At the end of November, I ran across this tweet by Alyssa Visscher. This is, I think, exactly the reason it took me years to pick up the Dungeon Master’s Guide – I already knew the contents after years of playing these games, so why bother with this product?
In the end, the main reasons I picked it up were ease of reference and because I hoard RPG books.
But the point of that tweet got me thinking: maybe I should actually write a couple of posts that are just the bare bones of HOW to play this game from behind the screen, maybe a little of WHY anyone would want to, and see if they’re helpful to anyone out there.
So, consider this the start of the adventure in being a Dungeon Master (or I guess Game Master too, since a lot of what I’m going to be drawing on comes from EVERYWHERE!)
Part 1: Why DM?
There are plenty of answers to this, but let’s deal with the easiest. Tabletop RPGs are a form of collaborative storytelling, whether they involve a Dungeon Master, a Storyteller, or are entirely GM-less.
In some games, like D&D, it’s important to have someone who can gently nudge the story along, play the obstacles in the way, and make the occasional rules call.
It’s important to remember that the DM is also a player – they’re just playing a different part of the game.
The main reason for why is always ‘why not?’ If you hate it, OK, don’t do it again.
Or maybe try again with a different group, or with a different game, or with a different setting.
Maybe you want to go homebrew and have a cool story seed you want to work from, maybe you liked playing a published adventure with your friends but want to see what this other one is like.
Perhaps your DM has a cool idea for a character but they’re stuck looking after you schlubs and want a break – nobody said you can’t put an adventure on pause to go try out another thing.
OK, I think that’s enough for the why, next time I’ll write a bit more about the how.