. This is primarily because the character and the player are two separate entities; even though the player is supposed to be making decisions in a manner that reflects their character’s personality, that is often not the case. Continue reading

Adding Continuity To A Multiple DM Campaign

Our play group is coming up on a gameday soon, and we’ve been kicking around what we want to play. We’re kind of LFR’d out for now, and we were thinking about trying out some new RPG systems. What we eventually settled on was a 4th Edition homebrew that uses Greyhawk as its world. We’re still discussing the finer points, but one of the main things we’re sure of is that we will rotate as DMs.

This got me thinking: how do you preserve continuity across a campaign with multiple DMs? It’s something I’ve written about before, but I began brainstorming again when we started discussing a multiple DM homebrew. Continue reading

How To Create An Interesting Solo In 10 Seconds

The idea for this post grew out of a desire to use the alien miniature I talked about a few weeks ago in the Gamma World game I’m running. Before you click away because this is “another Gamma World article,” you need to know that, while the application (for me) was a Gamma World one, the theory sits squarely on the engine that runs both D&D and Gamma World. In other words, you can use this idea in your D&D game, too. Continue reading