DMing 101: An Introduction and Having Fun

Dice“Look, they even make that awful caltrop of a die black so you can’t see it!”

Now, I’m not saying that I’m an expert on this or anything, but I’ve had my fair share of experience in both Pen and Paper as well as online running Neverwinter Nights Persistent worlds. In fact, if this was at all relevant to the working world, I’d have a pretty decent resume (alas ye cruel fates). That being said, I think I have some good knowledge to pass on, and I’m in need of a good serial topic to talk about on this site. So I’m stealing this one before RedGuinness can get his grubby little…I mean very talented hands on the topic.

IMG_0576“Do not meddle int he affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”

Basically what this column is going to be about is DMing. Wow. Couldn’t tell from the tittle eh? But seriously, there are a few guides like this one out there, but I think I can add some good input, so hush. While most of my experience in running Role Playing Games has been in the Dungeons and Dragons rule sets the advice I plan on giving can be applied to any rule set. Now, we’ve gotten rid of all these nasty pleasantries and introductions, let’s get to it shall we?

The first rule, and the main topic of this first article, HAVE SOME FRAKKIN FUN WITH IT! That’s right, you know I’m serious because of all those caps, and geek appropriate curse words. DMing is part of the game, and do you know why we play games? And no, it’s not always to see our competition squeal and cry because we have crushed them, seen them driven before us and heard the lamentation of their women. That being said, if you aren’t having fun, if the work of being a DM isn’t something you enjoy, it might be best to let someone else have the mantle.

It's getting them to shut up that's the trick.“The trick is getting them to shut up.”

Remember that not everything has to be serious, and yes I know that is not something that really comes up at a PnP table but stay with me. The players will frustrate you with their antics, stupidity and meaningless sidebar conversations. Roll with it! Don’t get all angry and drop thirty Hydras on people (that wasn’t a shot I swear!). Keep a calm head, and try to get the group back in focus, or run something hilarious and ridiculous. It won’t ruin your carefully laid plans, some nights are just full of distractions, it’s better to have fun with it that end a session early, or do something that could really ruin a campaign.

Remember it’s a game, not everyone enjoys it the same way you do. That doesn’t mean their way is wrong, just different. This is something that happens less with a close group such as a PnP game, or the like, but it’s something I’ve encountered a lot in online DMing. The thing to remember is if you try to force your will and gaming mindset on someone who just doesn’t see it that way, it’s going to frustrate you, and annoy the hell out of them. Accept that htye won’t take something as seriously as you might, if it doesn’t become disruptive to your game, just ignore it. Hey, you might even find some humor along the way.

trollGod, I love the smell of napalm in the morning…”

Finally, and once again this will apply more to our online DMs out there…I’m sure there are some still alive, Neverwenter Nights LIVES! (cough) Anyway, the trolls. Ignore them, and when that doesn’t work, do not be afraid to burn them with fire, and swing that nice big old banhammer. Trolls ruin an online community far more than the other troll shouting that you’re censoring people.

Well that’s my piece for today, Game on people, and for the love of Thor, have some fun!

Originally posted at but I plan on continuing the series here.


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