Looking to become the next game master or dungeon master for your friends? Then let’s help you get your first game off the ground!
Choose Your Own Adventure
Before starting on your notes, you will want to figure out what kind of adventure you want to run. Do you want to use a campaign guide? Or do you want to homebrew a world?
If you want to use a campaign guide, check out the different guides available for your RPG. This option is great if you want a bit more of a pick and play option. Just make sure to take a few hours before each game to go over what the players may encounter based on their situation.
If you want to homebrew… well, the world is your oyster. Start anywhere. Want to name all the continents first? Do it. Going to make up all the maps first? Do it. Want to name each grain of sand in a vast desert? Sure, why not? Just be aware that it is going to take a lot more time to prep this kind of game.
The Prep Work
No matter what kind of campaign you want to run, you will want to make sure you want to have some notes. These notes should cover a number of different areas.
Who are the important characters your players may interact with?
Who are the key figures of the campaign? What do they look like? What are their motives? It is key to have this information on hand so you can make sure that you are giving players correct information about a social encounter.
What does the scenery looks like?
What does the space look like? Writing out what a space looks like can be a great help when you are caught in the moment having to describe a location. Write it down ahead of time and add however much flourish you would like. When it comes time to recite the description, your players will be in awe.
Random NPC and Location Tables
No matter what you do, you are always going to have NPCs you never dreamed of showing up in your game. Having a list of names to choose from is greatly helpful in those moments of NPC improv, making it seem you knew about this character all along…
Running the Game
Now it’s time to run the game. You’ve got your research, your books, your notes – now what?
Running the game is the one true job of being a dungeon master, but also the job that people often feel the most worried about. The key to running any game are two rules: ‘the rule of cool’ and ‘yes, and…’.
Simply put, the rule of cool is if a player tries something that is so unexpected, so over the top crazy that it might just work… reduce the DC a bit. See if their antics pay off. If they succeed, then they have an awesome moment they are going to remember forever. If they still botch the roll, then they have a tragic miss that could end up even funnier than what they were initially trying to do.
The yes, and rule is a fundamental improv rule. Whenever a player asks to do something (as long as it is even slightly in the realm of possibility), then let them try it. The DC might be crazy high, but who knows? You may have heard another version of this rule – you can certainly try.
Now, get out there adventurer – become the Dungeon Master you were always destined to be!
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