So as of late, an influx of new DM’s are popping up, especially in the AL community with all of the Zealot of Oghma awards appearing on the page. So with that, we’re going to be providing some tips for the new DM’s, veterans can also reap the benefits of this if needed!
1. Don’t sweat it
Your first time DMing will most likely suck, your players are not that engaged with the game you are running, you keep fumbling on words or you try very hard to think on your feet, because your players did not follow the module that you have read and painstakingly prepared for.
However, don’t sweat it everyone sucks when they run their first game, even DM’s like Matthew Mercer or Chris Perkins had to start somewhere and so do you.
You will keep sucking for your first few runs, the important thing is to be open to criticism and to diligently learn, note things that went wrong in your game and to ask for constructive feedback from your players so that you may try to improve for the next time.
Be ready to improvise! Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, because of that, you’ll sometimes be left confused at what to do next. Being ready to improvise with how the adventuring party deals with things will help you out a lot in terms of fun and continuity.
3. Take note
For those who run long-term campaigns, make sure to take note of the important details in your story. Sometimes take note of even the small things such as that one villager who was killed by your adventures as these can be used at a later time in the story.
Have your players take note of things in their inventory and where they found them, make sure that you have a similar tracker so that if ever one player mistakenly says that they have this, you can correct them.
Don’t over prepare, don’t under prepare, make sure that you prepare enough in order to keep things flowing throughout the session. Make sure to prepare a few scenarios ahead of what you expect your players to accomplish so that you won’t hit a standstill if they accomplish the task at hand quickly.
If they’ve accomplished the extra tasks, call for a break, have the players rest while you prepare for the next few chapters or scenarios in the adventure.
5. Don’t force yourself
The job of being a DM can be stressful at times, especially if you run multiple games over the course of a week. One must remember that you still need to take a break every now and then. No need to force yourself to keep running games if you’re out of steam.
Pushing yourself past your limit can affect the game and the fun of both the player and your own. So take a break every now and then, your tables would understand.
6. The Game and Real Life are different
Remember to keep these two things at a distance. Sure, some people put themselves into the game, but one must remember that the game and our lives are separate entities. Don’t let your distaste of another player affect how you run a game for them. In the game, everyone is equal.
If these two start merging into one. A break would be highly recommended so that everything will still be fun and not awkward.